Keeping true to history: conserve local heritage with innovative materials


Conserving the special architectural or historical features of a building is often a challenging task, particularly when external factors such as cost of material replacements, insurance and aesthetics play a major role in the upkeep of the structure. With the cost of metals such as lead and copper on the rise, many have found direct replacement of these materials very difficult, particularly when waterproofing heritage buildings.

Roofing and waterproofing technologies are continuously improving through waterproofing manufacturers investing in research and product innovation in order to deliver products that meet the needs of clients and specifiers in the UK today. This means there are many modern construction material alternatives to traditional materials such as lead and copper available for the UK construction market.

Copper colour

An example of this type of product innovation that can benefit heritage projects is the evolution of single-ply PVC waterproofing membranes. Over the years the development of these flexible membranes has soared. PVC waterproofing membranes are increasingly used to provide waterproofing and roofing functionality, but also to provide the aesthetic appearance of lead, zinc and copper. During the manufacture of Copper Art PVC single-ply membrane, real copper particles are used within the membrane, in addition to this standing seam profiles can be added to the membrane in order to provide the aesthetic appearance of a traditional copper roof with folded seams. The membrane even takes on the patina of age turning from a bright new copper colour to a darker tawny copper when exposed to the elements.

Utilising a modern waterproofing membrane such as Copper Art PVC waterproofing membrane not only provides benefits such as flexibility for varying profiles and designs such as wave form roofs, cupolas and mono pitched roofs, but also prevents the opportunist as PVC membrane doesn’t have the high resale value that copper metal does. This can often be an advantage in obtaining insurance, especially in cases where there has been a previous theft of metal roofing elements.


To find out more about utilising this innovative material for waterproofing heritage buildings, contact the SOPREMA team today.

Further information about the products discussed is available here.

View more projects utilising innovative materials here.