Copper Roof Cost and Pros & Cons

Copper is the gold of metal roofing. No literally, it is. It’s priced like gold, it’s valued like gold, and its color is gold. Well until it changes. Then it just becomes a thing of beauty for hundreds of years.

Pricing Details

Perhaps the only disadvantage of a copper roof is the exuberantly high initial cost up front. It is, by far, the most expensive metal roofing option on the market, bar none.

Yet, when you take into consideration the benefits and value of copper, the cost factor be put into proper perspective.

For residential copper roofing and cladding projects, you can expect to pay in the range of $15 to $25 per sq. ft. installed.

Regardless of the shape of the copper pieces, the slope or complexity of your roof, and even your location, that range is what you ought to expect to pay.

Even on the low end, that is substantially more expensive than steel and aluminum ($8 to $12 per sq. ft. installed), though that depends on the roof style and quality of the finished metal.

The higher end of the copper roof cost depends on your location and your roof’s overall complexity and size. — Plan on paying more per sq. ft. when covering a smaller roof, such as a porch or bay window with significantly smaller square footage.

Key Considerations and Points to Keep in Mind: You don’t have to cover your entire home with Copper roofing.

For example, many people will accent their homes by using copper on a prominently-situated bay window or a small roof that covers the main entry way.

For the average sized American home, you can expect to pay $30,000 to $45,000 for a full copper roof. The true average is closer to $30,000, but even that is around four times the cost of an asphalt shingle roof.

In terms of ROI, metal roofing generally returns a value of 86% of the cost upon selling of the home. And almost all metal roofing systems will last at least 50 years. Yet, steel and aluminum may require some sort of maintenance after 30 years, or no longer than 50 years.

Copper, along with Zinc, are essentially maintenance free, and both can go for a very long time before maintenance is necessary.

Therefore, the 86% ROI is perhaps the lowest figure you can plan on given the length of time it will last.

At RoofingCalc.com, they estimate an average copper roof at $36,000 on the low end to $51,000 on the high end. plus. That’s about average for a typical single story house with a roof measuring about 1,600 sq. ft. — This price also includes permitting, tear off and disposal charges.

The Value and Options

via Levine & Company

Other than flat roofs, there’s really not a style of a roof that Copper can’t be applied to.

With commercial installations, you’ll see Copper applied to domes or on mansard roofs, given its longevity and durability.

For residential installations, whether it be Metal Shingles (or tiles), Standing Seam, horizontal seam, or accentuating a smaller roof area, Copper roofing will work just as well.

Did You Know? Copper, unlike steel and aluminum will never corrode or rust. And thanks to its natural patination process, it never needs painting or re-coating.

So, copper starts off gold. Beautiful and grand. Yet, like all things, the beauty is in the eye of the beholder. For the patina process, not only provides a ongoing layer of protection, but turns the metal into a green, natural covering.

Patination can help copper last up to a thousand years. Well, in theory. It may need some repair during that time span, but the good thing is copper is easy to repair. An expert installer will solder copper to cover small patches or replace larger pieces, via soldering, as needed.

Also Copper, like other metals is recyclable. So much so, that it is quite likely several existing copper roofs are made of up to 75% recycled Copper. For additional benefits, see the Advantages below.

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Metal Shingle Roofing Costs and Value

Installing a metal shingle roof on a residential home will cost, on average, between $8.00 and $10.00 per sq. ft. There are a number of factors that determine that cost, and we’ll explore them in this guide.

It’s perhaps most important to realize that of the three primary options for metal roofing (the others being Standing Seam at the high-end, and Corrugated and Ribbed Metal Panels at the low-end), Metal Shingle is in the middle of pack in terms of costs.

Understanding Your Options

At first mention, metal shingles sound bland, or perhaps too risky of an option in an area where they would clearly be outside the norm (i.e. all your neighbors have asphalt shingle roofs).

Yet, when researching metal shingles styles and options for residential homes, you might be surprised to pull up some images that look a lot like asphalt shingles. 😉

Why would that be? Because the reality of metal shingles today, is that these are really metal tiles that are intended to mimic just about all other possible roofing styles designed for sloped roofs.

Slate tiles, ceramic tiles, asphalt shingles, cedar shakes and say redwood shingle are all materials that metal shingles can mimic.

From the curbside view, it would be hard to tell the difference between the metal material and its usual counterparts. That’s how diverse the metal roofing industry has gotten.

Add to this the idea that metal itself can have a pleasing appearance, as is the case with copper, zinc and painted aluminum and steel tiles. Gone are the days when metal shingles only have a silver/gray, metallic appearance.

Key Fact: There are really two basic types of metal shingles, or tiles: metal coated with metallic finish, often second coated with factory finished paint, and the second type which is often referred to as stone-coated metal tiles.

It’s the stone-coated variation that opens the door to having metal shingles that look nearly identical to asphalt shingles, because like asphalt shingles, they are coated with granules.

So, it’s not just color, but texture that allows metal shingles to obtain a great diversity in product options.

With texture as an additional option, slate, wood and ceramic are all possible appearances for metal roofing.

Then there is shape, which varies a bit by manufacturer, but for the most part are rectangular, or diamond shaped.

How it’s installed: Metal shingle installation relies on an interlocking system that makes for quicker installation and ability to hide fasteners.

Some manufacturers still go the route of having panels of say 4 tiles (per panel) that are adhered to the roof deck.

Panels are usually 4 feet long and are often installed over existing roofing (i.e. metal shingles can be installed on top of asphalt shingles).

Did you know? Interlocking tiles are now the 2nd most popular type of metal roofing for residential homes after standing seam.

The other consideration for shingle options is the material, or type of metal itself, but we’ll cover that in the next section.

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Corrugated & Ribbed Metal Roofing Cost, Pros & Cons

Corrugated metal roofing offers the original style of corrugated (iron) steel roofs. At an average cost of $4.00 to $5.00 per square foot installed, corrugated metal is priced similarly to asphalt, and yet it’s far more durable, energy efficient, and with proper maintenance can last far longer than asphalt shingles.

What Exactly Is Corrugated Metal Paneling?

via Alternative Building Blog

Sheet metal coil, typically galvanized steel or aluminum, gets fed into a roll-forming machine that shapes the metal sheet into the curvy U-shaped, wavy pattern — the primary variation for corrugated metal roof and wall panels.

Metal Corrugation Roll Forming. Source: Corrugated-Metals.com

Corrugation gives metal panels considerable structural strength, which makes it possible to use these otherwise thin sheet metal panels for building envelope applications, such as roofing and cladding. Check out the video below to see how it’s made:

Old School Corrugated Steel Panels

During the height of the Industrial Age, steel became relatively cheap and abundant. Metal was viewed as the kind of material that offers an economically-viable way to cover large agricultural and industrial buildings. Back then, the corrugated steel panels were often non-coated, but that was not a problem, since there were plenty of spare steel roof and wall panels to replace any corroded ones.

As steel corrodes, it develops visible rust. When the old steel panels would get too unsightly, or worse develop holes resulting leaks, they would get replaced with the shiny new pieces.

Today, corrugated metal panels are often chosen because of their old school appearance and relatively low cost.

Most modern corrugated steel panels are normally coated with a metallic (zinc) finish to prevent oxidation and corrosion, and thus made to last for decades.

G-60 vs. G-90 Galvanized Steel Panels and their Paint Finishes

Steel panel coating process is referred to as galvanizing. There are two types of galvanized steel panels; G-60 and G-90 steel panels. G-60 refers to low-end, lower quality, and low cost galvanized steel, while G-90 is a higher-end, longer lasting grade of galvanized steel.

G-90 steel panels are also normally finished with a higher-end paint finish such as Kynar 500 as opposed to the cheaper acrylic paints normally used for the low-end G-60 steel panels.

Note: G-90 steel panels finished with Kynar 500 paint can be used in residential applications, while G-60 panels should only be used for sheds, garages, and low-end agricultural or industrial applications.

Corrugated Metal Panels vs. Crimped or Ribbed Metal Roofs

Corrugated metal panels are not the same as crimped or ribbed metal panel. Corrugated metal refers strictly to the U-shaped, or sometimes V-shaped panel sheets.

The rustic appearance of corrugated metal panels hearkens to the simpler time, or way of life. But, the main benefits of corrugate metal panels are their cost effectiveness, durability, and a wide range of available colors and paint finishes.

Installation and Options

Corrugated panels tend to be 2 or 3 feet wide and come in varying lengths. When covering a roof, panels overlap along their curved line. They are then fastened together with metal screws that penetrate not just the two panels, but into the roofing deck.

Obviously, the metal panels themselves will shed water given the slope of the roof and the fact that metal is not a porous material. Yet, with the overlap, a seam is formed and to prevent linking in that tiny gap, caulk is used.

Covering the entire roof with corrugated metal panels can go rather quickly, once the installer has the necessary experience and help from others.

Thus, corrugated metal roofing can be a fairly simple DIY project when covering a small shed or garage, as explained in this guide from DoItYourself.com.

However, the process can be a bit grueling for the less experienced and would benefit from professional installation, like all roofing projects. And since the cost is not too high, it would be best to go with the insured and certified professionals, providing warranties on their products and workmanship.

When it comes to options, it’s really about the actual material, the thickness and the color options. Steel is still the primary material option.

In today’s world it is routinely coated or labeled as galvanized steel. Sometimes, you’ll see it as Galvalume steel (zinc and aluminum metallic finish). — Both of these coating option offer a layer of protection that will take a decade or two to sacrifice themselves before the steel is exposed. Thus, rusting is no longer a problem for at least 20 years from the time the roof is installed.

Aluminum is another metal option for corrugated panels. The costs are virtually the same as (coated) steel. Stainless steel (which is an alloy of steel and chromium) is also an option, but stainless steel is more expensive.

Stainless steel corrugated panels are highly corrosive resistant and will provide a more shiny appearance than normal steel products.

Typically, the products are sold in a 26 or 29 gauge. The smaller the gauge number, the thicker the material. And the thicker the material, the more durable it is. Though thickness does add a little more to the labor intensity, and hence cost.

Note: You should aim for a minimum of 26 gauge steel when evaluating residential steel roofing options.

Color options are virtually unlimited. This references the painted finish. The DIY approach to painting such panels is there, but is likely way more expensive than a factory finish.

The factory process feeds metal panels through the metal mill and coats it evenly in short order. Using superior paint pigments, it also shields the product with yet another layer of supreme protection.

If going with a professional contractor, they’ll probably have brochures of color lines that they carry (usually 10 to 40 options). Customized color options are available, but usually at a premium cost, as they aren’t massively produced.

Your local home improvement store, like Lowe’s, probably carries such panels. These will be inexpensive, though size and for sure color options will be limited.

Keep In Mind that corrugated metal panels aren’t just for roofs. Chances are good that your roofer will have left over some material (unless otherwise noted in the contract or specifically discussed) that you might find use for as siding in an exterior shed, or even in interior projects. Take a gander at the picture below for some ideas on how the panels can be used indoors.

via Bridger Steel

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