When your property’s roof has reached the end of its life, you must consider installing a new one. There are many different types of roof covering available in the UK. Perhaps, not all of them are suitable for your home or allowed by your local council. However, check out an architectural zinc roof as your next investment, and we think you’ll be convinced that this is the roof covering to choose.
Estimated prices are around £85-£150/m2 or between £4,800-£14,500 for a zinc roof installation on average-sized two-bedroom to four-bedroom houses, labour and materials included. But, prices depend on various factors.
This guide considers the cost of replacing a zinc roof and the factors affecting it. Also, we highlight the roof covering’s advantages and disadvantages and compare zinc to other roofing materials. Finally, we discuss the regulations you must comply with and how to find a qualified installer.
How Much Does A Zinc Roof Cost?*
The following table shows how the total estimated cost varies with the roof size. We assume the labour cost of a zinc roofing contractor ranges from £300-£500/day/person, and zinc sheet ranges from £70-£120/m2.
|Typical House||Approx. Roof Area||Zinc Supply Only||Duration||Total cost/m2||Total Estimated Cost|
|2-bed terraced||55m2||£3,900-£6,600||3 days||£85-£150/m2||£4,800-£8,100|
|3-bed semi-detached||70m2||£4,900-£8,500||4 days||£6,100-£10,500|
|4-bed detached||100m2||£7,000-£12,000||5 days||£8,500-£14,500|
*We compiled these estimated figures from various resources correct at the time of writing (October 2022). Every roof is unique, so use the data for calculating ballpark prices while researching quotations. We’ve disregarded additional work, such as repairing and replacing the roof structure. However, you should include these in your research. For accurate prices, contact a qualified local zinc roofer who can give you a quotation based on your roof and its unique variables.
11 Zinc Roof Price Factors & Considerations
Several factors influence the price of zinc roofs, which you must consider during research.
1. Roof repair vs replacement
Replacing a roof costs more than repairing a leak. However, it’s often difficult to determine the roof leak’s location unless visually obvious. Replacing a roof costs more in materials. In comparison, repairs use fewer materials but potentially use more labour.
The most common repair sites on a zinc roof are:
- Leaking seam
Although holes and dents are often easy to find, a leaking seam isn’t unless there’s physical damage. Typically, if a tree branch punctured a zinc roof during a storm, you would have a dent, hole, or tear in the zinc sheet. Suppose the damaged area covered 10m2. In that case, fixing it would cost around £850-£1,500. However, if you only have a dent, you could have a pinprick hole or a thinning of the zinc, which in time, allows water through. Although zinc doesn’t wear out per se, if the covering has many or extensive repairs, it might be an idea to replace the entire roof.
2. Roof Size and Design
Roofs with small areas use less zinc and take less time to install. Therefore, this costs less than a large roof. The previous table shows that a 55m2 roof costs a minimum of £4,800 while a 100m2 roof costs at most £14,500.
Generally, the more detail you design into your roof, the more work is involved in creating it, and potentially, there’s more chance of leaks occurring. Usually, you can’t get away from detailing a metal roof. Valleys or hips incorporated in the roof design are often unavoidable where roof planes meet, and roofs also include other features such as capping, fascias, soffits and roof trays.
3. Roof Shape
The roof pitch or slope, measured in degrees or as a percentage grade, governs its shape. Contractors usually install zinc on roofs with slopes of more than 5⁰ or 10%. However, significant increases in gradient make working on the slope difficult, thus increasing the time taken to cover the roof and its cost. Generally, a flat zinc roof is cheaper to install than a roof with a steep pitch because it uses fewer materials and takes less time.
4. New Flashings, Guttering and Other Roof Fittings
When installing a new roof, renew the ancillary waterproofing components too. After all, getting everything done using the scaffold already in place makes sense.
Typical waterproofing components include:
- Flashing – £20-£40
- Steel guttering – £30/length
- Steel downpipes – £60/length
It’s also worthwhile inspecting the vapour barrier, structural timber components and roof battens while exposed and before you cover them with a new roof covering.
- Vapour barrier – £5/m2
- Battens – £22/m2
- Nails etc. – £50 total
Finally, fascias and soffits will need replacing, and you should use uPVC for easy fitting, low maintenance and long lifespan. These cost about £2,000-£3,000 for a 70m2-100m2 area house.
5. Commodity prices
Zinc is a commodity traded on various metal markets. The New York Mercantile Commodity Exchange (COMEX) and the London Metal Exchange (LME) are the two most famous global markets, which handle the majority of metal transactions. Therefore, the metal’s price can vary daily depending on market fluctuations, and this price variation transfers to the customer.
There are small and large zinc roofing installation companies. Generally, large companies have higher overheads than small companies, so they’ll charge more. In contrast, large companies can deal with multiple customers simultaneously, unlike small companies. Therefore, there’s a trade-off between price and availability, and you must decide which is more critical for you. However, there are certain things to look out for when choosing a contractor, irrespective of company size and availability.
- The company must be experienced and specialise in zinc roofing.
- Is the company registered with the Federation of Traditional Metal Roofing Contractors (FTMRC)? The federation also checks out its members’ standard of work and publishes the assessment.
- Is the company an approved contractor of the leading zinc roofing manufacturers, RheinZinc and VMZinc?
7. Roof Insulation
The UK Building Regulations state that if you renew more than 25% of a roof, you must replace or renew the existing insulation to 270mm fibreglass or the equivalent thermal insulation using other materials. This amount of insulation for a semi-detached house of 70m2 costs about £300, saving up to £150/year on heating. Alternatively, for a detached house of 100m2, the cost would be £400, saving around £250/year on your heating bills.
8. Ease of Access
Transporting many rolls of zinc roofing could be problematic in the UK, as we have many narrow roads unsuitable for large articulated vehicles. Therefore, you might have to make alternative arrangements by widening driveways or transferring the load onto smaller vehicles. This issue will increase the cost per metre of your zinc covering.
The prices shown here are for southeast England. Other regions will have different prices depending on the local cost of living. Some areas might have labour rates as much as 15% cheaper than these.
Working at height always requires a safe working platform to prevent accidents. Therefore, you’ll pay extra to hire a scaffolding platform and appropriate access routes. Your quotation might include this price, or it might be an additional charge. When comparing quotes, ensure the scaffolding costs are like-for-like. Typically, a zinc roof can take up to five days to complete. In addition, allow two full days to erect and dismantle the scaffold. Therefore, hire the scaffolding for about a week, which should cost £900-£1,200 depending on local charges.
11. Skip Hire
Rubbish removal is something that often gets forgotten. Check the overall quotation contains the hire cost for a skip. If it doesn’t, hiring a small to medium-sized skip costs £150-£200. Ensure the waste isn’t mixed, or the company will charge you extra. Furthermore, if there’s valuable recyclable material, such as an old zinc roof, there might be a discount on the skip hire.
Signs Your Roof Requires Replacing
If your current roof shows no signs of leaking or is relatively new, leave it alone. Otherwise, look for specific signs indicating a leak, and it’s time to replace or repair your old roof with a new zinc one.
- There are damp spots on walls and ceilings not caused by condensation.
- If the roof leaks when it rains, it’s almost impossible to find the leak’s location. Usually, there’s no choice but to replace the entire roof.
- Are there any visible dents, holes or tears in the roof covering?
- If the existing roof is tiled or slated, are several broken in various places?
- The current roof is nearing the manufacturer’s recommended lifespan.
Benefits of a Zinc Roof
Architectural zinc, the metal used in zinc roofs, is an alloy of zinc and titanium. Typically, this alloy has several benefits making it ideal for roof covering.
Good quality architectural zinc has a lifespan of 80-100 years.
The roll appears on site in the form of a roll. The installer runs the metal through a roller/shaper that changes the contour to fit the shape of the roof.
Architectural zinc is one of the most ecologically responsible roof coverings.
- It’s 100% recyclable without losing its quality or suffering significant degradation.
- The metal has a low toxicity level, meaning its runoff has little effect on the local ecology.
- It’s versatile and valuable as cladding and roofing.
- Zinc has the lowest melting point of all metals used in roofing. Therefore, compared to steel, copper and aluminium, it needs less energy to process and prepare for use.
- Its long lifespan of about 100 years means it doesn’t need replacing very often.
The metal alloy is strong and less prone to damage than copper or lead. When shaped into curves and vaults, its durability isn’t affected.
Architectural zinc has a low density. It’s incredibly lightweight, meaning it’s easier to handle, costs less to transport, and is, therefore, more energy efficient and easier to install.
Zinc is less reactive to water than other metal roofing materials and is highly resistant to corrosion. Therefore, it’s ideal when used in a high-humidity environment.
Over time, architectural zinc will self-repair minor nicks and scratches, allowing it to appear fresh and new for much longer. Furthermore, it forms a patina on the surface that protects against moisture and most chemicals.
Prevents mould and fungus
Architectural zinc prevents the formation and growth of fungi, mould and mildew on its surface.
Disadvantages of Zinc Roofing
Zinc roofing has some disadvantages, too. So, don ‘t think that everything is perfect.
The installation prices and materials costs are higher than many other types of roofing. Generally, metal roofs are more expensive than other roof coverings anyway. But, its price is 2-4 times higher than other metals, except copper, which costs up to 10% more than zinc.
As we said earlier, zinc naturally forms a protective coating or patina over its surface. However, the time it takes to do this varies with several factors. And it can be anything from 2-30 years. Therefore, there’s no guarantee of what the surface will look like.
Suppose companies install the zinc roof incorrectly without the manufacturer’s product training. In that case, moisture can become trapped underneath the panels causing leaks and mould growth.
Certain metals like copper, unprotected iron, or others with high electrical potential can cause galvanic corrosion when in contact with zinc roofing. However, the effect is reduced if the metal in contact is aluminium or galvanised steel. The zinc should have a special plastic protective coating if contact is unavoidable.
Zinc Roof Installation Process
The zinc installation process sounds straightforward when written down and is for a skilled installer. However, it’s difficult for an unskilled person to produce a quality finish, so don’t ever consider zinc roofing as a DIY project.
- When installing zinc roofs, they arrive on-site in a coil.
- The installer then passes the metal through a machine, moulding the metal into the correct profile and forming upturns on the two edges. These are called the undercloak and overcloak.
- The installer then cuts the trays to length.
- Next, the installer lays the trays from left to right across the roof.
- Finally, the installer joins the strips of malleable zinc by hand using a crimping iron. This method allows crimping curves and other shapes.
Zinc vs Alternative Roofing Materials
It’s helpful to compare a zinc roof with alternative roofing materials. Remember that these are estimated prices for materials only and might vary depending on several factors.
|Aluminium||Durable; Many paint colours available; Low maintenance; Recyclable; Rust-proof.||Expensive; easily dented or scratched.||£40-£75/m2|
|Clay||Long life; Environmentally friendly; Fire resistant; Easily repaired; Wide range of colours & styles.||Heavy; Difficult to install; Expensive; Fragile; Brittle; Expensive.||£125/m2|
|Concrete tiles||Strong; Durable; Easily repaired; Wide colour range; Fire resistant; Affordable.||Heavy; Fades over time; Deteriorates with time & weather; Attracts lichen and moss growth; Brittle; Difficult to install.||£35/m2|
|Felt||Lightweight; Affordable; Easily repaired; Easy installation.||15 years max lifespan; Affected by temperature; Needs regular maintenance.||£30-£50/m2|
|Galvanised corrugated steel||Durable; long lifespan; lightweight; flexible.||Expensive; Needs corrosion treatment.||£30-£200/m2|
|Slate||Natural colour; About 100 years lifespan; Fireproof.||Expensive; Heavy.||£70/m2|
|Thatch||Insulates well; Durable; Environmentally friendly; Looks good.||Flammable; Expensive; Needs regular maintenance; High building insurance; Needs regular chimney cleaning.||£100/m2|
|Zinc||Durable; Strong; Lightweight; Flexible; Recyclable; Maintenance free.||Expensive; Attractive appearance; Galvanic corrosion.||£70-£120/m2|
Planning Permission & Building Regulations
You must comply with various regulations and laws when installing a zinc roof.
You already have a structure with a roof, so it’s unlikely you’ll need planning permission unless you significantly alter its appearance or height.
You can perform some types of building work without submitting a planning application, known as Permitted Development Rights. However, some local authorities are stricter with permissions than others. So, contact your local planning authority for advice before beginning the project.
If the structure having the new zinc roof is a habitable building or connected to one, is over 4m high, has a floor area of more than 30m2, or is within 1m of a boundary, you must comply with the UK Building Regulations.
The UK government has compiled Approved Documents to help compliance when planning a building project.
- Approved Document A – Structure. This document specifies that the roof structure must be strong enough to support the roof’s weight.
- Approved Document B – Fire Safety. The roof covering must be fire-resistant.
- Approved Document E – Sound Insulation. The roof must have acoustic insulation.
- Approved Document F – Ventilation. The roof must have sufficient ventilation to prevent condensation from forming on the underside.
- Approved Document H – Drainage. The roof needs gutters and downpipes to divert rainwater away from the structure.
- Approved Document L – Thermal Insulation. Currently, the roof must have at least 270mm thickness of fibreglass insulation, or equivalent in other insulating materials.
- Approved Document 7 – Materials and workmanship. Using industry-standard installation methods, construct the roof from suitable materials with sufficient strength and weatherproofing ability.
As each roof is different, check with the local authority’s building control office for advice on whether your roof must comply with any other Approved Documents.
The local and national waste disposal regulations govern the handling, transporting and disposal of waste materials. As long as you use a reputable skip hire company, which is a registered waste handler, you won’t have any problems.
Final Hiring Checklist
Installing an architectural zinc roof is a skilled job requiring special equipment and using industry-standard fixing methods. Therefore, you must employ someone who knows what they’re doing. Ask the potential roofing contractor some simple questions to set your mind at rest.
As well as asking for a written quotation specifying what you’re paying for, the zinc roofing material specifications, and itemised prices, ask the following questions.
- Have they experienced installing zinc roofs?
- Do they have a portfolio of photographs and contact details of satisfied customers? If so, inspect them and follow up on the references.
- Are they a member of a government-approved competent person scheme?
- Are they members of official trade and professional associations? Some names to look out for include the National Federation of Roofing Contractors (NFRC), the Federation of Traditional Metal Roofing Contractors (FTMRC), and the Single Ply Roofing Association (SPRA).
- Ask about insurance. Contractors should have Public Liability Cover at the very least. Fortunately, professional associations insist on adequate insurance as a condition of membership.
- Have they received product-specific installation training approved by the zinc roofing manufacturer? Ask to see proof of training.
When your existing roof has worn out or is damaged beyond repair, it’s time to get a new one. An architectural zinc roof is an excellent choice, even though it’s more expensive to install than some other roof coverings. It’s a good investment because of its long lifespan, durability, attractiveness, and low environmental impact. But you need a qualified zinc roof installer to carry out the work.
Complete the form on this page, and you’ll get zinc roofing quotes from up to four qualified contractors. You can then inspect them at your own pace.