Cleaning a copper roof overhang

by Ruby77
I'm hoping one of the man brilliant posters here will have an idea as to how I can safely remove the tarnish from a copper roof above our front door? It is not too old, the house was built in 1998, but it looks almost black and mottled. Not good at all. Terrible actually. I'm not even opposed to painting it at this point...I just don't want to create more of an eyesore in the future. It receives full sun most of the day. Any help would be greatly appreciated!
  13 answers
  • Janet Pizaro Janet Pizaro on Apr 22, 2016
    There is a product available that works on every type of metal called Nevr-Dull.You can purchase this in your local hardware or Home Improvement stores.
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    • Ruby77 Ruby77 on Apr 24, 2016
      @Janet Pizaro I may try this on a cloudy day this summer...all I have to do is figure out how not to fall off the ladder!
  • M. M.. M. M.. on Apr 22, 2016
    There's also Penny Brite, which is safe and non-toxic, and then I'd apply a paste wax like Min-Wax. There are also spray varnishes but you'd have to get something for outdoors use.. Just remember the patina (not tarnish) is the metal's way of protecting itself, and any cleaning/polishing removes old and new metal. Most people love the patina and work hard to get the copper that way. When outdoor exposed copper is bright orange and shiny, most people think it's fake, i.e. not real copper. Consider living with a little patina - it's great, even in the blackish green stage!
    • Ruby77 Ruby77 on Apr 24, 2016
      @Thank You M. M.. Thanks this is good to know. I wonder if its possible the builder used sub standard copper as its so black? I would welcome the nice patina I see on the Statue of Liberty!
  • Laura Williams-May Laura Williams-May on Apr 22, 2016
    Just spray DILUTED acid on it and let it drip. it will form an attractive pattern. Also this is called tarnish, but also "Patina". It is considered part of the natural aging process of the copper and not unattractive.
    • Ruby77 Ruby77 on Apr 24, 2016
      @Laura Williams-May This may look really nice!! Very creative
  • William William on Apr 22, 2016
    Even if you are able to clean the "patina" off, it won't last. The natural oxidation of copper will bring the patina back. Actually the patina protects the copper from deterioration.
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    • Ruby77 Ruby77 on Apr 24, 2016
      @William Thank you!! This is one of my summer projects. I'll post results. You're a big help.
  • Bobbie Littlefield Bobbie Littlefield on Apr 22, 2016
    Have you thought of a verdigris copper finish? (look at the patina it has-tourquoise!) Google for the salt and vinegar easy treatment and then seal with spray poly. You can always sand it off if you change your mind. Steel wool always cleans copper beautifully - start with the lowest number that doesn't leave huge scratches. ...poly after to insure brightness stays for awhile...
    • Ruby77 Ruby77 on Apr 24, 2016
      @Bobbie Littlefield I actually love verdigris finish but this does not look that way. I don't see any turquoise at least from afar. Its possible the builder skipped a step or its sub standard copper. I don't know as I bought in 2005 when the home was 7 years old.
  • Patti Zgabay Patti Zgabay on Apr 22, 2016
    It sounds as if the overhang wasn't sealed properly. If you do get it cleaned (Brasso is another product that will clean copper) be sure and seal it.
    • Ruby77 Ruby77 on Apr 24, 2016
      @Patti Zgabay This is certainly possible. I see several neighbors have the same issue. Do you have a suggestion as to what product I would need to seal it?
  • Sherry Bel Sherry Bel on Apr 23, 2016
    Just curious as to why you asked for answers only from men???
  • Johnchip Johnchip on Apr 23, 2016
    It is the 'black' that bothers me. Natural patina should be occurring by now in the green blue hues. black pitting with no green/ blues may mean you do not have real copper. A natural patina is what is preferred over a shiny brassy look as it ages with time. Back pitting might be some covering/finish that was put on it trying to get off. It may take some chemical to get it off to let the real copper oxidize naturally. You should get some real close up pictures of what is happening, post them and/or go to a store and get some advise. It may come to having to acid wash off what is on it to get to the 'bottom' and let nature take its course. I would NOT paint over this. Likely it is copper and it has been coated and the coating is trying to shed itself and you will have to get it off to let the copper do it's 'thing' and to re-coat it will only keep the problem coming back. Shiny bright copper coat only looks good on a kitchen pot, outdoors it looks cheap, aged patina copper looks elegant. Finally, I would get a hold of the installer or a copper roof man or good hardware/home supply guy and show him the problem and ask for his advise, as it would not be the first time he has been asked.
    • Ruby77 Ruby77 on May 02, 2016
      @Johnchip This is great advice. I'll bet that's what it is. I noticed my neighbors have the same problem although I don't know if it bothers them. I'm not home right now (in Vegas Yay!!) but will take some pics when I get home. I will have to get the ladder out to get the up close. Thanks so much and will post asap.
  • Jeanne Martin Jeanne Martin on Apr 23, 2016
    I assumed it was a typo and she meant "one of the main brilliant posters" since there are a few that are very knowledgeable that provide answers to these help questions. I dunno for sure tho!
  • Jennie Lee Jennie Lee on Apr 23, 2016
  • Jean Thompson Jean Thompson on Apr 23, 2016
    plain old Vinegar and Salt.... Rub on til the copper is Gleaming, Rinse ,Dry and use a sealer. I rather like the patina of the Greenishblue of the oxidation...
  • G G on Apr 24, 2016
    That's a patina. You want that. People pay extra for that. Can take 7-8 years to form. Think they have stuff to accelerate that ??
    • Ruby77 Ruby77 on Apr 24, 2016
      @G I guess I will leave it. Just looks old and mottled. I noticed some of the neighbors have the same issue but some are almost completely black so I thought maybe they painted them black??