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Roofing/Copper vs lead-coated copper


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We just renovated our house (in Montreal, Canada) and a new entrance with a small vestibule was built. This has a small roof that the architect planned to cover with lead-coated copper. The vestibule is covered with mahogany and we felt that grey color did not look so nice. The architect is really insisting that we use the material he had put on the plans, but at home everybody seems to prefer just regular copper. Even the guy who came to do the job thought that the lead-coated color would not go with the color of the structure.
Is there  any advantage in using lead-coated copper or any problems in using copper to justify the intransigence of the architect or is just a matter of taste? Are there any disadvantages to the lead-coated copper? I send a drawing of one of the plans ("Cuivre plombé = lead-coated copper)


Hello Marcelo,

As they say " Beauty is in the eye of the beholder ".   Lead coated copper or Terne copper is a very specialized premium product that has a very unique color and appearance.  I can certainly understand the architect's desire to use it.   If you don't like the look and prefer copper then definitely go that way.   Copper and lead coated copper are extremely durable products that will likely outlive the structure and I don't see any particular advantage either way in that regard.   Lead coated copper will mostly maintain it's appearance throughout it's life in contrast to true copper that will change from it's shiny new state toward a bronze then on to a green totally dependent on the environment and relative humidity as to how long that will take.

If you really want a specific color for the life of the roof then a painted standing seam metal roof may be an alternative for you to consider.  It is certainly a lower cost option.

The only drawback I am aware of with lead coated copper is the more recent environmental concern of water runoff from lead or lead coated surfaces.  that may or may not be an issue for you.

Hopefully that is helpful.   I definitely would encourage you to make the selection that is right for you and your family.  You are the ones that will be enjoying your new addition and you don't want to regret following your preferences.

Good luck!



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Jerry Iselin


I am pretty comfortable with all metal roofing related questions. We can discuss performance, application, practicality, technical and detail. It is difficult to deal with pricing issues due to the regional differences.


I started in the metal roofing industry in 1976 working for a major West Coast manufacturer. I spent the next 16 years with that organization leaving as the Vice-President and regional General Manager. In 1992 I started Metal Roof Specialties to focus on the needs of residential and small commercial customers. In my manufacturing years I focused on product introduction and sales as well as design and application. for the past 12 years I have been a regular trainer and presenter at Metalcon International conventions sponsored by the Metal Roofing Alliance and I have also performed training and demonstration area moderation for the National Roofing Contractors Association conventions. I have also been employed by a major metal roofing manufacturer for training and speaking engagements. My company specializes in metal roofing and siding only. We are a supply and install contractor as well as a retail outlet for metal roofing and siding materials.

Metal Roofing Alliance. National Roofing Contractors Association. Building Industry Association of Washington.

Green River Community College - Accounting major. University of Washington - Graduate School of Business Administration - Management Program. BHP Steel - RMC III Executive training, Melbourne, Australia / Berkeley, California.

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