Copper is considered low maintenance when used in a construction project due to its inherent properties that contribute to its long-term durability and minimal upkeep requirements. Here’s why copper is low maintenance:
- Corrosion Resistance: Copper is naturally resistant to corrosion, meaning it does not rust or deteriorate easily when exposed to moisture or atmospheric elements. This resistance to corrosion ensures that copper structures maintain their integrity over time, reducing the need for frequent repairs or replacements.
- Longevity: Copper has an exceptionally long lifespan, often exceeding the life expectancy of other building materials. It can last 100’s of years. For example, the St Mary’s Cathedral in Hildesheim, Germany has a copper roof that was installed in 1280AD, and the same roof is still there now. Tests conducted on 18th-century copper roofs in Europe showed that in theory, they could last for 1000 years. Its durability means that structures built with copper can last for several decades with little degradation, eliminating the need for frequent maintenance.
- Minimal Coating Requirements: Unlike many other metals, copper does not require extensive protective coatings to guard against corrosion. The green pigment layer (Verdigris) forms over time providing protection against corrosion While some projects may opt for a patina for aesthetic reasons, copper’s natural resistance to corrosion means that it can function effectively without these additional layers.
- Resistance to UV Rays: Copper is also resistant to damage from UV rays, which can degrade some materials over time. This property allows copper to maintain its appearance and structural integrity even when exposed to sunlight for extended periods, however, copper changes colour over time so its appearance also changes (from shiny copper, through brownish colours to end with green).
- Self-Healing Properties: Copper is a ‘living metal’ that has the unique ability to “self-heal” minor surface scratches and imperfections. Over time, copper surfaces develop a natural patina that can help protect against external elements and minor damages, making it more forgiving to wear and tear.
- Ease of Inspection: Inspecting copper structures for damage or signs of wear is relatively straightforward. Visual inspections can often identify potential issues, and any necessary repairs are typically localized and manageable.
- Resistance to Chemicals: Copper exhibits resistance to various chemicals, making it suitable for use in industrial and corrosive environments. This property reduces the likelihood of chemical-induced damage, further contributing to its low-maintenance nature.
- Recyclability: Copper’s recyclability is an essential factor in its low maintenance profile. Should a component need replacement or repairs, recycled copper can be used as a replacement material, reducing waste and environmental impact. Copper is 100% recyclable. It is one of the few materials that can be recycled repeatedly without any loss of performance. There is no difference in the quality of recycled copper (secondary production) and mined copper (primary production) so they can be used interchangeably.
Overall, copper’s low-maintenance nature results from its robustness, corrosion resistance, longevity, self-protective qualities, and ease of inspection. These properties make copper an excellent choice for construction projects, as they reduce the need for constant upkeep, maintenance, and replacement, ultimately saving time and money in the long run. The fact that it is very attractive/ looks great does not hurt either.
Please speak to us at Copperclad today to see how you can benefit from using copper on your next construction project.