Using Lead for roofing

Lead Roofing…

When considering lead roofing or the use of lead for roofing it is important to understand how it should be fixed.

Lead, rolled lead sheet is exceptionally versatile and has many uses when undertaking roofing work.

The guidelines for carrying out leadwork when roofing are very clear. Such guidelines ensure that the lead is correctly fixed and an allowance has been made for thermal movement.

Further, such guidelines are in place to ensure that the lead roofing application remains watertight. More so, the guidelines ensure the lead will stand the test of time.

Lead can be used for a variety of applications. Below, we have outlined a few examples of where lead is a suitable roofing material.

Lead Flashings…

Lead is a great choice when creating a flashing at an interface with another building or chimney for instance.

Usually, lead flashing’s are either installed as straight or stepped versions. A stepped flashing is used to weather the interface into a masonry wall where it abuts a pitched roof. The steps are wedged into the joints in the brickwork so as not to undermine the strength of the actual brick.

Further, lead can also be used as a straight flashing where a flat roof interfaces with another building.

lead roofing, example of a lead stepped flashing on a chimney stack.

Lead roof coverings…

Moreover, lead sheet, when installed correctly, makes a superb roofing material that should last for centuries.

When using lead for a flat roofing application it is important to ensure that it is adequately divided to allow thermal movement, Such divisions are usually called bays. Lead bays can be created using timber rolls. The lead can be formed around these timber rolls and made weatherproof using an under cloak and over cloak.

Further, the length of each bay should be considered based upon the code of lead being used. Each code of lead, according to the guidelines, has maximum lengths at which it will remain effective.

More so, if such lengths are exceeded, the lead is likely to move excessively and will be prone to splitting and cracking.

Lead Gutters…

lead gutter lining, code 5 lead sheet roof, used as a gutter lining with lead expansion joints.

Moreover, rolled lead sheet can also be installed in gutters to act as a weather proof lining.

Again, as with all lead applications, it is imperative that thermal movement be considered.

Lead gutter linings should be installed with either steps, to present separate bays. Further, there are minimum heights that steps should be constructed to depending upon the code or thickness of lead used. Expansion joints, welded into each bay can also be used in lead gutter linings.

Lead hips and ridges…

Again, lead makes an excellent material for using as a ridge or hip capping. More so, it is completely maintenance free once installed.

When installing lead hips or ridges it is imperative that they are correctly fixed. Copper ring shank nails should be used to head fix each piece and clips, either stainless steel, copper or lead, should be used every 300 mm to secure them in place.

lead ridges, code 5 lead used for ridge capping lead hip, code 5 lead, 510mm wide used as hip capping with lead clips installed every 300mm.

Other uses of lead for roofing…

In conclusion, the use of lead as a roofing material does not extend only to the above.

It is clearly one of the most versatile materials for an array of applications.

Further, below are a few examples of other applications where lead can be used to create weathering details.

code 5 lead used as a capping on a chimney pot. The lead was secured with stainless steel clips.
lead chimney pots

 lead fall pipes, purpose made for a heritage project

Above, examples of custom made lead slates, welded to form flashing around roof penetrations.


One thought on “Using Lead for roofing

  1. Sarah says:

    Lead is a fantastic material, so versatile as you show in the pictures throughout this post. As flashing it has proven to be excellent and I don’t see signs of it becoming less popular, though more synthetic materials are climbing up the market. The use of lead for a whole roof is, of course, been and gone, but I hope it remains on roofs in Britain for a while to come.

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