How to do DIY

How to prevent lead flashing theft

Installing Lead Flashing is a standard step for most home-owners, especially when expanding your house with a conservatory or an extension. Flashing covers gaps in roof material and forms an impervious barrier to prevent intrusion from rain and weather.

While there are many materials produced for flashing use, lead offers the most durability and longevity. Unfortunately, lead flashing is prone to being stolen due to the high value of scrap metal, which makes it appealing to thieves.

Many homeowners don't even realise their flashing has been stolen until a rainy day comes and water enters their home – potentially causing hundreds or thousands of pounds worth of damage.

Thankfully we've got some tips to help you prevent lead flashing theft.

Read the following tips to protect your lead flashings

Remove all means of access to your roof
Criminals often hoist themselves onto your roof via a wheelie bin or gate that is near your garage or lower roof surface. Try to store your bins in a garage or storage area. If you must leave them out, locate them a short distance from your walls – meaning you may hear the bin being dragged towards your roof.

If your home has any nearby trees, ensure the branches cannot be used to scale onto your roof.

Prevent unwanted vehicle access
Metal thieves rely on a get-away vehicle to store their ill-gotten metal in. These generally take the form of trucks and vans, so try to limit access your driveway – either with a gate or a lift-out parking bollard.

Install CCTV + Lighting
While this tip is more applicable to commercial premises like schools and hospitals, you can get a relatively cheap home CCTV system installed for between £100-200. Installing a spotlight or anti-theft light will help deter attempts.

Paint your flashing with anti-climb paint
You can purchase anti-climb paint from almost any DIY store and paint it on your flashing to deter theft. However, you must ensure the paint is only on objects at least 2 metres from the ground and you legally have to install a sign warning that your property has anti-vandal paint.

Consider replacing lead flashing with non-leaded material.
While lead is the superior material in terms of longevity, it may be worth replacing your flashing with non-leaded materials. There are brands available that are lighter than lead, safer to handle and also have little to no scrap value.

These lead-free solutions may not be as durable, but can be more than suitable for most uses around chimneys, roof lights and solar panels. Zinc flashing lasts around 25 years and is a good replacement – but some thieves won't know the difference.

While this won't apply to most smaller homes, if you own a larger house and the value of your lead justifies it, perhaps consider painting your flashing with a DNA identification paint such as SmartWater, SelectaDNA or RedWeb. These methods help police identify the culprits of theft and help secure convictions.

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