Whether you’re finishing off a roof and chimney, soldering flashing seams or making a wrap-around cover up- we’re here to help explain how to solder lead roof flashing. It is always best to get a professional to complete this job for you, however, if you’re an experienced DIY’er and you follow our guidelines, you should be able to finish your project in no time. 

In this blog, we will discuss how to keep safe, how to solder and what you will need to complete the job. 

Tools and materials you will need: 

  • Plumbers solder or lead
  • Precise Small glass blowtorch/oxyacetylene torch
  • Protective equipment: Gloves, respirator, facial protection, boots and safety goggles
  • Tallow or metal flux
  • Ventilation fan
  • Sharp Knife or steel wool

Lead is one of the most common choices for welding projects. It has many good properties such as being waterproof, it doesn’t corrode easily and it melts quickly. Although lead is still used in construction today, it is highly toxic if you do not handle it correctly. To be confident when handling lead, you should take precautions like ventilating the area and wearing safety equipment such as gloves before turning on your torch. 

Solder is a mix of lead and tin, so it has a lower melting point than tin alone- be careful not to melt the product more than you need to as this will melt the lead.

Solder Lead Roof flashing

Step 1: Safety first 

Always remember to wear safety goggles and a respirator, cover all exposed skin, wear heat protecting gloves and don’t forget your boots! Finish off with a face shield for extra protection. You need to be this precautious as lead is toxic, and the fumes from lighting the lead can be even more dangerous. Keep the protective gear on at all times and when you’re finished welding, wash your hands, then shower at the end of the day. 

Keep your workspace well ventilated, working underneath a ventilation fan. If your space is dusty and smells bad, it needs to be aired out completely before you can take off your mask. Make sure that people around your workspace are aware you are welding lead and tell them to keep off your workspace premises for their own health and safety.

Step 2: Clean the lead off with a sharp knife or steel wool

Wear gloves and a respirator- even for this part of the process! 

If you notice white or orange oxidized spots, clean them off with a knife or wool until the lead is shiny and clean again. If you want to go the extra mile, you can soak the lead in a weak acid like vinegar to get a good shine.

Step 3: Clamp the lead pieces together

Position the lead so that you can successfully get a clean weld. Use clamps to fasten the lead together as tightly as possible. Add foil tape if required to hold and stabilize the lead.

To make a butt joint, you will need to lay the lead side by side and weld the touching edges. To make a lap joint, put one piece of lead on top of the other and weld the overlapping edge to the piece at the bottom. To make an edge joint push the standing piecing of the lead up and melt the top surfaces together.

Step 4: Welding tools

Apply a coat of flux to the area you are soldering- Flux keeps the lead clean. You can apply this with a paintbrush- size depending on the amount of lead. If you do not have any flux, you can weld without it- flux just ensures it is clean and strongly held together.

Select a rod of lead to use as a joint filler- The rod size you choose depends on the amount of lead there is. The rod can help to fill in any gaps. 

Startup your blow torch or oxyacetylene torch to the adequate small, precise settings. You will need a torch nozzle with a diameter of 0.016- 0.031cm. Turn the flame so that it is small, cone-shaped and make sure the flame is completely blue. Be careful not to burn the lead, it melts relatively quickly.

Step 5: Joining the lead

To stabilize the pieces together, you can tack and bind them in key areas with the torch. In order to do this, you can point your torch straight down over the lead and move the torch in a small circle for about 3 seconds to bind the melting lead together.

Step 6: Torching the filler rod 

Hold the torch and the filler rod at opposite ends. Hold the torch behind the edge of the joint you wish to start on. With your free hand, hold the lead filler rod in front of the joint. Begin soldering. You will start to see the lead filler rod melting.

Step 7: Solder the material and begin to join

Start at the end of the joint and heat the area until the lead melts and the filler melts and falls onto it. Again- be careful not to burn the lead- it melts very quickly and easily. 

Step 8: Solder away!

Melt the metal off the rod and then pull the torch back to smooth it out. Continue to repeat this process until you reach the end of the joint.
If you would like a lead specialist to take care of any lead matters for you get in touch with us today.

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