Lead roofing is very expensive to insure. Ecclesiastical buildings such as churches often fall victim to thieves stealing lead from roofs.
Stealing lead from church buildings was a growth industry until 2012, when new legislation made cash payments for scrap metal illegal. However, in the place of casual robberies of lead are now more organised, systematic burglaries.
While the monetary value of lead stolen may, in realistic terms, be quite small, the inconvenience is not, and the cost of replacing lead roofing can run into thousands of pounds.
There is a solution, which involves replacing the lead not with like for like, but with a convincing-looking replica: fibreglass.
The Cost of Lead Roofing
There are several reasons for the high costs involved in replacing lead roofing. These include the expense of repair and installation – there are often problems with ventilation, moisture and wind lift. Installing lead roofing is a specialist service requiring specific experience, and this can be costly.
There are also issues around environmental safety concerning lead. Added to this is the high cost of insurance. In many locations, lead roofing can be impossible to insure because of repeated theft.
The specialist insurer, Ecclesiastical, saw a rise in claims for lead roofing from 10 claims totalling £23,000 in 2003 to 7,000 claims totalling £23 million in 2007 – a huge rise in just four years.
Do GRP Pattern Makers Have the Solution?
English Heritage has given churches the go-ahead to replace lead with cheaper materials, to help deal with the escalating cost of lead replacement.
Glass Reinforced Polyester (GRP) provides the ideal roofing solution while being durable and very cost effective when compared to lead.
GRP pattern makers can simulate a lead or copper finish using this fibreglass-based material, and simulate the kind of rolled joints normally found in lead on listed buildings.
It is perfectly possible to colour-match lead, so that the aesthetics of the new fibreglass roofing matches those of the original lead material. This roofing is long-lasting, non-toxic, and has no attraction for people wanting to steal materials for scrap metal.
If you need specific solutions involving architectural fibreglass, we can help. Contact Fibreglass Solutions to see how we can solve your building issues, and save you money and worry in the process.