In Europe zinc roofing enjoys tremendous popularity, protecting well over 60% of residential roofs. In United States zinc roofing was first used in the early 1800s, but it hasn’t gained the same level of popularity as in Europe, where zinc roofing is by far the most popular residential roofing material. In fact, in Paris buildings’ rooftops are still over 80% zinc.
Zinc as a green building material
Zinc is one of the most environmentally friendly building materials; zinc is 100% recyclable and ecologically friendly throughout its life cycle. This along with its long-term durability qualifies this metal as a green building material. Roofs made with zinc are expected to last 80 to 100 years and even longer, while zinc walls can last anywhere from 200 to 300 years. The unmatched durability of zinc even in harsh climates contributes to its widespread use in Europe. A zinc material requires very little to no maintenance over its life. Its patina constantly renews itself as it weathers and ages, it doesn’t require coating to protect it from corrosion and it does not need to be painted. It will never fade, chip, discolorate or crack. Its color will always be uniform, even as it ages.
Zinc is an environmentally safe building material, and it can be used even for the rainwater collection. Zinc requires only 1/4 of the energy required to produce aluminum, and 33% of the energy to produce the same amount of copper or stainless steel. Zinc contains as much as 45% of post-consumer recycled content. It is 100% recyclable at the end of its service life architectural zinc can be recycled for use on another building.
In the U.S and Canada zinc roofing is predominantly a high-end roofing product. Zinc is beautiful and unique, but it is also more expensive. Zinc offers a look that stands out. It is noninvasive, and its colors blend in beautifully with the building and its surroundings. The beauty of zinc resides in its unique look that makes a statement of unpretentious and undisputed style, and unmatched durability.
Clearly, zinc roofing presents an attractive and stylish roofing option for the owners of high-end homes, as well as anybody who aspires to have a great roof. In fact, high-end homes make up over 80% of the zinc roofing market in the United States, and Canada. But prices of zinc roofing fluctuate constantly and just like with copper, it is important to monitor them.
Financially, zinc roofs fall in the same category as copper roofs. Zinc costs more than aluminum and steel, but it is comparable to the cost of stainless steel and copper roofing. The cost of installing zinc roofing is even higher than that of copper; zinc is a brittle metal that may require preheating the metal before forming. But with all the expense that goes into purchasing the materials and installation, zinc roofing benefits far outweigh the cost of initial investment, and its long life cycle requiring virtually no roof maintenance, makes it a rather attractive high-end roofing option for retrofits, re-roofing, and new construction applications.
In the United States, zinc roofing products are manufactured by Rheinzink – roof coverings.
Rheinzink offers double lock standing-seam system, interlocking tiles systems, Roll Cap system, and stepped roof, an industrial roofing system. Rheinzink is a member of U.S. green building council. Rheinzink zinc building products contain a minimum of 30% post consumer recycled content; contributing to LEED credit.