Category: Metal Roofing Tips

Copper Roofing: Pros & Cons

front view of home with a copper metal roof

Copper is one of the most historic materials used to this day for roofing. Besides offering a more sustainable roofing structure, it also makes your building look more appealing. Copper roofing comes with many advantages, however, it has a few drawbacks too. Thus, building owners should contact expert roofers to gauge if copper is the right material for your home property.

Copper roofs typically need minimal maintenance compared to asphalt shingles or other metal roof options. Here we will compare both the pros and cons of copper roofs:

Copper Roof Pros

Integrity & Durability

As a roofing material, copper is highly durable and considered one of the most suitable roofing choices. Contrary to steel and aluminum roofing copper does not rust or corrode. Plus, there is no need to coat or add an extra layer of paint. It will stay the same for hundreds of years.

Corrosion protection

Several roofing materials tend to corrode with time, but copper is greatly resistant to corrosion. As time goes by, copper undergoes patination, which is an organic chemical reaction that forms a copper oxide layer on the roof and changes the original warm brown shade of the roof to pale green. This makes copper roofing tolerate corrosion in any climate, increasing its durability.

Safer compared to other roofing metals

Copper, as a roofing material, is less prone to damage as a result of snowfall, heavy thunderstorms, or extra sun exposure. Since it is more lightweight, it is less probable to loosen or get impaired because of snow built-up. Plus, it is fireproof.

Energy Efficiency

Copper roofs tend to withhold and emit lower amounts of heat. The mirroring property of the metal deflects sun rays. This means that your house will be cooler during summer and warmer in the winter, saving you energy and money in the long run.


Unlike other roofing materials, copper emits lower levels of carbon dioxide, making it a more environmentally-friendly option.

Copper Roof Cons

High Cost

Copper is one of the most costly roofing materials and hence, this is why finding a home covered by a copper roof completely is a scarcity. Many owners only use copper roofing at their bay windows, towers, or lower slope parts. It is also used often in flashings and roof corridors.

It’s noisy

Unlike other materials, copper does not control noise. This happens because it is a softer metal compared to others. The noise issue, however, can be controlled with the addition of supporting layers beneath it.

Contraction & Stretch

Copper tends to contract and stretch at certain temperatures, leading to the weakening of fasteners and requiring immediate fixing work. This can be handled during the planning and installation phase, however, it is important to work with an established installation expert.

Can You Apply Metal Over A Shingle Roofing? 

In nearly all cases, YES, it is possible to install a new metal roof layer over a current shingle roof. That is a valid reason why it is increasing in popularity. Its application doesn’t require the entire detachment of your current roof, which is often costly and time-consuming.

Metal, although pretty robust and solid is quite lightweight, weighing less than 1 pound/sq.ft. It’s almost 4X less heavy compared to asphalt shingles which weigh 4 pounds/sq.ft. Plus, adding a metal roof over current shingles doesn’t remarkably raise the total burden that the home’s structure needs to hold.

Besides leading to cost savings (as it doesn’t need the entire detachment of the current roof), the installation of a new metal roof on top of an existing one also provides extra insulation over your house to stop the escape of heat and humidity.

When it comes to insulation, it’s noteworthy to mention that metal roofs are blockers of heat. They block and repel heat away from their exterior instead of absorbing it. That means the additional insulation layer will not serve as a heat blocker for heat emittance through your metal roofing.

Important Considerations When Applying A Metal Roof Above Shingles

close up of metal roof shingleWhat we have previously mentioned about the application of metal above shingles applies to most roofing procedures. However, if you are unsure, it’s best to consult your local construction and zoning authorities to ensure that metal-over-shingle applications are acceptable.

In case your shingle roof shows leakage, you’ll have to check it for decayed rafters or sheets. These issues should be resolved immediately before the application of the new roofing.

In case the existing roof’s burden has led to structural issues e.g. decking, these problems have to be tackled before the beginning of the new roof application.

It’s also typically a great idea to add some kind of underlayer over the shingles to prevent their granules from touching the metal and result in damage. You may ask your roofing expert for more info on suitable options for your case.

Advantages of solid metal roofs

Once you set up your new metal roof over a current shingle one, you will instantly save some cash that would otherwise be spared to detach an existing roof entirely. But, this isn’t the only benefit of a metal roof. Here are 4 other benefits:

  1. Longevity. A rightly applied metal roof can last up to 50 years before it needs replacement.
  2. High resistance to damage. Metal roofs can tolerate most extreme weather conditions such as heavy winds, rainfall, or ice and hail storms.
  3. Minimal maintenance. Due to their strength, metal roofs won’t need frequent and often costly fixing work. They can keep their strength through several years.
  4. Lower utility charges. As mentioned previously, special layerings on metal roofs enable to repel heat instead of absorbing it. This leads to less reliance on AC units to cool down interior temperatures during the hot summer season.