Metal & Copper Roofing Blog

Metal Roofs that Look like Copper Roofs (But Aren't!)

We promised a blog post about metal roofs that look like copper roofs, so let's begin. A metal roof that looks like copper isn't an unusual request, one that's usually prompted by keeping costs down. Fortunately, there are a number of options available for those seeking copper roofs on a budget.

The turret in the photo below is an aluminum tile profile finished with an "Aged Copper" color.

Aluminum tile roofing | Metal Roof Network

  • Finished steels and aluminum are both available in a variety of colors intended to mimic the look of copper. Some look like new, shiny copper, some like copper a few months old, some like copper a few years old, and some like copper that is old and turned green. Most are a solid, painted color, and some are a two-tone paint finish with a mottled, patterned look similar to the unevenness displayed by relatively new copper that is starting to patina after exposure to the elements.
  • The finish manufacturers have become very proficient at producing finishes for metal that is long-lasting, color-fast and consistent. In fact, the best of the newest generation of paint finishes is better than ever. They are able to copy colors that are exact replicas of copper in its various stages of aging.

copper roof tiles | Metal Roof Network

Real copper (like the close-up of the copper mansard above, solid copper showing advanced - and irregular - patina) stays shiny only a short time before darkening to the brown and gray tones and ultimately becoming a green or blue/green color (depending on its environment). There is definitely a market for clients that want the look of new, shiny copper without the inevitable darkening of exposed, solid copper. This is possible with real, solid copper only if the metal is sealed with a clear coating. Such a process makes a copper roof even more expensive, so choosing a finished steel or aluminum with a metallic copper finish will give this appearance at a fraction of the price - and it will look new and shiny for decades.

Copper is famous for its life-span because it's naturally corrosion resistant. Copper roofs installed in the 18th century are still functioning today in the USA. Even as good as the moderns steels and aluminum metals are at resisting corrosion, they remain inferior to solid copper in most applications. However, they'll still last for decades in most locales in North America. Aesthetically, it's not difficult to distinguish real, solid copper from a painted metal because real copper reacts with its environment - and the painted metals stay remarkably consistent. That is easily the biggest difference between the two - evenness.

To summarize:

  • Real copper is a premium material that will react with its environment for decades, constantly changing colors as it ages.
  • Both real copper and the finished steel and aluminum roofs colored to resemble copper will last for decades, but copper generally lasts much longer.
  • The finishes on finished metals that are intended to emulated copper will stay even and consistent for many years, while real copper will not.
  • Both materials are available in a variety of profiles including panels, shingles, and tiles.

Want to know more about metal roofs that look like copper, but aren't? Call or contact us today!

Topics: copper roofing, copper roofs, aluminum roofing