ZnO thick Stress relaxed films were deposited by reactive magnetron sputtering on 2"-wafer of SiO2/Si at room temperature. The residual stress of ZnO films was measured by measuring the curvature of wafer using laser scanning method and found in the range of 0.18 x 109 to 11.28 x 109 dyne/cm2 with compressive in nature. Sputter pressure changes the deposition rates, which strongly affects the residual stress and surface morphologies of ZnO films. The crystalline wurtzite structure of ZnO films were confirmed by X-ray diffraction and a shift in (0002) diffraction peak of ZnO towards lower 2θ angle was observed with increasing the compressive stress in the films. The band gap of ZnO films shows a red shift from ∼3.275 eV to ∼3.23 eV as compressive stress is increased, unlike the stress for III-nitride materials. A relationship between stress and band gap of ZnO was derived and proposed. The stress-free growth of piezoelectric films is very important for functional devices applications. © 2015 Author(s).