Zinc’s durability is proven with only parts of the old church’s roof having to be replaced.
It is not uncommon to come across zinc roofs that have been in service for more than 100 years throughout the major cities of Europe, says Stephen Wilkinson from Rheinzink. He points out that the famous German architect Karl-Friedrich Schinkel (1781-1841) used zinc extensively for roofing and building ornamentation on several historical buildings and palaces which still stand proudly today.
One of the latest examples of the longevity of zinc involves the renovation of St. Catherine’s Church in Reutlingen, Germany. The church was built in 1890 in Gothic revival style with large portions of zinc tile roofing. Only after about 120 years, it was determined that a complete restoration was needed.
The craftsman Wolfgang Huber was commissioned to conduct an assessment of the roof and a study to determine the feasibility of reusing the historic zinc tiles. Huber, along with an industrial climber, ascended the roof and spires for a personal, up-close inspection of the effects of weathering and previous repair attempts. Huber believed this climbing technique was a cost-effective method of accurately determining damage and planning the remediation.
In due course, the restoration plan called for dismantling and removing all zinc tiles for inspection, and cleaning and salvaging as many tiles as possible. Tiles determined to be too damaged for reuse were recycled. Interestingly, the original tiles on the eastern portion of the roof, which was not exposed to the main west wind and weather, were nearly all reusable.
The remaining portions of the roof were reclad with RHEINZINK 0,7mm square tiles. Approximately 1 500 PrePATINA blue-grey 330mm x 330mm tiles were applied, preserving the church building’s roof to nearly its original state in 1890.
According to Wilkinson, the two distinct but related attributes of the use of zinc in buildings that are major factors in their environmental performance are its durability and recyclability.
“The widespread application of zinc in roofing and wall cladding began in the 19th century, often in the cases of civic buildings and cathedrals that were built to last for generations. Today zinc products used in architectural construction have an extremely long service life expectation of more than 100 years,” he states.
“Rheinzink South Africa has introduced zinc to the construction industry in South Africa and continues its leadership through product innovation and comprehensive technical support to architects and contractors. Environmentally-friendly and 100% recyclable, Rheinzink presents a distinctive appearance with outstanding longevity,” he adds.
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