Installing Copper Strips Under Shingles
"A copper strip on each side of the roof will extend the life of asphalt shingles 40 or 50 years. The copper prevents the asphalt from becoming brittle."
Tim Carter | Founder - AsktheBuilder.com
Installing Copper Strips on a Shingle Roof
Watch this short video first. It shows installing the copper strip on an existing roof, not a new one.
The column below it was written ten years before I taped the video.
How Many New Roofs Are Installed Each Year?
Think of how many people are out there who just had a new roof put on this past year. Not counting the one million new homes built last year I'll bet there were at least three million new asphalt shingle roofs installed on existing homes in the USA.
Why Do Asphalt Roofs Fail So Fast?
Asphalt shingles are going bad too fast because many manufacturers blow too much air into the liquid asphalt at the plant. This extra air pre-ages the asphalt making it think it's already thirty years old.
I wrote a book - Roofing Ripoff - about WHY asphalt shingles are failing and how I was the FIRST PERSON in the world to discover that copper prevents asphalt shingles from becoming brittle. Brittle asphalt produces loss of colored granules and curled shingles.
CLICK HERE to discover more about my Roofing Ripoff book. You can read the first part of the book for FREE.
Does Copper Stop Roof Algae?
Yes, copper will stop the growth of roof algae too. This has been known for hundreds of years and it's why copper plates were put on the hulls of wooden warships and clipper ships. The copper stopped the growth of barnacles on the hull that would slow the ships moving through the water.
The sad fact is that the wide majority of those new roofs have no protection against roof algae. The roofers or the homeowners simply are unaware of the problem and unaware that you can buy shingles that have copper coated colored granules.
I hope you are not in this situation. If so, no problem, as there is a way for you to poison those little devils, bacteriologically known as Gloeocapsa magma. We just need to clean your roof and then introduce copper onto your shingles. I know, you may not like the look of a 2-inch copper strip at the top of your roof. However, it will look a whole lot better than the unsightly algae stains!
Clean the Roof First
Common sense should tell you that you need to clean your roof first. That process is described in another article.
Getting the Copper or Zinc
Sheet copper or zinc is usually available at any roofing supply house. These are the places that REAL roofers go to purchase their roofing products.
What is the Best Copper to Install on the Roof?
The best copper is a lightweight version.
Do NOT confuse these places with the large home center stores sprouting up everywhere! The roofing supply houses sell copper for all kinds of roofing uses. They also sell zinc. Both metals will kill the algae, but I think you should use copper. Zinc has a tendency to produce a grayish film over time, so it may discolor your shingles. Copper should not cause a problem on your roof.
How Many Strips and Where?
That's tough for me to answer without seeing your individual roof. One thing is for sure, you need the strips as high up on the roof as possible, so that the copper coats as many shingles as possible.
It's best to install a 10-inch-wide strip just under the cap shingles.
Installation of the Strips
Most asphalt shingles are installed so that they have a five-inch area of the shingle exposed to the weather.
On a new asphalt shingle roof, just install a 12-inch-wide strip up at the top of the roof just before you apply the cap shingles.
The bottom edge of the copper strip can fold underneath the last full shingle placed on the roof. Fold the copper back over so it's exposed to the weather and extend it up to about an inch or two ABOVE where the cap shingles will overlap it.
The key is to adjust the placement of the copper so you have about 10 inches exposed if possible and the cap shingles overlap the top of the copper so the roof remains watertight.
It's really easy to accomplish this.