FAQ For Zinc Sheets/Installers & Fabricators
Question #1. What thickness should I use?
For zinc counter top use, we recommend a minimum of .027" or thicker for your zinc sheet.Then it will depend on who is doing the fabrication. Most DIY'ers like working with the .027 and .030. Most Sheet metal shops like working with thicker .040 and .060. It depends on if they want to Tig weld or solder, and many other factors.
Question #2. Who can install this for me if I don't want to do it myself?
If you are not a DIY person then we recommend contacting a sheet metal shop that can do the cutting, bending, seams, and gluing down for you. Find out what thickness they like to work with and how many sheets you will need. You can have the zinc shipped directly to them. We do have a list of fabricators that work with zinc more often, email us and we can send you a list.
Question #3. Is 44.75" the widest sheet available?
Mostly, yes, that is the widest width produced in the world. We do have a limited special run of 49.2" sheet that is .030" thick. After that you will need to solder or weld a seam. But we can custom cut any length sheet and that will help minimize seams the long way.
Question #4. Is Zinc safe?
Yes, quite safe. Zinc is an important mineral in the human body. It has traditionally been used on Seafood and Oyster Bar tops (presumably for antibacterial qualities). Even though it is a safe material for use in the kitchen, we recommend a chopping block for cutting and food prep.
Question #5. Does it look like stainless steel?
At first it might, but over time it will patina and age with charm like a crudely made early American Artifact. As it ages, the color will deepen to resemble pewter.
Question #6. Does Zinc scratch?
Sure, but that is part of its country charm. The long term look has been described as "Country" in nature as it ages it will acquire a living finish that changes with time.
Question #7. Do Zinc counters tarnish?
Yes, as Zinc counters age and are used they acquire a coveted pewter gray patina. In addition, food and drink will also create their own pattern of use on your counter top. Zinc has an old world charm and is really beautiful alongside antique woods.
Question #8. What can I do to control the patina process on my counters?
If you would like to arrest the patina process, you may apply one of our finishes, either the matte or the satin finish. Another way to control the tarnishing process is to occasionally wax your counters with Butchers or Beeswax.
Question #9. How do I maintain my Zinc sheets?
Minor scratches and mineral streaking can be brushed with a household Scotchbrite Pad.
Question #10. How are the counters put together?
We leave that up to the installer to decide based on their skills with working with zinc. You can see examples of the installation process on our Zinc Sheet videos page, here. When choosing your thickness, keep in mind that when soldering your seams and corners, it easier to do so with the thicker sheets as there is more material to work with. Also, keep in mind that points of welding, soldering, joints of sheets, etc, yield a different shade and at times different levels.
Question #11. When bending my Zinc sheets while installing, how do I keep them from cracking?
When bending the sheet, make sure that you have warmed the metal to at least 70F using a heat gun or small torch. Also, make sure to bend your sheet slowly.
Question #12. Are there materials Zinc is compatible with? What materials is Zinc incompatible with?
Examples of Acceptable Contact Products for Zinc
- Aluminum (painted, anodized, or bare)
- Galvanized Steel
- Stainless Steel
- Compatible Woods: pine, spruce, Scots pine, poplar.
Examples of Unacceptable Contact Products and Run off for Zinc
- Steel (Non galvanized)
- Gypsum dust/ Lime stone dust
- Non-compatible woods: larch, oak, chestnut, red cedar, Douglas fir, white cedar, all woods with a pH < 5.
- Rosin paper
- Bituminous membranes
- Products with fire retardant and preservation treatments
- Acidic cleaners (brick cleaner, etc)
- Cast Iron
- Bitumen, even when not in direct contact but simply close to it.
American Zinc Association
International Zinc association
Question #13. How do I get Zinc sheets shipped to me?
We pack and ship the zinc sheets throughout the U.S. Zinc sheets that have a thickness of .030" and thinner can be rolled up and shipped via UPS/FedEx. Sheets thicker than .030" must be shipped flat on a 4' x 10' pallet. We charge a crating charge for the shipping of flat sheets (plus the freight to you). You can call us for specific freight rates.
If you don't see the answer to your questions above, please feel free to email or call us and we will be happy to give you the answers to your questions.
Question #14. Why should I choose Rotometals Zinc Sheets over another company's Zinc Plated Steel Sheet?
Rotometals Zinc Sheets are made of 99.6% Pure Zinc, they are food safe and they won't flake.
Zinc plated steel sheets, on the other hand, are prone to flaking as the layer of zinc is often only 3 microns thick. Also, they may contain lead and are not food safe. In order for a steel sheet to be prepared for plating, it is treated with alkaline detergent, washed in acid, and then dipped in a chemical bath containing dissolved zinc.
If you do not want to install the zinc sheets yourself, then we recommend contacting someone who can do your bending, cutting, and fabricating. We have a list of companies that have worked with our Zinc and installed it before. While we don't recommend one over another, we encourage you to contact the ones in your area and see who you will be the most compatable with. Otherwise, you can look up a sheet metal shop in your area and see if they can work with zinc sheets. If they do not know how, you can tell them it is like working with copper sheets.
Please email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org and we can send you some names and numbers of people that do a lot of zinc work.