Natural zinc finishes are back in vogue with many architects specifying this cladding option in their projects for both functional and aesthetic reasons.

High quality facade solutions specialist Fairview is noticing a return to natural zinc finishes in cladding applications thanks to a multitude of benefits. Resistance to weather conditions, ability to form a natural patina that protects the material from rust and corrosion while providing a constantly developing finish, long-term durability with the material likely to last for several decades; and complete recyclability making the cladding environment-friendly are some of the advantages of using zinc finishes.

Vitrabond ZN from Fairview is a natural zinc composite panel featuring a front skin by elZinc of Spain. elZinc offers a choice of Slate, Graphite and Rainbow finishes, setting new goals in architectural design and creativity.

The Rainbow finishes in the Vitrabond ZN zinc composite panels include a variety of reds, golds, greens and blues that play with light and the environment. The textured aspect of the pre-weathered zinc shows through the colour, just as the grain in wood is visible through a coat of varnish.

The Slate and Graphite options are pre-weathered finishes available in two different surface aspects. These finishes are obtained by immersing natural zinc in a solution that modifies the crystalline structure of the surface of the metal at a thickness of approximately one micron. This chemical treatment creates the surface structure of the metal. The Slate finish is a simple pre-weathered finish, similar to that of the natural patina normally achieved after several years of exposure to the atmosphere while Graphite is a charcoal finish on natural zinc.

Unlike steel, zinc has the ability to resist continued corrosion due to a very unique reaction – when exposed to moisture and carbon dioxide present in the atmosphere, a protective layer of zinc carbonate featuring a beautiful bluish patina forms on the surface for a very desirable appearance.

Additionally, this protective barrier provides longevity to the building's exterior for years to come. Correctly designed zinc roof or wall panel systems will last for over 60 years in most climatic conditions. Zinc has the unique ability to self-heal over time, allowing scratches and imperfections to be virtually erased.