During a recent exterior color consultation, a homeowner had a question about selecting the roof color for the home he is having built. He wanted the color of the copper accent roofs over the bay windows to have a patina similar to the tiles shown below.
This homeowner also knew he wanted a polymer slate roof tiles but thought his choice would be limited to green or gray. Since the copper has the patina already applied, the copper roof will not change color as it ages, so he certainly could select a green or gray roof to harmonizes with the copper. However, these are not his only choices, and for a homeowner who is going to install copper and let it age naturally, they might not be the best color choice. Here is why.
With exposure to the elements, copper oxidizes. Rather than rust, it morphs from a shiny yellow-orange to deep brown, then becomes green and finally becomes dull bluish-green. As the process occurs, the copper is developing what is known as patina. Copper patina is called verdigris. The term comes from the French phrase “verte grez,” meaning green-grey.
The copper patina color chart above shows how the color naturally advances from raw copper to chocolatey-brown to dark verdigris to the almost white of old copper decoration. Denninger, a company that produces copper weather vanes and finials, gives this as a guide but also notes that in some geographic locations, copper will produce patina faster, or with a different hue.
A homeowner has many choices for their main roof color when they have a copper accent roof. From black or gray to green slate or silvery weathered and rich brown shakes, most colors work with copper. Any warm colored shake, slate or other roofing materials goes especially well with copper. I have shown a few above work well above. You can see how well these colors work with cooper at each stage of the patina process.
The warm undertones of the Bellaforte slate are an excellent choice for homes with copper details whether the copper took 20+ years to reach the patina or is new with a “pre-aged” finish. A brown roof naturally works with a copper accent roof because even as it ages and develops a patina, the base color of the copper continues to influence the surface color. The same line of thinking can apply to any metal that has a finish or patina.
Using copper for flashings and accents with a quarried slate roof or thick cedar shakes has almost always been a given, and the combination goes back centuries.
Feature Image Credit: DaVinci Roofscapes
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