Copper's critical role

Copper, the first metal used by humans, has played a critical role as a roofing material for thousands of years. For example, copper roof shingles topped the 162-foot-tall, nine-story Loha Maha Paya temple built in Sri Lanka in the third century B.C. Centuries later, copper roofs were the standard of countless pieces of historic European architecture. Now, 10,000 years after copper was first discovered, roofing contractors are experiencing a renewed demand for the "green metal."

Copper is plentiful throughout the world, and despite its vulnerability to market price fluctuations, it is cost-efficient during its life span—in roofing applications it can last more than 100 years.

With use of architectural sheet copper in roofing and flashing applications on residential and commercial structures at an all-time high, a huge demand for skilled roofing contractors and installers now exists.

Lexington, Ky.-based Odessa Roofing, for example, has experienced this demand firsthand. According to the company's owner Ken Evans, "Odessa Roofing has experienced a dramatic increase in customer inquiries regarding installation of copper roofs and copper decorative accessories. Unfortunately, we've had to decline a majority of this business due to a lack of skilled copper tradesmen within our organization."