Steel vs. Copper Roofing (Pros & Cons)

We can all agree that having a roof is important, right? But many homeowners and business owners want to know what kind of roof is the best. The truth is that you have a ton of viable options, so you’re better off looking at side-by-side comparisons. Today, we’re pitting steel and copper roofs against each other.

Steel Roofing

Steel is probably the most common type of metal roofing material. It tends to be less expensive than other roofing metals. Despite that, it still has a long lifespan and is a desirable material for many reasons. What separates steel from most roofing materials is that it is not inherently resistant to water damage and corrosion. It has to be treated, so most steel roofs will be galvanized, galvalume, or have another water-resistant treatment.

Pros of Steel Roofing

  • Requires very little maintenance. The material is so tough that you almost never have to worry about dents or puncture damage. However, you do need to check routinely for signs of corrosion. As long as it looks good though, the steel doesn’t need much else.
  • Can be painted and finished. These finishes help to prevent corrosion, and they allow you to choose your aesthetic more carefully. Steel roofing can match just about any design and color palette.
  • Less expensive than most metal roofing. Steel has a lower cost than most other metal roofing materials. Despite that, you can still expect it to last for 40 years or more, making it very cost-effective. In many cases, a steel roof will save you money in the long run.

Cons of Steel Roofing

  • Prone to corrosion. Galvanized or otherwise treated steel is resistant to corrosion, but the treatment can fail over long periods of time. If steel loses its protective finish, it needs to be cleaned and treated again or corrosion will set in.
  • Heavy. Steel is also one of the heaviest roofing materials you can find. That means it isn’t viable for all construction projects. Even if it is viable, the weight drives up shipping and installation costs.
  • Potentially noisy. Most contractors know how to counteract the potential for metal roofing to be noisy when it rains. Still, as far as metal roofing materials go, steel is going to be one of the noisiest.

Copper Roofing

Copper is one of the oldest roofing materials known to man. In fact, there are plenty of buildings around the world that are hundreds of years old and have copper roofs. Despite massive improvements to roofing technology over the last few decades, copper remains a competitive and desirable option.

Pros of Copper Roofing

  • Aesthetics. Copper is a pretty metal, and its beauty is hard to match. Copper is known to change color over time, and the patina it develops will be unique. There will be no other roof exactly like yours anywhere.
  • Practicality. Copper roofing is extremely safe against water and weather. It’s strong, and it has one of the longest lifespans of any roofing material. Most manufacturers will quote the lifespan at around 60 years, but in reality, there are countless copper roofs in the world that are multiple centuries old.
  • Resistance to corrosion. As it ages, copper roofing will oxidize on the outer layer. That layer of oxidation actually protects the rest of the copper from corrosion, meaning it gets more corrosion resistant over time.
  • Ease of installation. Copper is also one of the lightest roofing metals, and it’s easy to work with. This can lower installation costs, which allows you to spend more of your budget on high-quality materials.

Cons of Copper Roofing

  • Expensive. Copper is one of the most expensive roofing materials you can find. It can also be hard to source at times, so some people have to wait a while before they can get the copper roof they want.
  • Unpredictable. Turning to aesthetics, copper is a two-edged sword. While it offers beauty and uniqueness, it also comes with risk. You can’t perfectly predict how the patina will look until it forms, and sometimes, the tarnished copper doesn’t look right for a building.
  • Dentable. In terms of practicality, copper may be primed to last, but it is prone to dents. It’s technically a soft metal, and it is easier to dent than steel. That said, dents in copper roofing are less likely to develop leaks than dents in steel.

Now that you have a good idea of the pros and cons of steel and copper roofing, you can make a more informed decision about which roofing material is right for you. Regardless of your choice, Alpine Roofing Construction can handle the installation at your Dallas/Fort Worth property. Contact us today to explore your options and get started on your new roof.

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