Application of Copper Roofings

Description of Different Methods



   There are two methods of applying copper sheets to sloping roofs, viz.: the Ribbed Seam method, and the Standing Seam method. The difference in these methods is one of construction. In the former wood ribs, or battens, are used to break up the roof surfaces. In general, it is best suited to large monumental buildings. In the latter the seams forming the longitudinal joints are left standing. This method is used on all types of sloping roofs.   

   In both the ribbed and standing seam form of roofing there is ample provision for expansion and contraction.


   Construction details for built-in gutters are found in Fig. 2, Plate 1, and Figs. 2 and 3, Plate 3. The methods of finishing the sheets and seams at the gutter edge and eaves are shown in Fig. 5, Plate 1; Fig. 7, Plate 2; and Figs. 2 and 3, Plate 3.

   Several details of flashings are illustrated on Plates 2 and 3. For more complete information consult Copper Flashings, 2nd Edition.

   In the specification will be found sections covering various kinds of roof drains. Detailed drawings and descriptions of these will be found on pages 16 and 17 of Copper Flashings.

   Careful study of all details of flashing and drainage is necessary. For the guidance of the roofing contractor large-scale detail drawings of these features should be made. Roof surfaces seldom give trouble. Gutters and flashings sometimes do, unless the method of application of the copper is carefully worked out.


   Attention is directed to Section 21 of the specifications, and to page 23, where the use of White Lead (instead of solder) for closing seams is described.

   Thirty or forty years ago this seems to have been common practice in this country, and it still is in Europe. Most of the older roofers are familiar with it, but the younger metalworkers are not.

   Just why solder should have replaced White Lead in making seams in sheet-metal work has not been established. In the old days, before the manufacturers of White Lead marketed their product in its present paste form, the roofer bought dry lead and mixed it himself. It was a dirty and laborious practice, which the use of solder did away with.

   There is no doubt of the worth of this method of forming seams. Its chief advantages are the saving in labor and material costs. It also aids in concealing the seams, which sometimes spoil the appearance of a copper roof which has weathered to the familiar green. As there is no solder, the seams do not appear as dark streaks on the roof.

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