Although we like to think of ourselves as proper gentlemen of the gutter, the term “horse piss” seems to come up a lot more in our conversation than the typical contractor. It’s more than just a casual reference. Sure there are long days on the roof without a break, where one eventually feels the need to relieve himself “like a race horse”.
And after a long hot day it can be discouraging to find that your youthful coworker is sharing the cheapest beer they could find, encouraging more references to the stable dwellers urinary excretions. But even after this is considered, you’re still liable to hear us refer to horse urine more than the typical roof worker. This is especially true when we’re working on something really classy.
The Magic of Copper
Copper gutters have been useful for centuries, largely due to one fact. They last. The reason they work so well in the outdoor environment is due to a chemical reaction called oxidation. This covers the copper in a protective coating, which naturally shields the metal from harm. Not only that, but the copper looks downright beautiful once the coating starts to get thicker. The effect of this coating is called a patina, and many builders would do anything to improve the rate that it develops.
So how did copper workers increase the speed of their patina in the past? You guessed it. Horse urine. It turns out that the urine of a pregnant mare was especially viable for the patina process.
These days, there are a number of recipes to help artisans adjust the patina of their copper materials, but the original recipe has never gone away either.
Yes, you may hear us talking about some strange things on the job, but it doesn’t mean we’re not gentlemen. We just want to do the best job we can, and if that means horse urine, well then that’s what we signed up for.
Now how do we get an overhydrated horse on the roof?