Cost effective, durable, elegant — That’s what zinc roofing is all about. Add in its magical, self-healing ability and it could just be the best roofing material. Ever.
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Steel and aluminum roofing see much more play in the roofing market, thanks to their wide availability, lower costs, and mass production. Copper roofing is zinc’s real competition, and yet zinc wallops Copper when it comes to pricing.
However, Zinc is no stranger to the residential metal roofing market in the US. Consider the fact that galvanized steel means zinc-coated Steel. It plays a significant role in ensuring Steel doesn’t prematurely rust. In the European roofing market, over 70% of all residential metal roofs utilize zinc.
Did you know? Zinc is the greenest and longest lasting roofing material. Because is zinc has the lowest melting point of all metals, it requires only a quarter of energy to melt it compared to steel and copper. Zinc roofs can last for hundreds of years. Zinc is also 100% recyclable.
How Much Does a Zinc Roof Cost?
Cost of Materials
The material costs for Zinc roofing range between $6.50 and $10.50 per sq. ft., or $650 to $1,050 per square. The breakdown for material costs is as follows:
- $6.50 to $8.50 for Zinc Shingles or Tiles
- $6.50 to $10.50 for Zinc Standing Seam
Note: A roofing square equals 100 square feet. It’s the term professional contractors routinely use when calculating both costs and materials for a roofing project.
A typical two-story home with a roofing surface measuring 2,300 square feet, is referenced as having 23 squares of roofing work to be done.
All roofing jobs will also require appropriate fasteners, underlayment material, flashing, and other misc. material. — These necessary supplies will add around $1.00 per sq. ft. or $100 per square.
New Shingle Roof
New Metal Roof
New Flat Roof
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Professional Installation (Labor) Costs
Professional installation (warrantied and insured labor) costs average $5.50 to $10.50 per sq. ft. or $550 to $1,050 per square depending on your location and overall complexity of the roof. This gives us a total installation cost of $12.00 to $21.00 per sq. ft. or $1,200 to $2,100 per square of zinc roofing installed.
Contractor’s Cost Breakdown Example:
When obtaining multiple quotes for your upcoming roofing project, a true professional will provide a list of what each aspect of the job will cost. The more that is accounted for before the job is done, the less chance, or opportunity, for hidden costs to sneak into the final bill.
So, we’ll provide an estimate that helps you understand what to expect for a completed Zinc Roof on your house. Please note: This is just an example and an actual bid will vary by many factors which we’ll cover in the section below this.
Zinc Roofing: 2,255 sq.ft. (~23 roofing squares) = $29,750 (includes materials and warrantied installation)
Tear Off Existing Roof: $2,000
Disposal fees: $500
Building Permit: $500
Additional Materials: Flashing, fasteners, underlayment, etc. = $2,000
Total Project Cost: $34,750
Factors and Contingencies
Material Form – As mentioned earlier, zinc is very versatile. For larger residential structures, and routinely on commercial buildings, zinc roofing panels or standing seam are used.
Zinc standing seam panels come in on the upper end of the material costs, or $6.50 to $10.50 per sq. ft. Whereas zinc routinely appears on residential homes as tiles or shingles, and falls in in the range of $6.50 to $8.50 per sq. ft.
An example of Zinc Shingle Colors
Roof Layout – The height of the roof from the ground, along with height of the peak from the lowest edge of the roof, all translate into timing considerations for professionals. Getting material and workers up and down, and ease of doing so are the key factors.
The slope of a roof is generally a determining factor, with steeper inclines costing more. Then whether it is a simple say 2-sloped gable roof, or a more complex roof with multiple angles and dormers — this adds up to extra labor time, higher installation cost.
Tear off / Disposal – It’s possible to eliminate this charge if the existing roof is a single layer and it is determined the roofing deck is in otherwise good/solid condition. If not known, a professional roofer will probably wish to repair the base later to help you, the homeowner, avoid problems down the road.
Quality Installation – This can vary by region or availability of experienced zinc installers in your region. The more the merrier, as you’ll benefit from competitive pricing.
Without such competitive pricing, the average roofer will be self-convinced they can do the work, but may lack ability to obtain materials in the most cost effective manner, or may overlook the details that go into quality of a completed zinc roof.
Plus, with professional labor, comes the warranty, and if the less experienced zinc roof installer is using the same criteria, they do for any roofing job, then that doesn’t bode well for you. Though having a warranty is better than not having one. Be sure you understand what the warranty entails, exactly.
Benefits and Value of a Zinc Roof
Zinc is a metal that is non-corrosive. This means it will not rust, nor be adversely affected by weather. Instead, zinc, like copper, benefits from aging and weathering.
Zinc begins its life on your roof with a nice dark gray. During it’s aging, it transforms via a patination process. The dark layer is “sacrificed” and changes the metal to a light gray, nearly blue color, which is also beautiful.
The resiliency factor of Zinc is a truly awesome benefit. A known drawback for metal roofs in general is they can scratch, rather easily. Usually not noticeable from the curb but get enough of them and it can look worn.
Zinc however self-heals. While this appears to be magic, it’s technically the hydroxide carbonate layer that is naturally replenishing itself. Blemishes be gone!
For what its worth, thanks to the self-healing aspect of zinc (once it has fully undergone its patination), there is an established market that sells pre-patinated Zinc roofing. If the idea of your roof changing its color overtime is not appealing to you, then pre-patinated zinc roofing panels may be the way to go.
Durability is an important benefit. Most metal roofs will last at least 30 to 50 years because, well it’s metal. But Steel will eventually corrode in a manner that will show its wear enough to require replacement. Zinc skips this. It can last well over a hundred years with virtually no maintenance.
Further zinc roofing has excellent environmental value. It takes less energy to produce it than it does to produce other metals or alloys, which is what makes zinc eco-friendly. Its toxicity level is negligible, which is why there’s a push for ‘soft zinc’ to replace all lead-based flashing materials, regardless of the roof type.
Additional Benefits of Zinc Roofing
- 100% recyclable – as are most metal roofs
- Insect, mold and fire resistant
- Great ROI – averaging 85% to 90% in terms of recouped costs at any point — it’s a roof that will maintain its value for many, many decades
Important Caveats with Zinc Roofing
If a zinc roof is not properly installed (such as when an installer uses a non-breathable synthetic underlayment), the material can actually trap moisture and mold between it and the roof deck.
If moisture seeps into the house or causes the roof deck to disintegrate, then “Houston, we have a real problem!”. Proper installation by an experienced zinc roofing installer fully understands this and overcomes it.
The rate at which zinc patina forms is not set in stone. It could take a few years or a decade. It mostly depends on the climate, but not only does that vary by region, but also year to year in every region.
Fortunately, you can obtain pre-patinated zinc material from major zinc roofing manufacturers and suppliers.
Are you considering installing a zinc roof or know someone who has? Is so, be sure to share your concerns or experience with us!
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