What are Copper Roofing Shingles?

Published: Oct. 26, 2018

Copper shingles often have some recycled copper in them. The copper is melted and then shaped into slabs or tiles of different sizes. These slabs are then sent to a rolling mill where they are turned into copper coils. These copper coils usually weigh anywhere from twelve to sixteen ounces. Copper roofing shingles can be cut individually to form an interlocking copper shingle roof system or into long copper sheets.

Copper Roofing's Long History

Copper has been around for thousands of years and has played a significant role in the design of different types of structures. Copper roof shingles date back to the third century B.C in Sri Lanka where they adorned the nine-story Loha Maha Paya temple. Copper has also been an integral material of European medieval architecture. Flat copper sheeting was used mainly in European churches by the 1400s. Copper was also used on a lot of American roofs and historical buildings, it was mainly imported from Europe at the time. In the 18th century, America started producing roofing facilities for rolling copper metal sheets. In 1801, American metallurgist Paul Revere established the first copper mill. Revere Copper, still supplies quality copper roofing products and is one of the finest manufacturers in the world.

Advantages of Copper Shingles

  • Durability and Longevity:

Copper shingles have been around for a very long time due to their durability. Manufacturers claim that copper shingles can last for hundreds of years.

  • Ideal for Residential Homes:

Copper shingles are ideal for use on residential roofs, provided the copper roof has been installed properly. The copper roof will be permanent and will remain intact even if other parts of the house require replacing.

  • Unique Appearance:

Copper roofs give residential buildings character since the copper takes on new hues of color as it ages. The initial color of a copper roof is usually a bright orange-brown that transforms into various shades of brown, gray, blue and green.

  • Safety:

In regards to safety, copper shingles perform very well. Copper roofs can easily withstand extreme temperatures and protect the roof from damage. Copper roofs are also non-combustible.

  • Relatively Lightweight:

Copper shingles are lightweight which means that a home requires less structural support. This in turn also lowers installation and labor costs.

  • Low Maintenance:

Copper roofs do not rust or corrode and hence do not need to be coated or re-painted. This results in significant long-term savings since there will be no repair and maintenance costs to stress about.

  • Energy-Efficient:

Copper is one of the most environment-friendly roofing material available. On average, copper roofs have 75% of recycled content allowing homeowners to contribute to an energy-efficient environment.


  • Affordability:

A metal copper roof is relatively expensive to install but works out to be virtually maintenance-free in the long run.

  • Thermal Expansion and Contraction:

Copper has the tendency to expand and contract in fluctuating temperatures. Therefore, it is very important that a copper shingle roof has been installed by an experienced contractor that is aware of the best copper roofing shingles that are suitable for the roof under consideration.

  • Not Suitable for Flat Roofs:

Copper shingles are not a practical option for flat roofing applications. Standing-seam and screw-down copper panels are better suited for flat roofs.

Alternatives to Copper Shingles

Liquid Polymer Copper Roof:

A liquid polymer copper roof is a great alternative to using copper shingles. The cost varies according to the size of the roof but works out to be significantly less than that of a copper shingle roof. Reinstatement is a simple process. The roof needs to be pressure washed clean and then recoated. It can then be rendered waterproof and fireproof for a good 20 to 25 years.

Copper Paint:

Ideal for those that prefer the look of a copper roof but do not wish to invest in copper roofing, copper paint proves to be a simple alternative and contains real copper flakes. All that is required is to wipe and clean the area with a cloth and follow with a coat of copper paint. Copper paint provides an attractive copper appeal that can be applied over various surfaces.

Replica Copper Roofing Cladding Systems:

Replica copper cladding systems are also available as an alternative to copper roofing. There are different roofing products available for different roofs. These roofing systems generally come with a guarantee of around 20 years and provide the same look and finishing of a copper roof.

Fire, Rain and Wind

Copper shingles can easily withstand rain and wind speeds of 110 mph. Copper shingles are non-combustible and have passed tests for fire ratings A, B and C. Copper roofs are lightweight and perform well in the event of heavy snowfall. Properly installed copper roofs also protect against flooding due to a protective layer for waterproofing and protection against leaks.

Solar Reflectance

Metals reflect solar heat and therefore a copper shingle roof proves to be an energy-efficient investment. Generally, copper has a high SRI (Solar Reflective Index) when it is newly installed but starts to gradually lose its reflectivity as it patinas over time. Uniquely, as the copper roof starts to age, the SRI value starts to climb up again.


One can expect to pay anywhere from $15 to $25 per sq.ft for residential copper roofing and cladding projects. For an average sized home in America, expect to pay from around $30,000 to $45,000 for a copper roof.