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The benefits of lead roofing Print E-mail

Lead is one of the oldest materials in the roofing industry and is still commonly used throughout the world today.

Lead roofing is a traditional roofing method which has been used in the industry for hundreds of years, and is therefore proven to be extremely reliable. Lead roofing, and sand-cast lead, in particular is ideal for old buildings such as churches or historical renovations, whereas milled lead roofing is a mass-produced alternative, used for precision and accuracy in homes and commercial buildings alike.

Alternatively, machine cast lead offers a very similar finish to milled and can be more cost-effective.

In light of this, it is safe to say that lead has proven itself to be a reliable and durable material, excellent for roofing purposes. So let’s take a closer look at the benefits you can receive from a lead roof


Treating corrosion and staining in historic lead work

"Lead is certainly the best and lightest covering, and being of our own growth and manufacture, and lasting, if properly laid, for many hundred years, is without question the most preferable."
(Sir Christopher Wren).

Sir Christopher Wren’s acknowledgement of the longevity of lead ignores the fact that it can be subject to attack which can either drastically shorten its life or radically change its appearance. Historic England, currently and in its previous guise as English Heritage, has been researching two problems - underside corrosion and topside staining.

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An extremely flexible material, lead sheeting can be pulled taut and stretched around tricky shapes and areas for total coverage. Lead expands and contracts depending on the temperature, which is extremely useful for a roof in Britain due to the unpredictability of the British weather.


Lead’s flexibility lends itself to give excellent sealing properties when used with the correct neutral cure sealants. Wherever there is a join between two surfaces, lead can provide a great seal. Lead can also be used as a covering for guttering too, helping make a roof 100% water-tight.


A good quality, lead roof can last as much as three times longer than other roofing materials. This is the reason why many historic buildings have lead roofing as it is reliable and durable which also makes it a cost-effective option in the long-run.


As an extremely strong and resilient metal, lead is resistant to any type of corrosion. This can include pollutions in the atmosphere and damaging UV rays, helping it stand the test of time. It can also cope with a whole range of varying temperatures making it perfect for different environments.


Lead has one of the highest recycling rates in the world, and is one of the most recycled metals, overtaking recycling rates for aluminium, copper and zinc. This forms a huge contribution to creating a sustainable environment and therefore reducing carbon emissions.

All of these natural properties make lead a very attractive option for roofing, and it is clear now why lead has been used on so many different buildings, such as churches, cathedrals and listed buildings for centuries!

Article and images are produced with the kind cooperation of Trevor Corser of The metal roofing specialists at JTC Roofing. For further information visit


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