The Mega Guide to Roofing Lead

Whether you’re living in a graded building or new build, the likelihood is that it features lead flashings. You will typically see these around the abutment of a chimney, surrounds of a window or seams on a flat roof. Roofing lead prevents water ingress at areas which are vulnerable to water ingress, such as abutments or joints.

Understanding the purpose and benefits of roofing lead can be difficult. Many also struggle to choose the right lead code, whether it be a pitched or flat roofing project. It also helps to understand the fitting process for roofing lead, as this can help you determine whether a tradesman quote is realistic.

In this mega guide to roofing leads, we’ll be answering all of these question and more. If you have any unanswered questions, however, please speak to our team online or by telephone. They will help you pick the necessary leadwork materials for your project, all whilst making mega savings!

What are Lead Rolls?

Lead rolls have adorned roofs across the U.K. for hundreds of years. Put simply, the rolls are manufactured from refined lead that features a specified level of trace elements. This, in addition to a consistent thickness, ensures that the lead complies with the necessary requirements for various roofing projects.

British Lead is the leading manufacturer of rolled lead sheets in the U.K. They source high quality lead and manufacture the sheets at their Hertfordshire mill. Lead rolls are also a fundamental part of various other leadwork materials, including lead soakers and slates.

When buying roofing lead for your project, you will have a choice of codes. These range from code 3 to code 8, with each being crafted for project types. These codes vary in weight and thickness, but are typically available in the same length and width options.

What Are the Benefits of Roofing Lead?

When choosing the flashing for your project, you have a few options. In most circumstances you will choose between traditional lead flashing or a modern lead alternative. An example of a lead alternative is Leadax.

Traditional roofing lead offers various benefits. This makes it ideal for virtually any roofing project, whatever the style of your home or office. The benefits of lead flashing include:

  • Tested and proven for hundreds of years
  • Life expectancy in excess of 50 years
  • Versatile with a lead code for almost any project
  • Compatible with virtually any roof tile, sheet or membrane
  • Gorgeous and traditional appearance
  • Plus many more benefits

Which Lead Code Should You Use?

Roofing Megastore have a mega guide that provides a comprehensive breakdown of each lead code. We have, however, provided an overview of each below and confirmed where you can use them.

Code 3 Lead

At 1.32mm thick and weighing 14.97kg/m2, code 3 lead is ideal for those looking to create soakers. These soakers can then be used on various roof tiles, including slate.

Code 4 Lead

This can be used to craft soakers too. However, Code 4 Lead is also ideal for vertical cladding projects. It is 1.80mm thick and weighs 20.41kg/m2.

Code 5 Lead

Whether you’re taking on a pitched or flat roofing project, this lead code is suitable. The 2.24mm lead has a weight of 25.40kg/m2 and is often used for valleys and parapets. Some also use Code 5 Lead to prevent water ingress around a window.

Code 6 Lead

Code 6 Lead can be used on similar projects to Code 5, although it is slightly thicker at 2.65mm. Whilst this increases the weight to 30.10kg/m2, the additional thickness makes it more resilient to bad weather conditions.

Code 7 Lead

Whilst the 35.72kg/m2 weight makes this lead code unsuitable for some flashing applications, it can be used on many pitched roofing projects. It is 3.15mm thick and the thickest lead flashing that can be used on pitched roofs.

Code 8 Lead

Code 8 Lead is only suitable for flat roofing projects. This is due to the 3.50mm thickness being able to withstand sitting water. Despite a weight of 40.26kg/m2, this lead can also be used on parapets, valleys, dormers and more.

As shown, there is a lead flashing for virtually every project. You must ensure you use a suitable lead code. Whilst you can reference our overview, we always recommend consulting a qualified professional too.

How Do You Fit Lead Flashing

Traditional lead rolls are neither easy to shape or secure into place. Therefore, you’ll be best suited employing a tradesman with experience fitting roofing lead. This tradesman will also have all the appropriate tools too.

Below are a few of the accessories you’ll need when fitting lead. What you need will be dependent upon your roof type and tiles. Again, a qualified tradesman will be able to confirm exactly what you’ll need.

Lead Tools

There are a vast number of tools required to achieve a professional finish on your leadwork. These range from lead dressers to finishing paddles to bossing mallets. When choosing your lead tools, we recommend ensuring they are crafted from a strong and durable material. Furthermore, ensure they allow for adequate space around the handle.

Lead Soakers

When fitting lead flashing alongside roof tiles, you’ll likely use a lead soaker at the abutment to a wall. Whilst these can be crafted from a flat lead roll, a pre-formed soaker reduces the level of work required on the day of installation.

Lead Slates

If you have a pipe penetrating your roof, you’ll require a lead slate to prevent water ingress around the pipe itself. You can buy lead slates with various pipe diameters. You can also buy lead slates with a rubberised outlet, making them suitable for virtually any pipe diameter.

Lead Treatments

Whilst lead doesn’t have to be treated, some treatments help to prolong the lifespan of your lead and prevent any staining of adjacent materials. The most popular treatment is patination oil. This prevents the build-up of a natural patina on the lead, which often causes adjacent materials to have an unsightly white stain.

Have More Questions About Roofing Lead?

If you have unanswered questions about lead rolls and accessories, get in touch with our team! We’ll help you pick the necessary materials for your project, all whilst ensuring you make mega savings.

You can also view our full range of leadwork materials online. We update our lead prices regularly to ensure you’re always getting the best deal. If you do find lead rolls or accessories cheaper elsewhere – we’ll beat it!

PLEASE NOTE: THIS GUIDE ON LEAD HAS BEEN WRITTEN FOR INFORMATION PURPOSES AND WE THEREFORE TAKE NO RESPONSIBILITY FOR ANY PURCHASING DECISIONS YOU MAKE OR INSTALLATION PROCESSES YOU FOLLOW AS A RESULT OF READING THIS ARTICLE. WHILST WE ACT AS A RETAILER, WE ARE NOT EXPERTS NOR QUALIFIED IN ROOFING LEAD OR ANY OTHER ROOFING MATERIAL. WE THEREFORE RECOMMEND THAT YOU REFER TO YOUR MANUFACTURER'S GUIDE AND, IF APPROPRIATE, CONSULT A QUALIFIED PROFESSIONAL.