A guide to specifying copper rainscreen cladding
4th November 2017
Here we look at the heritage, application and benefits of TECU copper as a modern rainscreen cladding material.
Copper is one of the most versatile, attractive and adaptable architectural materials available. It has been used for centuries for roofing, cladding and rainwater systems and remains as sought after today as it always has been. Recent innovations in how the material is presented now makes its benefits even more accessible to rainscreen cladding projects.
KME TECU CLASSIC is 99.9% pure copper, like all our TECU pure copper materials, and develops an attractive Verdigris patina over time that is highly sought after. This beautiful aesthetic is sometimes seen on old churches, chapels and cathedrals.
A great example of this is the Grade II* listed Square Chapel in Halifax The oxidised matt brown surface, shown here, illustrates the maturing process of TECU CLASSIC as it evolves within the patination / oxidisation process of copper. These lighter and darker shades of natural brown hues will develop into the Verdigris green patina that is so typical of aged copper.
In fact, building designers and their clients’ are so drawn to this natural, aged beauty of copper that they are specifying our TECU® Oxid material. This is another pure copper material that uses an innovative process to speed up the natural oxidation process before the cladding panels arrive on site.
We also offer TECU® PATINA copper material. This is patinated Verdigris green on one side and means that your client doesn’t have to wait decades for the natural oxidation process to achieve the copper aesthetic. Advances in the oxidation process now allows a wider diversity of green Verdigris patinations and some alternatives with blue and red tones.
TECU Classic Coated offers a designer an alternative to the natural aging process of copper. The base copper material is coated with a clear lacquer that stops air and moisture connecting with the coppers surface and prevents the patinating process.
History of copper cladding
Copper is a pure, natural material that has been used for centuries to protect building envelopes. It offers a virtually indefinite design life, is extremely durable and resistant to corrosion in any atmosphere. It requires no decoration, maintenance or cleaning. Many of the great medieval churches of Europe, which date back centuries, still retain the original copper roofing and cladding material, giving an idea of its longevity.
Copper as a cladding material has undergone a number of refinements over the years. Latest advances in TECU copper materials ensure consistent performance and a high level of aesthetic appeal. Combined with this have been innovations in prefabricated rainscreen cladding systems, such as our Proteus HR system, which has improved cost effectiveness and met the requirements for ease of installation as well as modern methods of construction
Benefits of copper cladding
There are a number of beneficial properties that make copper an enduring choice on modern rainscreen cladding projects. These include:
The starting point for most architects, specifiers and their clients is the fact that copper cladding makes a building look good. In fact, the Verdigris green patination that develops on copper has the ability to transform an ordinary design into something extraordinary. Once installed, copper cladding comes to life and becomes even more beautiful over time.
As well as being attractive, TECU copper materials add a protective layer to the cladding panel. This creates a long lasting, low maintenance façade, which evolves and matures over time
Similar to all our metal rainscreen façade systems, copper cladding can be recycled any number of times. That means it can be 100% recycled when the building reaches the end of its life.
Copper is a lightweight material and that makes it easy to transport and install on site as well as minimising weight loadings, reducing the need for high embodied energy building foundations. This useful characteristic is retained if you specify TECU copper rainscreen cladding on our Proteus HR system. That’s because the honeycomb core ensures the panels remain lightweight yet incredibly strong. Savings in material have a bearing on costs, too, and so honeycomb panel technology may give you more budgeting options. The honeycomb allows the use of a thin veneer of copper and reduces the tonnage of expensive base material while creating an optically flat panel surface, minimising light distortion, which has a tendency to draw the eye away from the natural beauty of the copper. Our investment in precision manufacturing creates tight radii at panel edges, carrying through this clean crisp façade aesthetic.
The TECU range of copper rainscreen cladding systems have the ability to give your design a completely unique and attractive appearance. The classic bright copper colour, which has always had the ability to engage people, will continue to keep on looking beautiful all the way through to it achieving its natural Verdigris patina. When it reaches that stage it is the stand-out cladding material and nothing comes close in terms of longevity and aesthetics. How quickly you want your building to achieve that timeless status is now up to you with our range of pre-oxidised TECU materials.
To find out more about our range of TECU copper rainscreen cladding materials, click here.
We also offer other TECU copper alloy materials including brass and bronze. Click here to view these, alternatively we shall be discussing them in future blogs.