All about copper roofing

We have a special relationship with copper. The metal, although not precious, is still noble. A copper samovar, copper money … Pushkin’s “Bronze Horseman”, finally (by the way, the statue is actually bronze). Even such a profession was in pre-revolutionary Russia – a coppersmith. It was copper in Russia from time immemorial – and for centuries! – the wings of the domes of Orthodox churches. Under the noble patina of a copper roof stood (and in some places still stand) the old estates of the Russian nobility, having survived more than one generation of their masters … In the days of the “economical economy”, the “copper age” in domestic construction was replaced by the “iron age”: copper went exclusively to the needs of the “defense industry”, and typical high-rise buildings and factory hangars in cities and towns of our country were covered with unpretentious galvanizing. And now the amazing qualities of the copper roof are again “declassified” and available to a private developer.

CHEAP EXPENSIVE COPPER

Seriously about copper as a unique roofing material, and not an elite one, but quite affordable for an ordinary homeowner, we started talking about seven or eight years ago. Of course, copper roofing, like any high-quality material, is not cheap (about $ 25 per square meter), but, firstly, its cost is quite comparable to the cost of prestigious ceramic tiles. Secondly, if the one-time costs of installing a copper roof are divided by its service life (which is exactly one hundred to one hundred and fifty years), keeping in mind the complete absence of costs for routine maintenance: no need to paint, no need to refurbish, it will be cheaper the most affordable galvanized iron, whose maximum lifespan is ten years. And then – subject to mandatory painting and repair of holes in the spring.

Often, having estimated the cost of a copper roof, the customer asks the question: why do I need a roof for one and a half hundred years, after all, they don’t live so much! Right. What about children and grandchildren? They will receive a wonderful gift from you – a reliable roof that will not have to be taken care of all the time while the house is standing. And besides: according to statistics, the average age of a developer is 40-50 years. So, after 15-20 years (the average service life of inexpensive roofing materials), you will already be just right to sit in your house by the fireplace, playing with your grandchildren. And for sure, repairing a leaky roof is unlikely to be a pleasant experience in old age. Convinced? By the way, a zealous homeowner does not consider a copper roof an unjustifiably expensive pleasure: in recent years, the VMS company has provided 300 thousand square meters of roofing with copper tape.

WHAT COLOR PRESTIGE?

In fact, roofing copper is unmatched, it is good both as a shield against “acid” rains, and as an absolutely environmentally friendly material. And it plays on the prestige of the owners: a copper “headdress” will adequately decorate any, even the most fashionable palace, and even an ordinary cottage will turn into a local landmark. And this is for centuries! Copper will only get stronger over time – like Siberian larch in water. That is why Venice stands on wooden piles, and Western Europe, spoiled by innovations, is under sheet roofing copper. This is because, thanks to the patina film formed by oxidation in air, copper becomes extremely wear-resistant..

In addition, copper is thermally conductive, which means that winter heating of the roof is possible, preventing the formation of icicles and ice. It is no secret that a stray icicle can injure (or, in any case, seriously scare) a gaping passer-by, and cleaning the roofs of snow and ice with a shovel and crowbar will inevitably “injure” the roof itself.

“Fresh” copper sparkles attractively in the sun, blinds the eyes. After some time, the roof acquires a characteristic bronze color, and after another 10-15 years it becomes covered with a noble patina, “green malachite”, as it is romantically called in the West. However, if desired, the process of natural aging can be accelerated by resorting to artificial patination technology. In Moscow, for example, you can hardly distinguish a historical roof from a modern copper roof, if it has already been skillfully “aged” with a patina. And the track record of the “copper roof” is impressive: Gostiny Dvor and the Hermitage Theater, the Novodevichy Convent and the School of International Business, the Novaya Opera municipal center and the Losev house-museum on the Old Arbat, the Nautilus shopping center and the Donstroy elite houses…

ORDER – LIKE A BANK. RUN – LIKE A TAZ

Roofing work begins with the device of the rafter. If the house has an attic, a standard insulation “cake” is made. It consists of the actual insulation (not less than 200 mm thick), a vapor membrane that allows steam to pass through but retains water, an air gap that provides the necessary ventilation. Well, the last “layer” is the crate. Such a complex design, including a ventilation system, provides a favorable microclimate in the house; the roof does not leak, does not sweat and does not rot during the entire service life.

The next step is styling. Installation of a copper roof can be carried out in the same way as previously worked with galvanized sheet metal: a single fold and a short sheet. However, most of the major construction companies use modern paving technology. Copper is rolled out with a long sheet along the entire length of the slope and “sewn” with a double fold. The result is a solid roof without a single hole that will last as long as the copper itself. Seaming machines ensure the tightness of the can on the roof!

Copper is a very flexible, ductile material; almost any form of roof is available to it. In addition, the roof immediately “overgrows” on the spot and everything that accompanies it: plums, gutters, ridge, gutters … more expensive than advertised). With copper it is easier: any remnants of the tape, all scraps and scraps are used. No “production waste”!

Everything happens in life. And hurricane storms do not pass neither capitals nor villages. Trees fall and heavy objects, torn from the places of promise, fly in a whirlwind. And if the roof at the time of rampant elements is not <went>, but got off with light (or not so) mechanical damage, then from all points of view it is again incomparably more convenient to patch up a copper roof. An ugly slate, for example, or a pretentious tiled one would have to be completely repaired (or, in any case, a very significant part of it), and the copper one is repaired locally: he tinned the hole (like a copper basin), artificially “aged” the patch so that it does not differ in color – and order! And you won’t find a trace!

Copper will withstand not only any bad weather, but also any whim of the owner or his ambitious architect. The roof pattern can mimic tiles, masonry, fish scales … whatever! True, an ornate pattern will come out more expensive. Manual, one might say, author’s work. And she, you see, is worth a lot.

Now it is clear why zealous clergymen underlayed copper under gold leaf on the domes of temples – it is light, strong, easy to install and maintain..

LITTLE BROTHER COPPER

Copper is good for everyone, but there is one limitation – color. Painting a noble copper roof is like “writing down” a masterpiece of fine art: Therefore, if the concept of the architectural ensemble provides for a different color (and not the traditional copper – brownish green), then you can use aluminum sheet. Roofing aluminum is produced by the German concern Alcan. By the way, this particular concern supplies aluminum for bodies of some Audi and BMW models. Roofing aluminum is coated with a complex polymer (PVdF) and is available in over 40 colors, including coatings that imitate old copper, light bronze and “silver metallic”. This greatly expands the possibilities of the exterior color scheme..

For example, gutters can be of the same color as the roof, or the color of the facade. The service life of aluminum is 80-90 years, and the color retention guarantee is 40 (!) Years. Aluminum has excellent thermal conductivity and resistance to sunlight, acid rain and dirt. The polymer is covered with a special film, which additionally protects it from mechanical damage during transportation and installation.Roofing aluminum, like copper, is laid in a time-tested method – folding, produced in rolls and does not slip at all (so that the risk of slipping when roofing is reduced to naught ).

The editors would like to thank Konstantin Smirnov for his help in preparing this article..

Takeaways:

– A roof with an area of ​​about 300 m2 (a medium-sized cottage) takes 2-2.5 tons of copper (with a sheet thickness of 0.6 mm)

– After some time, the roof acquires a characteristic bronze color, and after another 10-15 years it becomes covered with a noble patina, “green malachite”, as it is romantically called in the West.

– The patina film formed by oxidation in air makes copper extremely wear resistant.

Boris GOLKIN

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