Lead has been a popular material in construction for a long time as a flashing material, which means that it can be used to weatherproof objects by preventing the passage of water into the structure by forming a weather-resistant barrier. This makes lead flashing particularly common in roofing, but one of the biggest trends in construction and roofing right now is lead-free products and this is for a few different reasons.
So, what are the benefits of lead-free roofing and other products and why should they be considered by a roofer or construction worker?
The Cost of Lead
One of the primary reasons that lead-free flashing is so popular right now is the rising cost of lead. The price of lead has risen dramatically in the last 5 years for a number of reasons, which means that using lead in roofing and other consultation projects can make it much more expensive – this is problematic in a time when many people are looking to make savings with the increase in the cost of living.
Leading on from this, lead theft has been a problem in recent times due to the rising cost. Metal theft is the fastest growing crime in the UK and lead roofs are frequently targeted by criminals, especially when buildings are left vacant for long periods (lead theft from churches is a major problem). Lead theft is a common occurrence and one that people will want to avoid at all costs both because it can be costly and upsetting.
These days, people are becoming increasingly eco-aware and taking steps to lead a more sustainable life. Lead-free flashing is more environmentally friendly than lead roofing and this is another reason why it is proving to be so popular right now.
Another reason that builders are using lead-free flashing is that it is non-toxic. Working with lead can be a health hazard with exposure causing symptoms like headaches and anaemia, plus it can even lead to more serious health issues. This is not a concern for those that will be using the building, but roofers will prefer to use lead alternatives for roofing as a healthier alternative and a material that is safe to handle.
Roofers are also finding that lead-free flashing is a lot more versatile than lead. Lead-free flashing can be stretched, cut and shaped and will be compatible with a wide range of materials. Additionally, lead-free flashing can come in a range of colours and finishes.
As you can see, it makes a lot of sense for builders and roofers to use lead-free flashing in today’s day and age and it is easy to see why it is becoming a major trend.