Zinc is a natural element and exists in air, soil, water and the biosphere. It is the primary component in a hot-dip galvanized coating. The silvery, blue-grey vital metal is abundant, essential, and common – and even more importantly infinitely recyclable.
Centuries before zinc was recognised as a distinct element, zinc ores were used for making brass (a mixture of copper and zinc). Zinc was rediscovered by Andreas Marggraf in 1746, Germany.
Zinc is used in the construction industry as an alloy. Typically, architectural grade zinc is 99.995% pure zinc with trace amounts of titanium, to reduce the coefficient of thermal expansion and improve tensile strength and hardness. There are also trace amounts of copper to improve the metals work-ability.
Zinc has several features that make it a valuable asset for architectural cladding and commercial cladding. With a protective patina that provides corrosion resistance and durability, a zinc roof could last up to a century, even in harsher environments. The natural protective patina that zinc possesses also contains self-repairing properties, meaning scratches and other small imperfections on your roof will fix themselves. This allows you to save money on varnishes, protective coatings, and general roofing maintenance.
Copper is also a natural element. It is a soft, malleable and ductile metal with very high thermal and electrical conductivity. Copper is one of the few metals that occurs in nature already in its useable metallic form.
Copper was known in ancient times with first discoveries dating back to 9000 BC. It was the first metal to be smelted from its ore to be cast into a shape using a mold, and purposefully alloyed with another metal.
In the construction industry, copper has earned a respected place. It has been used for centuries, from cathedrals to castles, from homes to offices and in various architectural elements, including roofs, gutters, wall cladding and building expansions joints.
For copper metal-sheeting a minimum 99.9% pure form is used. Classic sheet starts off with a bright and shiny copper surface. After installation, it develops a matt, dark brown surface due to natural weathering and oxidation. During this process before reaching the dark brown colour, a range of brown shades and even purplish hues can develop. A ‘typical copper’ patina green develops over time. This lends the building an unmistakable accent, and the protective nature of the patina layer contributes to the material’s outstanding longevity.
The most dominant element of a buildings appearance is its shape. Zinc & Copper are highly malleable and can adopt to any shape, including low radius curves and complex shapes unachievable with other materials. They are also available in wide colour palettes in their alloy form. Different installation techniques offer a variety of choice and a great freedom of design.
Copper and zinc are both incredibly eco-friendly materials. This is because they’re both completely natural and can be recycled time and time again.
The expected life of a Zinc roof, if designed and installed correctly, is around 80-100 years. However, in Copper, there are known roofs and domes in Europe that are 500 years old, giving copper its rightful name ‘The Timeless Beauty’.
Although the initial cost of a metal roof, including the material and installation, may be higher than for other roofing material, the life cost of nonferrous metal is significantly lower, due to the extremely high lifetime and minimal maintenance. High mechanical performance of these metals also plays a role in the cost. The minimal thickness of material, between 0.6-0.8 mm, results in lower overall weight after installation, which means that this allows us to use lighter, more cost effective supporting structures, which again reduces the overall costs of a roof.
To fulfil even the highest expectations, we offer top quality resources. For Zinc material we are cooperating with Rheinzink, from Germany it’s the world’s leading brand in producing architectural zinc, known as “titanium zinc”. We also work with VMZinc, the leading specialist in innovative zinc solutions with 180 years of tradition. Our copper is supplied by KME TECU® Copper, the world leader in copper fabrication along with an extensive research and education program.