Metal Roof vs Asphalt Shingles

Whether you’re an owner looking to renovate, a customer looking to buy, or an architect planning a project, it’s no secret that there are a multitude of factors to consider when it comes to a house. One of the most important and most prominent factors to consider however is what kind of roof you ought to look for or install on a building. 

Traditionally, asphalt shingles have long been the standard, go-to roofing option in the United States, but increasingly they’ve faced more competition from metal roofing. Metal roofs can be made in a variety of materials (zinc, tin, aluminum, copper, or steel), but all metal roofs will tend to offer the same benefits and drawbacks when compared to asphalt shingling (the main difference between the various materials being price). 

This article will thoroughly explore all the factors one must keep in mind when deciding between Metal Roof vs Asphalt Shingles, and lay out the advantages and disadvantages of each choice. 

Pros of Metal Roofing

Low Maintenance 

Perhaps one of the greatest advantages of a metal roof is the fact that, once properly installed, they require almost no maintenance. Most roofing metals are highly resistant to damage, thanks to a protective patina that will self-heals minor scratches naturally over time. They are also antimicrobial, and won’t suffer from mold or algae, unlike asphalt shingles. 

Longevity/Sustainability

Unsurprisingly, a metal roof is far more durable than a shingle one. While a shingle roof will generally need to be replaced every 25 years or so, a metal roof will generally last between 50 to 80. Apart from saving homeowners the cost and hassle of replacing a roof several times in their lifetime, longer-lasting products have a naturally positive effect on the environment, requiring less raw material and waste. 

Most kinds of metal roofs are also highly recyclable and can be melted down and reused once they reach the end of their natural lifespan. 

They Boost Home Value

Adding a feature to your home that’s durable and cost-saving in the long run is naturally a benefit to the building’s overall value.  This can increase the property’s value, and even potentially save on insurance, as some firms will offer lower rates to encourage a safe long-term investment. 

Cons of Metal Roofing

Limited Availability of Professionals

Although metal roofing is growing in popularity, it’s still distinctly in the minority compared to traditional shingles. This means that finding a reliable professional in your area with the expertise needed to install a metal roof can be challenging. 

Time and Labor Intensive

Similar to our last point, a metal roof requires specialized knowledge and tools to install, and because of this, is a more intensive process, requiring longer to install than shingles. 

Pros of Shingle Roofing

Practical

There can be no denying the benefit of being able to easily remove or replace broken or moldy tiles as needed. Even an informed non-professional can walk directly on their roof to do simple repairs on their own. 

Affordable

Although a metal roof is a sound investment that will ultimately save money in the long run, the up-front cost of installing an asphalt shingle roof is objectively cheaper than metal. Sometimes, financial realities will demand the cheaper immediate fix of shingles. 

Widespread

If finding a qualified, reliable professional to install a metal roof can be difficult, then naturally the opposite holds true for the single most common form of roofing in the nation. It will almost certainly never be hard to find a good professional at a reasonable price for shingle roofs. 

Cons of Shingle Roofing

High Maintenance 

Compared to a metal roof which can be “set and forget”, a shingle roof will need to be replaced sooner and will require regular maintenance. Whether it’s a hail storm, pests, algae, or just the passage of time, shingle roofs must be monitored and regularly kept in good condition. 

Environmentally Unsustainable

Unlike metal roofs which can be recycled at the end of their service life, asphalt shingles are a petroleum product, reliant on fossil fuels to be produced and very difficult (if not impossible) to recycle. 

Aesthetically Limited

Metal roofs, apart from being able to be designed in interesting and non-conventional forms, come in a variety of colors suitable for both historic and modernist looks. On the other hand, if you have seen one shingle roof, it could be said that you’ve seen them all. While singles are often aesthetically pleasing, they don’t exactly offer very much range or variety. 

Calling in the Experts

When it comes to architectural metal, there’s no more trustworthy and high quality name than MetalTech Global. As the nation’s premier fabricator and distributor of finished, coil, and sheet metal, we are home to the single largest stocking center for architectural zinc in the country. With decades of experience and an expansive portfolio of projects completed using our top-notch materials, we’re here to ensure that your next construction project is completed with only the best in expertise and service. Contact us today for a consultation on how we can help you reach your architectural goals.

maintaining zinc

It’s hardly a secret that one of the main benefits of a metal roof over traditional shingling is the increased durability and longevity that metal offers. What’s more, a metal roof will require much less maintenance than a shingle roof in order to outlast it by an order of decades. From protective patinas that guard against scratches and physical damage, to its antimicrobial nature that reduces or eliminates mold and algae, zinc is unquestionably the easiest to maintain roofing option available. 

However, “easiest to maintain” is distinctly not the same thing as “requiring no maintenance” – a zinc roof does require some upkeep and care from the homeowner in order for it to last its full natural service life of 80 years or longer. This article will walk through the necessary steps that should be taken by anyone and everyone who owns a building with a zinc roof. 

Basic Maintenance

No matter what, there are some basic steps that you should regularly follow to keep a zinc roof in good shape. The first and probably most regular step is to make sure that the roof is clear of organic matter – specifically taking the time to remove any leaves or grass that may be blown onto the roof, or any moss that may start to grow there. Keeping plant matter off your roof before it rots will help keep the roof unstained and in good shape. 

Beyond removing plant matter, it’s necessary to keep a regular eye on the structural integrity of several key elements of the roof:

  • Rainwater drains and gutters should be kept clear. Even if zinc doesn’t rust, avoiding a buildup of standing water is best practice for maintaining the integrity of the roof (for this reason flat gutters that encourage standing water should be avoided). 
  • Maintaining ventilation or air conditioning units that may be on the roof, ensuring that they’re in good working condition. Naturally, mechanical problems with any such units located on a roof can have negative side effects on the roof itself. 
  • Ensuring the integrity of all elements related to keeping the roof watertight, including fascia, drips, filets, junctions, etc. Naturally, keeping moisture on the outside of the zinc roof and not inside the building is a necessary step to prevent mildew and mold from forming in the space between the roof and the rest of the house. 

Cleaning 

Because of its low-maintenance nature, regular exposure to simple rainwater will do most of the heavy lifting when it comes to keeping a zinc roof clean. However, even with regular rainfall it’s certainly possible to clean a zinc roof by hand, and is worth doing every once in a while. Hand-cleaning is obviously even more important if you live in an area with very little rainfall. 

Dirt and dust accumulation can be cleaned off with nothing more than a cotton rag and warm water. If a stronger or more thorough cleaning is needed however, the warm water can be replaced with soda water, alcohol, or a diluted solution of either dish soap or white vinegar with warm water. Generally speaking you should start with the mildest detergent possible, and slowly work your way up in intensity until the desired cleanliness is achieved. 

Important Considerations

Anytime you clean zinc it’s vital to always rub the metal in the direction of the grain. Additionally, to protect the zinc’s patina, you should never use a pressure washer, and should never use any cleaner containing ammonia, chlorine, or muriatic acid, which can have an adverse reaction when in contact with zinc. Lastly, you should always clean zinc with a cloth and never with a broom or vacuum to avoid damaging the finish.

Other Important Steps

Scratches

If you notice a scratch on a zinc roof, the best course of action is to simply leave it alone. Zinc’s patina will naturally self-healing light surface damage over time. 

Using Adequate Gear

It must be noted that zinc will display fingerprints if it comes in contact with the oil naturally found in human skin. It’s advisable therefore to always wear gloves and long pants and sleeves when working on a zinc roof. 

Be Cautious and Careful!

The final thing to remember – until you’re experienced in cleaning zinc, it’s best to be cautious and be very sure of any steps you take before committing to any course of cleaning. For example, it’s smart to clean a small, out of sight area and leave it for 24 hours to observe how it affects the metal before performing the same cleaning on the rest of the roof. 

Of course, the safest option is to consult with zinc experts before committing to any course of action, such as the experts at MetalTech Global. As the nation’s largest distributor and fabricator of architectural zinc, there’s no name more reliable in the industry. With our own warehouses and manufacturing facilities we’re capable of producing custom zinc rolls and sheets, and shipping quickly and efficiently. If you are thinking of installing zinc roofing or paneling, don’t hesitate to contact us today!

Choice For Architects

From centuries-old roofs and decorative features in Europe, to ultra-modernist construction projects around the world, zinc has long held a reputation as a top-caliber architectural metal. Although its popularity has only begun to fully take off in the last few decades, zinc’s presence in global architecture is on the rise, and will only continue to trend upwards.

This increasing popularity is hardly surprising given all the attractive traits that zinc possesses. In order to fully explore why zinc is indeed the top choice for architects, this article will examine the metal’s most important benefits, as well as highlighting several case studies of already successful projects that have utilized zinc.

Why Choose Zinc?

Durability

Due to the patina that zinc naturally forms, the metal is extremely durable, able to last up to a century without needing to be replaced. Some of the earliest uses of architectural zinc can be found in roofs, statues, and decorative elements of buildings in European countries that were originally installed in the 18th century, and some modern roofs in these countries are more than 100 years old.

In addition, zinc requires very little maintenance. Its protective patina will “self-heal” minor scratches and damage by itself. The patina is also antimicrobial, rendering the metal resistant to mold and fungus. All in all, this makes zinc ideal for a vast array of different climates.

Sustainability

Zinc is one of the more ecologically friendly metal options – it’s the 24th most common metal found on Earth, is nearly infinitely recyclable, and requires less energy to smelt and process than aluminum, copper, or steel.

Flexibility

Lastly, zinc is flexible, both figuratively and literally. In roofing, it can be pitched anywhere between 5 and 90 degrees, and the low thickness of zinc sheet allows it to be curved or bent at nearly any angle, allowing zinc to be molded into almost any shape.

This means that zinc can not only be used for elaborate and ultra-modern roofs, it can also be used to envelop the entire outer structure of a building, able to accommodate complex, flowing designs and even able to display images via carefully perforated zinc sheets.

Noteworthy Architectural Zinc

Rather than further discuss zinc’s virtues in the abstract, we want to take the time to see specific examples of how zinc has specifically been leveraged in the real world to create designs that are both beautiful and highly practical.

Ga on Jai – Gwangmyeong, Korea

The zinc roof on the Ga on Jai house is a perfect demonstration of zinc’s flexibility – physically flexible as demonstrated by the flowing, cantilevered slopes of the roof’s structure, and aesthetically flexible as traditional design and modern sensibilities are united into a single, attractive structure. 

Here zinc is used to create a roof that creates an intimate, privacy-minded home that is also highly resistant to the rough weather that can occur in the area. 

Municipal Technical Centre – Rixheim, France

This municipal theater in France meets local architectural styles while still striking a unique and imposing profile in a rural area. It was constructed with sustainability in mind, the architect ultimately chose a single building rather than several close-by units in order to maximize efficiency. Unifying the whole structure under the distinctive zig-zag zinc roof allowed it to not only save on initial construction costs, but will continue to offer green benefits with much lower heating and maintenance costs. 

Godson Street – London, United Kingdom

The goal of the development at Godson Street was to create a mixed-use building able to hold both residential and commercial spaces while maintaining a unique visual identity to express stakeholder’s individuality. 

The outer zinc envelope comes in varying colors, presenting a face that is at once unique and eye-catching while still maintaining a refined, classy, modern look. The possibilities of the zinc envelope have been taken advantage of to create windows and lightwells in unusual, nontraditional shapes. 

Concert Hall – Ostrava, Czech Republic

Our final stop is an upcoming project still not completed – this incredible concert hall. Once again a thoroughly unique design is presented in the completely rounded edges of the outer structure – merged with large glass windows at either end, the building will offer both a unique social experience in its modern lobbies and a unique acoustic experience in its rounded concert hall. 

Making the Most of Zinc

As we’ve seen here, the possibilities for zinc in modern construction are already being deeply explored around the world, and there can be no doubt that this trend will only continue and increase as time goes on. However, none of these projects could have been realized without reliable, top-quality production and manufacturing of zinc sheet. 

Every architect knows that trusting in inferior products and services is ultimately a road to disaster, and that finding the most reliable providers is a key step to completing any project. That’s where MetalTech Global comes in. We are the nation’s largest stocking center of architectural zinc, and can offer our clients not only custom zinc fabrication, but years of experience and a host of satisfied past clients and projects. Contact us today to find out how we can bring your next project to life.

When it comes to preparing for architectural and construction projects, choosing the right metal fabrication company to supply your raw materials is a choice that’s both vitally important and potentially very tricky. Many companies seem very similar to one another on the surface, and it can be hard to decide who is ultimately trustworthy and reliable enough to commit to. 

For many designers and architects, the answer to this conundrum is as simple as “who offers the lowest rates?” However, there are many other vitally important factors at play when it comes to deciding on a metal fabrication company, and this article will walk you through all the most important ones.

Experience

Anyone deciding between competing companies should consider how long each of those companies has been in business. Any well-established firm will have a “portfolio” of past projects demonstrating not only the quality of their work, but also the type and scale of projects they have experience with.

Experience gives a company a wider range of proven solutions on prior projects to draw on. Experience allows a company to have seen the larger picture.

Workforce

Another vital factor that you must consider is the size of the workforce available at different companies. Ultimately you need to choose a business with a staff that’s sufficiently big to complete your project on your schedule, and major projects will require a major staffing pool. You need to be sure that the employees at the manufacturer are highly skilled, experienced, and capable of delivering top results on your project. 

Location

While an architectural metal company located in your own city will definitely save on shipping costs, it may be that the only firms with the expertise or equipment that your project requires are located further afield. While a local metal fabricator is an attractive choice, you shouldn’t limit your search to your immediate area – better a more expensive manufacturer a few cities over than a local company that won’t meet your needs. 

Equipment & Capabilities

Most metal fabrication companies will have a particular arena of expertise or specialization that will determine both the kinds of projects they take on and the kind of equipment and facilities available to them. A firm that specializes in manufacturing car parts is probably not the right choice if you need metal cladding for the exterior of a building. 

The best companies have invested enough in themselves to have access to cutting edge technology and fabrication processes, and are fully prepared to provide high quality metal of the right type, grade, and gauge for your project. 

Quality of Work

Naturally, anyone looking for a metal fabricator wants a company that can produce high quality materials. Apart from looking at past work and reviews from old customers, you can identify a reliable company by ensuring that they’re familiar with quality standards and by asking about their QA process and how the company ensures their work complies with it. 

Pricing

We mentioned that pricing is the only consideration on many designer’s minds when deciding between metal fabrication companies. While it’s a bad idea for cost to be the only factor in your decision, it’s undeniably an important part of the equation. 

Be informed of what average market prices are by looking into different options, and be cautious of anyone charging much more or much less than average rates. Lastly, when considering a price quote, be careful that every area of your project is outlined and accurately represented in your estimate to avoid surprise costs. 

Finishing

It must be remembered that the actual, physical construction of your project is only part of the process – the construction materials must be blasted, painted, and finished as well. Choosing a company that doesn’t have the capability to fully process architectural metal will end up costing your project extra time and money as they have to subcontract another firm to actually finish the materials. To optimize cost and efficiency you should choose a metal manufacturer who can do it all. 

Stability & Dependability 

For those who like to be very thorough and don’t mind a bit of extra research, you can also look into the overall dependability of a metal fabricator. This can be done by asking a company for references, looking them up on the BBB, or by asking them about their financial practices. A company that can direct you to multiple happy customers or one with a reputation for always paying their suppliers on time is generally a company you can trust. 

Choosing the Best

Although it isn’t necessarily easy, making a smart choice about a metal manufacturer is a necessity for any successful architectural project. Fortunately, MetalTech Global meets all the requirements for a reliable, high quality, fabricator you can trust. 

MetalTech Global are the most experienced in the country with manufacturing, designing, and engineering of zinc building enveloping systems. With years of experience in the field, we are the top fabricator and distributor of coil, sheet, and finished architectural metal in the country, and the largest stocking center of architectural zinc in North America. With our state of the art facilities we are capable of processing, reprocessing, and custom manufacturing zinc, copper, steel, and more to fit any need for our clients. Contact us today for a consultation on what we can do to help your next project succeed. 

Although it has a history of usage in Europe dating back several hundred of years, it’s only been recently that zinc has begun to gain popularity as an architectural metal in the United States. 

This rise in popularity of the metal is a good thing for American architects and contractors since zinc has a wide range of uses and offers a variety of benefits as a construction material. This article will specifically focus on the virtues that zinc offers when used for cladding, and all the reasons why this metal is fast becoming a popular and widespread phenomena in architecture. 

Aesthetic Appeal

One of the first reasons to consider zinc for cladding is the simple fact that it’s an attractive, aesthetically pleasing material, and will retain this quality throughout its lifetime, rather than fading and degrading as it ages. 

When first installed, zinc cladding will have a shiny metallic sheen, but as time goes on the metal will develop into a more muted, matte color. This color change occurs because, as zinc is exposed to the moisture and carbon dioxide in our atmosphere, it generates a protective layer of zinc carbonate on its surface, producing its trademark blueish patina. Because the aesthetic qualities of zinc patina are broadly admired, zinc cladding can also be bought pre-patinated,

Ultimately, this distinctive patina means that zinc looks just as appropriate when used on an ultra-modern new construction project as it does in the historic roofs and decorative elements of European buildings hundreds of years old. 

Durability

One of the major draws of zinc is its naturally long service life as a construction material – zinc roofs and cladding can last for a century in a low-pollution urban environment, and can withstand highly saline conditions in marine environments for 60 to 80 years. This resilience is due to zinc’s patina, which protects the metal from moisture, rendering zinc weather proof, corrosion resistant, and naturally antimicrobial. The patina will even “heal” itself over time, naturally eliminating minor scratches and surface damage. 

This durability and resistance to natural wear makes zinc a highly cost effective option as well – not only will zinc save money by not requiring regular repairs or maintenance over its long life, but the base cost of zinc rolls or sheets is lower than other popular architectural metals such as copper or stainless steel. 

Workability

Zinc is a highly malleable metal, which means that it can be produced into a vast range of shapes to suit many different architectural needs – it can be cast and rolled into simple sheets for basic cladding, or shaped into elaborate and detailed decorative elements. 

As a thin metal, with sheets generally measuring 0.7mm, zinc can be arranged into a huge range of angles and curves, making it ideal for structures with unusual exteriors. In fact, zinc can easily be used to cover the entire envelope of a building

Increasingly popular is the use of perforated zinc cladding for decorative elements, as seen in our PixArt pieces, a technique that allows for anything from abstract designs to creating detailed images. In addition to its aesthetic virtues, perforated cladding naturally requires less raw material than a solid sheet, which can make it an attractive option when working on a budget. 

Environmentally Friendly

In addition to being both extremely durable and flexible, zinc offers distinct environmental advantages over other metals commonly used in cladding. Firstly, it has a very high rate of reuse, being nearly 100% recyclable (around 30% of the world’s zinc currently in use is recycled). This allows for a more cyclical life for architectural zinc, a significant change from the current global systems which prefer to create, use, and then discard materials. 

In addition to being hugely reusable, zinc has a lower melting point than common construction metals like aluminum or copper. This means that zinc production requires less energy on a broad industrial level, thus producing fewer emissions and saving on resources. 

Lastly, zinc doesn’t produce any harmful pollutants that can runoff into the earth when rain water comes in contact with it. This is in contrast to metals like lead which can leech oxides into the soil, or copper whose antifungal qualities make it inappropriate to use as roofing near areas with vegetation. 

Consider Zinc for Your Next project

Durable, environmentally sustainable, flexible, and cost effective – it’s hardly surprising why zinc is on the rise as a popular architectural metal. As the single largest stocking center in North America, MetalTech Global can meet any and all of your architectural metal needs. 

We are equipped with our own processing facilities, are capable of custom fabrication, as well as processing and reprocessing zinc sheets and coils for our customers. From simple paneling and cladding to elaborate decorative elements, contact us for a consultation on what zinc can do for your next project. 

It could hardly be considered surprising that metal cladding is becoming increasingly popular in modern architecture. It has a place in a wide range of projects from agricultural buildings, to individual homes, to large scale commercial construction. This versatility of use is due to the wide variety of materials, colors, shapes, and designs that can be achieved with metal cladding. 

For a modern architect planning their next project, this range of choice begs the question: of all the options available, which is best for me and my goals? 

When it comes to metal cladding, nearly every project will use one of four options: stainless steel, aluminum, zinc, or copper. While there are other choices available (including an alloy of two of those metals), most projects will opt for one of the four. This article will examine each of these architectural metals and present the advantages, drawbacks, and key qualities of each material. 

Steel

In a certain sense, stainless steel is the most low-end option compared to aluminum, zinc, or copper – it is the heaviest of the four metals, which puts practical limits on the amount of steel cladding a structure can support. Steel is also the least durable, needing to be replaced whole decades before copper or zinc cladding would need the same. 

Despite having several drawbacks, steel is still a highly viable and flexible choice. Steel is almost always the cheapest metal in terms of upfront material costs, and although it is less durable, it will still last 35 to 40 years (depending on the coating of the steel) before needing replacement. Although steel is the only of the four metals naturally vulnerable to rust and corrosion, it achieves a multi-decade lifespan with a protective outer layer, typically either hot-dip galvanization with zinc or zinc-aluminum alloy or a polymer lacquer. This outer treatment has the added benefit of providing a range of color choices. 

Aluminum

Aluminum is the main competitor to steel since it’s also an inexpensive material relative to high-end metals like copper or zinc. In addition to being cost effective, aluminum is the most lightweight of the four materials, offering obvious benefits in terms of minimizing the total load on structures and potentially limiting the outlay on foundations. This relative lightness also makes aluminum very easy to bend and work on site, making it especially well suited to unusual, innovative, and futuristic cladding schemes. 

Aluminum is comparable to steel in terms of its durability, lasting for around 40 years based on the coating used, and can be produced in a variety of colors and textures based on the artificial coating it’s treated with, allowing for highly defined and lasting patterns not achievable with other metals. 

Lastly aluminum has a high expansion coefficient, meaning that it will contract and expand noticeably based on the surrounding temperature, which must be considered before committing to using aluminum in construction. 

Copper

Copper has a well-earned reputation as one of the most high-end premium architectural metals on the market. It’s aesthetically pleasing and is incredibly durable while still being comparatively light weight. Unlike aluminum and stainless steel, copper will naturally form a protective patina that protects it from corrosion and minor scratches. Newly installed copper will be the traditional reddish gold color, and, as it’s exposed to air, will transition over time through shades of brown before reaching the famous pale greenish-blue. 

All of these attractive qualities do come with downsides however as copper is the most expensive of the four metals by a noticeable margin, making it difficult if not sometimes impossible to cover large surfaces on a budget. Copper’s value can also make it a target for potential theft by people looking to resell the metal as scrap. 

Zinc

While none of the metals on this list could strictly be called the “best” of the four options, there is a lot to like about zinc. Zinc shares many of copper’s most desirable traits – it naturally forms a protective patina that protects the metal from corrosion and light physical damage, allowing zinc cladding to endure a century with little or no maintenance. Zinc is also aesthetically pleasing, its stately grays and dark blues equally appropriate for ultra-modernism and the “historic” look associated with 18th century decorative architecture. 

Like the other metals, aluminum, steel, and copper, zinc is highly workable, capable of being manufactured in a wide range of shapes, sizes, and textures, and can be used to cover the entire outer envelope of a building, even those with complex or avant-garde designs. Although zinc is more expensive than steel or aluminum, it is still a common enough material (the 24th most common on Earth) that it’s noticeably cheaper than copper, and is less at risk of being stolen than the more valuable material. 

In light of all this, zinc’s current rise in popularity makes sense – it bridges the gap between high and low-end materials, offering the key benefits of a high-end metal like copper while still being more affordable. 

Consult with Metal Experts Before Your Next Project 

If you are considering metal cladding for your next architectural project, set up a consultation with the experts in the field – MetalTech Global. We are the largest stocking center of architectural zinc in North America, with facilities that allow us to process and reprocess zinc to order for our clients. Capable of producing custom sheets and coils of architectural metals for our clients, we’re known for high quality, expertise and quick shipping. Contact us today for a consultation on your next project.

The human species has known about zinc for a long time, with civilizations as ancient as Rome being aware of the element, though they only knew it in a powder form they called “cadmia”, an accidental afterproduct of copper smelting. The Romans smelted cadmia with copper to create brass, and later even used more purified zinc powder as medicine. 

Humans as a species have come a long way since then, and so has our relationship with- and understanding of zinc. As a highly flexible metal (both literally and figuratively), zinc boasts a vast array of uses from prototyping products, building small components in electronics, and for use in architecture and construction. 

This article will examine specifically that last usage, specifically cast zinc as it’s been used in architecture. We’ll look at how it has been used historically, as well as consider where zinc stands in the modern market, and how viable and valuable it is to modern architects and designers. 

Historic Uses of Cast Zinc

While humans have technically used the metal since at least the Roman era, it wasn’t until a few hundred years ago that we really began to understand and widely use zinc. The first decade of the 19th century saw the first major production center for extracting, processing, and smelting zinc, as well as the discovery of how to roll zinc into sheets so useful for lightweight and durable roofing.

While many were still trying to come up with the best uses for the metal, it wasn’t until the 1830s that the process of hollow casting zinc was discovered. Beginning in Germany and Austria (where the casting process was discovered and perfected) over the next few decades of the 19th century, Europe saw an explosion of decorative zinc, from interior elements like lamps, statutes, and pedestals, to exterior features like cornices, door dressing, columns, and balconies. 

Since it is very easily molded, is cheaper than stone, and can be easily painted to resemble more expensive metals, cast zinc quickly replaced or became a common alternative for other building materials in much of Europe. Zinc soon replaced iron used for ornaments and cladding since the finer elements on large architectural pieces made from cast iron tended to come out impure or imperfect. It even replaced some carved wood filigree since cast zinc could offer equal levels of detail, improved durability over wood, and still had a lower price than other durable metals like copper. 

In the United States, zinc was historically popular in New York City in the last half of the 19th century in the form of roofing and statuary made of cast zinc. Although zinc started to decline in popularity at the start of the 1900s, more or less disappearing in common use by the 1950s, many historic statues in the US (such as the famous Puck statue posed on the Puck Magazine building in New York) are made from zinc. 

Can it Be Done Today?

With all this information in mind, we’re able to consider the main question of this article – is zinc still a viable and relevant architectural metal? At MetalTech Global, we can confidently say from our own experience that the answer is a clear “yes.” As the only architectural metals company in the USA (and possibly the world) with our own in-house zinc foundry and casting facility, we’re constantly exploring and improving upon construction and design. 

With our custom in-house zinc fabrication facility, we are able to create everything from intricate art pieces of cast zinc to custom designed wall paneling and cast facade pieces, all from recycled, post-processed zinc scrap captured during the production process, smelted into ingots, and cast into one-of-a-kind custom pieces for your installation.   

Beyond the historic uses of zinc discussed in this article (roofing, statues, and decorative elements) cast zinc in the modern marketplace can be used for cladding, facades, and wall paneling in a variety of styles and functionalities. From flatlock panels of varying shape and size, to slot-in facade and cassette panels, to corrugated panels that regulate light and temperature around a building’s exterior, zinc has an incredible range of uses in modern architecture, and MetalTech Global is at the forefront of this next evolution of architectural metals.

Choosing Zinc for Your Next Project

With years of experience in the field, MetalTech Global is a trusted manufacturer and distributor of sustainable architectural metals. We envision a world where buildings are constructed with efficiency and durability in mind, intentionally designed to stand sustainably for decades with little need for repair or replacement. Because it’s durable, highly recyclable, more cost effective than similar metals, and easily cast into different shapes, zinc is the ideal material for meeting our goal. 

In addition to practical benefits, cast zinc is aesthetically pleasing and flexible, and with the ability to fabricate cast zinc to order for construction projects, MetalTech Global can generate anything from simple paneling to unique artistic creations. For example, carefully perforated zinc sheets are used to produce our “PixArt”, as seen on The Star, home of the Dallas Cowboys, or the Solar Decathlon in China

As the largest stocking center for architectural zinc in the United States, MetalTech Global is here to offer its expertise in realizing the full potential of your company’s next project. Request a quote for your project today!

Although roofers in Europe have long been familiar with zinc as a construction material, this metal is only just beginning to come into fashion in the United States. However, in Europe, especially countries like Belgium, France, and Germany, many to most urban homes use zinc roofing (roughly 85% of roofs in Paris are made of zinc). Its popularity is no small wonder, given that zinc offers a wide variety of advantages over other similar materials used in roofing and cladding. 

This article will offer insight into the reasons why this zinc is so highly desirable. In particular, we will consider the advantages of zinc and consider just how suitable it is as a construction material.

Durability

Perhaps the single most desirable aspect of zinc is its incredible durability as a construction material. This strength comes from the fact that zinc roofing will naturally last for decades (up to a century) before needing replacement, and requires very little maintenance in order to do so.

Longevity

Zinc will naturally last much longer than the other common roofing choices in America. Asphalt shingles (currently the most common material for roofing in the US) will need to be fully replaced roughly once every ten years. Cast steel sheets are certainly more durable in comparison, but in order for steel to last as long as zinc, it must be galvanized (generally with a coating made up of aluminum and zinc). The only other roofing material that can naturally last as long as zinc is copper, but it tends to be a much costlier option, potentially even prohibitively so. Zinc offers a perfect middle ground of extreme durability while still being competitively priced. 

Low Maintenance

The next major factor contributing to zinc’s incredible durability is the fact that, not only will zinc roofing last for several decades, it will require very little maintenance in order to do so. This is thanks to zinc’s patina, a protective outer layer that will form naturally over time. When a zinc roof is first installed, it will start off a very dark gray color. Over time the metal will oxidize and change to a lighter gray or bluish color. 

This patina process protects a zinc roof in two ways. Firstly, the oxidized outer layer will naturally protect the metal from rust or any kind of damage that may result from exposure to moisture or air over time. Secondly, zinc’s patina actually allows the metal to self-heal from damage. While a zinc roof can be scratched or damaged on the surface, the continual oxidation process will eventually “heal” over the damage with a fresh layer of patina, eliminating the need for repairs on anything but major damage. 

Due to the desirable qualities of a patina, it’s possible (and common) to purchase zinc roofing that is pre-patinated so that this defensive layer is already established as soon as the roof is installed. 

Other Benefits of Zinc

Apart from its incredible lifespan, there are several other factors contributing to zinc’s overall attractiveness as a roofing material.

Natural Antimicrobial Properties

In addition to its other benefits, zinc has one more strength that contributes to its longevity as a construction material – it is naturally antimicrobial. Zinc is even commonly used as an ingredient in oral hygiene products for this very reason. This means that algae, moss, lichen, and mildew will not be able to take root and grow on a zinc roof, eliminating yet another maintenance need common in other roofing materials. 

Sustainability

Zinc’s sustainability is another factor making it a good choice for roofing in the long run. Zinc requires less energy than aluminum or copper to smelt and process, is up to 100% recyclable, and is a naturally highly abundant metal (the 24th most common found on Earth). This sustainability means that not only will zinc roofs last a long time, we can continue to produce them for a long time with reduced harm to the environment. 

Using Zinc for Your Next Construction Project

MetalTech Global is the nation’s premiere distributor and fabricator of coil, sheet and finished architectural metals products. Working with our affiliates, we are promoting the use of sustainable metal products in the building. 

We envision that home and commercial construction will be committed to using only durable and reusable products. MetalTech Global can help your commitment be successful as durability, reusability, and sustainability is our area of expertise. We work with companies like elZinc America, VMZinc, Lorin Industries, and Hussey Copper to provide the highest quality architectural products in natural metals. 

While zinc has been used extensively in Europe for hundreds of years, it is a relatively new building metal in North America, and its potential for robust, beautiful structures is unmatched. As of 2021, MetalTech Global is the largest stocking center of architectural zinc in North America, with the capability of re-processing sheets and coils for customers on demand.

Contact us today for architectural metals, coils, panels, metal fabrication and cutting, folding, and more!

Any modern architect working in the world today knows that the range of potential materials available for construction projects is larger than it ever has been, and likely to only increase over time. This brings us to zinc – a material that humanity has used in construction and architecture since approximately the 19th century. 

While zinc has been in use in the world of architecture for well over a century, it hasn’t always been a popular or commonly used material, though its use is becoming more widespread in modern architectural projects. There are a variety of reasons for this rise in popularity, not least of which is the fact that zinc is a material that allows for a variety of unique shapes and structures in construction. It can be used for singular and visually fascinating designs, or more simply as an effective option for roofing or siding. Due to its flexibility, zinc should be a strong consideration for any architect interested in creating unique designs with custom metal fabrication.

But modern construction prioritizes more than aesthetics, as environmentally friendly construction becomes more and more in demand to accommodate both new regulations and independent green initiatives. This article will offer an overview of the key environmental considerations of zinc as a construction material.

Zinc Production

 Let us first take a look at how zinc sheet is produced. This process breaks down into four basic steps:

Alloying is the initial step, where zinc ore is melted into liquid and combined with a carefully measured amount of alloying elements like copper, titanium, or aluminum. 

Casting is the process where the liquid metal is poured into a casting machine and solidified in the form of a solid sheet of metal which is usually 12 millimeters thick and one meter wide. This carefully controlled process allows the machinery involved to produce a fine, homogenous grain structure in the metal. 

Rolling involves passing the zinc sheet under heavy rolling machinery three to five times to reduce it to the desired thickness and cool the metal. Again, the process is carefully monitored and controlled to produce the desired mechanical properties in the material.

Slitting and packaging is the final stage involves cutting the now rolled zinc into either sheets or coils so it can be sold and used. 

Environmental Benefits of Zinc

Zinc is an environmentally friendly option for construction and architecture. Its “green” benefits can generally be broken down into three categories – the production process, its effective lifetime as a construction material, and its recyclability. 

Production:

Like nearly all construction materials, zinc must be extracted from the Earth with mining technology and techniques. However, zinc does offer an ecological advantage over other similar materials. Due to its lower melting point, less energy is required to process zinc ore into a metal, needing only around half of the heat energy needed to produce copper or steel, and only 25% of the energy needed for aluminum. Likewise, the amount of zinc present in the earth has seen no appreciable decline in the history of its use as a production material.

Lifetime Duration:

Zinc offers another distinct ecological advantage in its longevity. When processed into its pure form used in construction, zinc develops a thin outer layer (or “patina”) over its surface which protects the metal from environmental forces such wind or rain. This patina can also protect the metal from scratches or other forms of direct physical harm, as it is self-healing, preserving its aesthetic and durability. 

These characteristics make zinc a popular choice in a variety of architectural needs, but especially as roofing and wall cladding. Many European countries contain houses whose zinc roofs were originally built in the 19th century and are still in good repair today. 

On top of the added perk of a reduced need for maintenance, this durability offers an obvious ecological benefit in that zinc installations will last for a long time without needing to be replaced, and thus reducing demand for creating new materials. This is an obvious benefit over previously popular options like asphalt shingles, which need to be thrown out and replaced after about a decade. 

Recycling:

The final environmental advantage that zinc offers is that it’s completely recyclable. This means that it can be produced easily and effectively from old material taken from demolished or re-roofed structures. Indeed, zinc as a raw material is nearly 100% recyclable, a figure that drops only to 95% recyclable when dealing with zinc used as roofing or cladding. 

All of this reduces the demand for raw zinc extracted through mining, which offers a huge ecological boon over other materials with less robust recyclability. Between 90 to 95% of zinc used in the architectural industry comes from recycled materials. Old zinc panels or sheets will be used as raw material in the alloying phase of production, being melted down and recombined with alloying elements to create new zinc sheets. 

Using Zinc Sheet for Your Next Project

MetalTech Global is the nation’s premiere distributor and fabricator of coil, sheet and finished architectural metals products. Working with our affiliates, we are promoting the use of sustainable metal products in the building. 

We envision that home and commercial construction will be committed to using only durable and reusable products. MetalTech Global can help your commitment be successful as durability, reusability, and sustainability is our area of expertise. We work with VMZinc to provide the highest quality architectural products in natural metals. 

While zinc has been used extensively in Europe for hundreds of years, it is a relatively new building metal in North America, and its potential for robust, beautiful structures is unmatched. As of 2021, MetalTech Global is the largest stocking center of architectural zinc in North America, with the capability of re-processing sheets and coils for customers on demand.

Contact us today for architectural metals, coils, panels, metal fabrication and cutting, folding, and more!

Metal wall cladding is growing increasingly more prominent in commercial and residential projects. It is predominantly helpful for protective and aesthetic functions, dependent on the material and the application. Today, there are a plethora of wall cladding materials to choose from to suit every builder or designer’s tastes and preferences.

Cladding, which comes in diverse textures and designs, can bring your exteriors and interiors to life by adding a vivid and sophisticated aesthetic to otherwise more standard buildings. You can apply wall cladding to an intermediary layer of battens or spacers to give interior or external walls a decorative layer, 

If you have considered utilizing wall cladding in your upcoming project, this post will cover everything you need to know about it, including its function, benefits, and different types. 

The Basics of Wall Cladding

The procedure of cladding involves laying one material on top of another. Cladding is not only employed on exterior walls, but it is also essential in adding an artistic feature to interior design. It is typically non-structural, implying it does not affect the architectural foundation nor support weight. Most importantly, it is intended primarily to be durable, and it may bring advantages such as waterproofing and insulation.

Exterior & Interior Wall Cladding

Exterior Wall Cladding

The technique of coating a structure with another material is referred to as exterior wall cladding. The purpose of exterior wall cladding is to enhance the appearance of a particular wall. However, it also contains certain practicable benefits, making it an excellent and cost-effective solution to transform the look and design of an exterior wall.

Interior Wall Cladding

Interior wall cladding also serves as a protective coating for commercial buildings’ internal walls. Interior wall cladding materials come in numerous designs, styles, and colors to suit your preferences. Aside from its attractive appearance, premium interior wall cladding in certain applications can be resistant to scratches and abrasion, with higher intensity durability.

Types of Wall Cladding

Brick Wall Cladding

The oldest and most common type of wall cladding material is brick. In comparison to alternative building techniques, brick cladding dramatically reduces production expenses, which will help you save money, time, and effort. Brick comes in a wide selection of colors and can be finished to give various aesthetic options.

Zinc Cladding

Zinc is a very unique and useful material to be used as building cladding. Many of us are familiar with the oxidation process that takes place on steel, which forms rust after some time. Zinc has incredible corrosion resistance and is the material of choice for roofing and other external architectural applications due to its longevity and durability.

The beauty of zinc isn’t only in its patinated color, but also because it provides longevity for your building. A properly designed system can last 60 years or more under most climatic conditions and has the ability to heal over time scratches that were once present, making them virtually disappear.

Wooden Cladding

Wooden cladding comes in a panel, shingle, and horizontal board varieties. The solid wood is appealing, warm, and rustic, making it a favorite pick among many homeowners. Aside from that, it is also an excellent natural cladding and insulator that is sustainable and environmentally friendly.

Stone Cladding

Stone cladding is a decorative coating consisting of either simulated or real stone. It is vital in overlaying cement, steel, or concrete walls. Genuine stones such as slate, sandstone, and granite, and compounds that resemble natural stone but are lighter in weight, such as veneer, are also useful in this cladding method.

Vinyl Cladding

Vinyl cladding is a low-cost, simple-to-manage material that fits excellent on multiple kinds of structures. What’s more, it is also easy to incorporate insulation, and can be installed quickly and at a reasonable cost.

Stucco Cladding

In stucco cladding, products such as crushed stone, recycled concrete, gravel, and sand are being employed. Stucco cladding is prominent because of its adaptability, rot protection, durability, and fire resistance. Stucco cladding adds a lot of curb appeal to the interior of your property.

Ceramic Cladding

Ceramic cladding is not easily prone to damage and is highly resistant to adverse weather. It has the ability to survive for quite a long time with little wear and tear. It is also resilient against harmful UV radiation, so sun exposure, rain, or growing pollution levels do not affect the ceramic covering.

Aluminum Cladding

Aluminum claddings are the most durable and have a long life expectancy. Such exterior cladding requires minimal management and is often visible on a storehouse of a building’s walls. 

The Advantages of Wall Cladding

There are several advantages to using wall claddings. The following are among the primary benefits of utilizing wall cladding in your ongoing construction project:

  1. Supply ideal insulation and acoustic for sound absorption
  2. Increase the mechanical strength of the structure
  3. Chemical and air pollutants will not be present
  4. Strengthen resistance to cracking as the temperature goes up
  5. Serve as a decorative element
  6. Offer resistance to sunlight and UV damage
  7. Reduce the amount of water absorption
  8. Act as thermal insulation

Consult the Metal Experts for Your Next Project

MetalTech Global is the nation’s premiere distributor and fabricator of coil, sheet and finished architectural metals products. Working with our affiliates, we are promoting the use of sustainable metal products in the building. 

We envision that home and commercial construction will be committed to using only durable and reusable products. MetalTech Global can help your commitment be successful as durability, reusability, and sustainability is our area of expertise. We work with companies like elZinc America, VMZinc, Lorin Industries, and Hussey Copper to provide the highest quality architectural products in natural metals. 

While zinc has been used extensively in Europe for hundreds of years, it is a relatively new building metal in North America, and its potential for robust, beautiful structures is unmatched. As of 2021, MetalTech Global is the largest stocking center of architectural zinc in North America, with the capability of re-processing sheets and coils for customers on demand.

Contact us today for architectural metals, coils, panels, metal fabrication and cutting, folding, and more.