Is Copper Flashing Worth the Expense?

Rob Sabo

Soft sheet copper is an extremely durable material for roof and other types of flashing--however, it's also extremely expensive. Copper flashing has gained ground over aluminum and steel flashing for use as roofing flashing because it lasts longer and also adds a custom look to a roofline. It is typically installed in valleys, around dormers, skylights, or chimneys, or in high-drainage areas of the roofline to add extra protection. Copper roofing materials can last upwards of 100 years, says the Center for Resourceful Building Technology.

Function and Characteristics of Copper Flashing

Copper flashing typically is sold in coils ranging in thickness from .001 to .0216 inch. The thinnest material is primarily used for crafting and won't serve as waterproofing material. The thickest copper flashing requires tin snips to cut, and making 90-degree bends with your hands can be difficult. This gauge of copper flashing is used for roofing applications and as deck flashing. Copper flashing is usually used in conjunction with copper roofing materials such as shingles and gutters, but it can be used with other types of roofing materials as well. Over time copper flashing changes color from its bright and shiny new look to a darkened greenish color. This patina gives a roof character.

Installing Copper Flashing

Copper has a long history for use as a roofing material. Most gauges of copper flashing are fairly easy to manipulate by hand, and they outperform other flashing materials over time. Installed properly, the copper flashing on a roof can outlast the majority of roofing materials on the market . However, only a trained professional should install copper flashing due to the extensive problems posed by a poorly flashed roof--this is not a do-it-yourself project. Copper flashing is installed much the same as other metal flashing products and in similar places. Typically, roof flashing must be installed wherever two different surfaces meet, or at penetrations in the roof.

Although copper flashing and copper roofing products can put quite a dent in any home renovation budget, nothing quite matches the finished product. As shiny new copper roofing materials age and take on a duller color, they still exude an originality not found in any other roofing material.

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