Uses for Copper in Building, Design and Architecture

Jun 29, 2015Company News

As one of the first metals ever extracted and used by humans, copper has been a vital part of our civilization’s development and success. Copper’s ability to be easily stretched, molded and shaped is why we still continue to rely on it for a wide variety of applications.

Construction and Design Applications

Copper has always played an integral role in architecture, from Ancient Egyptian temple doors to European Medieval designs. Most notably in American culture, the Statue of Liberty was built using 80 tons of copper sheet. The copper was so easily manipulated, that it was able to be cut and hammered to produce a thickness equivalent to two US pennies placed together. Copper’s ability to withstand the elements is proven by the Statue of Liberty’s almost 130 years of remaining virtually intact.


The durability of copper roofing makes it a long-lasting alternative to other materials. Not only is copper resistant to fire, hail and mildew, it can last up to 50 years or more with regular care and maintenance.

Copper is also a lightweight material, only half the weight of lead, which provides savings when it comes to supporting structures and material costs. These roofs reflect light instead of allowing heat into homes, making this an energy-efficient material.


Copper tubing is ideal for water and gas distribution. Pipes made from this reliable metal can handle extreme conditions of more than 1,000 pounds per square inch of pressure, as well as repeated freeze-thaw cycles. Copper also inhibits contaminants from penetrating pipes and helps prevent the growth of harmful bacteria.

A copper system has the potential to be cheaper than other metals due to the easy handling, forming and joining that cuts back on installation time, materials and overall costs. Copper will also require less maintenance over time than other types of plumbing systems.

The domes and spires of some of the most well-known buildings in the world are adorned with copper accents. Over time, copper develops a green tarnish called patina which is a result of weathering and oxidation. The patina has become a visually-appealing, highly desirable design for architectural hardware and interior designs.

Additional Benefits

Incorporating copper into your building plans has a world of benefits. From cost-effectiveness to durability, the material has been the reliable choice since our ancient relatives began early construction. Here are a few additional benefits of the material that you may not have known.


Hospitals and healthcare facilities around the world use copper in their buildings for its antimicrobial value. Copper prevents bacteria from reproducing, which can limit the spread of disease-causing bacteria in healthcare facilities on items used daily like:

  • Sinks
  • IV stands
  • Bed trays
  • Door hardware
  • And more


Although we aren’t in any danger of running out of copper, it’s comforting to know that the material and its alloys are nearly 100 percent recyclable. The US recycles between 1.8 and 2 million tons of copper each year, most of which is shipped worldwide. The metal can be recycled an infinite amount of times while still retaining most of its value, making it the green choice for building materials.

Copper was an important metal to our ancient relatives and still continues to hold its value as societies advance and demands change. It still remains the material of choice for many domestic, industrial and technological applications to this day.

American Douglas Metals supplies copper in a variety of formats and compositions for use in industrial and commercial manufacturing. For more information about how copper can be used in various applications, or to get a quote on copper, please contact us today.


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