Zinc vs Copper Roof Strips: 4 Differences You Need To Know

When it comes to the quality and the overall stability of your roof, these factors depend on much more than the structural aspects. Just like any other element of your home, the roof is also prone to damages and unwanted changes due to the weather and other conditions.

While the choice of the structural elements and the installation process plays the most important role when it comes to roof quality, sometimes it is necessary to invest in its protection and make it even more durable

If you’re unsure whether you should use zinc or copper roof strips to protect your roof from moss, keep on reading.

What are zinc strips for roof moss?

Zinc roofing strip has been the number one choice for moss prevention for decades now. But how is zinc so effective against moss and other plant life that occurs on the roof? It’s simple: the metal in the very structure of the strip is poisonous to moss and similar plant life.

We all know that moss, algae, fungus, and mold love moisture and they require it to proliferate. Therefore, rain is the number one cause of moss and similar problems on the roof, so we need a material that will successfully repel them.

If you have zinc strips on your roof, the moisture won’t remain on the roof, but it will roll over the strips, and the anti-mold metal particles will be released. Zinc strips will repel moss and related plant life, and protect your roof against damage and stains. 

The problem with moss isn’t only that it looks bad but it affects the entire aesthetic of your house. It can also seriously jeopardize the quality and structure of your roof over time, and cause permanent stains all over the roof surface even once you get rid of it.

What are copper strips for roof moss?

Copper strip for roof moss plays an important role in roof protection, similar to zinc roof strips. An important piece of information you may not be aware of is that copper is actually a natural fungicide, which means it can successfully kill and repel moss and similar plant life.

Copper roof strips are extremely easy to install and set up, as they only go onto the ridge of the roof surface. This positioning allows for the copper substance to prevent the growth of moss by flowing down the roof, without damaging it whatsoever. 

What’s more, copper roof strips contribute to the overall durability of the roof, and not only when it comes to moss prevention on the roof. Since copper has a low thermal expansion, and a high melting point, it is extremely durable and reliable.

It is also important to mention that copper doesn’t require much maintenance, which is crucial in a roof covering material. It is also extremely lightweight, which makes it easy to install and work with, and it is suitable for all kinds of roof constructions.

What is the difference between zinc roof strips and copper roof strips?

As you could already conclude from our guide so far, both options are suitable for moss protection, and they provide the necessary durability. However, if you’re torn between the two, it is crucial to compare them in all the important aspects so you can make the call.

1. Durability

Let’s start with durability, which is, without a doubt, one of the most important factors in this comparison. When you think about it, the roof isn’t something you want to work on frequently, as it requires a lot of money and time. Therefore, it is vital for the material to be durable.

Zinc, as a roofing material, is considered to be extremely durable, lasting for over 100 years, which makes it a rather appealing option. However, copper has been found to last for over 200 years, which makes it an even better solution.

Nonetheless, these parameters do not apply to roofing strips, as they’re entirely different than actual roofing material. When it comes to roofing strips, both copper and zinc strips have been found to last up to 20 years.

Keep in mind the durability definitely depends upon the quality of the strip, as well as the installation process.

For instance, when choosing zinc roof strips, make sure to choose the variety with 99.5% zinc. In case you choose zinc-plated roof strips instead, you can expect the durability to go down to 5-8 years. 

2. Price

Now that we know that both materials can last a really long time, it is important to compare the price points and see if you’re getting your money’s worth. We already know that roof work is a big investment, but you always want to go with the most efficient option.

Zinc roof strips will usually cost around $50 for a 50 ft. roll, including the nails. If you get the nails separately, the 50 ft. roll will cost around $30. Depending on the size of the surface of your roof, zinc can be considered a rather affordable option.

A 10 ft. roll of copper roof strips, on the other hand, will cost around $40, which means that copper is a more expensive option.

However, the price does vary greatly, and it depends on the thickness and the width of the strip.

Even though zinc is the more affordable option in this comparison, we would like to point out that both copper and zinc strips offer great value for the money, especially considering their role in roof protection.

3. Moss killing properties

This is not really a difference, but if you’re simply wondering which is a better moss killer between zinc and copper, you don’t need to waste time on long research.

In fact, when it comes to using zinc or copper roof strips to kill and prevent moss on your roof, both options will provide the security you’re looking for.

We’ve already explained how damaging moss can be to your roof, so installing either of these roof strips is a great decision.

Both zinc and copper roof strips work on the same principle, which is releasing particles of metal down the roof when it rains, which stops moss growth and kills any existing moss, algae, and fungus growing on the roof. 

However, it is important to state that the efficiency of these roof strips depends upon the size of your roof. Sometimes the roof strips will not be able to provide protection for the entire roof surface, but the top part (which is the hardest to reach), will remain clean.

Nevertheless, even if you do encounter some moss or algae at the bottom part of your roof, it will certainly be easier to clean than the top portion.

4. Installation process

Installing roof strips on the roof, as well as installing copper, isn’t something that necessarily calls for a professional. However, for your safety, and to ensure the job has been professionally done, we would recommend hiring qualified roofers. 

Professionals will know better about the unique characteristic and installation process of each material, as zinc and copper might require a slightly different installation process that DIY lovers might not know about.

Keep in mind that roof strips are most effective when installed on a brand new roof. If you’re installing them on an old roof, it is necessary to clean the roof as much as possible prior to installing them – especially the ridge.

As you already know, prevention is always better than cure, and even though roof strips can certainly help with existing moss and algae, it is much better to start fresh. Both types of roof strips are, after all, most effective in moss prevention

F. A. Q.

How to apply zinc strips to a roof?

Installing zinc strips on a roof is not as complicated as it may seem. Before installing them, it would be best to prepare the surface by removing the existing moss, algae, and mildew, using a brush and/or pressure washer.

Once you’re working with a clean, dry surface, it is time to apply the roof strips. But the zinc roof strips onto the ridge cap on both sides of roof peaks. Also, don’t forget to add them below the chimney, skylight, and gables, as they get a lot of moisture, too.

Once you’ve placed the roof strips, secure them with neoprene washer roofing nails every two feet. Also, if there’s an area that gets extreme moss growth, it would be best to apply more strips horizontally for maximum protection. 

Does copper stop moss growth on roofs?

Yes! As we’ve explained, both zinc and copper roofing strips are great solutions against roof moss, and some of the most efficient ways of preventing roof moss, algae, mildew, and fungus from growing back.

Copper, being a natural biocide (pretty much a natural moss poison), will kill the existing moss and prevent the new moss from growing and spreading all over your roof. Copper is even used on sailing ships against barnacle growth, which proves its efficiency. 

Copper wire for roof moss has also been found to stop asphalt oxidation, which significantly helps in the overall roof durability and security.

How does zinc stop moss growth?

Zinc roofing strips contain an important component, which is zinc carbonate – a very efficient Fungistat. What this means is that zinc can prevent moss growth, and inhibit other harmful elements such as fungus, mildew, and mold

The best thing about zinc roof strips and the release of this efficient Fungistat is that it happens naturally when it rains. As the rain flows down the roof surface, the Fungistat component is released and spread, inhibiting the moss.

It is important to emphasize the fact that zinc roofing strips work on all roof shingles and roofing materials, and it is much safer than chemical moss killers and moss control products – both for you and the environment.

Even though it’s applied outside of your house, it’s never safe to have that much chemical product lingering nearby.

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