Zinc sheet is becoming more popular for architectural applications like roofing, flashings, cappings and gutter line products.
Zinc is compatible with aluminium and stainless steel and can be included in building features. Zinc sheet metal is traditionally used to create distinctive long lasting architectural building features and finials.
Zinc is also used in interior design to create rustic charm and character in features such as countertops, tabletops and splashbacks.
A rustic patina can be achieved using various techniques and chemicals such as hydrochloric acid, acetic acid and copper sulphate.
Natural zinc sheet is not perfect and part of the nature is that it has imperfections, scuff marks and occasional light scratches.These are considered part of the beast. Following polishing these imperfections blend into the charm of the finished object..
Zinc does not require any finishing and will last for generations without maintenance. Zinc is totally recycleable and 30% of the total zinc production is from recycled metal.
Zinc was discovered in the 16th centuary and began commercial production in the 18th centuary in the UK and Europe. Though being used in Europe for many years increased awareness of its technical properties and the aesthetic appeal of zinc sheet is causing its use to expand in the UK.
Zinc also makes appealing table tops and counter tops, zinc acquires a natural patina over time which adds to the charm of the metal though it can be easily re-polished back to its natural bright finish. Zinc counter tops and table tops are traditionally used in seafood and oyster bars. The sheet should be mounted on a backing board such as plywood, but not MDF unless it is sealed.
Zinc sheet is relatively soft and will bear the witness marks of use. Slight dents and abrasions will occur during use and these need to be appreciated as an intrinsic part of the character of the metal. If a prestine appearance is required an alternative material should be considered such as stainless steel.
Zinc is reactive to acidic foods and other substances that come into contact during use. It must be appreciated that natural zinc is a "living" material and discoloration becomes part of the desirable character.
Zinc work surfaces can be cleaned with a mild detergent solution, avoid chlorides and abrasive compounds. Stains can be reduced using vinegar.
Mastics and adhesives compatible with zinc sheet are Polyurethane, non-acetic silicone and MS Polymers. The Gluepeople.co.uk stock a suitable range of adhesives and mastics.
Zinc can be polished for example with scotchbrite or normal polishing compounds to produce a variety of finishes
Zinc sheet can be used as an alternative to stainless steel for kitchen splashbacks.
Zinc and copper sheet are metals traditionally used to make weather cocks and weather vanes.
Zinc strips can be used on roofs to inhibit the growth of moss and algae
Zinc sheet can be joined using soldering techniques or glued with waterproof epoxy.
Zinc is an ideal metal for manufacturing building finals and outdoor artwork.
On a health note zinc is a safe metal and an essential trace element for humans, animals and plants. It is vital for many biological functions and plays a crucial role in more than 300 enzymes in the human body. The adult body contains about 2-3 grams of zinc. Zinc is found in all parts of the body: it is in organs, tissues, bones, fluids and cells. Muscles and bones contain most of the body’s zinc (90%). (Courtesy of the International Zinc Association).
The density of zinc is 7.2 so it is just less than steel at 7.8.
Storage: Zinc sheets should be always stored and transported in dry and ventillated conditions, it is a reactive metal and wet storage causes white oxides to form. Once installed outdoors the natural weather conditions will cause a patina to develop which protects and adds to the charm to this sheet metal.
Zinc sheet can be supplied in a pre-weathered condition, this process is done artificially and it produces a very uniform colour.