FROM THE FRONT LINES: Weld an antenna to a roof

So, one of our reps came to me with an interesting question. He was approached by someone with a copper roof who wanted to know if welding the antenna straight to the roof would allow the whole roof to become an antenna, greatly magnifying its receiving ability.

That really sounds like a great idea at first. Copper is very conductive and a roof is a big thing. There are just… a few problems.

Size doesn’t matter. At least not in the way that you think it does.

An antenna does its best at capturing signals when it’s an exact multiple of the wavelength of the signal. Either double the size, half the size, one quarter the size, etc. You’d have to be pretty lucky to have the roof be an exact multiple of the signals you want to pick up.

Pitch is a bigger consideration than you think it is.

Antennas work well when they present a slim profile to the oncoming waves, or another way of putting this is that adding more metal doesn’t actually help. So here again, only the outer edge of the roof is going to be important here, and the sloping roof itself could affect the copper’s ability to receive signal.

Your roof is going to turn green, and not just with envy

As anyone who’s looked at the Statue of Liberty knows, copper oxidizes. It starts out a nice shiny brown color and as it oxidizes, a layer of green forms. This green layer doesn’t conduct electricity anywhere near as well as the shiny brown stuff so even if this worked initially it would get worse almost instantly. On the other hand, most outdoor antennas are made of aluminum which actually doesn’t have a problem when it oxidizes. The black dust on the antenna is just as conductive as plain aluminum and actually protects the rest of the antenna from damage.

So, as much as it would seem like a lot of fun and a great project to weld an antenna to a copper roof, the odds are overwhelmingly against it actually making for better reception. If you are concerned about reception in fringe areas, you can combine multiple antennas or potentially use an amplifier. Using a roof as an antenna isn’t going to do a lot for you.

Here’s a better option

If you’re not sure what antenna to buy or how to mount it, there’s a free service that can help you decide! Fill out this form and an antenna technician will reply with exactly the antenna you’ll need for your area. This isn’t just an app that uses robotic logic. This is a real thinking human who considers all the factors involved. Still need more help? Call us at 888-233-7563 during East Coast business hours. We have staff who are dedicated to helping customers just like you! You won’t get any script readers or overseas call center jockeys, just honest customer service from real people who really care.

Bottom line… your big copper roof isn’t going to help, but the right antenna and installation certainly will.

About the Author

Stuart Sweet
Stuart Sweet is the editor-in-chief of The Solid Signal Blog and a "master plumber" at Signal Group, LLC. He is the author of over 8,000 articles and longform tutorials including many posted here. Reach him by clicking on "Contact the Editor" at the bottom of this page.