Over my bay window is a copper roof. Unfortunately the roof above doesn't have gutters yet. Where the water drops on the hip roof it is discolored. What is the best way to get this looking good again?

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  • What's your definition of "good", back to brown or merely uniform? The water drip seems to have caused erosion so depending on your definition of "good" you might be looking at a replacement.
    – MonkeyZeus
    Apr 28 at 11:20
  • @MonkeyZeus I would be happy with any improvement in the short term. It seems I need to get gutters added before any long term solution.
    – JD74
    Apr 29 at 14:12
  • Any short term solution will be cut even shorted by the lack of gutters. Are you just trying to mask the issue in hopes of quickly selling the house? If not then your order of operations is confusing. You could look into self-etching spray paint primer and then spray paint it the color you desire.
    – MonkeyZeus
    May 1 at 12:00

2 Answers 2


Just wait a while longer and you'll get lovely verdigris green. The copper oxides actually help protect the roof. But depending on yout local atmosphereic conditions getting from brown/black to green can take quite a while.

Or hire someone to give it an acid treatment to accelerate the process. There might be DIY options there, I'm not sure.

If you polish and clearcoat you'll just be fighting the clearcoat peeling off for the rest of your life, or until you sell the house.

  • I've owned the house 3 years. Not sure how long before that the copper was installed. I'm guessing about 8 years ago when they resided the front of the house. I would like to get it looking uniform. Will have to look into the acid wash. I don't think the clear coat method sounds desirable.
    – JD74
    Apr 28 at 1:36
  • Talk to the installers. They may know how to acid-wash it for you to accelerate pagination. If not, you may be able to find someone else who does copper roofs and offers that service.
    – keshlam
    Apr 28 at 4:09
  • Non-uniformity is a feature of copper sheathing. If you treat this in any way, it may become more non-uniform. You may damage the paint on the siding or damage the windows. Be best to leave this alone. Apr 28 at 10:14
  • I'm not so sure. The local regional library has a significant amount of copper cladding and it has settled at the brown we see here after 15 years or so. I think green requires certain moisture conditions.
    – isherwood
    Apr 28 at 12:50
  • 1
    @isherwood Actually, it’s less dependent on moisture (that affects the shade of green, but not whether it ends up green or brown) and much more dependent on the exact alloy. Without treatment to produce a specific patina or prevent formation, pure copper essentially always ends up with a pale green patina, while alloys will typically end up brown, black, or possibly even gold. Explicit treatment can produce any of those, plus a handful of other colors for some alloys. Apr 28 at 13:32

Copper will develop natural protection and it is greenish color.

One would use sand paper (220 or higher) to bring back the shine.

Then one would use outdoor clear lack to protect the copper from developing the patina.


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