Metal & Copper Roofing Blog

A Closer Look at the Drawbacks of Copper Roofing

One of our readers recently offered some potential downsides to copper roofing that they had discovered on the internet. We wrote last week about the pros and cons of copper roofing, but let's take a closer look at the drawbacks of copper roofing.


metal-roof-network-copper-shinglesCopper Roofing is Too Noisy

The first drawback shared from his research was that copper roofs are characterized by unusual noise. I'm assuming this is in relation to the sound of rain falling on a copper roof. While it’s possible to hear the sound of rain on copper roofing, it would be no different than the sound of rain on any other metal roof - and likely less. But more specifically, there are two facts about copper roofing that actually make it quieter.

  • It’s a soft metal that is normally installed on a solid wood deck, meaning that it doesn’t have much a chance to reverberate and make a sound.
  • Because it’s softer than most other metal roofs, it will actually make less noise than a steel or aluminum roof. It’s true that many metal roofs make more noise in rain than roofs like asphalt and concrete, but that’s a little like saying your 1975 Buick has a smoother ride than a new Ferrari - there’s no real point of comparison between the two options.

Copper Roofing has Problems with Expansion and Contraction

The other point that seemed to resonate with researcher of our copper roof problems was related to expansion and contraction: “...copper roofs expand and contract when they heat and cool, and this causes fasteners to come loose and require repairs.” That’s an interesting observation, because I happen to know of a roof on a church where some sections of the roof were removed for maintenance on the fasteners and then re-installed with new screws - after 90 years. The reason? After 90 years, the fasteners were coming loose because some of the wood beneath the still-performing copper had dry-rotted due to moisture from inside the building. 

It’s definitely true that copper expands and contracts more than a lot of other roofing materials, and it’s also true that a very long piece of copper (say, a standing seam roof panel 20 feet or more in length) will definitely create stress on fasteners if it’s not properly configured. However, there are plenty of fastening systems designed to accommodate this phenomenon, because it’s also true of long steel and aluminum standing seam panels. More to the point, this concern is completely eliminated with smaller patterns like our shingles, shake, or diamonds. This is hardly a reason to reject copper as a roofing option.

Copper Roofing is Too Expensive

The last drawback to copper roofing was the fact that it’s expensive. This is indeed true. In fact, it’s probably one of, if not the most expensive roofing option most people could consider. And while a copper roof just isn't for everyone, for those who can afford the material, it will likely last as long - or longer! - than any building on which it’s installed.

Interested in learning more about whether copper roofing is suitable for your job? Contact us today!

Topics: copper roof facts