Leadwork on older buildings

Lead is an important material which is used for roofing and guttering systems. It is a specialist material which requires a skilled contractor. If laid properly, it has an extremely long life and can last many decades unlike modern roofing materials such as bitumen.

Flat roofs

Lead may be used for flat roofs on traditional buildings. This may include small areas such as the roof of a bay window or it may be an extensive flat roof or platform roof on the top of a building. Larger areas will have wooden rolls covered in lead visible as part of the structure.

You can find out more in the HES Inform Guide ‘Roofing Leadwork’.

Guttering and Flashings

Lead can be used for parapet gutters and also for watergates along the side of skews, for example. Flashings are found around chimneys and prevent water from getting into the building.

Lead Codes

Lead is available in different lead codes, referring to the weight of the material. Small areas such as on a cupola will be Code 3 or 4. Large flat roofs will be Code 8 or 9.

Common Problems with leadwork on traditional buildings

Poor repair of valley

Poor repair of valley

Sections of lead have been inserted to a failing valley however, this requires a full replacement to avoid water ingress and ensure that the valley maintains its integrity.

Chimney Flashing

Chimney Flashing

This flashing has been poorly installed and does not meet the requirements of the Lead Sheet Training Academy. The lead has been folded over rather than cut and welded neatly. Water could be driven under the gaps.

Chimney Flashing and Watergate

Chimney Flashing and Watergate

The leadwork here is older and has been poorly repaired with flashing tape. This is a temporary repair and should not be left other than for a short period of time. The Watergate is stained and may also be failing and there is evidence of gaps and cracking in the adjacent leadwork. This should be checked by a trained and experienced leadworker.

What you can do

  • Seek the advice of a lead specialist who can inspect your building and advise what is required.
  • Owners of traditional buildings in Stirling can join the Traditional Buildings Health Check and get a regular drone survey of their roof

The Lead Sheet Training Academy has a directory of trained roofing contractors.