Zincalume vs Colorbond – What’s the difference?

6 May

One of the most important decisions when deciding to build your new shed is which material to choose for your project. Let’s take a look at the two main choices – COLORBOND® steel or ZINCALUME®

Which is better: COLORBOND® or ZINCALUME®?

When you’re looking to build a new shed, the two steel choices you have available to you are COLORBOND® and ZINCALUME®. Both products are made by Australian giant BlueScope Steel and one isn’t necessarily ‘better’ than the other – they just serve different purposes and have different features.

Whilst both are highly corrosion resistant and reliable materials for building sheds, there are a few differences you should be aware of when you choose the steel for your shed.

COLORBOND® and ZINCALUME® are both tough, durable and have been extensively tested to withstand corrosion in the harshest Australian environments. When considering which product to use for your shed it’s important to consider the similarities and differences of these two materials. Comparing the advantages and disadvantages of each material will ensure you choose the best product for your shed project.

Take a look at our COLORBOND sheds

COLORBOND® Steel products

COLORBOND® steel is a pre-painted steel material. In 1843, it was discovered that a corrugated roof was durable, but it required ongoing painting to maintain. COLORBOND® steel was created to eliminate the high cost and extensive labour involved in ongoing painting and maintenance.

Today’s COLORBOND® steel is made from a durable ZINCALUME® core, a baked-on corrosion inhibitor and sealed with a tough painted finish. This exterior grade paint is also baked on to provide resistance to chipping, flaking and blistering and to ensure the finish retains its look for longer.

Using COLORBOND®: pros and cons

The most important advantage for consumers using COLORBOND® steel is the number of colour options available. The colour choices give customers the creative flexibility to make their shed unique. Sheds constructed with COLORBOND® steel are also more thermally efficient than other steel products. In some cases, property owners have qualified for insulation concessions when choosing some of the lighter colours of COLORBOND® steel.

The biggest disadvantage of COLORBOND® steel is the price. It is typically more expensive than other steel materials.


    • Excellent choice of 20+ colours giving you at
    • Colour choices integrate easily with other surrounding structures (such as fences and roofs)
  • Very low maintenance
  • Can be used as part of a compliant system in bushfire-prone areas, including flame zones where there is a high risk of ember attack and extreme levels of radiant heat
    • Offers good energy efficiency due to reflective properties of lighter colours
  • Highly weather resistant


    • Scratches easily
  • COLORBOND® sheds cost more

Learn more with our on-demand webinars

ZINCALUME® steel products

What is ZINCALUME® made of?

Made from a combination of aluminium, zinc, and silicon, ZINCALUME® steel is a durable metal. With a lifetime of almost four times that of galvanised steel, ZINCALUME® steel has been designed as a product that is built to last. Not only does this ensure lifetime savings for the property owner it also allows for fewer environmental concerns associated with replacing building materials.

Advantages and Disadvantages of ZINCALUME®

ZINCALUME® steel is made with new technology and has an activated aluminium coating. This makes it much tougher and more resistant to any scratches during installation. It is an environmentally friendly product and is recyclable.

Is ZINCALUME® cheaper than COLORBOND®?

ZINCALUME® is cheaper than other steel products including COLORBOND®, meaning it can fit into the most modest budgets. If you are looking to build a relatively cheap shed, ZINCALUME® provides a good balance between cost and durability.

The one major disadvantage of this material is that it has a shiny aluminium colour which tends to dull over time. Many property owners feel that it does not complement the look of their shed and that it has a negative impact on the aesthetics of their property.


  • Budget-friendly option: ZINCALUME® is cheaper than COLORBOND®
    • Has a lifespan of up to four times that of ordinary galvanised steel
  • Provides a unique industrial finish which can be a design feature
  • Sustainable option
  • Features a tough protective coating that is resistant to scratches and scuffs encountered during construction


    • Less energy-efficient due to its shiny finish
  • No colour choices: only available in a plain aluminium colour
  • Dulls over time giving an aged appearance that can be less attractive
Choosing between COLORBOND® and ZINCALUME® for your shed

When it comes to building sheds, we’re here to provide honest, unbiased advice to help you get a shed you can be proud of for years to come. No single solution is best for everyone, but we’ll make sure you get the choice that’s best for you.

The Steelcorp team can provide advice and assistance in choosing the perfect construction material, so give our friendly team a call to discuss prices on COLORBOND® sheds or ZINCALUME® sheds.

Discuss your project with us today