Structurally, the roof is one of the most important components of any home. A log cabin is no exception.
Whether you love the patina look of a copper roof or you want a durable, low-maintenance option, copper might be the way to go.
This article will go over the pros and cons of a log cabin with a copper roof and hopefully help you make a decision about one of the biggest investments for your cabin!
Table of Contents
- Advantages Of A Copper Roof
- Disadvantages Of A Copper Roof
- How Much Does A Copper Roof Expand?
- Do Copper Roofs Trap Moisture?
- Will A Copper Roof Increase Insurance Rates?
- Related Posts
Advantages Of A Copper Roof
Copper roofs have many advantages from being extremely low maintenance and durable to being fire-resistant.
Below is a closer look at why copper might be your roofing material of choice.
Durability is a critical thing to consider when thinking about roofing. Copper is one of the most durable roofing materials on the market.
Not only will it last 60-100 years with minimal maintenance, but it will also never crack, peel, or fade.
Also, unlike wooden shake or asphalt shingle roofs, a copper roof won’t mildew, warp, or rot. It’s basically indestructible which makes it a very attractive option.
Most cabins are built in remote areas and usually in forests which means wildfires are a considerable threat. Unlike other types of roofing, copper will not burn.
Not only that, but it is also very lightweight which means that your roof would be less likely to prematurely collapse in the event of a fire.
Perhaps the biggest advantage of copper roofing for a log cabin is that it can handle all forms of extreme weather. Heavy snow stacks are no issue as the snow will slide off the roof. Copper doesn’t rust, so driving rain doesn’t matter.
Copper is also not affected by relentless sun exposure or high winds.
Disadvantages Of A Copper Roof
While copper might sound too good to be true at this point, it is important to note its few drawbacks.
The one thing everyone knows about copper roofs is that they are expensive. In fact, it’s the most expensive roofing material available.
However, given that a copper roof will last well over 60 years, an asphalt shingle roof will only last 15-30 years, and cedar shake lasts 30-50…copper might make sense. Also, keep in mind that shingle and shake roofs require occasional maintenance – copper doesn’t.
If you’re planning to stay in your cabin long-term, then consider copper as an investment in your property and go for it. If you plan to sell your cabin in a few years, then consider another option.
Aesthetic Damage Concerns
The two things that can really damage a copper roof are hail and falling trees or branches. Copper is a soft metal and will dent easily. If your cabin is in a heavily wooded area or an area that gets a lot of hail, then you might want to consider an alternative.
Copper Cannot Be Near Dissimilar Metals
Certain metals react with one another when exposed to an electrolyte like water. In the case of copper, it will corrode faster than usual when it is in contact with steel, aluminum, or zinc.
It is possible to have a copper roof in close contact with these metals as long as sealants and gasketing materials are used as a barrier between the metals.
Other options include using lead or stainless steel near the roof as these metals don’t react with copper. A quality roofer who has experience with using copper should be able to address this problem.
Patina Not Forming
Patina is a natural coating that forms on copper metal and is produced by oxidation over time. It’s what gives old copper that nice green color. The concern is that patina takes a long time to form, anywhere from 10-20 years.
Some environments, particularly those that are very dry like in the mountains, can limit the formation of patina on copper. Patina is important because it creates a protective layer on copper and will protect the roof from corrosion.
If you plan to build in a very dry environment, consult with a roofer about whether or not patina formation could be an issue.
How Much Does A Copper Roof Expand?
Expansion and contraction are a big concern for log cabin owners.
Not only does the whole cabin expand and contract because of the logs (especially if you are building with green logs), but a copper roof will do the same as it heats and cools throughout the day.
This is not as big of a concern as people think it is. The simple solution is to be sure to use fasteners during construction that are specifically designed to handle expansion and contraction.
If you don’t use these fasteners and the roof loosens in the future, you can have the existing fasteners tightened to correct the problem.
Do Copper Roofs Trap Moisture?
The other big concern for log homeowners is moisture. Humid air can get trapped in the attic and then condense and create moisture if it comes in contact with cooler surfaces like uninsulated spots under the roof deck.
Ensuring that the roof deck is properly insulated before the copper is installed is a great way to prevent moisture issues. Additionally, adding exhaust vents to the roof along the ridges and intake vents at soffits will create enough airflow to prevent moisture buildup.
Will A Copper Roof Increase Insurance Rates?
Keeping costs low is usually a concern when building a home. A copper roof is a huge investment, but it’s not an investment worth making if you have to pay an arm and a leg to insure it.
Adding a copper roof to your home will actually lower the cost of homeowner’s insurance. Copper’s durability and fire-resistant qualities make it very attractive to insurance companies. It should be noted though that a lot of policies will not cover cosmetic damage to a copper roof.
Insurance companies don’t want to replace an entire roof if it is still structurally sound, so hail damage or a dent from a tree branch might be left untouched.
It is possible to find policies that cover cosmetic damage, but you will need to do your research and shop around. Be sure to ask about it when speaking with agents about options.
Deciding whether or not to go with a copper roof is a tough decision. It’s an incredibly durable roof, but it’s also very expensive and should be seen as an investment in your property.
At the end of the day, it really comes down to your budget and how long you will be living in your log cabin.
Thanks for reading!