Part of Historic Environment Scotland

Roofing leadwork



Lead is a soft, malleable and extremely resilient heavy metal, making it ideal for widespread external use in construction.

Roofing leadwork is used mainly to stop rainwater from entering junctions between roof elements and to channel water off a building. It also has decorative uses.

Lead expands and contracts as weather conditions change, and detailing must allow for this to prevent stresses forming in the lead sheet.

Regular inspections of roofing leadwork can reveal defects before they cause problems. Additional checks should be made after storms or gales: strong winds may distort leadwork or lift it from its original position, letting in water.

Other common causes of problems with roofing leadwork include chemical damage, concentrated water flow, and improper installation – all of which can lead to corrosion.

Evidence shows that lead can perform satisfactorily for more than 100 years. With proper maintenance and repairs, your roofing leadwork can effectively and reliably help to keep your roof weatherproof and watertight.

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