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Copper Buyers' Guide - The inside track on Copper Sheet, Flashing & Foil...

Selecting the right type of copper for any application requires an understanding of technical terms like alloy, thickness, temper and finish. Taken one at a time they're not that difficult to understand. QuickShipMetals.com offers this easy-to-follow Copper Buyers' Guide to provide customers with a better understanding of copper for any application.

But first, the big news...

Copper is a certifiec germ-killer.

It's been six years since the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) approved the registration of 275 antimicrobial copper alloys. Today that number has expanded to 400 plus. This registration permits public health claims that copper, and copper alloys such as brass and bronze (see below) are capable of killing harmful, potentially deadly bacteria.

Copper is the first solid surface material to receive this type of EPA registration, which has been proven by extensive testing. U.S. EPA registration was based on independent laboratory tests showing that, when cleaned regularly, copper, brass and bronze will kill greater than 99.9% of surface bacteria within 2 hours of exposure: this includes Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), Vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus faecalis (VRE), Staphylococcus aureus, Enterobacter aerogenes, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, and E. coli O157:H7.


304 Brushed Copper Backsplash

Understanding Copper Alloy

Copper foils and sheet metals are available in many different alloys, (including bronze and brass). These different alloys give certain physical properties to copper it doesn’t usually have, but those new properties often bring new limitations as well. What makes the alloy discussion a little easier is that 99% of the copper sold in the United States is represented by the three alloys listed below.

C11000 - Alloy

QuickShipMetals.com sells copper alloy C11000, also known as Electrolytic-Tough-Pitch. C11000 is 99.9% pure copper, and while it makes an excellent electrical conductor, it's also an excellent material for bar tops, kitchen backsplashes, and it makes a very classy looking rain gutter while adorning some of the finest looking roofs in the world.

QuickShipMetals also offers copper foils made from the same C11000 alloy, manufactured to ATSM-B152 standards - sold in a pre-coiled rolls.

Copper Backsplash made from 20-Gauge Copper Sheet.  
  Note: Brass is an alloy made from copper with afraction fraction of zinc.
Decorative Copper Bar Top


The thickness of copper metal sheeting is listed below in decimals, gauge and ounces. 16-Gauge copper sheeting, for example, (according to the B. W. G. - Birmingham Gauge Standard) would measure in at .0647". A US penney is .059" thick.

Here's a comparison of the flexibility of the metal that you can relate to an item in your everyday life. If you may have a medical insurance card, copper sheeting with a .010" thickness will have the same flexibility. A standard credit card is .028" thick.

Calling out the gauge of the metal is another way of determining thickness. It is important to keep in mind that with gauge, the larger the number the thinner the material. 30-Gauge copper sheet is much thinner than 16-gauge.

Even more confusing, the roofing industry measures copper thickness in ounces per square foot. 16 oz. copper sheet is a very common size of roofing copper. The thickness of copper foil sold by QuickShipMetals.com is measured in milimeters (MIL). The cross reference table (below) will help you convert gauge to inches to ounces.

Copper Bar Top made from decorative Copper Sheet.  
Copper Roof Flashing from QuickShipMetals.com
Copper Sheet / Flashing      
Copper Foil
Thickness / Inches
Thickness / Inches
Roof Accent made from .0216" Copper Flashing  
Hanging Rack for Pots & Pans Made from .125" Copper Sheet / Plate.


Basically, the Temper of a metal refers to its hardness. The two extremes of Temper are denoted as "hard" and "soft". While the Copper Development Association has installed a numbering convention H01(soft) to H04(hard), most people in the industry simply refer to temper in specifying the degree of hardness.

The hardness of the metal determines the application. If you were to make a pot rack out of soft temper copper sheet and choose to hang your grandmother’s cast iron frying pan on creation, the weight of the frying pan could deform the rack. Bottom line, if your copper project involves supporting any kind of weight, stick to hard temper copper metal sheet like .125" copper, which is also called "copper plate."

On the other hand, if you are interested in making a copper etching or simply forming the copper by hand, you would be much better off with a softer Temper. Softer Tempers are also easier to cut as well. For decorative and craft applications that do not require supporting much weight, soft Temper copper foil should be your choice.

Kitchen Pot Rack made from .125" Copper Plate.  

Fireplace surround made of plain copper sheet.

Fireplace Surround made from Copper Sheet.


If you have ever walked in the lower level of a fancy department store and happened to see the gorgeous copper pots hanging in the kitchen department, you have seen an unnatural copper finish. Unless copper is treated with a synthetic lacquer, it will not have that deep mirror-like finish. Also, if that lacquer finish should ever crack (even a very small one), air will reach the copper and discolor the finish fairly rapidly.

Generally, the finish of copper bar and sheet will provide a dull reflection. Occasionally, the metal will also have a slight waviness to it, although it will be very smooth. Over time the metal will darken with exposure to air. The oxygen in the air is actually corroding the metal. Over a number of years a greenish patina will form on the metal. Most people find the character gained by copper through this corrosion process to be quite attractive. As a matter of fact, you can actually purchase copper that has been treated with chemicals which greatly accelerates the corrosion process.

Copper for the Kitchen from lustrous copper sheet metals for backsplashes and countertops, to heats diffusers that cook more evenly while thawing foods faster and safer.

Copper for the Kitchen - a safer more-efficient means to cook and defrost...

QuickShipMetals.com offers Copper Heat Diffuser and Defroster Plates made from C11000 alloy, also known as Electrolytic-Tough-Pitch, second only to silver in thermal conduction. C11000 is 99.9% pure copper, and while it makes an excellent heat conductor, it's also a beautiful metal for bar-tops, counter-tops, tabletops and kitchen backsplashes.

Gourmet chefs worldwide employ the advantages of copper heat diffuser plates. High, efficient thermal conductivity translates into even near-perfect distribution of heat produced by stove-top burners throughout the entire plate surface. The temperature inside the cook pot or pan remains the same from the center to the rim.

This takes your average home cook up a full notch in his or hers ability to master complex sauces, long simmers and more - without scorching or scalding. Combine two copper heat plates over two burners, set down your long griddle and cook a large breakfast with absolute heat control.

Copper's excellent heat transfer presents an ideal solution at the opposite end of the temperature spectrum - these handy copper defroster plates thaw food faster and safer than any other kitchen surface. Because copper is now recognized as an anti-microbial metal.



Decorative Copper Sheet Metal...


Sample pack offered by QuickShipMetals of decorative copper swatches.


1. Georgia Pattern

A vibrant enhancement to ordinary copper textures, Georgia is a great choice for diffusing bright or direct light on countertops, bar tops, fireplace surrounds, wall panels and more.

2. New Jersey Pattern

A subdued yet dignified copper texture, New Jersey makes a great choice for muting bright or direct light on countertops, bar tops, fireplace surrounds, wall panels and more.

3. Virginia Pattern

A bold, textured design that's equally durable and scratch resistant., Virginia will brighten countertops, bar tops, fireplace surrounds, wall panels and more.

4. New Hampshire Pattern

Textured with small, round hammered indentations, the New Hampshire pattern provides a subtle yet glowing surface to enhance reflection and color on countertops, bar tops, fireplace surrounds, wall panels and more.

5. New York Pattern

Textured with medium, round hammered indentations, the New York pattern provides a smooth bubble-like surface to embolden reflection and color on countertops, bar tops, fireplace surrounds, wall panels and more.

6. Connecticut Pattern

Hammered Connecticut Style Hammered copper sheet is one of the more popular styles of hammered stainless sheeting. This hammered stainless sheet is commonly used in decorative applications, including light fixtures, sinks, and several other ways.


Custom cuts and other services available from QuickShipMetals.com...


Price Calculator

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Quick Ship's Custom Cuts Calculator

Enables you can instantly calculate the exact price for custom cut sheet metal - from custom backsplashes to custom-fit stainless sheets down to 1/16 of an inch. Then just click and order!

Copper cutting brake machine at Quick Ship's Metal Shop.

Cutting and Bending Copper Sheet Metals

Quick Ship Does It Fast and Accurately

Thinner sheets of stainless steel fairly easy to cut and bend. A standard jigsaw or circular saw with a metal blade will cut 24- or 2- gauge stainless. More challenging cuts can be made using a RotoZip saw, but when you start getting into the thicker sheets the best option is to have it custom cut when you place your order.

Bending 24 gauge stainless steel sheeting can be done with a 2×4 that has a well-defined edge, but for 20-gauge and thicker sheets you’ll have to use a handbrake to be sure of getting a good looking edge. And again, you can order any custom bend, edge or hem and then all you’ll have to do is install the metal.


Sample of a closed hem on copper sheet metal.

Click to learn more.

Quick Ship's Custom Sheet Metal Hemming

Hemming is a metalworking process where a sheet metal edge is mechanically bent to fit an uneven surface or simply roll over onto itself. And while hems or seams reinforce a sheet metal edge, their main purpose is to improve appearance by hiding burrs and rough edges on metal back splashes and other sheet metal installations.

QuickShipMetals.com offers standard Full (closed) Hems on most of its stainless, copper sheet metals.




Soft-Temper Copper Foils...

Copper foil sample swatches end the guesswork.

The Decorative Copper Metals shown (left) and the copper foils (above) are also available in sample packs that can ordered directly from QuickShipMetals.com.

ORDER NOW and you'll receive a 10% savings coupon of your next stainless sheet metal order.



Cutting copper foils of different thickness.


.001" Copper Foil

Tears with fingers, cuts with scissors, often used in scrap booking or other paper-thin crafts.

.003" Copper Foil

Doesn't tear with fingers, cuts with scissors, shapes by hand.

.005" Copper Foil

Cuts with scissors, shapes by hand, retains shape but with some malleability - an excellent grade for tooling because of its pliability. Indents with a light touch but it will not hold shape if pressure is applied - With 8 times the thickness of store-bought aluminum foil.

.010" Copper Foil

Cuts with scissors, shapes by hand, makes 90º bends by hand, retains shape well. Also referred to as 10-mil foil it is pliable but able to retain its shape when covering corners and other areas.

.016"Copper & .020" Copper Foil

Need metal snips to cut, can be bent by hand, though 90º bends by hand are difficult. More rigid and less pliable that thinner copper foils, 16- and 20-mil copper can hold weight and is best bent shaped with tools. It is a very durable sheet of copper. It can also be trimmed with a utility knife using a heavy duty cutting blade.


Always Remember...

Custom cuts, bends and hems of our stainless steel sheet metal can typically be shipped the next business day.

When appropriate, some stainless steel sheet metal supplied by Quick Ship Metals is shipped with a protective, peel off PVC film on one surface, in order to prevent scratches during shipping. This PVC film helps ensure a scratch-free stainless steel sheet on arrival, and should be left in place until the installation is complete.



If you are in need of a custom order or have any questions about the stainless steel sheet metal sold online at Quick Ship Metals,
please call us at
1-888-334-2177 (Monday through Friday, 8:30 am to 5:00 pm EST).


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