Copper Roofing: Going Green Naturally

What once was only available to the rich, metal roofing has become much more commonplace in the 21st Century. Much of this can be attributed to the durability and beauty of such roofing, but there’s also the renaissance in design that’s taken place over the last decade in and around Chicago. This movement has focused on creating beautiful vistas across the city and the first place you begin improving a skyline is through the inclusion of dramatic and well-designed rooftops.

Though becoming more common, copper rooftops are more expensive than traditional shingles or modern thermoplastic products. One of today’s most aesthetic, popular metal roofing selections is copper. Copper roofing is striking, especially as it ages. Established copper roofs develop a unique, blue/green “patina” over time, and they look extraordinary when paired with wooden or brick exteriors of a complementary color. While more costly than other metal roofing types, copper serves to boost your structure’s curb appeal while substantially increase its resale value.

In The Beginning

Metal is actually an ancient technology, and is has been used continuously for roofing and for many other forms of architecture and technology, all the way up to today. It has always been notorious for its function as a superior roofing option as opposed to other materials, regardless of which metal is used.  However, due to its higher cost, it never really grew popular as a mainstream home option until the past few generations. “The Dome of the Rock” – the establishment which sits on the area “Temple Mount” in Israel, where certain religious groups believe the prophet Muhammad ascended to Heaven and where God intervened on Abraham’s sacrifice of his son Isaac – is believed to have originally been protected by gold metal roofing. It currently sports gold-leafed aluminum metal roofing.

Copper roofing, arguably the oldest form of metal roofing, has been around for thousands and thousands of generations.  In around ~300 B.C., copper roofing was installed on the Sri Lankan Loha Maha Paya Temple, also known as the Mahamuni Buddha Temple. We know that around 27 B.C., the Romans used copper metal roofing for the Pantheon. The oldest European medieval structures – churches – from around the 14th century, also utilized copper roofing. A St. Mary’s Cathedral, known as Hildesheim, had a copper metal roofing system installed on it in 1280 A.D.; the same exact roof is still there to this day. You may be thinking “Sure, right. That that system is 734 years old!”  Well, it’s true.

In The Modern Era

The benefits of copper roofing go beyond aesthetics, though. Copper is one of the most fireproof roofing materials on the market; it’s also highly water-resistant, and is excellent at preventing rainwater from penetrating your home. Like all metal roofing materials, copper is long-lasting, with a life expectancy of at least 50 years. This far exceeds the expected lifespan of cheaper roofing materials. Copper’s light weight is also well worth considering, especially given the relatively high levels of Illinois snowfall. Because it is such a light material, it puts little stress on your home’s structural elements and foundation: helping owners avoid the costly problems associated with such stresses.

While copper is a superior roofing material overall, there are a few drawbacks that should be considered. First, like all metal roofs, copper roofing can be noisy during storms. It tends to amplify weather noise, rather than dampening it. Also, as temperatures change over the seasons, copper roofs can expand and contract significantly, and this can loosen the roof’s fasteners. You will need to draw on the expertise of a skilled NJ roofing contractor to prevent these problems, as there are technologies available to inhibit copper’s natural expansion and contraction.

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