Lead has been used for hundreds of years as a roofing product, and it has literally withstood the test of time. Some people become alarmed when they learn there may be lead roofing products on their roofs and wonder if lead should be removed immediately as a safety precaution. The good news is that lead roofing products are almost always quite safe to use, and there is usually no need to remove properly installed materials. Below is more information about lead roofing products and why you can feel confident about their use in your home:
Lead is well-known as an extremely soft metal, and its ability to be bent, shaped, and stretched into almost any form is one of its key advantages. Skilled roofers are able to convert lead roofing materials, such as flashing, into a variety of shapes and create a custom solution that is an exact fit for the situation at hand. In addition, shaping lead does not demand heating or the use of expensive tools; instead, it can be worked with hand tools and positioned where it needs to go.
There are lead roofs that are hundreds of years old in the United Kingdom, and this fact testifies to the extreme durability of lead as a roofing material. Lead possesses a natural resistance to most environmental factors, including pollution, and it is not affected by ultraviolet radiation from the sun. You can feel confident that lead flashing on your roof will outlast the other roofing products, such as asphalt shingles, by a factor of several times.
Lead is naturally a shiny, silver metal, but as it ages, the shine disappears, and the lead takes on a patina. The patina is a dull gray and will keep that appearance for years and decades to come. In addition, there is no concern over corrosion or ugly rusting with lead. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, of course, but it is also acceptable to paint lead roofing materials, if a newer, fresher look is desired.
Lead is durable and long-lived, but if it comes time for it to be removed or replaced with another product, it is also one of the most popular of all recycled metals. Over fifty percent of the lead used in manufactured products was used in another application before it was recycled. Natural lead supplies are growing scarcer, and recycling has enabled lead to continue to be used in products time and time again. You can feel assured that lead roofing products on your roof will probably never end up in a landfill.
If you have ever had an x-ray, you may have noticed the technician wearing a heavy apron filled with lead. Lead is one of the most radiation-resistant materials known to man, and it also can protect home occupants from a variety of possible dangers. For example, lead doesn't catch on fire if struck by lightning, and it also can serve as an effective insulator from both hot and cold. Finally, the sheer density of lead can protect other rooftop components from being damaged; it is one of the most effective of roofing barriers as a result.
Though many people are frightened of lead due to the exaggerated reputation that it is always harmful and leads to death, the reality is that lead is extremely safe when handled by a qualified roofer. In fact, lead becomes safer over time, as its patina resists rainwater and prevents lead particles from being sloughed off the metal surface. To prove this point, measured runoff from roofs containing lead has only a tiny fraction of allowable amounts according to EPA regulations for safe drinking water.
Even though the facts support the safety of lead when used as a roofing material, it is important to work with a qualified roofer whenever you anticipate your roof will need work. They will provide you with guidance and can safely perform the work of removing, adding or updating of lead-containing products. Contact a company like Affordable Roofing & Gutters for more information.