ZINC FACTS AND FAQs
Zinc Counters can be finished with many types of finishes. New sheets have a shiny finish similar to stainless steel and over time the sheet of zinc will naturally oxidize into its patina finish, which is a dark gray almost like a pewter color.
If various chemicals are used on zinc counter tops, it can accelerate the patina and create unusual effects. Zinc has an old world charm, falling under a "French Country" category. Zinc is really beautiful alongside antique woods.
Zinc may be maintained with occasional waxing with Beeswax or Butchers Wax. You may scrub Zinc with a Scotchbrite pad as hard as you like to remove any marks or stains. These products may be re-polished for a bright appearance. Re-sanding on site to remove signs of wear and scratches is also a fairly simple process. The long term look of zinc is distinctly " Country" in nature as these counters and sinks will acquire what they call a Living Finish that changes with time.
NOTE: Points of welding, soldering, joints of sheets, etc, yield a different shade and at times different levels. This is to be considered part of the "charm" of zinc counter tops.
Is Zinc Safe: Yes - quite. Zinc is non toxic and quite safe for food prep surfaces. It is naturally antibacterial. Zinc is an important mineral in the human body. It has traditionally been used on Seafood and Oyster Bar tops (presumably for antibacterial qualities) It is a safe material to use but we recommend a chopping block for cutting and food prep to prevent excessive scratching or marring.
Does it look like stainless steel: At first it might, then over time it will patina and age with charm like a crudely made early American artifact. The color will then be like Pewter.
Does Zinc scratch: As in all metals, Zinc will scratch. That's part of the charm of choosing a metal product such as this for your home. The long term look is definitely "Country" in nature as these counters and sinks will acquire what they refer to as a "Living Finish" that changes with time and use.
Do Zinc Counters Tarnish: Zinc countertops do tarnish, in that they will acquire a pewter gray patina coloration. Food and drink will also create their own pattern of use on your counter top - hence again, the "Living Finish." However, the tarnishing process may be controlled somewhat by occasionally waxing with Butchers wax, Beeswax or Johnson's Paste Wax. Zinc products can be re-polished for a bright appearance. Re-sanding on site to remove signs of wear and scratches is a fairly simple process.
How are the counters put together: That is up to the fabricator/installation personnel. Typically, soldering, TIG welding or mechanical attachment are the means of attaching the zinc countertops. The zinc countertops are then mounted to an appropriate substrate surface for installation.
Minor scratches and mineral streaking can be brushed with a household Scotchbrite pad.
Deep scratches may be sanded through the grades up to 220 and buffed with the same pad.
Use a circular pattern for a #4 finish or a straight line motion for a machine brush.
High polished zinc may be serviced with automotive compound and a machine polishing pad.
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Examples of Unacceptable Contact Products and Run off for Zinc:
Please note that this list is not exhaustive:
- Steel (Non galvanized)
- Gypsum dust/ Lime stone dust
- Non-compatible woods: Larch, Oak, Chestnut, Red cedar, Douglas Fir, White Cedar, All woods with a pH < 5.
- Rosin paper
- Bituminous membranes
- Products with fire retardant and preservation treatments
- Acidic cleaners (brick cleaner etc)
- Cast Iron
- Bitumen, even when not in direct contact but simply close to it.
Materials Acceptable In The Case of Direct Contact With Zinc:
- Aluminum (painted, anodized, or bare)
- Galvanized Steel
- Stainless Steel
- Compatible Woods: Pine, Spruce, Scots Pine, Poplar
With the exception of the Bitumen mentioned above, if precautions are taken to avoid direct contact, Zinc can be used with all types of substructures.
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