Zinc: The Dark Horse of Metal Roofing – Zinc Roof Costs 2021

There are not many roofing materials that can match the longevity, durability, malleability, flexibility, resiliency, and cost-effectiveness of Zinc.

Not even aluminum or copper! Zinc roofs are known to last for hundreds of years, even in the most extreme environments.

How Much Does Zinc Roof Cost?

Truly unmatched durability, longevity, and classic beauty — that’s what zinc roofing offers to a homeowner. — At $12.50 to $18.50 per sq. ft. installed, it is the kind of value that is simply unmatched in all other roofing materials.

Zinc — Most Amazing Building Envelope Material You Never Heard of!

In the US, the whole idea of using Zinc as a roofing or cladding material for a house may sound other-worldly.

Aluminum and steel dominate residential metal roofing market, while asphalt shingles are by far the most popular overall roofing material.

When you also factor in natural slate, clay tiles and cedar/wood roofing options, Zinc barely registers on most people’s radars. Though this trend is changing, slowly.

Did you know? 70% of residential roofs in Europe are covered with Zinc. In Paris, this number goes up to 85%.

via Metal Tech USA

Metal roofing is often chosen for its durability and longevity. All properly designed and correctly installed high-end metal roofs are likely to last at least 50 years.

Yet, for that to hold true for steel, for example, it must be coated with metallic finishes such as G-90 galvanized steel and Galvalume (zinc and aluminum coating), along with high quality paint finishes such as Kynar 500. With Zinc, as well as copper, that is not the case.

Both Zinc and Copper form protective patina, meaning they will not rust nor be adversely impacted by weathering.

Both metals benefit from aging, and their patina process.

With Zinc, it starts out dark, as in dark gray / near black and then changes to a patina light gray or bluish color. Zinc can also be painted virtually any color, which serves as a sacrificial layer prior to the patination process.

Did you know? Thanks to Zinc’s naturally-forming self-healing properties, it can provide years of virtually maintenance-free roof and building envelope protection

Zinc Standing Seam Roof with level changes on a House

via CraftCorp

What makes Zinc truly fascinating is its resiliency. All metal roofs, including Zinc, can be scratched. With Steel, scratches in its coating layer will expose the base material to the effects of oxidation and corrosion.

With Zinc, it actually self-heals. You read that right, Zinc if scratched will self-correct.

The protective (patina) layer of Zinc is technically hydroxyl carbonate that will, over time, reform itself and thus eliminate blemishes or scratches. This is one, of a few reasons, why the market for Zinc will often sell pre-patinated Zinc roofing.

As you may have guessed, Zinc is extremely durable. When steel is “galvanized”, it is really just adding a protective layer of Zinc to steel base to protect it from oxidation, as Steel is naturally corrosive, or will rust when exposed to salt, water, or moist environment over a long period of time. galvanized and Galvalume steel will forgo that aging for a couple of decades.

Like most metals, Zinc is insect-proof, fire resistant, and mildew / fungus-proof. Zinc also benefits from being non-toxic. Because of its low to non-existence toxicity level, soft zinc is marketed as replacement for flashing material for all roofs.

Back in the day, the traditional material was lead, then steel, but soft zinc, offers virtually the same level of durability with no known toxicity impact.

Did you know? Run-off water from Zinc is considered ‘clear’ or contaminant free, which most metals can’t readily claim. Thus, a zinc roof is a great option for homeowners interested in

rainwater collection.

Like many other metals, zinc is fully recyclable. Plus, it will reflect solar radiant heat, as most metals do to some degree, which prevents the unwanted transfer of heat from the roofing material into the attic space.

On the contrary: Asphalt shingles gain a lot of heat during the day and transfer much of it inside your home.

Moreover, Zinc has even greater environmental value in that it takes less fuel to manufacture it, really to boil it and shape it into finished roofing product.

Did you know? Aluminum and steel use a good two to four times the amount of energy in their production compared to Zinc.

All this value would make you think it must be at least as expensive as Copper. Nope. Not necessarily.

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The Cost of a Standing Seam Metal Roof, Plus Pros & Cons 2021

Standing seam is the premier choice for metal roofing. It is also the most expensive; around two to three times the cost of corrugated metal panels and asphalt shingles, and about 20% to 30% above metal shingles.

Standing seam offers unbeatable value (durability, longevity, energy-efficiency, and style) that is hard for any other roofing material to match. Let’s explore this in further detail:

Cost

G-90 Galvanized Steel is the most popular or most-often used option for residential standing seam roofs. The “G” here refers to the amount of the zinc plating, as in .90oz per square foot.

Did you know? Standing Seam is also available in Aluminum, Galvalume G-90 Steel, Zinc and Copper

While technically, aluminum is more expensive than steel, the reality is the costs aren’t noticeably different when considering what is being sold to homeowners by quality contractors.

If the materials were not coated and not finished with factory painting, then perhaps the higher cost of aluminum would be something of note. In the current market, they are virtually the same cost.

Cost of Materials and Important Nuances on Pre-Cut vs. Custom-Fabricated Metal Panels

Standing seam metal panels and trim will cost between $3.50 and $5.50 per sq. ft. for made-to-order aka custom fabricated metal panels, depending on the overall order size, project location, and contractor’s supplier relationship.

In terms of steel coating quality and thickness or gauge, a 26-gauge (good), 24-gauge (better), or 26-gauge (best) Galvalume coated steel would be a better and a longer-lasting option compared to G-90 galvanized steel, especially in the heavy salt-spray, marine environments.

Total Cost per Square Foot Installed

A qualified contractor will likely have real metal samples, a brochure or catalog to show off all the possibilities for what’s available. They’ll provide all the information that backs up their work.

And, if going with the national average, their prices will normally fall in the range of $10.50 to $15.50 per sq. ft. to install standing seam on a typical house.

How to Find a Trusted Metal Roofer

Depending on your location, it can be tough to find a specialist roofing contractor that installs Standing Seam, but even more challenging is finding a pro that does it well.

Installation costs do take into account a number of factors, such as: how exactly will the panels be connected, what are some of the existing roof needs to address (i.e. attic insulation and ventilation, the tear off and disposal of the old roof, etc.), what are the options in terms of metals/alloys, colors and gauge or thickness of the material, whether the installer is properly insured, and whether or not any meaningful labor warranties are being offered.

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Liquid Roof Coating Cost, Plus Pros & Cons 2021

Of all the material types for a roof, a liquid roof coating is perhaps the oddest. It has multiple values, several material options and is definitely worth a more in-depth look.

Understanding Liquid Roof Options

Before the mid 20th century, liquid roof existed, but in an entirely different way than today. It used to be bitumen (think mortar) mixed with fillers, such as sand, straw, and later felt paper.

The one caveat was that bitumen needed to be applied hot. Piping hot, so as to form a liquid that could spread evenly. — And dangerously hot, because at times fires would occur. That’s not good, but it was the norm, until around 1960.

Enter the age of synthetics that amount to plastic and rubber in liquid form being adhered to the roof:

From 1960 to present, there are a wide range of materials such as acrylics, EPDM, asphalt and polyester urethanes. The technical names and variations are numerous while liquid EPDM is arguably the most popular, though competition certainly exists.

A key difference is all these new age materials are applied cold, meaning there is zero need to heat them, in order to spread the material on the roof deck. They act as a membrane, which encapsulates the roof with a waterproof layer, and protects what’s underneath.

Liquid roofing is very popular with DIY roof protection for RV’s, along with commercial roofing for added protection on flat roofs. Yet, they work just as well for residential properties that have a flat or low sloping roof. If you are utterly unfamiliar with liquid roof coating, take a look at the application process below:

Cost and Value

A liquid roof coating is otherwise known as sealing or spraying on a roof over the existing low-slope roofing system.

For residential properties, it is likely the roof deck already has some former material on the home that has some known problem, i.e. is leaking or water is pooling up.

So, the cost question is what’s the price to seal the roof? And the answer is, it will vary. — It will depend on what the material is that’s being sealed (or whether it ought to be removed, or just thoroughly cleaned with a pressure washer), what the new material will be, the actual slope of the roof, and the experience along with guarantees the applicator is able to provide.

A fair ball park for a low-end application can be as low as $1,500 for liquid roof coating of an entire roof deck. Possibly as low as $800 to $1,000, and lower if going the DIY route, which for the inexperienced has its obvious drawbacks.

Handyman Application:

More than $1,500 would be extraordinary, but possible if there is more to the job than just adhering the liquid membrane on a flat roof with little to nothing penetrating from the roof. — Please note that the above prices reflect the cost of hiring a handyman to do the job.

Profession Installation:

If you decide to hire a professional roofing company that will pull the building permit for the job, do everything by the book and stand behind its work, then your cost will likely be a few thousand dollars to have a liquid roof coating professionally applied to a typical residential flat or low-slope roof.

Mid-Range and High-End Spray-on Liquid Roof Coating applications

Prices for a professional application of a liquid roof coating will likely be as follows:

  • The cost of applying a polyurethane foam coating can be as little as $3 to $5 per square foot.
  • The cost of acrylic coating will be between $5 to $7 per square foot.
  • Silicon is the agreed upon premier spray application, but the material costs can drive installation prices up to $10-$12 per square foot or more.

ROI Details:

With value, we are looking to communicate return on investment (ROI). In our advantages section below, we present the positive values that come from such a roofing application. ROI will depend on material chosen and quality of application.

In general, 10 years of quality sealing ought to be expected. Less than that would be poor application and amount to bad ROI.

Solar-Reflective Liquid Roof Coatings

Cost of Materials for DIY Enthusiasts

With an energy-efficient, liquid-roof coating, the entire roof can be coated with a reflective material, which can make your roof more energy efficient and longer-lasting.

There are many liquid roof products on the market averaging roughly $100 for a 4.75 gallon container. A typical container can be used to cover approximately 250 square feet of roofing surface.

If you would like to have your entire roof coated, you can buy a pallet containing sixteen 4.75 gallon containers of liquid roof product such as Henry Solar-Flex White Roof Coating for about a thousand dollars at Home Depot.

A typical job of professionally applying a liquid roof coating on low slope roof will likely cost a few thousand dollars for a typical residential project.

Is the cost of applying a reflective roof coating a good investment?

Yes, applying a reflective roof coating is an excellent investment.* If the installation costs for a reflective roof coating (which vary) are slightly higher in certain situations, the long-term benefits can easily offer an attractive return on the installation investment, by providing:

  • Longer roof life, better durability—coatings protect the roof substrate from destructive UV
  • Reduced maintenance costs over the life of the roof; and coatings can provide the added bonus of being a water-resistant barrier
  • Better budget management due to predictable life extension of the roof (the opportunity to re-coat the roof rather than replace it)
  • Reduced installation risks
  • Minimal disruption to the occupants, operations during application, construction process, saving money in areas other than the roofing materials and application itself
  • A more desirable and comfortable work environment inside the building
  • Opportunity for energy credits, tax savings, rebates

*Coatings are considered “restoration” and not a new roof system installation. Therefore they may usually be expensed in the fiscal year during which they are applied instead of amortizing the cost over the life of the roof (as in a new membrane installation). — This can be a significant tax benefit to some building owners. Check with your CPA or CFO to properly apply this information to your own roof situation.

Is a special contractor required to install a reflective roof coating?

An experienced roofing contractor should apply the reflective roof coating.

Although the coating may look like ordinary architectural coating, successful application and long-term performance requires proper preparation, repair of leaks or damaged areas, and ultimately proper selection of the correct primer and coating system.

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