Leadwork in Hinckley
Leadwork is a specialised trade that has existed for centuries, dating back to ancient times. Lead flashing is one of the most prevalent forms of leadwork in construction and building maintenance. This work involves using a lead strip to seal the joints between two materials. The purpose of lead flashing is to prevent water from entering the joint, which can damage the structure or material if not addressed promptly.
The flexibility of lead flashing is due to the availability of different thicknesses, which can be used for various applications such as waterproofing or lining gutters. Lead flashing can also be coloured or patterned to blend seamlessly with the existing architecture. The British standard for lead as a material is BS EN 12588, which governs its consistency in thickness and the formation of a knitted grain.
What is Leadwork on a roof?
Installing lead flashing or sheeting on the roof to protect and waterproof it is known as leadwork. It is an effective remedy against water and weather damage for flat and pitched roofs. It is recommended for old structures or houses that want a classic or traditional aesthetic look. Experienced tradespeople carry out leadwork using specialised tools and techniques to achieve a professional finish. Since lead expands and contracts based on different weather conditions and temperatures, it is necessary to allow detailing to prevent the formation of stresses in the lead sheet.
Do Roofers still use lead?
Although lead flashing is still utilised on roofs, it is slowly being replaced by newer materials like aluminium and plastic. Lead flashing is a customary material that has been used for centuries. It is still prevalent in historic properties or listed buildings where a specific style needs to be maintained. The durability of lead flashing can be outstanding if it is correctly installed. Since it is toxic, only experienced roofers trained to handle it safely should work with it. Lead is also susceptible to corrosion, so it must be inspected regularly and maintained over time. However, modern materials such as aluminium or plastic have primarily replaced lead flashing due to their superior durability in harsh weather conditions. Nevertheless, lead flashing is still the preferred and recommended material for large residential, commercial, or industrial buildings and churches.
What is the life expectancy lead flashing?
Lead flashing has been a long-lasting and time-tested solution for waterproofing, with an impressive lifespan. Typically, leadwork can last for around 25 to 50 years, and with proper care and maintenance, it can last even longer. In ideal cases, well-fitted lead flashing can last up to 100 years, allowing the lead to expand and contract freely.
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