Lead flashing – why are substitutes easier to install?

In this blog we show you that lead-free flashings are a smart choice to reduce the risk of theft, reduce cost and save time on installing.

Date: 2022-05-03

Author: Klober

Category: Product Focus

Tags: Lead Free Flashings

Lead-free flashings can be installed for a variety of applications, from traditional abutment and chimney details to solar panels and rooflight installations. They are also an excellent choice for saddle details as well as for closing off intricacies such as dry valleys. Over the years, lead alternatives for roofing have become more popular for several reasons:

Lead theft

The first reason is that, despite recorded lead theft declining, the threat still remains. When it happens, this leaves the roof vulnerable, as well as being inconvenient and costly to replace. However, there is no scrap value to lead alternatives so would-be thieves won’t even look twice at your roof, flashing or detailing.


Secondly, lead can be expensive both to replace, install and maintain given that lead prices tend to fluctuate. By comparison, lead-free offers some certainty around cost but the real savings come with the installation. An efficient installation can help to reduce labour costs. This could be a huge benefit for those seeking financial savings, those considering modern alternatives, and for projects where lead is not specified.


Not only can lead substitute flashings be more economical, the speed and ease of installation is another major benefit.
Why are lead replacements easier to install?

1. Weight
Lead replacement flashings are lighter in mass, with some solutions weighing up to 80% less than lead options. This makes them easy to work with for a couple of reasons. Firstly, reduced product density means carrying the product on the roof space can be done so with less effort. Further, it means transport of product to and around site can run more smoothly, ultimately helping to make the installation process more efficient.

2. Flexibility & Efficiency
Another reason that lead-free flashing alternatives are more convenient to install is because they are extremely malleable. This makes them unproblematic when it comes to manipulating, shaping and forming by hand. Also, they can often be cut with knives or scissors, eliminating any need for specialist tools.

In addition, they can be stretched over details whilst dressing, to give a smooth, neat and premium lead-like appearance. For example, Wakeflex stretches up to 50% in length and 15% in width when dressed into the pan of the tile. This enables straightforward application for a wide range of details.

What’s more, lead-free flashing does not require bossing which means lead alternatives are quicker to install. In addition to this, the installation process does not rely on specialist skills or tools, while lead components typically require a specialist lead worker. Therefore, opting for lead-free flashing alternatives eliminates these extra time and cost implications.

3. Compliance
Roofers may also wish to look for quality products that hold third party accreditation, to give additional peace of mind. For example, Klober’s Wakaflex currently holds BBA certification, which verifies product performance based on rigorous testing and standards. On top of this, checking the product guarantee and opting for flashings with long promises of assurance is advisable, such as Wakaflex’s 20-year guarantee.

4. Roofer Safety
The use of lead flashing alternatives is less likely to be a health hazard for professionals because it is non-toxic. Once installed, lead can also impact rainwater harvesting. Water that has drained over lead cannot be used due to the toxicity implications. Whereas rainwater draining off a roof that is lead-free can be safely reused.

Finally, when considering aesthetics, the carbonate in lead flashings may cause the formation of white streaks on roofs and walls due to water run-off. This is where lead-free flashings come into their own, as they are not susceptible to the same white streaks.

Wakaflex and Easyform are non-toxic flexible and self-adhesive, designed as a lead replacement in most modern roofing applications.

For more information on Wakaflex, please visit: https://klober.co.uk/lead-alternatives