ABC Sheds Blog

Zincalume vs Colorbond – what's best for a shed?

Zincalume vs Colorbond

When building a shed, the best cladding material is a major decision. Not only will this impact the look of your shed, but it also determines the shed’s lifespan and maintenance requirements.

Here at ABC Sheds, one of the most common questions we hear is whether to choose Zincalume® or COLORBOND®. In this article, we explain what each option is, the differences between them, and the benefits of each. 

What is Zincalume®?

Shed with Zincalume sheet

Zincalume® is a steel cladding consisting of aluminium, zinc, and magnesium. This combination offers durability, environmental benefits, and affordability. It is more affordable than COLORBOND® but lacks the variety of colour choices and has a shiny finish that dulls over time.

In coastal areas with corrosive salt-laden air, Zincalume® offers the first line of defence. In most roofing and cladding applications, its material composition provides a significantly longer service life than a galvanised coating. The materials work together, combining the aluminium’s corrosion protection with the sacrificial protection of zinc.

Though corrosion rates vary according to the environmental conditions, Zincalume® steel coatings have outperformed galvanised coatings in almost all test environments. This is particularly true in marine environments. The 55% aluminium and 45% zinc alloy coating also enhances corrosion resistance.

Visually, Zincalume® has a fine texture and silvery matt finish. It appears shiny, though this is prone to dulling over time.

Pros and cons of Zincalume® 

Compared to COLORBOND®, Zincalume® is much tougher, more resistant to scratches, and more affordable. If you have a relatively small budget, Zincalume® provides a good balance between cost and durability. The pros and cons of Zincalume® are outlined below.


  • Budget-friendly option: Zincalume® is cheaper than COLORBOND®.
  • Has a lifespan of up to four times that of ordinary galvanised iron.
  • 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.
  • Fully recyclable.


  • Less energy-efficient.
  • Only available in standard aluminium colour.
  • Dulls over time.


Shed with Colorbond steel

COLORBOND® is a pre-painted steel cladding designed and tested for Australian conditions. The ZINCALUME® core is coated with a baked-on corrosion inhibitor, making it more durable and suitable for highly corrosive environments. One of the distinctive features of COLORBOND® is its five layers of protection, including:

  1. A high-quality steel base manufactured to meet relevant Australian Standards.
  2. BlueScope’s industry-leading metallic coating, with Activate® technology for enhanced corrosion resistance.
  3. A thin pretreatment layer for optimum adhesion.
  4. A corrosion-inhibitive primer.
  5. A topcoat of specially developed, exterior-grade paint. 

Both the primer and topcoat are baked on to provide maximum protection against corrosion, chipping, flaking, and blistering. Backed by BlueScope, COLORBOND® is renowned for its durability and longevity, having been thoroughly tested in the harshest Australian conditions.

COLORBOND® is also available in 22 core colours, including several lighter colours for improved thermal efficiency. Its reflective properties also improve energy efficiency.

However, COLORBOND® is more expensive and can be easily scratched. If scratched, the protective coatings may be compromised. 

Pros and cons of COLORBOND® 

In addition to its low maintenance requirements and proven performance, the defining advantage of COLORBOND® steel is the wide range of colour options. However, it is more expensive than Zincalume®, which can be a deterrent for some buyers.


  • Over 20 colour choices.
  • Very low maintenance.
  • Can be used in bushfire-prone areas, including zones with a high risk of ember attack and extreme radiant heat.
  • Reflective properties offer good energy efficiency.
  • Highly weather resistant.


  • Easily scratched.
  • Higher cost. 

Best cladding material – Zincalume® or COLORBOND®? 

Now that you know the key features and characteristics of both materials, it’s time to decide which is right for your new shed. Both are durable, long-lasting, resistant to harsh Australian conditions, and low maintenance but there are a few key differences.

If you are looking for affordable shed cladding that is hardy and long-lasting, Zincalume® will be the best choice for you. However, if a wide range of colours is important, COLORBOND® is the clear winner. It also has a better warranty than Zincalume®. 

Structural Steel Sheds Australia

When building your shed, the ABC Sheds team is here to guide you through the entire process. From initial designs to construction, we have all the expertise to help you make the right decisions. Contact us to talk through your options.

For more details on our sheds, take a look at our full product brochure, complete with all the answers you need. We provide sheds for a wide range of needs, including farm sheds, hay sheds, grain sheds, feedlot shelters, yard covers, dressage arenas, industrial sheds, aircraft hangars, and more.

Key benefits of working with us include: 

  • A fully fabricated and galvanised structural steel frame.
  • Your choice of Zincalume® or COLORBOND® cladding.
  • A 25-year guarantee.
  • Fully customised designs.
  • Easy shed erection.
  • Australian building standards exceeded.

Are you interested to see what kind of shed we can build for you? Use our virtual shed builder tool to select the type of shed you want, adjust the specifications, and request an accurate quote from our experts.