Metal & Copper Roofing Blog

Copper Roof Patina Process

copper shingles, Bay Area CA

This is a shot of our copper diamond shingles just after installation on a home in the San Francisco Bay area. Treatments to keep the copper shiny and new-looking are available, but without them, copper roof systems, like this handsome job in California, develop a distinguished patina that makes each job truly custom. Here's what you need to know about the copper roof patina process.

  • Will it go green? It's remarkably common to hear people ask about copper roof options and whether a patina is inevitable. The answer is yes - eventually. When a new copper roof is first exposed to the elements, it usually has the appearance of a new penny – plus a few hand and foot prints! However, being a natural metal, copper will soon react to its environment and began oxidizing.
  • During the first few months of exposure, a copper roof will begin to darken and develop a dirty grayish-brown tone that it will keep for some time to come. Imagine an old copper penny and you've got an idea of a copper roof developing its protective and distinctive patina.
  • So when does it go green? Copper goes green and turquoise after prolonged exposure to moisture. Without accelerating the process, it can actually take 20 years or more in dry climates for this patina to develop.
  • Can you accelerate the copper roof patina process? Yes. It's popular for people coveting that old copper roof appearance to use artificial aging solutions. These are concoctions of mild acids and other chemicals that dramatically age the copper in a short time – usually a day or two once applied. They can be applied before or after a copper roof is installed, and depending on the skill and experience of the applicator, they can immediately replicate the appearance of a copper roof with decades and decades of exposure. 
Here's an example of a brand new, solid copper diamond shingle roof hand-treated for that distinctive patina prior to installation. MRN owner, Chris Testa, spent several days treating these beautiful diamond shingles to achieve this centuries-old appearance.

copper diamond shingles | Metal Roof Network

Here's the rub -  there’s nothing like the look of a real copper roof, and artificially aging copper roofs is as much art as science. Don't spend a bundle on a copper roof and then hire just anyone to accelerate the copper roof patina process for you!

Interested in copper roofing? We've got solid copper in tiles, shakes and shingles, panels and these beautiful diamond shingles. Feel free to call or fill out our contact form, and we'll be happy to chat about our favorite material!

Topics: copper roofing