Lead has been favoured in construction for years because it is universal and long-lasting. In particular, its durability and waterproofing properties make lead a popular choice for roofing solutions on residential and commercial properties. You’ll often see it on roofs of historic buildings and in conservation areas to preserve appearance.
What many don’t realise is that specification requirements can vary from one roofing job to the next. Lead substitute flashings can offer a significant point of difference here. For projects which do not specify traditional lead, lead flashing substitutes made without lead can offer a great alternative.
Lead replacement flashings are increasingly being selected for roofs where specification allows. This is particularly advantageous from a roofing professional’s perspective as lead replacements are often lighter and easier to manipulate. For project managers, it could also reduce cost.
When choosing lead alternatives for roofing, there are numerous considerations to bear in mind. Here, we explore the properties of the various flashing alternatives available:
For many properties, appearance is of utmost importance, and some require lead replacement flashing that bears an identical resemblance to lead. This is why lead flashing substitutes are designed to emulate lead in appearance and quality. They are commonly made with a metal grid for structural support.
The colour and finish of roofing components can also make or break a project. This is where Klober’s Wakaflex product provides a genuine alternative. Due to its smooth texture and appearance, it gives the look and feel of lead. It is available in lead grey or anthracite.
For projects where aesthetics are not quite so important, Klober’s Easyform solution is ideal because it is so easy to install.
If budgets are restricted, choosing an everyday lead flashing alternative could be the best option. Available in anthracite or zinc grey, Klober’s Easyform is the perfect solution for day-to-day roofing jobs.
For applications with intricate details, it is important to opt for lead-free flashings that are flexible and easy to manipulate. In this case, Easyform is a great option, due to an impressive stretch ability of up to 60%.
Its textured, corrugated finish enables ease of application into deeper profile tiles or around more complicated details on the roof. These qualities make Easyform extremely versatile. It can be used for numerous applications such as saddle details and solar panels. It’s also lightweight and has a sticky backing for quick and easy installation.
If speed of installation is a priority then Wakaflex may be the solution for you. It is ideal for longer runs and can easily accommodate unplanned details, such as height changes between roof tiles. Not only that, Wakaflex is ideal for details that will be more exposed such as valleys.
Wakaflex has a self-welding effect - something you won’t find in many other products on the market! It also has two strong butyl strips along the top and bottom, cutting out the additional cost or stress of sourcing sealant. Plus, these strips mean the adhesion is strong and long lasting.
Longevity is an important consideration when selecting any product inside and outside of the construction space. When opting for lead alternatives for roofing it is advisable to select guaranteed products for enhanced peace of mind.
Easyform is covered by Klober’s 10-year product guarantee, while Wakaflex is guaranteed for 20 years. For further assurance, Wakaflex has also been third party assessed and has British Board of Agrément (BBA) approval.
Lead flashing alternatives may be safer to install and handle. Wakaflex, for example, is a non-toxic lead replacement which can be installed in most modern roofing applications. The risks to health are less for those who handle lead-free roofing and flashing.
Lead-free flashings are also generally simpler to install because they are extremely malleable and easy to manipulate, shape and form. This can be done by hand with no requirement for specialist tools. Plus, there’s no need to weld lead-free products.
Lead replacement flashing is also safer to use because of its weight. One metre of lead weighs around 10kg, compared to a 5m roll of Wakaflex which is only 4.5kg. This makes the flashing significantly easier to manoeuvre:
However, regardless of these benefits, roofers should not neglect primary on-site safety procedures. Sadly, falls account for 50% of deaths in the construction industry (and one quarter of all workplace deaths in Great Britain). Therefore, it’s essential to take safety precautions, especially for pitched roofing work. Contractors must be competent using the latest techniques, standards and materials and training should include safe working practices.
Although experience is important, if it is based on poor training or out-of-date knowledge it may be meaningless. It is important that installers understand the reasons why safe working practices are necessary.