Zinc countertop - metal shop says can't be done.

saladbarOctober 16, 2004

We specified a zinc countertop for our remodeling project. The cabinet maker bid and subcontracted to a metal shop for the metal work. Now that the counter is actually getting built the metal shop says it can't make a zinc counter with our undermount sink - it has a slight curve on two sides and they claim they can't fit the metal around the sink opening.

"Zinc can't be welded" is the kind of response we are getting from the cabinet maker - we have yet to get a chance to talk to the metal shop.

I don't have any experience in working with zinc - but it must be able to be joined somehow right? Any thoughts on whether this is possible (I know you can make zinc counters with integral sinks so this seems to be possible).

The cabinet maker is pushing us to use stainless steel (easy to weld) that has had some treatment to patina the surface to a kind of blackish lead color - it looks nice (like zinc) but I have no idea what chemical process it is. Would this wear off in a countertop application and leave me with regular stainless steel after a while?

Thanks for any tips.

SB

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kbeitz

Zink can be welded... The zink is only a plating... Metal underneath zink...
It can also be brazed... Your not to breathe the zink fumes...

    Bookmark   October 16, 2004 at 8:33PM
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rosco

SB,
Sorry your member page does'nt give a name. I've never seen a whole bench top made of Zinc or Zinc alloy and it seems an odd choice given that Zinc oxidises badly.
I've welded die cast Zinc/Alloy occasionally with Oxy/Acet but would have to agree it's difficult and unless you have compatible rods almost pointless.
I can't help but wonder whether It's some coating on another metal as zinc products are normally diecast. Can you give us a bit more info as Zinc on it's own is normally very brittle and not easily welded.
Cheers.
Regards.
Rosco

    Bookmark   October 17, 2004 at 12:47AM
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brickeyee

Zinc counters are solid zinc sheets, not zinc plated onto a backer metal. You might be able to find someone who can 'stretch' the metal slightly, but without looking at the actual curves required yo might need to look at another option if you do not want any seams.

    Bookmark   October 18, 2004 at 10:38AM
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ericwi

Before you install a zinc countertop, it would be prudent to find out how the black finish is made, and also, if the black finish will stand up to the intended use. Is the black surface coating an oxide of zinc? If so, will it stand up to spilled tomato sauce?

    Bookmark   October 24, 2004 at 10:48PM
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corgilvr

Check the Kitchen Forum. There is a current discussion on this and a link to a pricey source for such counter tops.

    Bookmark   October 29, 2004 at 3:50PM
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DNT1

The truth of the matter is that anything that will melt can be welded. Be prepared for a disaster if your cabinet guy is asking a shop to do something that they are unfamiliar with even though, they can probably weld it but I bet it will not be pretty when they get done, he needs to find you a shop that has done this material before, you do not want some clowns experimenting with your countertop.

    Bookmark   November 3, 2004 at 5:24PM
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saladbar

They are going to build it after all. I think the expert at the metal shop was out the day the cabinet maker stopped by.

It will fit our slightly curved sink and have one seam where they must join two pieces (the total counter is 12 feet or more). It should appear at our job site in the next couple of weeks and I'll post a picture if anyone is interested (probably someone over at the kitchen forum would be anyway).

SB

    Bookmark   November 6, 2004 at 10:18PM
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spambdamn_rich

Pure zinc is brittle but a little added alloying element (the name of which exapes me at the moment) makes it flex ok.

I added nearly pure zinc shett metal srips to my roof a couple of years ago. The zinc weathers slowly and the zinc ions suppress moss growth (wood roof). It's flexible, not brittle.

Zinc fumes cause bad headache. Good ventilation or a respirator a must.

    Bookmark   November 20, 2004 at 8:49PM
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RubyJean

Saladbar, If you check this forum, could you please post a picture of your zinc countertop? I'm wanting the same thing in my kitchen island. I want to know how it worked out. Has anyone else fabricated a zinc or pewter countertop?

    Bookmark   March 9, 2005 at 6:00PM
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jttt

there are other alternatives to your counter problems.

Here is a link that might be useful: kma international

    Bookmark   March 9, 2005 at 7:39PM
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RickyDee

I am a metal artist. I want to make a zinc countertop.Please shair info. on how you made yours.

Here is a link that might be useful: rick@ricksironart.com

    Bookmark   March 12, 2005 at 9:36PM
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saladbar

Sorry for not following up - the zinc counter came out very
well and the undermount sink worked out after all.
They just bent the zinc accordingly and I think made
some small solder fills at the corners.

Here is a picture - the zinc looks much shinier in the
picture than it actually is. I could take a new picture
now with the finished cabinets and after a month of use
you can see what it really looks like...

SB

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   March 21, 2005 at 9:08PM
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beachcottage

Saladbar,
Would you mind posting another picture with the finished cabs and the developing patina of the counter? It looks just beautiful!

    Bookmark   April 29, 2006 at 2:07PM
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jan612

love your zinc countertops, saladbar! I'm trying to create in my mind and eventually in my kitchen a new kitchen from studs out. small kitchen, but may be costly, since I want to change out the cabs, countertops, floor, and appliances. they are almost 20 years old from the condo conversion, so they've had a long and useful life. I am thinking of using more than one countertop surface, and stainless steel around the sink was my first thought, but recently the idea of using zinc and soapstone (from my old high school lab days...)came to mind. I think your long zinc countertop around the sink area is fabulous. post more pics as progress progresses. Jan

    Bookmark   June 21, 2008 at 12:46PM
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mrclancy

As a sheet metal fabricator I have fabricated countertops, range hoods ect and can tell you zinc can be welded using tig or oxy/accetlene.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2008 at 2:26PM
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