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Installing Copper Strips Under Shingles

install copper strip roof

Install Copper Strip on Roof | You can install a 12-inch-wide thin copper strip on a new roof so an inch of the copper strip rests under the cap shingles and the copper folds under the last full shingle on the roof. Copyright 2019 Tim Carter. Click on the sketch to purchase copper roof strips for your roof.

"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

Revised 2019

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.

roofing ripoff

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!

Click here to purchase copper roof strips for your roof.

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.

Click here to purchase copper roof strips for your roof.

Column B374


17 Responses to Installing Copper Strips Under Shingles

  1. We were told it would be a good thing to glue pennies on our roof to inhibit moss. But we can not find out anywhere how to do that. I have been googling how to glue pennies to your roof, etc and it just wants to give me answers for how to make a penny tile floor. Can you help.

  2. Tim - Can I nail your Copper Roof Ridge Roll 12-Inch Wide X 20-Feet Long underneath the 1st course of shingles below the ridge cap? I only have discoloration on 1 side (North) of my roof and I think the strip would look nicer if approximately half of it was nailed underneath the first course of shingles, similar to what you are showing here. As opposed to atop the ridge cap.

    • You can, but I wouldn't. Based on all my research in my http://www.RoofingRipoff.com book, you want all the copper exposed up at the ridge so it extends the life of the shingles by decades.

      Just do a test. take a piece of plastic or aluminum foil and go up and tape it to the ridge. Come down and look at it.

      I'll bet it looks the same as if you put 6 inches exposed up under the cap shingles as you suggest.

      • Tim- Thank you for your reply. I followed your advice and put on top of the roof ridge (it does not look as good, but it's not bad at all).
        Question: The instructions you included did not mention caulking the nail heads. Should I do that, and if so, what kind of caulk is best for copper nails?

          • Tim- Thanks again for your reply. I nailed into extra thick, ridge cap shingles (GAF TImberTex) and I did not normally feel the nails drive into solid roof sheathing (maybe 20% of nails?).
            I did some research and found that 100% silicone sealant and elastomeric polyurethane are supposed to be okay for copper, so I used that on top of my nail heads. I filed it under "little to lose": It was only $7 plus 30 minutes effort.

  3. In 2009 I bought 50 yr GAF-ELK Timberline shingles with "algae resistance". Not sure if they are capping yet but they sure are discoloring in the shadiest sections. I used your bleach in 1 portion and it worked well. Does "algae resistance" mean the shingles have copper or zinc? Could it be the zinc that is discoloring my roof? Is my algae resistance fading over time? If so do you provide detailed instructions with your copper sheets? My roof caps vary from 1" to 1 1/2" thick and I'm not sure how to calculate the best copper nail length.

  4. Tim - we put a new roof on in 2002 with tamko heritage 50 year shingles.
    This past winter we had two different leaks and the last rainstorm another new leak. After the
    recent leak, we decided we are going to put on a new roof. However, after reading your installing copper strips
    Under shingles, should we try this first before the new roof. Our shingles seem to be degranularizing and approximately eight years ago a contractor who installed skylights for us told us our roof shingles seemed to be brittle for their age. I can send a current roof picture if necessary. We are 66 and 65 years of age and thought the roof of 2002 would last our lifetime. This is very disheartening but we do very much appreciate your investigation. We started a warranty claim this past week but only expect $500.00 if anything. Very expensive Planned obsolescence by the industry for the homeowner. If you think we should replace the roof, what shingles would you put on your roof. Please answer ASAP because if you recomend a new roof and not trying the copper strips we would like to do the new roof ASAP before this winter. Thanks.
    Sandra Boyer

  5. A good wind storm will rip the copper strip off the top of any roof. Did you secure any of the mid to outer ends with silicone rubber or is it totally free for wind to enter under your end(s) only nailed copper strip?

    • Jac, please define "good wind storm". I've had the strip on my firewood shelter for two years now and it's survived fierce Nor'easters here in NH numerous times. The Weather Service reported wind gusts of 60+ mph here with sustained wind for hours at 30 mph. The copper didn't even flap or flex as I look at it out my office window.

      Silicone would be useless and it's not necessary. Thanks for stopping by.

  6. Tim, loved your book! I'm having a new roof installed and will follow the instructions from your image above! Let me know if you want a few photos or video of it being installed for your website and channel!

  7. I am trustee for a church. Roof is at least 30 years old, but in remarkably good condition. No curling, dog ears, or perceptible stone loss. Is our roof too old to profit from copper strip treatment?

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