Metal & Copper Roofing Blog

Making a new copper roof look old

We are regularly asked if we can provide our copper roof profiles in a “pre-aged” finish. Certainly we can, and do, but there are a lot of details - too many to list here - that always arise whenever a client pursues that avenue. It’s worth discussing in advance for those of you who may be considering a similar project that involves making a new copper roof look old.

metal-roof-network-pre-patinated-copper-roofingColor Consistency

Color consistency is an important question. Do you imagine your copper roof to be an even distribution of a single color of old copper, or a random mix of the colors that you imagine an old copper roof should resemble?
Generally speaking, the random look (most commonly seen in the photos here on our our website) is achieved by treating each individual roof tile before it’s installed (like the photos here). This can give you the “reclaimed copper” roof appearance that so many client want.
metal-roof-network-copper-shingles-pre-treatedTo achieve a more regular appearance, treating the roof after it’s installed, which is more difficult, is the best way to achieve this appearance. Spraying the roof after it’s installed means the individual pieces are not highlighted in the same way, and the overall color of the roof can be more even. But it’s not easy to apply a solution evenly to an entire roof area and the most commonly used solutions react very quickly, so any imperfections in the application technique can result in obvious “spray lines.” Planning and execution is very important when spraying a completely installed roof, so it’s not a project for the inexperienced.

The Copper Color

Once clients decide between random or regular appearance, they have to choose between the gray/green version or the green/glue appearance. It’s not like picking paint and there are no two projects that come out exactly the same. There are many, many regional differences that will not only effect the outcome of the first application of the patina, but also how it ages and blends over time.  
Some clients want the result of the patina application to remain the same over time, and while this is theoretically possible, it’s a big extra step. In order to accomplish such a result, the pre-aged copper would need to be sealed with a clear, hard coating in order to prevent moisture and air from effecting the surface. This “clear coat” will itself affect the appearance of the newly-aged copper, and it needs to be re-applied every few years as it will degrade over time.
My usual advice for clients it to accept the fact that copper is a reactive metal and that even pre-aged copper will continue to change over the years - and this is precisely how anyone would know it’s actual copper instead of some faux version.
For more information about copper roofing - our speciality - we invite you to contact us today.

Topics: copper diamond shingles