This work shows possibilities and limitations of the refined zigzag theory (RZT) that has been used in different structural (beam, plate and shell) finite elements. The refined zigzag theory can deal with composite laminates, adding only one nodal degree of freedom per spatial dimension of the laminate, obtaining very good accuracy. It assumes that the in-plane displacements have a piece-wise linear shape across the thickness depending on the shear stiffness of each composite layer. This paper presents the main aspects of a beam/shell of revolution element used for the numerical simulations. The details of the refined zigzag theory are given also in order to discuss some limitations that occur when dealing with the non-linear phenomenon of delamination. Two examples are presented and discussed, including different inhomogeneities that show the limitations of the RZT for the treatment of partially delaminated beams.