Copper is in vogue again, appearing in everything from back-splashes and countertops to air vents and downspouts. Its unique properties, such as the patina it takes on as it ages, make it a striking architectural choice, and nowhere is that more remarkable than in roofing. Besides its aesthetic appeal, however, copper roofing offers many advantages to remodelers.

Copper roofing is acting more like traditional roofing products these days. Manufacturers are succeeding in creating materials that are more lightweight and easier to manage than previous offerings. Copper shingles, in particular, “provide all the basic attributes of a copper roof, but the installation is identical to putting up a composition shingle roof,” says Ken Geremia, communications director of the Copper Development Association. “Anyone who can put up a shingle roof can put up a copper shingle roof.”

Copper shingles of varied shapes add to this home's whimsical appeal.
Copper Development Association Copper shingles of varied shapes add to this home's whimsical appeal.

“Copper roofs have a long history of durability in severe weather,” Geremia explains. “They're desirable in snowy areas [because they] shed snow easily.” They also respond very well to wind uplift.

“During some of the [recent] bad hurricanes in Florida, [many of] the copper roofs were still intact.” They also do not require a heavy understructure, because of their light weight.

Copper roofing manufacturers are continually building on copper's natural beauty with an array of products for every taste.

Revere Copper Products, in Rome, N.Y., offers EverGreen pre-patinated architectural sheet copper. One side of the sheet is given a green, aged patina through Revere's proprietary manufacturing process, which duplicates and accelerates copper's natural aging process. Zappone, a copper roofing manufacturer in Spokane, Wash., makes shingles in 16-ounce copper or “Tough 12” high-tensile-strength copper. The company emphasizes the environmental benefits of using copper, explaining on its Web site that most architectural copper produced today has a recycled content of nearly 75%.

Although most homeowners choose copper because of its looks, an added bonus is its longevity. “It can stay in place for a hundred years or more, as long as it's installed properly,” Geremia says. “It's going to stay there, even while the other components of your house are going to have to be replaced.”