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.

lightning display over roofs of three houses in southwestern united states

How to Prevent Future Roofing Problems Caused by Weather

Brace yourself, El Niño is back. And with it will come some intense, often unpredictable weather. The effects of this recurring weather pattern may be felt throughout Las Vegas in the form of thunderstorms, rain, hail and flooding. Homeowners should take time this fall to prepare their homes for the possible effects of the heavy storms and fierce winds that we’ve seen before, especially in an El Niño winter like the one heading our way this year.

What Exactly is El Niño?

El Niño, along with it’s opposite, La Niña, is a condition that occurs in cycles every few years in the Pacific Ocean.  The two conditions reflect temperature fluctuations between the ocean and the atmosphere near the equator. The result of these oscillations is changed weather patterns all around the world, particularly in the Western United States.

With an El Niño event, the temperature of the ocean surface warms, rising by a few degrees (with La Niña, the surface is cooler than normal). This warming leads to warmer and wetter atmospheric conditions over a large area, and especially along the West Coast.  Since this year is expected to be a heavy El Niño year, California may be hit with many large rainstorms, and Las Vegas, not far away, could certainly see a lot of that same weather. Already Los Angeles has seen flooding and mudslides in October, and Las Vegas has experienced its own NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) flood warnings and has had localized flooding from the same storms. With winter approaching fast, it’s time to make sure your home is ready for whatever weather lies ahead.

Home Inspections You Can Do to Prepare for El Niño Weather

Fall is a great time to prepare your home for winter. A little preventive work will go a long way to saving you from trouble down the road due to water damage. Once storms hit, leaks from weak, clogged or damaged parts of your home or roofing system can be made worse by the forces of driving winds and heavy rain. This can result in costly repairs to you, and even loss of personal property inside the home or loss of use of your home while repairs are made.

Peeling paint on an interior ceiling a result of water damage dripping downSo, when you have a little time on a sunny day this fall, take a quick tour of your home inside and out.

  • Inside, check every room carefully for signs of past water leakage on ceilings and walls. These will usually be round stained areas or streaks along the walls or corners near the ceiling. Even small stains usually means water somehow is leaking either from plumbing (if there are pipes in the vicinity) or coming in through the roof.  If you do find signs of a leak, have that area checked by a professional.
  • Check around all windows and doors for signs of water or air leakage (a lighted match can catch small air currents) – with either situation, rainwater can get in. It’s a great time to add or replace weatherstripping, too, and lower your energy bill.
  • If you have an attic, take a quick look around it as well. If you can see light coming in cracks from outside, your roof may be susceptible to leaking. Look for obvious damage, mold or staining of walls, floors and insulation. Check for loose roofing materials. These are all signs water may be able to get in under the roof during a rainstorm.
  • Outside, check that you have good drainage to direct flood waters away from your home.  Clean out your rain gutters and the yard of debris that can prevent water from flowing away properly and cause it to back up around the foundation. Trim trees away from your home, and particularly around the roof to prevent trees from damaging the home (and the tree) during high wind events. Check your roof, doors, windows and gutters for anything that may be loose and could break off in heavy winds.

Getting Your Roof Ready to Handle El Niño

A close up view of shingles being blown off a roof and other roof damageYour roof is your home’s main defense against the elements.  It protects you and your belongings from summer sun, wind, rain, dust, snow and ice.  With our dry climate, we sometimes forget to think about the possibility of leaks from even minor damage that can happen over time to a roof that we may not even think about for years. But, now that what promises to be a pretty big El Niño winter is on the way, pay special attention and take time to inspect your roof carefully for the following:

    • Clean clogged rain gutters all around your house, as well as the spout where the water exits


    • Check your roof for loose, overlapping, or missing shingles or tiles


    • Check for shingles that are curling or blistering



    • Look under any standing piles of leaves or moss for signs of decay


  • Metal roof flashing around chimneys, vents and gutters should not be bent, rusty or loose

Checking the health of your roof is a bit harder to do on your own since it’s pretty inaccessible and is made up of a number of components and layers most familiar to an experienced roofer. While replacing tiles may look easy, roof repairs can be dangerous and are usually best left to the experts.  If you do find any damage, it’s a good idea to let a roofer take a look and make the repairs for you.

Roof Maintenance to Prevent Damage from Winter Storms

Regular roof maintenance is a good way to make sure your roof is ready for any weather.  A good rule of thumb is to have your roofing contractor do an annual inspection, and fall is a great time to do that so the roof is in its best shape for the winter weather.  Just like a medical checkup, your roofer will be able to spot early signs of wear and tear, or damage from trees or other impact, that, caught early, will be quick and inexpensive to repair. But if a stray loose tile or shingle, or a bent flashing is left to the high winds of an El Niño storm, the damage could be much worse and more expensive to repair. A little preventive maintenance goes a long way toward preserving the value of your home and your peace of mind as we enter the rainy season.

For help preparing your roof for what could be a rough winter ahead, give Prestige Roofing a call today. Our friendly roof maintenance staff can help you make sure your roof is in great shape for the sure-to-be interesting winter weather ahead.

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