The deposition kinetics of silica-silicate thin films on pure zinc from colloidal silica suspension (sol) was investigated by an in-situ mass gain method. With this method, the influence of sol ageing, temperature, zinc pretreatment and polarization of the zinc substrate on the silica-silicate deposition was described qualitatively. The oxidation/hydroxylation of the zinc surface was found to be important for the silica sol deposition process. Pretreatment of the zinc surface with alcohol solutions significantly increased the amount of deposited sol. (c) 2006 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.