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Designing with elZinc

Main features

Zinc is an excellent roofing and cladding material which will give long and almost maintenance-free service if installed properly.  Proper installation means not only the correct fixing of the zinc itself, but also the correct design and installation of the supporting structure.

zinc cladding

The building envelope design

Underlays generally

Substrates and supporting material generally

The substrate provides the structural support for the zinc, and generally the standing seam or flat lock clips are fixed to it.  It should provide a minimum clip pull-out value of 560N.  Surfaces that are single plane in geometry are simple to construct, curved surfaces can require a multi-layer approach of curvable thinner sheathing.  Double curved geometry is best achieved by layers of softwood boarding.

Substrate supporting materials

Made of either extruded aluminium profiles or galvanised sheet, they are recommended to have a fixing face of 60mm.  When supporting sheathing, they are set at centres of around 600 to 625mm, tying in with commercially available sheathing board widths and lengths.

Used more commonly to support soft wood open gap boarding, they should be regularised and appropriately treated with preservatives.

Thermal design

Traditional façades are generally ventilated, with an inlet at the foot of the cladding and an outlet at the head.  This is because the vertical nature of vented façades means the air layer is working at its best and dissipates diffused moisture vapour effectively.  This keeps the building envelope dry in the winter months and helps to cool the building in the summer.

The ventilated façade incorporates an air gap behind the substrate which is connected to the outside air via an inlet at the foot and an outlet at the head of the cladding, and also at window sills and lintels.  Perforated zinc is used to provide an insect mesh along these openings.  Structures that are not airtight may need an airtight membrane installed.

Ventilated façade designs