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Zinc Roofing Cost Guide

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Zinc is a high-quality, sustainable metal that has been used in roofing for more than 150 years. It is a popular choice due to its durability. Zinc roofing is also extremely versatile; it's suitable for almost any climate and has a naturally corrosion-resistant surface that is environmentally friendly and resistant to mold and mildew. To form a roof, the zinc sheet material is melted and poured into a machine for solidifying, then fed to a rolling mill that presses the zinc into the desired level of thickness before cutting and coiling. Zinc is a naturally self-healing material, meaning that it can withstand years of exposure to the elements with very little maintenance. The patina and blue-grey appearance of zinc also makes it an aesthetically pleasing choice. It's 100 percent recyclable and takes much less energy to produce than aluminum, copper or galvanized metal. It has become highly popular in Europe where it covers more than 70 percent of residential homes.


  • Minimum cost: $8,000 - $10,700 for 1,200 square feet

  • Maximum cost: $13,400 - $15,000 for 1,200 square feet

  • Cost per square footage: $10 - $20 per square foot

Zinc may actually end up being cheaper and more cost effective than most metals when comparing the costs of installation and upkeep to that of copper and lead. Metal theft is more unlikely with zinc roofs as well. Considering the cost over the lifespan of the roof and its sustainability, zinc roofs are preferable because they require less repair. There is virtually no maintenance in zinc roofing because it requires no touch-ups or repainting, and it does not fade, chip or peel. Copper costs roughly twice as much as zinc.

Zinc roofing usually starts with a free estimate followed up by detailed consulting with a roofing contractor. Labor rates can change based on season, location and size of job. The total price can also vary based on the shape of the building and the number of levels. Gathering a few different estimates is the best way to obtain optimal pricing.


Zinc is sometimes combined with trace amounts of titanium or copper to produce a higher-quality metal. Most metals that are exposed to environmental factors corrode, but zinc alloys absorb carbon dioxide. Materials used in zinc roofing include sheeting, mildew hardware and roof flashing. Once zinc sheeting is produced, it can be cut and bent into something called zinc "cladding," which is used in installation. Zinc moss and mildew hardware is placed under the roof cap and inhibits the growth of mildews or moss. Zinc that comes in a roll can be used for flashing connections to roof dormers, walls and chimneys. It is a safer lead alternative because it is non-toxic.

Installing zinc strips is somewhat simple, but before building a zinc roof, certain specifications should be met. Structural conformity, elemental compatibility and continuity of roof angles should be taken into consideration. Having a roof inspection done can give a better idea of whether zinc roofing is ideal for the home or building in question. Zinc roofing should be installed by an expert or professional to avoid roof or structure damage.

Advantages of Zinc Roofing

Zinc has many advantages, including that it has crisp, clean lines enhance the building's architecture. Because of its thin consistency, zinc can be shaped to curves or angles and used for abstract buildings and different designs. It is weatherproof and corrosion resistant, zinc develops its own protective patina, which heals itself of scratches and imperfections. It can last up to 100 years without signs of degradation, four times the lifespan of steel roofing. Zinc is lightweight, thus cheaper on shipping costs.

Additionally, zinc roofing is energy efficient. It reflects heat and blocks heat transfer into attics, unlike cheaper asphalt shingles. According to the Florida Solar Research Center, metal roofs in general absorb 35 percent less heat than asphalt shingles. Homeowners report a savings of up to 20 percent on energy bills.

Zinc roofing is especially environmentally friendly due to it being one of the more non-ferrous types of metals. Zinc requires low levels of fuel during its production due to its naturally low melting point, so it consumes much less energy than other metals, especially when made from recycled materials. By comparison, aluminum and stainless steel use two to four times as much energy during production.

Disadvantages of Zinc Roofing

It can be costly to install based on the type and size of building. Some experts claim that there are still issues with corrosion on the underside of zinc roofs because of moisture condensation. The more warm air travels upwards into the roof's insulation, the more water vapor may become trapped. The upper side of zinc surfaces may corrode in certain conditions, such as if water is allowed to remain for a long period of time on the metal. This can be alleviated by using zinc panels that have a protective coating on the portion of the underside. Adding a drainage layer underneath may also help to prevent moisture and corrosion.

Roofing Options

Batten seam roofs can be used in almost all building types. Although often used in complex design, installation is fairly straightforward and can be easy to repair, change or dismantle.

Standing seam roofs are another option. In this type of roofing, the long seams on the zinc panels are bent or folded to create a surface. This allows long panel strips to be employed over a large area of roof. This type of roof provides maximum resistance to water and wind so is suited well to harsher climates that involve heavy rains and wind.

Overall, zinc is an optimal choice for roofing because of its sustainability, little environmental impact and long lifespan. The fact that its patina develops a protective layer over time only enhances the quality of the finish and actually retains its value, rather than wearing down like paint or shingle. It is an ideal metal for using in flashing around windows and chimneys as well. After the roof has reached its lifespan, which can be 80 years or more, the material is completely recyclable.

Get free estimates from local roofing contractors

Last updated on Jan 12, 2017

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