If you need new roofing, zinc tiles and panels make a cost-effective and durable solution. Zinc cladding is increasingly popular for its beautiful finish and look – giving homeowners a non-standard option for their homes.
This also means that if you live in an area that requires you to match the original materials of the home, you can’t use zinc cladding. Otherwise, zinc can be a beautiful way to re-roof your home.
On average, the cost of zinc roofing in the UK is £130-£160 per square metre for fit and supply. That also includes £20-£70 per m2 for materials. This is more expensive than ceramic tiles and tar.
However, with installation times cut to as little as 2-3 days, you’ll pay significantly less for labour costs. In fact, a total zinc roofing project may cost you as little as £4,500-£13,500 depending on the size of your home.
What Is A Zinc Roof?
Zinc roofing and cladding is a sheet roofing material that you can use instead of tile, shingles or wood. Zinc roofing cladding typically comes in large panels, featuring a core material with a zinc overlay.
The zinc creates a beautiful matte or satin sheen, which many homeowners prefer over shingles or tar.
In addition, these materials fit together seamlessly for a beautiful, watertight finish. Repair is also easy, as you typically only have to replace a single large panel.
And, zinc is corrosion resistant, meaning it lasts up to 100 years. That’s longer than almost any other roofing option.
It’s also flexible and sturdy, meaning it’s unlikely to easily tear or deform in wind.
Essentially, zinc roofing has a lot of benefits, although you will pay much more upfront than for a tar or similar roof.
Estimating Zinc Roofing Costs*
The cost of your zinc roof will primarily depend on the size of your home.
Here, most major costs are the cost of zinc per square metre and the cost of labour.
|3-Bedroom Terraced House||51||£820-£3,825||£450-£600||£1,270-£4,425|
|5 Bedroom Detached||115||£2,300-£8,050||£1,200-£1,500||£3,500-£9,550|
*Please note these costs are based on quotes at the time of writing in May 2023. Actual costs are subject to change and may be different at the time of reading.
Factors Which Impact Zinc Roofing Prices
There are several factors which can impact the cost of your new zinc roof. For example, the time required to strip the old one.
Cost of Zinc Panels
Zinc panels and cladding are not all priced the same. In fact, standard pricing deviates by as much as £50 per square metre. That’s almost always dependent on the supplier and the quality.
Mid-range zinc panels typically cost around £50 per m2 and that’s what you can expect to pay. That puts zinc about on par with using slate tiles – but more expensive than concrete or shingles (about £30 per m2) and significantly cheaper than clay tiles (about £125 per m2).
However, differences in quality can be hard to see from one brand of zinc cladding to another. If you discuss options with your installer, you might find that you’re getting the same brand as another supplier is offering for cheaper.
Therefore, it’s important to ask around and to get more quotes, with materials costs detailed, so you can see what you’re getting.
Stripping Old Roof
Chances are, you still have to strip the old roof. That will be time-consuming and costly. For example, if you remove old shingles, you can expect that to take several days of labour.
In addition, you’ll have to rent a skip and pay for load removal, typically at about £125- £250 for the skip – and you’ll likely need two for a full roof.
From there, you might have to re-do the underlayment or the plastic and waterproofing layers between your home and the actual roof. That can add thousands in additional costs if you’re not prepared to pay them.
In fact, it’s almost always better if you take the opportunity to re-do these materials when you can, because it’s much cheaper to do while the old roof is up. You’ll add on a day or two of extra labour.
On the other hand, your home will be significantly more weather proof and ready to last another 10+ years before you invest more in the roof.
Local Cost of Notifications
In most areas, you’ll have to notify building control when you replace the roof. That will cost £170- £690 depending on your location. However, if you hire from the Competent Person’s Register, your roofer will be able to handle notifications for you.
In addition, it’s important to keep in mind that you might need planning permission for your zinc roof. For example, if you live in a listed building. Or, if your area requires that you replace old materials with materials matching the original building materials.
In either case, you’d have to submit plans to the council and get permission before going ahead with the work. Your local council or your roofer should be able to assist you with figuring out if this is necessary.
Type of Roof
Flat roofs are the cheapest to re-roof. Terraced roofs are also cheaper to terrace than gabled roofs. And, the steeper your roof, the more expensive it will be to re-roof. This just means your labourers will spend more time on the roof and may have to take additional safety precautions.
In addition, you might find that access issues increase the cost of re-roofing. For example, if you live in a semi-detached home, it will increase the amount of labour required, because your builders will have to work around the roof where it connects to neighbours.
They may also have access to some parts of the roof blocked – which can cause significant delays.
Size of Roof
The larger your roof, the longer it will take to re-roof. Here, zinc panels are an advantage over tiles, because they’re typically quite large.
Galvanised metal sheets can be up to 4 metres long and usually about 1.5 metres wide, which means you can very quickly cover even a large roof. This means it’s unlikely to take more than 4 days, even for a very large roof.
In fact, once the underlayment and other details have been covered, you could see your zinc roof go up in as little as a day. Therefore, increases in the size of the roof will mean more costs for materials and more time for labour.
However, it’s not a direct increase – because you’ll pay less per m2 for larger sheets and larger sheets cover an area more quickly.
Local Cost of Labour
The cost of labour is usually a smaller part of fitting a zinc roof than for most other roof types. However, you can still expect it to hover between £1,000 and £1,500 for most roof types.
Here, you can expect that a team of two builders will take about 3 days to fit your zinc roof. At the national average day-rate of £150 per labourer, that’s £300 per day. However, you could pay up to £250 per day per labourer in areas with a higher cost of living. For example, the greater London area.
On the other hand, costs could go down to about £100 per day in some parts of the UK.
5 Benefits Of Zinc Roofs
There are plenty of reasons to choose a zinc cladding roof. For example, you might just like the look. On the other hand, there are other pros to consider.
Zinc roofs are flexible, resistant to corrosion and a good choice for wet and windy areas. If properly fixed, zinc roofs are more resistant to wind and weather damage, better resistant to salt corrosion and better resistant to water damage than most other roof types.
That’s because the galvanization on the zinc creates a protective coating. The zinc also reacts to water or carbon dioxide by forming a protective coating.
While galvanised steel has the first layer of protection, it doesn’t have the second. This means you’ll benefit from more rust-resistance.
Zinc roofs are typically rated for 100 years or more. That compares to asphalt shingles which are rated for 15-30 years.
Metal shingles are rated for 30-45 years. And, even the most expensive roofing material, ceramic tiles, are only rated for about 50 years – although they could theoretically last indefinitely in the right conditions.
This means your zinc roof is unlikely to require replacing in your lifetime.
You’ll spend a bit more upfront than you would for shingles, but you’ll be secure in the fact that your roof is durable and will last for a long time. And, if something does go wrong, you can always spot fix by replacing the single panel.
Many people love the dull gleam of a zinc roof, because it looks smoother and more modern than steel.
In addition, with corrugated and lined zinc roofs available, you can choose different roof styles to suit your home.
4. Low Maintenance
Zinc roofs require virtually no maintenance over their lifespan. That means no retarring, no refixing tiles and no removing birds’ nests from under tiles. That can save you a significant amount of time and hassle over a traditional roof.
However, you might still have to clean the roof on occasion – although this isn’t necessary unless water is pooling on it.
5. Possibly Eco-Friendly
Zinc materials require fewer carbon emissions to process.
In addition, many zinc roofs (but not all) are made of recycled materials. And, unlike galvanised steel, old zinc roofs are frequently recycled to remake new zinc panels, so the materials live on rather than going to a dump.
That makes zinc more eco-friendly than some alternatives – although it’s not “green”.
Roofing Installation Process
Installing a zinc roof is normally a 1–2-week process depending on what you’re starting from.
This guide assumes you’re starting from having an existing roof.
- Find a roofing professional that offers zinc roofs
- Rent skips to store old roofing material
- Strip the old roof – 3-5 days
- Assess the underlayment such as insulation, waterproofing, etc. and replace these materials where necessary – 1-2 days
- Install a protective layer of plastic to prevent damage by the elements
- Bring ladders or scaffolding where necessary – if scaffolding, add +1 day to the job
- Fit zinc panels – 1-3 days
- Sealing and cleanup – 1 day
In most cases, removing the old roof will be the bulk of the labour, especially if you have asphalt or tar roofing.
Can I Install A Zinc Roof Myself?
You cannot install a zinc roof on your own. However, if you have several skilled friends who are willing to help. It is never safe to work at height alone.
It is also never safe to handle a zinc panel alone – let alone when standing on a rooftop – where it will catch the wind which could result in a fall.
However, most homeowners do not want to fit their own roofs for several reasons:
- Working at height is dangerous and you are exposing yourself to risk of fall damage
- Buying the ladders and safety equipment you need to work on your roof can cost as much as paying labourers to do the work for you
- You need harnesses and rigging to prevent falls
- Fitting a zinc roof means using specialty equipment to fit and seal the panels (typically rivet or pressurised nail guns) which are expensive for homeowners to purchase.
- You’ll take significantly longer to fit a roof than professionals will
- Material costs will go up because you’ll have to source materials, underlayment, pay for delivery, etc. yourself
- If you need planning permission, you won’t get it unless you’re a certified roofing contractor
Essentially, installing a zinc roof yourself is dangerous and potentially more expensive than paying the pros to do it. And, that makes sense if you need £300 for a ladder and safety rigging, £150 for tools and £100 for delivery – before the cost of sourcing other necessities like plastic tarping.
Zinc Roof vs Other Types
There are dozens of roof types that you can use on your home. However, the most common in the UK are slate, concrete tile, clay tile, shingle, EPDM and bitumen or tar.
|Type of Roofing||Pros||Cons|
|Zinc||Durable, 100+ year lifespan, Easy to install||Expensive|
|Slate||Durable, water resistant||Porous and must be sealed underneath, expensive, time-consuming to install, cracks easily, must be cleaned to prevent degradation|
|Concrete||Cheap, versatile, durable||Porous and must be sealed underneath, time-consuming to install, cracks easily|
|Clay||Aesthetic, eco-friendly||Expensive, time-consuming to install, cracks easily, must be cleaned to prevent degradation,|
|Shingle||Cheap, energy-efficient||Requires maintenance, must be replaced every 10-15 years|
|EPDM||Cheap||Ugly, must be replaced every 10-15 years, requires maintenance|
|Bitumen||Cheap, Fast to Install||Requires maintenance, should be replaced every 10-15 years, only good for flat roofs|
You can save money by comparing different roof types by comparing quotes and getting a good idea of what different installers charge.
You might find that opting for an alternative roofer will cut costs for the same material by as much as half.
Hiring A Roofer Checklist
Hiring a roofer is a big deal, because the quality of work performed will impact maintenance and longevity of your roof.
Here, hiring a professional means ensuring that work is done well, to protect your home and the roofing material.
- Are you NFRC Competent Person Scheme certified?
- Do you have an alternative qualification like CompentRoofer?
- Are you insured with liability and worker’s compensation?
- Do you normally work with zinc panels? Do you have examples of work?
- What about references?
- Who owns waste material? Do you dispose of it?
- Are you able to provide underlayment and waterproofing where necessary?
- How long should this job take?
- Can I have a detailed quote with materials, waste disposal, stripping the old roof and fitting the new roof included?
The best way to find a good roofer is to compare your options, look at multiple quotes and choose one that offers the best for your money.
Do I Need Planning Permission?
In most situations you will need building regulation approval or planning permission to re-roof your home.
Additionally, in many cases, you’ll also be legally obligated to contact a structural engineer if you’re changing to a lighter or heavier roofing material – such as from clay tiles to zinc panels.
In addition, you’ll have to select a builder before you can apply for planning permission. Considerations include:
- The insulative properties of the original roofing. If you’re switching to a material with lower insulative properties, you’ll have to add an insulative layer.
- The appearance of the roof. Some areas restrict building upgrades to the same materials as the original home.
- The structural stability of the home. If the roof is significantly heavier or lighter than the old one, you might have to make structural modifications to fit it safely.
Applying for building permission typically costs up to £250, with a £60 initial application fee.
However, you may spend over £450 if you need a structural engineer as well.
Re-roofing your home is a big job. Zinc is a durable roofing material that can last for 100 years or more. That makes it a great and cost-effective option for ensuring you don’t have to spend a lot on your roof for the rest of its lifespan.
However, zinc can cost £20-£70 per m2 upfront. On the other hand, with installation times of around 3 days on average, you’ll likely save on fitting costs over materials like cement tiles.
If you’re ready to get started fitting a zinc roof, the best place to start is by finding roofers. Use the form at the top of the page to request quotes from roofers in your postcode.