The Skinny on Zinc Roofing – Pros, Cons, and Good Alternatives

Skywalker Roofing Company
The Skinny on Zinc Roofing – Pros, Cons, and Good Alternatives
September 3
By Luke Wilson | Roofing

The Buzz About Zinc

Looking for a metal roofing material option that’s both beautiful and long-lasting? You’d be hard-pressed to choose anything better than zinc! If you live in the U.S. you may not have considered zinc before since it has yet to gain tremendous popularity in these parts, but here’s a fun fact – 70% of all European residential roofs are covered with zinc metal panels. Now, just because Europeans do something does NOT mean that Americans will, or even necessarily should, follow suit. This is America, and ain’t NOBODY gonna tell us what to do! But still, zinc does carry lots of distinctive features, so we would be remiss if we didn’t discuss its pros and cons, along with some good zinc alternatives.

Advantages and Drawbacks Where Zinc Is Concerned

So, is zinc something that should be on your radar if you’re planning for a metal roof? Let’s do a quick run-down through some of zinc’s pros and cons.


Incredible Longevity

If you’re looking for a roof with some real longevity, this is one of zinc’s real selling points. Zinc panel roofing commonly lasts 100+ years. The only other common material with a comparable lifespan is copper.

Distinctive Patina

Another similarity zinc carries to copper is the fact that it creates its own unique patina through oxidation. This patina layer helps to protect the zinc, and small scratches on the zinc will actually fill themselves in over time.

Give Engaging Look

Another great thing about zinc’s patina is the distinctive & attractive appearance it creates. Zinc can start out as a dark shade of grey, and then over time it will change to a lighter grey, and can take on a more bluish tone.

Essentially No Maintenance

Once the zinc goes on your roof, there’s very little you’ll ever need to do to it. The patina renews itself, so aesthetic repairs shouldn’t ever be necessary. As long as it’s installed right the first time, zinc needs little to no maintenance.

Conserves Natural Resources

Zinc is a metal that’s 100% recyclable and can be reused over and over. Zinc also requires less energy resources and fewer carbon products to produce than some other popular roofing materials, like shingles.



One of the biggest disadvantages to zinc as a roofing material is its cost. In comparison with most other roofing materials, zinc does carry some sticker shock. In fact, the only common roofing material that’s more expensive than zinc is copper. This may really be one of the main reasons why zinc has yet to catch on in U.S. markets.

Patina Process Can Be Slow & Hard to Predict

Many people like the patina appearance, but one issue with patina is the fact that you can’t really predict what your actual patina will end up looking like. If you have one specific color tone you’re going for, then zinc patina may not be your best option. Zinc patination can also be a slow process – it can complete itself in as fast as 2 years, or in some situations it can drag out for closer to 30 years!

Risk of Improper Installation

Poor installation practices are a danger for any roofing material, but the stakes are a little higher when it comes to zinc and other metals. If water is given a chance to intrude behind or beneath the metal paneling, moisture can get trapped inside, and can end up doing extensive damage to the entire roof system.

What’s Good About Metal Roofing in General

While zinc may or may not be the best choice for your particular situation, there really are many reasons to choose a metal roof in general. Here are just a few:

Metal roofs are built to last

As long as you choose quality materials and have them installed properly, a metal roof really can be the last roof you’ll ever need!

Wind, lightning, & fire resistance

Some metal roofs have been rated for wind gusts of 140+mph. Metal also won’t burn, so it offers better fire protection, and metal is better suited for dissipating the impacts of a lightning strike than other materials.

Won’t rot or host mold & mildew

Metal doesn’t rot, and won’t corrode if it’s treated properly. Metal also plays a poor host for mold and mildew growth.

Works on roofs of any pitch

Whether your roof is steep or has a relatively low pitch, metal can be a good solution for your roofing needs. Most other roofing materials aren’t nearly as versatile in their application potential.

Looking for a More Affordable Zinc Alternative? How About a Metal Roof with Zinc Patina?

Not sure you’re ready to pull the price trigger on a zinc roof, but like the look of zinc? Then it would be worth your while to consider a galvalume steel roof painted with a Kynar zinc patina! A galvalume steel roof can easily last you from 40-60 years with little-to-no maintenance, it includes its own warranty, AND it’s more affordable than zinc. Kynar 500 resin-based coatings are infused right into the metal, and they retain their color tone and gloss much better than other metal paints. Another advantage of going this route is that you can choose the exact patina look you want, without having to worry about what the final result of a natural zinc patination process will end up looking like.

Choose Skywalker For All Your Metal Roofing Needs in NC & VA

Zinc may not be big in the U.S. just yet, but metal roofing is something that does continue to gain in popularity across the U.S. And while choosing the right roofing material for you is important, finding the right local roofing installation partner is perhaps the most important step in the entire process! Many local roofers know how to hammer a shingle, but not nearly enough have the proper training, specialty tools, and experience to be able to handle metal roofing the right way.

Thankfully, the Skywalker Roofing team are trained professionals in all things metal roofing! We serve the NC Piedmont Triad, Piedmont Triangle, Charlotte Metro/Lake Norman, and Roanoke, VA areas, and we’re well-verse in all popular roofing materials, including everything from standing seam metal roofs, to slate, to wood shakes, to composites, to all categories of asphalt shingles. Just let us know what you’re interested in, and we can help to steer you in the right direction! Check out our website, or just give us a call today at +1 (336) 627-5596. We’ll take good care of you throughout the process, and we can help to ensure that you get the last roof you’ll ever need!

Luke Wilson

Luke Wilson

Owner - Skywalker Roofing

Luke Wilson started working on roofs with his dad when he was a teenager, and eventually launched Skywalker Roofing in 2003. Skywalker operates in 5 locations across NC & VA, and now includes windows, siding, and other exterior services. Luke also hosts the popular Roofing Mythbusters series on YouTube.

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