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What Is Colorbond Ultra? Choosing the Right Roof Material

Colorbond steel by BlueScope is designed specifically to meet the roofing needs of Australian residents living in harsh environments. It suits most locations and designs, making it one of the most desirable roofing solutions, so what is Colorbond Ultra and when would it be needed ?

For those living in a dynamic coastal or industrial environment, standard Colorbond may not be tough enough. For them, BlueScope has developed — Colorbond Ultra.

What is Colorbond Ultra?

Colorbond Ultra Steel is especially designed for severe coastal and industrial environments – Steel

Colorbond Ultra is a type of higher grade Colorbond steel sheets that are more suitable for extreme environments. They are designed to withstand harsh environments created by salt water and marine exposure.

In essence, the Colorbond Ultra is a pre-painted product with a core made of Aluminium, Zinc, and Magnesium alloy-coated steel with Activate® technology. The AM150 G550S steel core is covered by three coating layers on each side.

  • Conversion coating as an inner layer
  • Universal corrosion inhibitive primer
  • Finish coat and primer with a total nominal of 25µm on the front side
  • Backing coat and primer with a total nominal of 10µm on the backside

Colorbond Ultra is recommended in areas where the building will be located:

  • 100 to 200 meters from breaking surf where there is salty spray in the air
  • 100 to 200 meters from sources of industrial emissions such as fumes and fallout

To be able to withstand such conditions, the Colorbond Ultra steel is created using Activate technology and factory-applied paint. As a result, the steel sheets combine excellent corrosion resistance and long-term durability.

The Activate technology in the coating also serves as additional protection to the steel core in case of wear, cutting, or drilling.

If you’d like to read more information about Colorbond Ultra, datasheet can be found here.


What is Colorbond Ultra
Image Source : Steel


Uses of Colorbond Ultra

Speaking of Colorbond, the first thing to come to mind is roofing but there are other applications where customers may benefit from the quality of Colorbond steel. Here are some of the more popular uses of Colorbond Ultra.


Colorbond steel has been among the most popular roofing solutions throughout Australia. Taking it one step further to satisfy the needs of their customers, Colorbond Ultra steel provides extra protection for properties located in severe marine areas.

The enhanced protection naturally comes with an increased warranty when the roof has been installed by a licensed roofing company.

In addition, all Colorbond Ultra colours are incorporated with the Termatech Solar reflective technology that is responsible for the lower heat absorption from the UV light. Thus, you could safely expect a greener and more energy-efficient home.


Colorbond Ultra Roofing Material

Wall cladding

Another popular application of Colorbond steel is wall cladding.

When it comes to walling in challenging environmental conditions, Colorbond Ultra is a suitable solution for properties located 500m to 1000m from the marine influence.

When the proper wall cladding installation conditions are met, you can expect up to 15 years of warranty for residential buildings and up to 20 years for commercial buildings.


Colorbond Ultra Wall Cladding
Image Source : Colorbond on Pinterest


Other metalwork

Aside from roofing and walling sheets, there are other metalworks produced by Colorbond Ultra. Flashing and capping are now available in the Ultra variety.

Eave gutters, fascia, and downpipes can also be produced using the same grade of Colorbond steel. If the property they are applied to is located at least 100m away from marine influence, they are also subject to manufacturer warranty of up to 12 years.

Box gutters can also be made out of Colorbond steel. Unfortunately, they are excluded from the warranty offer.

Unsuitable applications

As durable as Colorbond is, there are still some applications where Colorbond is not recommended. These include:

  • Water tanks, or any other constantly wet area.
  • Direct contact with soil. Cladding sheets should be at least 75mm from ground level.
  • Direct contact with concrete. This includes any other areas where lime deposits could appear.
  • Other unsuitable metals. Colorbond Ultra cannot be installed in contact with copper, brass, non-galvanised steel, lead, or stainless metal.

Colorbond Ultra Unsuitable Application

Colorbond Ultra Benefits

Colorbond Ultra brings all the benefits associated with standard Colorbond steel. The steel sheets are manufactured and tested in Australia and under the specifics of local conditions.

In answer to some of the most common questions, here are a few of the benefits you can expect.

Is Colorbond Rust Proof?

The main concern of any future metal roof owner is whether the roof will catch rust. Luckily, if your Colorbond roof is installed and maintained properly, the chances for rust or corrosion are reduced to a minimum.

The only way for the steel to rust is if the metal is exposed. The multiple protective coating layers prevent water from reaching the core. These layers also bring the benefits of added fire protection.

It is also important that the installation is done by an expert roofing company, as some metals may cause a reaction with the steel and must be avoided.


Colorbond Ultra
Image Source : Colorbond Steel on Twitter

Is Colorbond Energy-Efficient?

Colorbond steel is a thermally efficient roofing material. The steel sheets incorporate the Termatech technology, which aids in reflecting the sun rays off the roof.

In the summer, a Colorbond roof could noticeably reduce the cooling costs. During the day, the heat from the reflected UV light cannot enter the inside of the house. At night, the low thermal mass of the steel cools the sheets faster so the heat is not radiated inside.

To go the extra mile, the available selection of light colours could also add to the thermal efficiency of the roof.

In the winter months, a well-insulated Colorbond roof will also keep the warmth inside.

Is Colorbond Durable?

As mentioned earlier, Colorbond Ultra, as well as other Colorbond products, is designed specifically for the harsh Australian weather. With minimum maintenance, a Colorbond roof can serve its purpose for over 50 years.

Colorbond Ultra steel includes an improved paint film for extra durability. Under normal exposure conditions, Colorbond products do not show any cracking, peeling, or flaking of the paint for about 15 years from the date of installation.

Still, in time minor colour changes may be expected. The level of discolouration depends on the original colour tone, the environment, and the structure’s design.

Is Colorbond customisable?

Colorbond Ultra is currently available in six colours. Cool or warm, light or dark, they are all inspired by the beautiful Australian nature. The colours in the Colorbond Ultra palette include:

  • Dune
  • Monument
  • Surfmist
  • Wallaby
  • Windspray
  • Woodland Grey

Colorbond Ultra Steel ColoursIs Colorbond easy to maintain?
Yes. In general, metal roofs are rather easy to maintain and Colorbond Ultra steel makes no exceptions in the matter.

Regular washing is enough to extend the service life and good look of your roof. If you want to go an extra mile, a mechanical wash could be performed every six months for maximum care.

The washing is also a good time to inspect the roof for any damage or failing fasteners. Fixing any minor issues on time could save you from more serious and expensive problems in the future.

Colorbond Ultra Warranties

The warranty on Colorbond Ultra materials depends on the distance from the nearest marine influence. The further you get from the shore, the longer warranty you get for your property but distance is not the only factor here.

To further define the warranty coverage, the manufacturer BlueScope uses three marine influence definitions:

  • Surf — the area directly exposed to breaking surf and ocean spray.
  • Exposed — the area that is not typically prone to breaking surf but is still exposed to saltwater carried from the onshore winds as well as open expanses of salt.
  • Calm — defines the areas protected from salt and saltwater. These could include harbours, bays, ports, or river estuaries.
Gutters and downpipes:

Nearest marine influence:

from nearest marine influence

Once you define the area in which your property is situated, all you need is calculate the distance from the nearest marine influence.

Up to 100m

In case your property falls within 100m from the nearest marine influence, you can only get a warranty for the roofing materials.

For surf and exposed areas, the coverage is up to 10 years, while in calm areas you can expect to get 15 years of warranty on your roof.

100m to 200m

At this distance, the warranty starts to include other Colorbond Ultra products.

For your roof, you could get up to 15 years of warranty for surf and exposed areas, as well as up to 20 years if your property is in a calm area.

Garages and sheds get up to 10 years of warranty regardless of the area type, while eave gutters, fascia, and downpipes can get up to 12 years.

200m to 500m

Distancing a bit more from the shore adds 5 to 10 more years to the roofing material, i.e. up to 25 years for all marine influence types.

500m to 1000m

At this point, the type of marine influence stops being part of the equation.

Distancing over 500m from the nearest marine influence adds wall cladding coverage to the warranty. Your walls can be covered for up to 12 years.

Also, garage and shed coverage is increased to 15 years.

1000m to 5000m

At this distance, the roofing warranty can be increased up to 30 years.

Over 5000m

If your property is located more than 5000m from shore, it is minimally affected by the marine environment. Thus, you can get the maximum warranty for your Colorbond Ultra materials, including:

  • Up to 36 years on roofing materials
  • Up to 20 years on garage and sheds
  • Up to 15 years on walling
  • Up to 12 years on eave gutters, fascia, and downpipes

Colorbond Ultra Warranty

Choosing the Right Grade of Colorbond

Which grade of Colorbond steel is right for your new home depends mainly on the environment where the property is located. The closer the property is located to direct marine influence, the higher graded Colorbond steel will be needed for optimal performance.

There are three main types of Colorbond available.
Colorbond Grades

Colorbond Steel

The standard Colorbond steel is a suitable option if your property is not in direct proximity to the ocean. It is designed for general use and the distance between the building and the marine influence should be at least 200m from breaking surf or 100m in a calm marine environment.

Over 400m the lower-grade Colorbond Metallic Steel or Zincalume Steel may also be a suitable option.

Colorbond Steel offers a significantly larger product range compared to the higher grade varieties. The list of products also includes fencing, garage doors, and other home improvements.

One of the most appealing sides of the standard Colorbond Steel, however, is that it comes in a huge variety of colours to suit every style. The swatch includes 22 standard colours, 5 matt, and 6 metallic finishes.

Colorbond Ultra Steel

As already mentioned, Colorbond Ultra Steel is a recommended roofing solution for properties located 100m to 200m from breaking surf where there is still a salty smell or some salty spray in the air.

It is also suitable within 100m to 200m from sources of industrial emission.

In a calm marine environment, Colorbond Ultra could be applied to properties located less than 100m from the marine influence.

Colorbond Stainless Steel

In case you’re planning to build within 100 meters from the breaking surf or industrial source, you may want to consider going with the higher-rated Colorbond Stainless steel. The variety is considered to be the most durable and is designed specifically for very severe environmental conditions.

To create the ultimate corrosion-resistant product, the Aluminium / Zinc / Magnesium alloy-coated steel core of the Colorbond Ultra has been replaced by Grade 430 Stainless Steel. The same protective coatings mentioned above are then applied over the steel core.

On the downside, the Colorbond Stainless steel products are available in a limited range of colours: Surfmist, Dune, Deep Ocean, and Windspray.

Keep in mind that the type that is most suitable for your project could depend on multiple factors. The roofing company hired for the project will be able to best advise you on the preferable solution.

In general, we recommend that you always go with a slightly more durable roofing option than needed to account for random damage.

Find Out If Colorbond Ultra is Right For You

Whether you’re building a home or restoring/replacing your roof, choosing the right material is a huge decision and it is crucial for the safety of your long-term investment and the comfort of your family to choose the right one.

If you live in a marine environment and want to know if Colorbond Ultra is the right solution for your project, contact Vivify Roofing for an obligation-free expert advice and quote.

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