The metal copper has been used as a roofing material for millennium, and with good reason. As a roofing material, it is legendary for its beauty and longevity. There are copper roofs that have been know to last for more than 1,000 years, and the oldest known copper roof in the United States was originally installed in the first half of the 18th century. If you can afford it, there are few peers to copper as a roofing material. Lightweight, beautiful, fire-proof, wind resistant, available in many shapes and styles, virtually permanent - what's not to love?
I'm sure that if it were less expensive, it would be seen almost everywhere as a roof material. But it is in fact one of the more expensive roofing options you may choose. When budgeting for a copper roof, the gauge and profile (shape) of the copper have a significant effect on the price, as do the configuration and complexity of the roofing application (which is true of very other roofing option as well).
To answer the questioned posed in the title of this post (and we're speaking generally here, as copper prices fluctuate regularly), the least expensive copper roof material options start at about $8 a square foot and rise to over $15. Accessories for copper usually add another 20-25% to that price, plus the cost for installation. While the number of variables among roof installations is too large to summarize, it's not unusual for a full-service roofing contractor to charge $5-$10 a square foot for the installation of a copper roof system, with the price going up and down from there for very simple or complex roofs with difficult access.
If you budget $20-$25 a square foot for a quality copper roof installation, you'll be in the ball-park for many roofing applications, and the resulting job will last for generations. In that context, it may be the best value in all of roofing.
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