Reported in Roofing Today, as a result of the increasing cases of lead theft, Glass Reinforced Polyester (GRP) roofing systems have emerged as an excellent low cost alternative to lead.

Why change?
Lead theft becoming an increasing problem, and insurance pay outs increasing by 70%, roofers have started to consider an alternative replacement roofing material to lead. GRP and stainless steel alternatives are an attractive option for roofers, because essentially they are unattractive to thieves and still do the job. Furthermore, the rising costs of installing security systems makes lead a less affordable option.

What is GRP?
Wet lay GRP, sometimes referred to as a ‘pot and brush’ product is the old way to make Glass Reinforced Polyester. Modern day GRP systems are made using a, clever manufacturing process. This roofing system uses preformed sections which are quickly and easily laid to form, therefore reducing the cost of the installation.

Purposely designed GRP can be made to meet complex detailing requirements. Whilst Zinc, stainless steel and aluminium won’t have the same aesthetic appearance of lead, GRP can be coloured and installed to replicate the appearance of lead. GRP can also be easily repaired. This helps to explain why GRP roofs are becoming a suitable and effective replacement for lead.

When the Church of England are making a plan on energy efficiency and sustainability, they should keep in mind that lead isn’t as eco-friendly and anyone working with Lead could have health risks such as lead poisoning. GRP the proven alternative has been installed on buildings for more than 50 years in places that have got extreme weather patterns. GRP requires very little maintenance, is recyclable and they are now increasingly being used on heritage projects such as churches. To keep our listed and protected churches open during the current lead theft that is going on everywhere, then we all need to start considering different roofing materials instead of relying on expensive lead.