Copper roofs have a distinctive appearance that is eye-catching and recognizable. Copper does not rust, corrode, or break like other roofing materials, so many buildings constructed around the world in the 1700s and 1800s still have their original copper roofs. This durability, combined with a beautiful appearance, makes copper roofing still viable today. Copper can be installed on new or existing roofs, and the costs in this guide focus on replacing your existing roof with copper.
The national average cost to install a copper roof in a roof replacement is $50,000 to $70,000, with most homeowners spending around $60,000 for 2,000 sq.ft. of flat seam copper panels installed on a gable roof. This project’s low cost is $20,000 for a 1,000 sq.ft. copper shingle gable roof. The high cost is $80,000 for 2,000 sq.ft. of rolled copper roofing installed on a mansard roof.
|Copper Roof Installation Costs|
|National average cost||$60,000|
Copper roofing has a wide cost range depending on your roof type and style. The average copper roof costs between $20 and $40 a sq.ft. installed. Copper pricing is volatile, with material shortages and high demand causing fluctuating costs. The type of copper roof influences the cost per square foot because some types require larger continuous sheets of copper, which have the highest costs. Others can use smaller pieces with lower costs. This leads to wide cost ranges for any roof. Below are the average costs to install a copper roof based on the total size.
|Size||Average Cost (Installed)|
|1,000 sq.ft.||$20,000 - $40,000|
|1,200 sq.ft.||$24,000 - $48,000|
|1,350 sq.ft.||$27,000 - $54,000|
|1,500 sq.ft.||$30,000 - $60,000|
|2,000 sq.ft.||$40,000 - $80,000|
|2,200 sq.ft.||$44,000 - $88,000|
|3,750 sq.ft.||$75,000 - $150,000|
|4,500 sq.ft.||$90,000 - $180,000|
Copper roofing, like most roofing materials, is sold and installed by the square. A square is 100 sq.ft. of roofing material. This means copper roofing costs between $2,000 and $4,000 per square installed. Most contractors work with squares as their basic measurement but may also give you a square foot cost. The number of squares your home needs varies depending on the roof size and complexity. Your home may need from 10 to 35 squares of roofing to complete. Below are the average costs to install a new copper roof based on the number of squares.
|Number of Squares||Average Cost (Installed)|
|10 Squares||$20,000 - $40,000|
|12 Squares||$24,000 - $48,000|
|15 Squares||$30,000 - $60,000|
|18 Squares||$36,000 - $72,000|
|20 Squares||$40,000 - $80,000|
|25 Squares||$50,000 - $100,000|
|30 Squares||$60,000 - $120,000|
|35 Squares||$70,000 - $140,000|
Copper roofs come in many types. These include shingles 1, panels of many styles, and rolled roofing. Copper shingles are the least expensive, while rolled roofing costs the most. Copper shingles are installed like other shingles - nailed to the roof using copper nails. Panels may be installed in various ways depending on the type, with standing seam being the most popular. Rolled roofing has the fewest seams and is the most durable but uses the largest sheets, increasing costs.
|Type||Average Cost per Square Foot (Materials Only)||Average Cost per Square Foot (Installed)|
|Shingles||$13 - $16||$20 - $30|
|Panels||$18 - $21||$25 - $35|
|Rolled||$23 - $26||$30 - $40|
The cost of copper shingles is $13 to $16 a sq.ft. for the material. The cost of these shingles installed averages $20 to $30 a sq.ft. Copper shingles are shakes 2, tiles, or shingles. They can be plain squares or more decorative tiles with scalloped edges. Like other shingles, they install individually. Because copper is so soft, they must be installed carefully with copper nails for the best results.
The cost of copper roof panels is $18 to $21 a sq.ft. for the material. Installed, these panels cost $25 to $35 a sq.ft. There are many copper panels, including flat, standing, and batten seam. Standing seam is the most common but must be installed on straight sections. Flat seam copper roofs can be installed on curved roofs or domes, making them more versatile. Batten seams are uncommon but may be used in roof replacements on historic homes for a specific look.
|Panel Style||Average Costs per Sq.Ft. (Materials Only)||Average Costs per Sq.Ft. (Installed)|
|Flat Seam||$18 - $20||$25 - $34|
|Standing Seam||$18 - $21||$25 - $35|
|Batten Seam||$19 - $21||$26 - $35|
The cost of a flat seam copper roof averages $18 to $20 a sq.ft. for the material. The cost of this roof installed is $25 to $34 a sq.ft. Flat seam copper roofs use panels with an overlapping seam that lays flush between the panels. The panels can be laid in different directions - vertical or horizontal - with different dimensions. This panel can be installed on curved roofs and domes, making it unique. However, it is more prone to leaks than standing seam roofs.
The cost of a standing seam copper roof averages $18 to $21 a sq.ft. for the material. The cost of this roof style installed averages $25 to $35 a sq.ft. Standing seam copper roofs come in several types. In a standing seam roof, the edges of each panel are called legs and stand vertically off the panels. The fasteners 3 are hidden inside the legs, making this roofing durable and weathertight. Copper standing seam panels can be installed horizontally or vertically. They also come in many sizes, including long panels, which are extra long and wide with fewer seams.
The cost of a copper batten roof is $19 to $21 a sq.ft. for the material. The cost of this roof style installed averages $26 to $35 a sq.ft. Batten roofs are uncommon but may still be used in roof replacements on historic buildings. The roof is made of panels, but over each seam is a thin strip of wood called a batten. The batten is covered with a thin layer of copper. This lifts the seam rather than leaving it flat to make the roof more decorative. These panels cannot be used on curved roofs like flat seamed.
The cost of a copper rolled roof is $23 to $26 a sq.ft. for the material. The cost of this roof installed averages $30 to $40 a sq.ft. Rolled roofs are made with long sheets of copper formed to the roof on-site. This is the most costly and labor-intensive method of creating a copper roof. However, this method has the fewest seams and is the most durable. It can also be used on curved roofs and domes because it is made to conform to any roof shape.
Roofs come in many shapes and complexities. Generally, the more complex a roof, the higher the cost to install a roofing material. This is true of copper roofs. Gable, hipped, Dutch, and butterfly roofs are fairly simple to install material on because they are made of straight lines and angles with a moderate pitch. Dormer, A-frame, and mansard roofs are more complex and have higher costs per square foot to install a copper roof. Copper can be molded to a roof, unlike aluminum. Roofs like mansards, which curve, can easily have a copper roof installed, while aluminum does not work. Dormer roofs, which are of varying shapes with windows coming from the roof, are also excellent for copper because you can change the roofing shape with the window shape, enhancing its appearance. The total cost per roof still varies based on the size. Some roofs require more roofing material. For example, hipped and dormer roofs need more material than gable roofs installed on homes of the same size. Below are the average costs per square foot to install copper roofing on roofs of varying shapes.
|Shape||Average Cost per Sq.Ft. (Installed)|
|Gable||$20 - $35|
|Hipped||$20 - $35|
|Dutch||$20 - $35|
|Butterfly||$20 - $35|
|Dormer||$22 - $37|
|A-Frame||$23 - $38|
|Mansard||$25 - $40|
Replacing your existing roof with a copper roof has labor costs of between $7 and $14 a sq.ft. Copper can be difficult and time-consuming to work with, regardless of the style. Shingles are soft and must be nailed individually. Panels can be time-consuming to install, regardless of the type, and rolled copper roof is formed to your roof on-site. This makes copper installation costs generally higher than other metal roofing types.
Some copper roofing types can be installed over an existing roof. This is not true for rolled roofing, flat seam panels, or shingles, but other panels can be put over a shingle roof that is in relatively good condition. This can save $1 to $2 a sq.ft. compared to a tear-off, where the old roofing is completely removed, a new underlayment 4 is put down, and the new roof is installed.
The roofing installation process varies depending on the roof type and style. In a roofing replacement, the old roofing is usually torn off first, and the deck must be inspected before installing the new roof. The deck must be in good condition before installing a new copper roof, so loose fasteners or rotting sections must be addressed. Felt underlayment is generally laid down first, but this can vary depending on the roof. Below is the average cost breakdown for replacing your existing roof with a copper roof.
|Project Area||Average Costs per Square Foot|
|Tear Off||$1 - $2|
|Installation||$6 - $12|
|Materials||$13 - $26|
The average labor costs to install a copper roof on a new home or during new construction is typically $6 to $12 a sq.ft. for a total cost range of $19 to $38 a sq.ft., depending on the type and roof complexity. Copper roofs are incredibly durable, lasting hundreds of years when installed properly. This makes them good for new homes because they have lasting value. The installation process is the same for new construction as a replacement, without removing the old roofing material first. This makes the total cost of installation slightly less than for a replacement. Otherwise, the materials and methods are the same.
Copper roofing is one of the most expensive materials for your home. It is also beautiful with a distinctive appearance. Many people add copper accents to their roofs and homes while using a less expensive material for most of the roof. This lets you get some of the beauty of the copper while saving the difference.
You can add a copper accent to your home in many ways. These include copper flashing 5, gutters, chimney caps, cupola roofs, bay window 6 roofs, finials 7, awnings, dormer roofs, weathervanes, and other small areas. Each accent has different costs, depending on the size, style, and location. Many accents can be installed together to add several areas of copper color and interest, or you can choose just one or two. For example, if you have a bay window, you may want to roof it in copper and complement it with copper gutters. Or, if you have a cupula, you may want to roof it in copper to make it stand out and become the focal point. Finials, weathervanes, and other decorative accents are also ideal for copper because it calls additional attention, letting them stand out from the home. It also makes sense to use copper for vents and valleys because copper is long-lasting and does not wear like other materials. Below is the average cost of some of the most common copper roof accents.
|Accent||Average Cost (Installed)|
|Finials||$80 - $1,500|
|Weathervane||$150 - $1,300|
|Open Valley||$250 - $900|
|Dormer Roof||$250 - $1,200|
|Vent||$600 - $1,700|
|Cupola||$700 - $5,500|
|Chimney Caps||$1,500 - $2,000|
|Awnings||$1,500 - $7,500|
|Bay Window Roof||$1,500 - $7,500|
|Gutters||$3,750 - $6,000|
True copper develops a patina 8, going from the color of a new penny to a dull blue-green. For those who like the initial color and do not want the added expense of a true copper roof, you can purchase aluminum roofing with the color of copper. Aluminum roofs are frequently finished in a wide range of colors, including copper colors and tones. Aluminum is less expensive than copper and changes color. It does not last as long as copper, with an average lifespan of 50 years. The average cost of a copper-colored aluminum roof is $6.50 to $21 a sq.ft. installed, depending on your roofing.
If you like the look of a copper roof but not the expense or patina, you can get a copper penny metal roof. Copper penny is a specific copper color applied to painted metal roofs like aluminum and some types of steel to look like a copper-colored roof. This color must be applied to the metal roof before installation, meaning you need to indicate that you want your metal roof to have the copper penny color when ordering it. This material costs between $4 and $21 a sq.ft. installed, depending on the metal and roof style. While this finish gives your home the look of copper, the finish is duller than real copper. Aluminum and steel roofs do not last as long as copper roofs, and steel roofs should not be installed in coastal areas to prevent corrosion.
When properly installed, a copper roof can last hundreds of years, virtually maintenance-free. For reference, shingle roofs have a lifespan of about 20 years. Copper is so long-lasting because of the patina it develops. While a new copper roof starts out a bright copper color, it gradually turns brown and finally begins to verdigris or turn green. This process produces a natural patina that protects the roof from corrosion. Because this patina is the best defense the roof has, it is recommended to not clean the roof. Copper naturally repels things like algae and moss, so your roof is likely to stay in better condition than some other roofs.
Copper has many positive attributes that make it an ideal roofing material. It is lightweight, so it does not require much reinforcement to your roof deck. It is also long-lasting because it does not degrade or corrode, so it can last hundreds of years with little to no maintenance. A copper roof may be the last roof your home needs.
Copper can be recycled, and many copper roofs can be made of high recycled material content, making this an environmentally friendly roofing choice.
Like all roofing materials, copper has drawbacks. It is one of the most expensive roofing materials available, costing far more than other metal and asphalt roofs. Copper tiles, which are among the least expensive, are often soft and easily bent or dented during installation or a hail storm. While this does not impact the durability, it can take away from its appearance.
Copper roofs naturally form a patina when exposed to heat, humidity, and air. This is not damaging to the materials, protects the roof from corrosion, and adds charm. This patina is why a copper roof lasts so long Removing the patina could damage the roof, so leave it alone whenever possible. Ideally, you want your copper roof to patina.
However, if you truly want a copper roof, not copper-colored aluminum, and want it to remain in its original state, you can take steps to preserve the color. This includes coating it in materials that help stop the patina process by sealing the copper from the air. This should be done as soon as possible after installation to prevent oxidation. These steps increase the roof’s maintenance and do not guarantee against the roof aging or corroding. The roof must be coated in a corrosion inhibitor and a clear UV-protectant top coat. Very few of these products are available and must be reapplied every 2 to 3 years. This has a cost of $2 to $4 a sq.ft.
To properly maintain your roof, rinse it with clean water, especially when the rain does not remove dust, grime, or bird droppings. Do not clean the roof with anything caustic or use pressure because this can remove the patina and damage the roof. Fasteners may loosen, so it is a good idea to check them regularly with periodic roof inspections. If a hailstorm or other harsh weather occurs, have the roof inspected by a professional to ensure no serious damage was done. Copper is soft and may dent if enough force is applied. Dents can often be repaired if needed.
Copper roofs are a subtype of metal roofs. Several materials can create a metal roof. Aluminum is the most common because it is lightweight and easy to work with while resisting corrosion. Aluminum is also much less expensive than copper or zinc but costs more than steel.
Copper and zinc are the longest-lasting. Both develop a patina and are virtually maintenance-free. Aluminum is usually factory coated or painted, while steel may be galvanized or painted, depending on the type. Tin is rarely used and has fewer options than the other types. Of the various types, copper is versatile because it comes in tiles, panels, and rolled roofing. Zinc is available in many of the same types but is less common than copper. Zinc, copper, and steel have variable costs, making them hard to compare in the long term. Below are the average costs of a copper roof compared to the cost of an average metal roof.
|Roof||Average Costs per Sq.Ft. (Installed)|
|Metal||$6.50 - $21|
|Copper||$25 - $35|
While painting a copper roof is unnecessary, some homeowners choose to change its color. Painting a copper roof is possible but increases the roof’s maintenance. Painting copper is difficult and determined by your roof type. Expect costs of between $4 and $6 a sq.ft., including material and labor. Painting the roof does not help preserve it like the natural patina.
When installed inside, copper ceilings can add a beautiful accent. Available in various sizes and patterns, they are nailed to furring strips on the ceiling. Some copper ceiling tiles have a thin layer of copper over another material, while others are made of copper. The more copper in the tile, the higher the costs. Expect costs to start at $5 to $20 a sq.ft. for the material. Installation costs an additional $5 to $10 a sq.ft.
Whether you have a copper roof or not, you can install copper flashing on your home. Copper flashing can inhibit algae growth while adding copper color and style. The flashing can be used anywhere normal, including around skylights and chimneys. The flashing patinas like a copper roof, eventually developing a verdigris finish. The cost of copper flashing is around $80 to $100 per roll.
Another way to get the color and beauty of copper for your home is to install copper gutters and downspouts. Copper gutters can be used with any roofing, including a copper roof. Copper gutters and roofing can give your home a cohesive appearance. Like copper roofing, the gutters and downspouts eventually patina. The average cost of installing copper gutters and downspouts is $3,750 to $6,000.
This depends on your goals. Copper roofs are expensive but also long-lasting. A copper roof may be the last roof a home needs, so you save long-term.
Copper roofs are metal roofs. They are more expensive than many other metals, including aluminum, steel, and tin. They may have similar costs to zinc.
It takes moisture to oxidize a roof. The more moisture in the air, the faster the copper changes colors. It can take 10 to 20 years to fully oxidize, depending on the climate, but you can use chemicals to achieve the look faster.
Copper roofs are extremely durable, long-lasting, and beautiful. When well-maintained, they can last over 100 years. They are also lightweight and low-maintenance.
Many architects use copper roofs for their beauty and how they enhance the structure visually and monetarily.
Yes, copper is one of the most expensive roofing types. A 1,500 sq.ft. copper roof costs $30,000 to $60,000.