Installing Copper Roofing Installing Copper Roofing

What You'll Need
Plywood decking
Copper nails
Copper roofing sheets
Roofing felt
Staple gun
Crimping device
Metal shears
Slip sheet membrane
Extension ladder

Copper roofing is difficult to install and requires close attention to detail. Care should be taken not to damage the copper sheeting. Copper roofing typically takes twice as long to install as asphalt shingles, for example. Copper roofing has the main advantage of being durable, with an expected lifespan of about 75 years if everything is installed correctly. To complete the project, make sure that you have plenty of time and the necessary skills. There are also various extra considerations to take when installing copper roofing, including adding a protective membrane between the roofing felt and the copper surface. 

Step 1 – Apply the Plywood Decking

The plywood should be in perfect condition before you install it. The copper itself will last a very long time, but its usefulness will be negated if the plywood sheeting needs replacing further down the line. The plywood will form a sub-roof beneath the roofing felt and the copper surface. This needs to thoroughly cover the roof. Ensure that it is all in ideal condition, as this cannot be easily fixed later on.

Step 2 – Apply the Roofing Felt

Place roofing paper over the plywood decking. This needs to be fixed in place using heavy duty staples. Each section of the felt roofing paper should overlap the surrounding sections by an inch or two. The roofing paper will provide an important waterproof barrier between the copper surface and the plywood decking.

Step 3 – Apply the Slip Sheet Membrane

The slip sheet membrane is an important additional precaution to help protect the roof from weather. It also collects the condensation that will form on the back of the copper sheeting. If the copper comes into direct contact with the roofing paper, it will eventually cause damage. Apply the slip sheet membrane over the entire roof, attaching it in place with appropriate roofing nails. Be sure that this job is done accurately and thoroughly to prevent corrosion.

Step 4 – Apply the Copper Roofing

The copper roofing sheets should interlock along the seams. Use copper roofing nails to secure the shingles in place. Start at the top of the roof and work your way towards the bottom. Crimp the seams together using a crimping tool. This will attach the sections of copper roofing together. This should be done with two crimps, the first attaching two sections of roof together, with the second one folding over the seams to cover them for additional protection. Make sure that the copper overlaps the edges of the roof by 2 inches.

Step 5 – Finishing up

The edges of the roof should be folded over along the lip. Use the crimping tool to get a finished effect, bending over the copper edges. This will also get rid of any sharp edges and give the roof a finished appearance. Once you have done this, the roof is complete and should last decades with minimal maintenance.

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