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Ecclesistical & Heritage World No.99

The benefits of lead roofing

mmarchant 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


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.

A Code 6 lead flat roof to a Grade 2 listed property in the village of Marden in Kent (top) and Code 6 lead cladding installed to Merchant Taylors' Hall in London by Finnwood Roofing. For more examples of Finnwood's craftsmanship visit www.finnwoodroofing.co.uk


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 www.jtcroofing.co.uk.

The cost of lead roofing in 2024

In the quest for durable and aesthetically pleasing roofing materials, lead stands unparalleled. Its longevity, beauty, and historical value make it a top choice. This guide, by lead roofing specialists Silk-Leadwork, dives deep into the cost per square meter, equipping homeowners with the knowledge to make an informed investment.

Click here to read the full story.

Important CSCS Card update from NCTS

Part of the Construction Leadership Council’s drive for a fully trained and competent workforce, the Industry Accreditation CSCS cards, which were issued through the Grandfather Rights period from 1st Jan 2020 will expire on 31st December 2024. Please note the current CSCS cards cannot be renewed.

Anyone who was issued with a CSCS card during that process, will have to consider renewing now to allow enough time to complete a formal assessment.

Click here to read the full story.

Training provider looks forward to another year of SAP delivery

Since June of last year, specialist lead and hard metals training provider National Construction Training Services (NCTS) has been delivering the Specialist Applied Programmes (SAP) for three disciplines within the sector: Lead and Hard Metals Level 2, Heritage Lead and Hard Metals Level 3 and Heritage Roof Slating & Tiling Level 3.

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Fine craftsmanship lead roofing by Sussex Leadcraft Ltd

Reigate Priory School is set in the beautiful surroundings of Priory Park and is a historic Grade 1 listed building. It dates back to 1235 when William de Warenne, 6th Earl of Surrey, founded Reigate Priory for the Order of St Augustinian whose monks resided there for 300 years before the dissolution of the monasteries during the English Reformation.

The Priory played a further role in history being owned by the Howard family. The daughter, Catherine, became the fifth wife of Henry VIII at 19. She was the last one to be executed two years after the marriage.

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Fine leadwork graces award-winning extension

For the new roof of a restaurant extension to the Grade One-listed Gravetye Manor in West Sussex, Matthew Marchant of M Marchant Specialist Lead Roofing Contractors Ltd used Code 6 lead throughout. The roofing project was shortlisted in last year’s Murdoch Awards, while the new restaurant won a Mid Sussex Design Award – the commercial category of the 2019 Sussex Heritage Trust awards – and was a finalist in the 2019 SECBE Constructing Excellence Awards.

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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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Ornate bay roof by leadwork specialists

The ornate bay roof pictured below was devised by Brighton-based M Marchant Specialist Lead Roofing Contractors Ltd – a family-run company of professional roofing and leadwork specialists with over 30 years experience. They can take on any size job, from a small repair to a full re-roof, and offer the high standards of craftsmanship demanded by the Lead Contractors Association.

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Roofing training centre re-opens for business

At the end of June National Construction Training Services (NCTS) re-opened its training centre at Hoddesdon in Hertfordshire. The number of trainees attending each course is currently limited to a maximum of four in order to provide the recommended isolation distances. All candidates and tutors are being asked to wear the appropriate face masks during each training session and hand sanitiser is positioned around the training facility.

Click here to read the full story.

To find a quality lead craftsman in your area click here.