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How Long Does a Copper Roof Last? An Informational Guide

how long does a copper roof last

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One reason copper roofs are preferred over other roofing types is their durability. They have been discovered since medieval times, around 8000 BC, indicating how long they have lasted through time. Your copper roofing can last up to sixty years and still have a couple of decades in it, with little or no maintenance.

Time does affect the copper, regardless of its durability. At first, it has its natural copper shine which changes to a bluish-green color due to oxidation. However, there are ways you can keep its original shine. 

In answering the question “how long does a copper roof last?” we’ll discuss what makes these roofs last, the indices for repairs, and when to replace a copper roof. Read on!

When Does a Copper Roof Need Repairs?

how long does a copper roof last

Despite the durability of copper roofing, climate and other factors can cause it to wear out. Here are some scenarios where you may need to repair your copper roof:

Loose nails and cleats

Due to temperature changes, most metals expand and contract, causing the fastening components to loosen. You may need to replace the loose nails and cleats regularly. Also, you can soften the copper using a soldering iron to make it easy to unfasten.

Damage due to abrasion

Copper is soft and, as a result, is prone to abrasion from adverse conditions and the elements, causing degradation. In such cases, you would notice weak areas and blotches on the roof, especially the corners. A professional roof contractor should check and determine whether it requires repairs.

What Makes a Copper Roof Last Longer Than Others?

Here are some benefits of copper roofing over others as one of the longest-lasting roofing materials:

  • Fire resistance
  • It does not breed fungus, moss, and the like
  • Low maintenance
  • Easy to clean and use
  • You can modify it for other purposes
  • Resistant to extreme weather conditions
  • It forms a natural protective covering called patina
  • Does not become brittle in cold weather 

What is Patina?


Oxidation happens when there is exposure to moisture and air. A layer begins to form during oxidation, called patina, which changes color as it thickens. Also, patina forms faster in humid, wet areas compared to dry climates. Patina might appear in patches at first, forming quicker in some areas and much slower in other parts, but over time it will spread evenly.

Does Patina Make Copper Roofing Last Longer?

patina on roof

Patina grows in the form of bluish-green protective layers on the copper metal. Roofs with natural patina tend to have a longer lifespan than ones that get stripped frequently. Patina is one of the natural qualities of copper, which also prevents the material from eroding. This is why your copper roof can last for up to a century.

Most homeowners don’t know this and see patina formation as an eyesore, but regarding how expensive getting a copper roof is, it’s best to enjoy your investment to the fullest and allow it to last long. An alternative is to speed up the green patina process and help it even out to be more visually appealing. 

How to Speed up the Patina process for a Longer-lasting Roof 

You can hasten the patina process using chemicals like ammonium sulfate, copper sulfate, and chloride salt. These compounds are mixed with concentrated ammonia and water. After that, they are applied by spraying or coating the mixture evenly on the copper roof.

Also, you can achieve a less costly and homemade method with table salt, household ammonia, and vinegar. Mix the ingredients to form a paste, wipe it on the roof or spray it evenly on the surface.

How Long Does a Copper Roof Last? – Replacement Indices

Typically, your copper roof is a lifetime material that should ordinarily not need a replacement for many years, especially if you purchased a new one. However, despite its long-lasting nature, there are valid reasons to replace your roof.

Personal Decision

If you want something new or need to overhaul your house, replacing your copper roof is a great idea. The good thing about copper is that you don’t need to discard the entire roof but can modify it to another shape or for various purposes, like the porch, bay windows, gutters, ornamental purposes, and much more.

It Has Lasted a Long Time

New copper roofs can outlast the buyer, but in the case of used roofs that have lasted for up to a century, they would require a replacement. 

Did you buy a used house? Consult your professional roofing contractor to check and let you know the estimated age of the copper roof. If it’s about eighty to a hundred years, you should be looking to change it soon. 

Too Many Repairs

If your roof has undergone many repairs and soldering, you can choose to change all or parts of it. It might not need a complete change, but replacement with new copper metal in the areas where damage keeps recurring. 

How Long Has Copper Roofing Been in Existence?

copper roof

Copper has been a top roofing choice for thousands of years, and a particular era was named after its alloy — the Bronze age. It was used as a waterproof covering and regarded as the first metal used by ancient civilizations.

This metal was formerly called Cyprium and then Cuprium. Historical buildings with copper components still stand strong today, proving their longevity and versatile nature compared to other roof types. Copper is mass-produced today and is still very much in use, including for other purposes aside from roofing.


Copper roofing embodies the quote “quality remembered when the price is forgotten” due to its long-lasting and adaptive nature. It’s resistant to fire, fungus, moss, brittleness from cold climates, and adverse conditions. 

You would not have to worry about spending on frequent replacements once you have made the one-time investment in copper roofs. Hopefully, you now have a better idea when asked the question – How long does a copper roof last?

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