A roof does much more than protect an interior from the elements; this architectural element is a building’s insurance policy, and a defining element of its character and appearance. And copper roofs, in particular, stand out for their timeless elegance and unrivalled strength.
Long associated with historic and exceptional buildings, copper roofing is now enjoying a resurgence in popularity, and appealing to homeowners who want a durable, visually striking roofing solution.
Our Montreal roofers explain the benefits of copper roofing and why it could be the ideal choice for your next roof.
Why install a copper roof?
Copper roofing is a practical cladding that makes an excellent choice for enhancing the appearance of your home. A copper roof covering consists of thin copper sheets, generally rectangular in shape and cut in various sizes. Usually between 50 and 65 cm wide, copper roofing sheets are designed according to specific criteria.
Their length varies according to manufacturing standards, and is also influenced by the climatic conditions where they will be installed, including windiness and building location. Roof pitch also influences the length of copper roofing sheets. For framing, a thickness of 22 mm is generally required. You can choose from both long copper sheets and tile-like sheets, according to your preference.
It should be noted that copper roofs are often installed in regions that are prone to heavy snowfall, high winds or extreme temperatures. That’s why copper roofs are so popular in Quebec!
Benefits of a copper roof
In addition to its timeless beauty and brilliant shine, a copper roof is a good choice for several reasons. Here are some of the main benefits of using this noble material for a roof.
Copper is renowned for its exceptional durability. Unlike other materials, this roof covering does not weather easily. A properly installed copper roof is resistant to corrosion, UV, frost and heat, and can easily last over a century. This longevity makes a copper roof a smart long-term investment that will offer flawless protection for decades to come.
One of copper’s most distinctive charms is the way in which its appearance changes over time. When first installed, a copper roof will boast a brilliant reddish shine, but as time goes by, it will develop a patina until it is completely gray-green in colour. This transformation, far from being a sign of deterioration, is actually a natural protection that adds to the unique character of each roof. We’ll talk more about the aesthetics of this type of roofing material below!
In an age when environmental sustainability is a primal concern, copper stands out for being easily recyclable. At the end of its life, instead of being discarded as waste, a copper roof can be fully recycled to create new products. Since this type of roof also lasts a very long time, fewer replacements are needed and its overall environmental impact is minimal.
One of the main benefits of a copper roof is that it requires very little maintenance. Thanks to its protective patina, there is no need to do regular treatments to protect it from the elements. Unlike other materials that may require frequent cleaning, treatment or repair, a copper roof can stay beautiful and functional with minimal effort.
Copper roof: oxidation and color evolution
As mentioned above, copper undergoes a remarkable transformation over time. This change in appearance is due to a natural oxidation process that gives this metal a distinctive aquamarine patina. But how exactly does this transformation take place, and what factors influence how long it will take to become noticeable?
How copper patina forms
When copper is exposed to air, it reacts with oxygen to form a thin layer of copper oxide. This layer is initially reddish-brown in color. Over time, influenced by humidity and sulfur compounds in the air (such as sulfur dioxide), the oxide layer gradually transforms into copper sulfate, which has a greenish-gray hue. This patina is not just aesthetic: it forms a protective barrier that prevents further corrosion of the copper, thus increasing its durability.
Factors influencing oxidation rate
Several factors can influence the speed with which copper oxidizes and develops a patina:
- Humidity: High humidity tends to accelerate the copper oxidation process.
- Atmospheric pollution: In urban or industrial areas, where sulfur dioxide levels are higher, copper can develop a patina more quickly.
- Proximity to the sea: Salt spray can also influence the speed of oxidation.
- Direct exposure to the elements: Copper surfaces that are directly exposed to rain, wind and sun can oxidize faster than those that are more sheltered.
Tips for installing and maintaining a copper roof
Although copper roofs are strong and long-lasting, they require careful installation and some minimal maintenance to guarantee that they will last as long as possible and remain beautiful. Here are several tips to keeping your copper roof in perfect condition for decades to come.
Choose the right professional roofer
- Look for experience: When installing a copper roof, make sure you choose a roofer with proven experience in copper roof installation. Ask for references and examples of previous work.
- Check certifications: A certified roofer will have undergone specialized training and be up to date with industry best practices.
- Ask for a detailed estimate: A serious professional will provide you with a detailed estimate that includes the cost of materials and labor, as well as lead times.
Do minimal maintenance to extend roof life
- Gentle cleaning: Although copper is low-maintenance, occasional cleaning with water and a soft brush can help remove accumulated debris and dirt.
- Avoid harsh chemicals: Never use chemicals or solvents on your copper roof, as these can damage the natural patina.
- Inspect regularly: Even though copper is durable, it’s always a good idea to inspect your roof regularly for any signs of damage or wear.
- Avoid contact with other metals: As mentioned above, copper can react with certain types of metal which will accelerate corrosion. Make sure your copper roof doesn’t come into direct contact with any other metals, especially galvanized steel or zinc.
- Gutters and downspouts : If you have copper gutters or downspouts, make sure that the water doesn’t spill out onto other types of metal.
- Protective coatings: Although copper’s natural patina protects it, in certain situations a protective coating can be applied to offer additional protection against corrosion.
What is the cost of a copper roof in Quebec?
Copper is recognized as one of the most prestigious and durable roofing materials, but this quality also comes with a higher price tag when compared with other materials. In Quebec, the cost of a copper roof can vary depending on several factors.
On average, the price of copper roofing in Quebec can range from $60 to $100 per square foot. This price generally includes both materials and installation, but please note that this is only an estimate. To find out more, contact our Quebec roofers!
Factors influencing cost
- Project complexity: Copper roof installation can cost more on roofs with complex shapes, steep slopes or special architectural features.
- Labor: Roofers’ rates may vary according to their experience and familiarity with installing copper roofing.
- Fluctuating copper prices: The price of copper can fluctuate on the world market, influencing the total cost of the project.
Comparison with other materials
Although installing a copper roof is initially more expensive to than installing a roof covering with other materials such as asphalt or steel, its longevity and low maintenance requirements are decisive. In the long term, a copper roof can be a profitable investment, as it can last over a century with minimal maintenance.
Get experts to install your copper roof!
When it comes to roofing, copper is synonymous with elegance, durability and superior quality. Although the initial cost of installing a copper roof may be higher, the long-term benefits, both in terms of longevity and appearance, make it a shrewd choice for those looking to add real value to their property.
As with any important investment, it’s important to trust experts with the installation and maintenance of your copper roof. Duro-Toit can offer services based on years of experience and an unmatched reputation for excellence. Our team can guarantee that every copper roof we install will not only be attractive, but also built to last.
Don’t put your roofing project in the hands of just anyone – trust Duro-Toit, Quebec’s copper roofing experts. Contact us today to consult an advisor and discover how we can transform your home or building into a lasting work of art.