Residential home with copper roof that is showing patina shade of green and brown Las Vegas home

A beautiful copper roof will last many decades and should need only minimal care. Strong and durable, copper has a natural lifecycle that takes it from a shiny copper glow to a rich, distinctive patina, one that is recognizable worldwide as seen in many historic buildings, some hundreds of years old. To achieve that distinguished maturity, most homeowners look forward to or even accelerate the maturation of their copper roof to its ultimate patina. But no matter what stage your copper roof is in, there are still things you should know to help your roof look and perform its very best for a very long time to come.

Copper Roof Patina Formation

The patina color on a copper roof is a sign that the copper is maturing and actually strengthening as it ages. When a copper roof is exposed to moisture and air contaminants, the oxidation process begins. A thin layer begins to form, which is the patina, sometimes called verdigris. As the years go by, the patina will grow thicker and it will change color.  The color may vary, depending on the location of the roof. For example, urban copper roofs may have a bluish patina, due to the copper sulfate that forms from deposits from urban pollution. A copper roof on a building near the coast may have a greenish tint as the salt air forms copper chloride in the patina. It’s important to remember that this is a long, natural process. You can expect it to take even longer if you live in a dry climate that doesn’t get much rain or humidity. Plus, the patina will probably mature unevenly. Different parts of the roof may receive more or less sunlight, and other factors can also give it an uneven appearance. This is normal and eventually the entire roof will take on the same brilliant color. The process itself can be fascinating to follow over the years and can usually be allowed to progress naturally. That does not mean that the roof, like any other roof, should not be monitored for any problems, damage or debris.

Things to Avoid When You Have a Copper Roof

New copper roof and copper covered gazebo in Las Vegas with new copper shine

Normally, simple debris removal is all that’s needed to keep your roof in good condition. Some homeowners, however, may be tempted to manage the coloration of the roof and want to preserve the “shiny” phase of the copper. This is probably not the best route, as the thin layer of patina actually helps protect the copper beneath it and adds to the life of the copper roof. And, removing the patina can scar or damage the copper. It’s important to avoid harsh chemical cleaners as their use to remove the protective patina opens the possibility the roof will become pitted. Cleaning the roof with any type of soap is not recommended.

Another thing to avoid is using a chemical sealant on the roof. Use of a sealant creates a need for regular monitoring and maintenance and it has to be done meticulously to avoid damage. Missing a spot, uneven application or other mistakes can cause drastic unevenness in the patina and ruin the look of the roof for years until the sealant wears away. Remember, the patina itself is the only sealant that is required to have a beautiful, natural, long-lived copper roof.

If you live in Las Vegas, or any dry environment, you may wish to speed up the patina formation. This is usually best left to professionals as many of the chemicals and products marketed for this purpose can damage your roof. At Prestige we can treat the copper after installation with a safe and effective coating to help begin the aging process so your roof will more quickly form a natural, even patina pattern for the look you want. See below for a gentle, natural way to help the patina formation.

Proper Care for a Copper Roof

selection of roofer nails for installation or repair including copper and steel nails

If properly installed by professionals trained as copper roofing specialists, your copper roof will basically be maintenance free. It’s still important to remove debris that may accumulate over the winter or after a rainstorm, so at least an annual inspection or post-storm inspection is in order. Removing debris will assure there is no damage under the debris from falling branches or other objects and it also allows the patina formation process to proceed evenly across the roof.

Occasionally, if debris has been present for some time, or if the roofer did a poor job of installing your roof (such as using steel nails that may rust instead of copper nails), you may see streaks or stains on the roof and want to remove them. If you are a do-it-yourselfer, here is a simple method you can use to lightly clean your roof. This wash will also help speed up the oxidation process in our dry climate. Be sure to do this when there is no rain in the forecast:

  • Sweep any debris, dust, branches or leaves off the roof with a broom.
  • Create a mixture using equal parts salt and white vinegar. Stir it until the salt is completely dissolved.
  • Apply the mixture evenly over the roof, using a soft-bristled brush.
  • Rinse the salt and vinegar off with a garden hose. Never use a pressure washer on a copper roof, because it can damage the patina.

Remember, a well-designed and properly installed copper roof will not normally have problems. However, if you notice anything that worries you, have your roofer take a look. To preserve the beauty and value of your unique copper roof and avoid unintentional damage, be sure to consult with your roofer before applying any cleaning or other roof treatments.

Prestige Roofing for All Your Roof Maintenance Needs

luxury home with copper fixture over entryway with patina custom designed

A thing of uncommon beauty, a copper roof can last a century or longer. You will enjoy years of beauty and find that your roof requires little maintenance compared to other types of roofs. At Prestige Roofing we are copper roofing experts, so in addition to crafting and installing your roof, we’re ready to take care of any cleaning or maintenance issues that come up. We hope you will get in touch with us for all your roofing needs.

Prestige Roofing’s work ranges from service and repair work,  re-roofing  and new construction work, commercial and residential work. They have also done work for ultra-custom projects around the Las Vegas Valley.

Historic Berlin Cathedral (Berliner Dom) with copper domes copper roof and copper statues

Historic Berlin Cathedral (Berliner Dom)

Copper has been prized as a roofing material by architects for hundreds of years. Once copper changes color from brass to its prestigious green patina — think of the Statue of Liberty — it actually becomes more durable. The oxide-sulfate coating on the outer surface of copper makes it especially resistant to corrosion in most environments. Tests were conducted on 18th century copper roofs in Europe and the tests found that copper roofing can last approximately 1,000 years (at least in theory).

A dome-shaped roof is an architectural style that has been around for thousands of years. One of the most important Buddhist sites in India, the Great Stupa at Sanchi, was built in the 3rd century B.C.E. The dome structure is incredibly durable as well, as its shape lends itself to wind resistance. Dome homes are popping up along the Gulf and East coast in hurricane zones as a defense against the damage those storms can deliver.

In other words, dome-shaped roofs and copper domes are an enduring form of architecture sure to be around for a long time.  Here is a closer look at some old and new copper domes and roofs around the world.

Berlin Cathedral Church (Berliner Dom)

Berliner Dom showing bright patina copper domes and Fernsehturm in front of blue sky

While it is not a cathedral in the technical sense (a bishop has never been seated there), the Berlin Cathedral Church, or Berliner Dom, is one of the most majestic buildings in Germany. On a site continually occupied by a church since 1465, the current building was completed in 1905. Built in an ornate Renaissance style after St. Peter’s in Rome, it has five copper domes and several copper statues, all of which are a beautiful patina green. The Berlin Cathedral underwent extensive restoration after World War II. It can be visited on Museum Island in the Mitte borough.

Macon City Auditorium

The Macon City Auditorium in Macon, Georgia is actually the largest copper-domed roof in the world. It was completed in 1925 and is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. The circular assembly hall is approximately the same size as the Pantheon in Rome, making it a truly incredible structure. A beautiful mural inside the auditorium captures four centuries of history of the Macon area. Today, it’s a busy cultural center, hosting music, theater and other events for local residents and tourists.

Wales Millenium Centre

The Millenium Centre Cardiff Bay in sun with copper roof reflecting light

The dome on the Wales Millenium Centre is actually constructed from steel. The architect wanted the dome to maintain its bronze color throughout its lifespan, so he went with steel that had been treated with copper oxide. The Millenium Centre is an arts center with a main concert hall and two smaller halls which house restaurants and shops. The entire Centre covers 4.7 acres in Cardiff, Wales.

The Rotunda at UVA

The Rotunda at the University of Virginia was designed by Thomas Jefferson. It has a 77-foot domed copper roof and Jefferson designed it to represent “the authority of nature and the power of reason.” The Rotunda’s construction began in 1822 but was not completed until shortly after Jefferson’s death in 1826. Jefferson toyed with the idea of designing the interior of the Rotunda dome as the first planetarium in the United States, but that idea was abandoned.

Temppeliaukio Kirkko, The Helsinki Rock Church

Temppeliaukio rock church famous modern architecture landmark interior in helsinki finland

It is difficult to even find words to describe the Temppeliaukio Church, also known as the Church of the Rock, located in Helsinki, Finland. The church was literally carved out of solid rock. A skylight framework holds up the massive copper dome roof. Due to the rock walls and the copper dome, the acoustics provided are incredible and the church is often used for musical performances. The Temppeliaukio Church is one of the most visited tourist attractions in Finland. Its construction had to be completed in stages over several decades due to the interruption of World War II. When you consider this unique building and its dome, think about this:  The design was actually scaled back to one-fourth of its original planned size!

Belvedere Palace, Vienna

Upper Belvedere Palace beautiful baroque palace with copper roofing Vienna Austria

The copper roof of the Belvedere Palace in Vienna has been in place for some 300 years now, which once again speaks to the durability of copper as a roofing material. It was built in the early 1700s as the palace for the ruling Habsburg Dynasty. The Belvedere Palace has a copper roof that includes four copper domes at each of the roof’s corners.

The Academic Building – Texas A&M University

The Main Building at Texas A&M, known as “Old Main,” burned down in 1912 and was replaced with the Academic Building which still stands today. Inside the building you’ll find a replica of the Liberty Bell. On the outside, the most noticeable feature is, of course, the patina-green dome. The dome of the Academic Building actually features in one of the most time-honored traditions at Texas A&M. A ceremony is held to pay tribute to a passing current student in which a variation of Taps, called Silver Taps, is played from the dome.

Nevada Supreme Court Building Copper Dome, Las Vegas

View from below copper cupola spire and lady justice statue Nevada Supreme Court in Las Vegas

Prestige Roofing is proud to have built the new copper dome for the Nevada Supreme Court Building in 2016. To add dignity and grandeur to the copper dome atop this important seat of justice for Nevada, the shiny new dome was finished to a protective green patina with a treatment that accelerates the oxidation process that otherwise occurs naturally over time. Prestige is proud to think that Nevadans will be able to enjoy the classic beauty of this dome for many years to come.

Prestige Roofing specializes in quality copper roofing, as well as a range of quality new roof and roof restoration services. Contact us for help with your roofing needs.

 

Prestige Roofing’s work ranges from service and repair work,  re-roofing  and new construction work, commercial and residential work. They have also done work for ultra-custom projects around the Las Vegas Valley.

Desert Homes Glow with the Beauty of Metal Roofing

Front view homes in McDonald Highland Henderson with new copper roofing

McDonald Highland homes in Henderson with elegant metal roofing

With a leisure lifestyle and the natural beauty of the surrounding desert, many Henderson homeowners look to enhance the style and comfort of their home with special features that complement the environment around them. One element that has a big impact on the look of a home is its roof. If you’re planning a custom new or remodeled home, have you considered metal roofing? From classic copper or zinc to elegant modern pre-finished galvanized steel panels, metal roofs are growing in popularity and are well-suited for Southern Nevada homes.

Consider some of the advantages of copper and metal roofing:

Style and Curb Appeal of Metal Roofing

Metal roofs are increasing in appeal and popularity as more people discover the advantages of metal roofing. Some people aren’t sure about metal rooftops because they have an old view of metal roofing, like sheet metal just hammered in place. But metal roofing has come a long way. One of the advantages of metal roofing materials like copper, zinc, steel and aluminum, is that they come in many different varieties and can be molded into beautiful forms and designs. Homeowners can choose among panels, strips, shingles, and other styles. Thanks to a variety of coatings, metal rooftops can be built in a wide variety of colors and can even mimic other types of roofing.

Metal Roofs are Energy Efficient

Metal adds to the energy efficiency of a house, especially in warmer climates like Henderson’s. This is because of the naturally reflective properties of metal: instead of absorbing sunlight as heat, it reflects that sunlight back into the air.  Some installations provide ventilation between the roof panels and the substrate. The result? Your house stays cooler, and you save money on energy bills during the hottest months.  And most metal roofing is recyclable so there’s less that ends up in landfills.

Metal Roofing is Durable and Weather Resistant

Metal rooftops are some of the most durable around. Unlike materials like asphalt, metal handles time and the elements in an elegant manner. Metal rooftops typically last between 40 and 70 years or more, depending on the metal and the style. That’s one of the longest roofing lifespans around, which means less money spent on replacements and repairs. Metal is also one of the most fire resistant roofing materials, making it easy to meet building code requirements and protect your roof from fire. Metal roofing is lightweight which is easy on the house’s frame.  And, because of it’s durability, longevity and beauty, a metal roof adds to the resale value of your home.

Customization and Classic Features

Metal is a great choice for restoring old houses or giving a new rooftop a classic or historic appearance. This is particularly true of copper rooftops: Copper’s famous patina contributes a classic feel. Metal rooftops can be enhanced with beautiful decorative or functional features such as vents, chimney caps, gutters, cupolas, and panels, which add to the unique, custom look of your metal roof.

Some considerations to be aware of if you are considering adding a metal roof to your home:

Cost of Copper Roofing and other Metal Roofs

While copper roofing’s style and durability are of the highest quality, metal roofing is more costly than most other roofing materials. Add in customized design and fixtures, and it’s clear that metal roofing is a true luxury product. But don’t forget, metal roofing is an investment, and the  cost is partially offset over time since metal roofs need little maintenance, last longer than most other roofs, save energy and can add significantly to the value of the home.

Metal Roofs and Weathering

While metal is very resistant to weather conditions as a whole, metal materials are susceptible to oxidation. When it comes to natural materials like aluminum, zinc and copper this actually adds to the beauty of the roof, but steel can rust and degrade. Coatings prevent this from happening by sealing off the metal, but coatings can fade over time and rust problems can sneak in, especially in wetter climates.

In climates with a lot of disparity between temperatures – hot summers and cold winters – metal rooftops will expand and contract through the year, which may cause panels with fixed fasteners to loosen. Quality panels are installed with concealed clips which allow for this expansion and contraction. Simple maintenance is advised to check and tighten up fasteners loosened when metal expands and contracts during extreme temperature changes.

Rainy Days

Heavy rainstorms may be noisy under a metal roof. Some metal roofs tend to magnify the sound of rain since the metal is unable to buffer the impact of raindrops like wood, asphalt and tile do.  Ask your builder about ways to eliminate or reduce rain noise in your metal roof design.

Consider Metal Roofing for your home

Overall, copper and metal roofs are a joy to the homeowners who choose them. Metal roofs are an opportunity to make the home special, to add to the visual impact of the home and its surroundings. If you would like to see more examples of our work with metal roofs in Henderson and Southern Nevada, visit our photo gallery on our website.  If you have any questions on copper and metal roofing, we’d be happy to answer them and help you decide if metal roofing is right for you home.

 

Prestige Roofing’s work ranges from service and repair work,  re-roofing  and new construction work, commercial and residential work. They have also done work for ultra-custom projects around the Las Vegas Valley.