The Difference between Zinc and Copper Roof Strips
If there is one thing you should keep away from your roof at all costs, it’s moss. Moss is the bane in any roofing structure. It appears uninvited, steadily spreads under the shingles, shakes and tiles, and ruins your roof’s overall quality and aesthetic. One way to eliminate moss is by installing strips on your roof. In this case, you can choose between these two options; zinc or copper roof strips.
Both zinc and copper are excellent metals for a roof strip. They both protect your roof from moss and other plant materials such as algae, mildew, fungus and mold. They work using similar mechanisms but have some slight differences. This article will highlight the differences between zinc and copper roof strips to help you choose the ideal option for your roof.
If you’re looking to install more features on your roof, check out our gutter apron vs drip edge article here.
Zinc Vs Copper Roof Strips – Comparison
Understanding Zinc Roof Strips
Zinc roof strips have been the go-to choice for many years. This metal is effective at killing moss since it is poisonous to moss and other plant life. Zinc roof strips eliminate moss from your roof by mixing zinc particles with water when it rains, and spreading them all over your roof.
Zinc contains an essential component, zinc carbonate, which is a natural Fungi-stat. When it rains, the Fungistat component gets released and mixes with water. The water then flows down your roof and kills moss in its path. Zinc roofing strips work on any roofing material or shingle.
Understanding Copper Roof Strips
Like zinc, copper is a natural biocide and thus is poisonous to moss and other plant life. Copper strips protect your roof from moss in a similar mechanism as zinc roof strips. The only two differences are coverage and the component responsible for killing moss.
When it rains, the copper strip releases copper sulfate, which mixes with rain water and flows down your roof. The copper sulfate prevents and repels moss and any other plant materials.
Copper has an advantage over zinc due to its lightness and ease of installation. Also, copper does not require much maintenance and offers roof protection past moss prevention. However, copper roof strips will look better if you have a brown roof.
Zinc vs Copper Roof Strips: Differences
When it comes to protection from moss, both zinc and copper roof strips are excellent products. However, the two vary in several aspects.
Both zinc and copper roof strips offer extensive durability to your roof. Copper is, however, more durable, lasting more years than zinc. Both options can last nearly 20 years. However, copper may last three to five more years.
It’s worth mentioning that the durability of the roof strip depends on the strip quality as much as it does on the metal type. Whichever metal you select, ensure it has 99.5% quality or more. If you buy copper-plated or zinc-plated strips, the durability of your roof will decrease.
Copper roof strips are more expensive than zinc. Zinc strips cost roughly $30 for a 50-foot roll, including nails. If you buy nails separately, the strip will cost $20 to $30.
Copper strips, by contrast, cost nearly $40 for a 10-foot roll, making this option costlier than zinc. Both offer great value for money, despite one option being more expensive. The price of the roof strip also depends on the thickness and width of the roll.
3. Protection Coverage
Copper roof strips offer more roof coverage than zinc. Copper has a four to ten-inch roof coverage for moss protection, while zinc has four to six inches.
In the case of zinc, you may have to install multiple layers in different roof sections for efficient roof coverage. You also might have to add more copper strip layers if the roof coverage is broad. It depends on the size of your roof.
Copper roof strips are easier to install and requires less maintenance than zinc roof strips. Both options are relatively easy to install, but copper does not require much time or effort, especially since you won’t have to install multiple layers.
In the case of copper roof strips, you likely only need to nail the strip roll on your roof’s ridge. Zinc roof strips on the hand, will require nailing of the roof ridge and under the shingles.
Impact of Zinc and Copper Rood Strips on the Environment
Installing copper or zinc roof strips can have a negative impact on the environment if they’re not placed correctly on your roof. Make sure the roof runoff is not directly attached to your drains, or to any streams. This is because zinc and copper can be toxic to aquatic life. However, copper can be 10 times more toxic than zinc to aquatic life.
Zinc Strip Installation Tips
When installing Zinc strips, you must ensure the nails you use are flat heads that lie completely flat along your roof. This will allow the water to flow directly over and down your roof. Without this, water could get stuck which will prevent moss on your roof from being killed.
Another thing to consider when installing roof strips is the your footwear. You must wear the best shoes for walking on your roof, to make sure you’re safe during the installation process. Brands including Cougar Paws and Wolverine produce some of the best shoes for roofing, and would be a worthwhile investment.
Issues with Moss on Roof
Having moss on your roof can cause many problems to your home. Depending on where it’s placed, moss can cause drainage issues, obstructing water from reaching drainage points. Moss loves to absorb moisture which can lead to your roof being wet all the time. This may not seem like too much of a problem, but it could rot wooden structures in your roof, resulting in expensive repairs. This is why it’s better to invest now and install copper or zinc roof strips to avoid this more costly problem in the future.
If moss breaks and drops into your gutters this could also lead to your drainage system being blocked.
What else can I do to prevent Moss?
Installing copper or zinc roof strips is definitely the best solution. However, if you have branches or trees overhanging onto your roof, they could be the reason for moss growing on your roof. By cutting back these branches, you should see the moss growth on your roof decrease.
As you can see, zinc and copper roof strips are both effective at protecting your roof from moss and other plant materials. Copper is, however, more expensive but offers more coverage. Both options are also durable, lasting nearly 20 years.