Material Series: Zinc

Zinc is a high quality metal which is lightweight, strong and incredibly malleable. It has become a popular choice in the architecture industry to use as a roofing material as well as in façade applications, even finding its way inside homes for Kitchen surfaces. As it is a very thin durable building material, it can be shaped to follow curves and angles, as well as laid in flat sheets.

The metal has relatively low startup costs and requires little to no maintenance over its life span. This is due to the self-protective patina that forms on the material to heal any scratches on the surface.

Zinc has been used as a roofing material for hundreds of years. Its durability makes it suitable for all roof pitches above 3 degrees therefore giving more freedom for roof designs. The most common type of application for roofing is a standing seam roof.

Sourced from all over the world, there are a range of options when it comes to the finish and colour of Zinc. It is naturally smooth and shiny but it is also available in pre-weathered matt finishes.

Another advantage of Zinc is that it is one of the most sustainable metals currently used in the construction industry, as it requires less energy to produce. This metal will typically last 80-100 years in external settings and is 100% recyclable at the end of its life.

The main disadvantage to Zinc is that it doesn’t react well to water run off from certain other materials such as timber. Therefore careful consideration has to be taken when designing Zinc into the external palette of a building.

Additionally, it should be noted that special care needs to be taken if using Zinc close to the coast, as the amount of salt in the air can cause the metal to stain and corrode. A solution to this is a paler shade of Zinc could be used so staining is less visible.

With so many advantages to the material, around 70% of domestic property roofs in Europe now contain Zinc. See some examples below of our residential projects featuring Zinc.