Although it might appear that the decision to use copper flashing over aluminum flashing material is a financial one, there are more considerations that factor in. The environment you’re building in plays a part, as does the interaction the flashing will have with other building materials. Here are some basic pros and cons to consider when deciding whether you should use copper flashing or aluminum flashing.
• Aluminum is cheap Builders and homeowners alike appreciate the budget friendly appeal of aluminum’s price. It’s not quite as strong as the copper alternative, but it is easier on the bottom line.
• Aluminum is easy to work with Bending aluminum can be easier than bending other materials. This can factor into pricing as well, as it can be less time consuming to install.
• Aluminum tends to pit and oxidize in salty or polluted air Installing aluminum flashing in an urban or seaside environment can be an issue long term because it doesn’t hold up as well in these types of conditions. ;
• Aluminum flashing doesn’t play well with other building materials You can list pressure-treated wood, concrete, mortar and other alkaline masonry materials as those to avoid when working with aluminum flashing. Aluminum can corrode when interacting with these materials.
• Aluminum can’t be soldered This really limits the complexity and scope of aluminum flashing projects.
• Copper flashing is expensive, but it can be worth it Copper is a harder material, especially cold-rolled copper. This makes it very durable but also increases the price.
• Copper is easy to solder Copper flashing doesn’t have the same aversion to solder as aluminum, giving it more versatility.
• Copper works well with most other materials While it can’t be used with galvanized steel and doesn’t work well with redwoods and cedar, copper can be used with most other building materials.
• Copper becomes discolored over time, which is a pro and a con Some people love the “Statue of Liberty” effect, which is the green patina that develops over time on all unpainted copper. In some instances that color can run and leave stains on wood siding and trim.
If you have questions about the applications for either aluminum or copper, get in touch today. Our material experts are here to help walk you through all of your rolled and sheet metal needs.