In the roofing industry, there are a number of different materials in use for everything from shingles to flashing. While new products may offer some differences over traditional materials, they are not always a better or more effective option.
A good example of this is the use of lead flashing for roofing. There are three different ways that this thin, sheet material is used to prevent specific areas of the roof from leaking. Flashing is typically used where the shingles meet any type of vertical surface. This includes the house, chimneys and even around the skylights or other features on the roof.
The Benefits of Lead
There are several reasons why lead flashing is considered a superior choice. Lead itself is extremely durable and long lasting, even when exposed to the elements. It is a material that naturally expands and contracts with heating and cooling, which is an important consideration as one side or end of the flashing may be warmer or cooler than the other at any given time. By allowing natural contraction and expansion, there is limited stress on the flashing and no risk of breaking or cracking through the process.
In addition, lead flashing is also very easy to mold to fit specific shapes. This is important to create a tight fit between the structure and the flashing, eliminating the risk of leaking between the building or feature and the flashing.
The softer, more flexible nature of lead also ensures the flashing can be used with most roofing designs and most shingle types. Adding to the value is the fact that lead is fire resistant and it is also a durable enough metal that it does not lose its shape even with high temperatures as found in areas of the roof with extended periods of direct sunlight.
Finally, lead is resistant to corrosion. While there are always safety considerations in using lead in any application, the amount and type of flashing used on the home, make the risk of leaching of the lead particles into the water from the roof extremely low.
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