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What Is the Difference Between Colorbond and Zincalume?


Colorbond steel was first created in 1843 in England. Corrugating a thin sheet of iron produced a very strong yet lightweight building material. However, the cost of painting this to maintain a clean look was expensive. The solution was to create a material that didn’t need painting.

Colorbond was that solution. It is a prepainted steel sheet that has a clean and colourful look that requires very little maintenance.

Colorbond steel also has very high thermal efficiency as it absorbs less heat and cools more quickly. It is also light and flexible, and resistant to cracking, peeling and chipping; this makes it very popular for roofing and other construction jobs.

After extensive research, Zincalume steel was introduced to the market in the 1970s. Some of its outstanding qualities include a long life span, high resistance to corrosion and high thermal efficiency.

Zincalume steel is a premium metallic-coated steel product that consists of 55% aluminium, 43.5% zinc and 1.5% silicon. This coating gives it a lifetime of almost four times that of galvanised steel.

Some of its other prominent properties are:

  • Lightweight
  • Edge protection
  • Resistance to termite attacks
  • Non-combustible

In addition to this, this type of steel is resistant to termite attacks, which makes it an excellent choice for roofing. Looking for a roof replacement? Check out Top Glaze for a wide range of roof services. 

Choosing the Best Metal Roof Materials

Finding the right material for your roof should largely be dependent on the climate in which you live and the design of your home. Metal roofing is quickly becoming a popular choice in Sydney for many residential, commercial and industrial properties. The installation process of metal roofing is fairly quick, metal roofs are relatively durable, and the outcome leaves the house with a sleek and modern appearance.

If you do decide that metal roofing is your best option, there are two types available to property owners. `Zincalume and Colorbond roofing are both roofing products that have been specifically designed and trademarked by specialist steel manufacturers as highly durable roofing products. Both Zincalume and Colorbond roof materials have been thoroughly tested and created to withstand corrosion and protect properties from any external infestations that might occur.

Metal Roof

When considering the two of these materials, you may be wondering how to distinguish, which is the best option for your roof replacement or installation. The best way to decide between Zincalume roofing and Colorbond roofing is to understand each product and consider the advantages and disadvantages of both of them. Each house is entirely different and will have its requirements. That’s why we’ve put together a pros and cons list of Zincalume vs Colorbond roofing to ensure you choose the roofing material that best suits your roofing needs.

Colorbond Roof

Advantages Of Colorbond

 Resistant in All Weather Conditions

Tested in Australian conditions, Colorbond roofing is weather-resistant. Whether it is extreme heat, cold, rain or wind, this product can withstand it all. It is even compliant for use in bushfire prone areas. Undergoing extensive corrosion, durability and exposure testing, Colorbond steel is strong and secure, no matter the weather.


Colorbond roofing is incredibly durable. With its ACTIVATE® technology and five layers of protection that complies with Australian Standards (AS1397 and AS/NZS 2728), this roofing material is built to last. Each layer offers added strength, protection and technology that increases the product’s durability.

Colour And Design Range

Colorbond’s wide range of colours and designs let you customise your roof to your home. Available in 22 contemporary, classic, matt or ultra shades, there is a colour to suit every theme. Colorbond is also available in a variety of designs, including corrugated panel and weatherboard. These options allow you to match your roof to your unique property needs. We have a wide range of Melbourne roof replacement services at Top Glaze.

Energy Efficient

This roofing material improves your home’s energy efficiency. Featuring Thermatech® technology that reflects the sun’s rays helps keep your home cool, so you use your air conditioner less. What’s more, choosing the highly energy-efficient lighter roof colours may qualify for a roof insulation concession.

Low Maintenance and Long Life

 Colorbond roofing’s durability means that it is easy to maintain and long-lasting. Simply washing it with water every so often is enough to maintain its look. If maintained properly, your Colorbond roof can last at least 30 years.

Disadvantages of Colorbond

Colorbond Roofing Cost

The main disadvantage of Colorbond roofing in Melbourne is its cost. Aside from installation and labour costs, the Colorbond roofing cost can be higher than other options.

The Colorbond roofing cost varies depending on the type of roof sheets you need. For example, Colorbond roof sheets with enhanced durability cost more than basic corrugated sheets. Typically, it costs between $18 to $40 per sheet.

While the Colorbond roofing cost needs to be considered, it is important to remember this product’s superior quality and long life. With its low maintenance, you will also save more in the long run. Your roof needs to keep your home safe and secure, so investing in Colorbond steel ensures this protection for many years.

The Best Way to Clean a Colorbond Roof

After a few years, water stains, rust stains and pollution particles can start to gather on the roof. Mould and mildew on the roof may also start to accumulate and must be dealt with swiftly for roof preservation as well as health reasons. Top Glaze has a wide range of Melbourne roof restoration services. 

High pressure cleaning a Perth color bond roof high pressure cleaning a Perth colorbond roof

Chalking may also start to become an issue over time, with the pain starting to degrade under the constant barrage of elements. It is important to note that most metal roofing paint warranties don’t cover excessive chalking in the presence of pollutants, so it is important to regularly clean your roof.

  • Climb up on your roof safely and carefully. Ensure you have high-grip shoes and you have secure points to keep you from falling. Algae is slippery and chalking is flakey so there are many potential hazards to be aware of.
  • Clean off debris and inspect the level of damage or staining present once the area is clear. Determine if the roof is degrading by assessing the paint for chalking (a white residue) or algae (dark or black patches), or both.
  • If the damage is small and isolated, you can clean your Colorbond roof with a sponge or soft brush, warm soapy water and a bit of elbow grease. If the damage covers a larger area, then a high-powered cleaning agent is the best way to go.
  • You can rent a pressure washer from an equipment shop or store, but keep in mind that if you are not experienced in using one there is the possibility of causing more harm than good. If you have algae or chalking, there are particular techniques best handled by professionals. Note that any damage caused by D.I.Y. Pressure cleaning may not be covered by insurance or warranties.
  • Hold the pressure cleaner approximately 30cm from the roof surface and test a small non-exposed section on the lowest pressure available. Move up to medium pressure slowly if more is required. There is a fine line between not enough pressure and roof damage. Again – if you are not experienced or at least confident that you will not cause any permanent damage, then call the professionals.
  • Once you have the desired pressure, start with a small area at the top of the roof and progressively move down the metal sheets. Stand in dry or already cleaned patches to minimise the possibility of slipping on water or newly dislodged debris or algae.
  • Note that touch-up paint is not recommended for COLORBOND products. During manufacture, COLORBOND prepainted steel undergoes a curing process in which the paint is baked onto the metallic coated steel substrate; while other paint systems, for example aerosol sprays, are air dried. If you apply air drying touch-up paint it will likely age at a different rate and look uneven over time

Zincalume Roof

To help you decide whether it is the best option for your roof, here are the main advantages and disadvantages of Zincalume roofing.

Advantages Of Zincalume 


Zincalume is one of the toughest steel products available. Its zinc, aluminium and silicon components make it exceptionally durable. Highly resistant to corrosion and scratching, this roofing material is not easily damaged.

Long Lifespan

Its incredible toughness also gives it a long lifespan. Developed after extensive research into improving galvanised steel, Zincalume’s components ensure long-lasting performance. In fact, Zincalume steel lasts four times longer than galvanised steel.

More Affordable

Zincalume roofing is an affordable option that still delivers results. Strong, lightweight, non-combustible and resistant in all weather conditions, it offers many benefits at a lower price compared to some roofing materials.

Disadvantages Of Zincalume

Standard Aluminium Colour

Zincalume’s standard aluminium colour is a significant disadvantage. Since it does not have a layer of custom paint, this product only comes in one colour. This means that the material cannot be tailored to your home’s theme. Prone to dull over time, its shiny metal colour can also detract from the look and appeal of your home.

Less Energy Efficient

Due to its shiny metal colour, Zincalume steel is less energy efficient than some roofing materials. The steel sheeting is so shiny that it naturally radiates heat. As a result, your home can also become less energy efficient.

Tips For Roof Maintenance

Whether you already have metal roofing installed, or you are thinking about having one installed, you may be wondering about roof maintenance – how do you take care of it? The good news is, not only does metal roofing last up to 60 years, but it also requires less upkeep than other roofs. Of course, this doesn’t mean that you need to do nothing at all.

Here are tips on how to maintain or care for your metal roof

  • Maintain your gutters regularly – most of the time, rainwater will rinse away the dirt and debris that falls onto your roof, but there will come a time when excess debris starts to trap moisture and gradually decompose, this can lead to rot which creates a good environment for mould and moss to grow. Metal roofing is designed to shed water and then dry, but if you have a lot of debris in your gutters, it can stop your roof from drying out. This is why it is extremely important to keep your guttering free from debris. To clean your gutters, wear a pair of gloves and a long sleeve shirt, using a ladder (properly tied off), tarp, small scoop and a soft bristle brush. Lay the tarp across the garden where you are working, use the scoop and brush to remove all debris and toss them onto the tarp below. Avoid hosing your gutters as they can force water under your roofing materials, causing rot. Then simply dispose of the debris in your recycling wheelie bin. Gutters should be cleaned after storms or at least twice a year.
  • Avoid metal clashes if replacing roof flashings – when you had your metal roofing installed, you would probably be aware of galvanic corrosion (metal clashes). This occurs when incompatible metals meet. For example, copper pipes and lead flashing should NEVER come in contact with a metal roof as they will cause rusting and deterioration of the roof. Flashings should always be replaced with the same metal that is on your roof.
  • Have your roof professionally regularly inspected – while you can care for your roof as part of your routine D.I.Y., however if you are serious about caring for your roof you should call out the professionals – a routine inspection will be able to pinpoint issues early.

This inspection will check for –

  • Exposed fasteners – these should be checked each year, if they have become too tight they can cause the fastener to split, if they are too loose they will create a gap between the metal flashing and the fastener.
  • Sealant failures or weather damage – while most sealants last around 20 years, these should be checked and replaced as required.
  • Seam Separation – while metal roofs are durable they can still shrink and expand from extreme weather which can cause seam separation.
  • Rust Stains – Metal roofs have come a long way, but they are still metal and are susceptible to rust. If your roof hasn’t been covered with a non-corrosive sealant, then you may run into problems if it rains.


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