How to Clean and Restore Your Copper Roof Shingles

Copper shingles provide homeowners with a beautiful looking roof that will last for years and years. It is a metal that reacts with environmental factors such as rain, snow, and hail. Because of this, a copper roof may display signs of imperfection. This is normal, but there are ways that a contractor or homeowner can clean copper shingles and restore the roof to its original beauty.

How to Clean and Restore Your Copper Roof ShinglesCleaning a copper roof is not an easy job, but there are several methods you can use. One of the recommended procedures is to sand the roof using a fine grit textured sandpaper. This can help remove tarnished spots. Sanding the roof can also take away unwanted dirt and stains such as bird droppings. Sanding will also help bring the roof back to its original shine. This is obviously hard work when the roof is very large but many people report that this technique really does work well.

Another process to use when cleaning or restoring a copper roof is to clean the shingles with a mild acid. It is suggested to start with a light acid mixture such as a power-mix drink, or even ketchup blended with a bit of water. It is the abrasive quality of these ingredients that will help remove any staining. But, that does not restore the copper roof to its original patina. The roof will then need to be rinsed of any leftover particles, and then sprayed with a clear lacquer or sealer. Some homeowners prefer this method as there are no toxic chemicals running from the roof into the garden or lawn.

For a stronger acidic mixture, vinegar and salt can be used. It has been noted that using these ingredients may leave the roof a salmon color. When that happens, a copper polish will need to be used to bring the shingles back to their original luster.

How to Clean and Restore Your Copper Roof Shingles

There are also commercial products on the market specifically formulated to clean, restore, and seal copper roof shingles. These will make restoration a little easier, and many of these products do not use chemicals harmful to the environment.

Whatever method the homeowner or contractor choses to use, the steps for cleaning and restoring are essentially the same.

  • Clean the roof off with a hose.
  • Use a cleaning agent such as bleach, or one of the mixtures mentioned earlier, and wipe down the individual shingles. It is important to test a single shingle first to make sure that the cleaner works and does not create an unwanted stain.
  • After cleaning all the copper shingles, if the roof still needs treatment, a light sanding may be required.
  • Rinse off the leftover material and dry the copper shingles with a non-abrasive cloth.
  • The final step is to seal the roof with a commercial sealant.
  • By using a little elbow grease, copper shingles can be restored to their original luster.