Leadwork and Roofing
Leadwork is a key aspect of roofing. Lead is used to seal the joints between two surfaces on a roof. That way, rainwater is prevented from entering the junctions of the roof. To prevent water pooling on the roof which will damage the roof in the long term, leadwork helps move rainwater towards the roof guttering thereby keeping the roof healthy.
Lead is a popular choice for roof repair and roof flashing as it is a versatile material. It can be converted to a range of shapes and is durable as well. Lead is also flexible and soft so it allows the pitch to change as the rain hits the roof and causes movement of metal or wood.
Lead and roofing
Lead has been used in roofing because it is attractive, easy to work with and impervious – meaning that it would not corrode or rust like other metals. A properly installed lead roof can last for many years.
Lead was also considered to be fire-resistant. As well, it is extremely lightweight. It does not carry heat or cold to your building as much as other materials because it insulates so well.
The most important reason to choose lead is that it will always look beautiful.
Leadworks are installed in various patterns depending on the roof. The lead is usually cut using tin snips to give a flat sheet which can be folded over the joists or purlins to form an angle at around 45 degrees. Leadwork can also be installed from a single sheet which is folded at around 90 degrees over the roof joists. The lead flashing must not touch the roofing material as this will cause it to wear out, nor church eaves or parapet walls as this will tear it.
First of all the existing roof must be watertight and structurally sound. When installed properly, a new layer of lead is installed over the top of the existing roof – keeping with the traditional method – and then any broken flashings are reconnected using traditional methods also.
A properly repaired and maintained lead roof helps ensure that your building can withstand the test of time. A skilled leadwork specialist and most qualified roofers can repair, restore and protect your lead roof. The true beauty and value of your home will shine through when you choose to do it right – with traditional leadwork.
Maintenance of lead roof
As lead does not corrode or rust, the only maintenance it requires is to be brushed occasionally. The brushing removes surface dirt and other materials that might contaminate the waterproofing material underneath the leads. It also prevents damage caused by insect infestation.
Leadwork on Roofs used to be Popular
Lead roofing became extremely popular during the 17th and 18th centuries.
Leadwork on roofs was at its peak in England between 1600 and 1850. During this period, lead was the most commonly used material to cover buildings because it did not corrode or rust and carried heat or cold to a building very well. Lead roofs were usually found over living quarters – kitchens, bedrooms, and living rooms – and were usually painted red.
Lead roofs were high-maintenance because they required regular repainting and had to be re-tilled every 10 or 20 years. For this reason, lead roofs fell into disuse by the mid-19th century as cheaper materials became available.
Restoring and protecting a traditional lead roof can include:
Leadwork and Flashing on a roof
Types of lead used to install a roof
Yes, traditional or soft lead is mainly used to construct gutters and flashings, but it has also been found to be an excellent material for decorative purposes. This type of lead is very malleable making it easier to shape around the different angles that are needed when constructing roofs.
When lead is used on a roof, whether for decorative purposes or to protect vulnerable areas, it needs to be worked with by someone who knows what they are doing. Lead must never be bent while cold. It has to have the heat from your hands applied to it so that you can mould it without breaking or cracking the material. Once the lead has been shaped, it is then fixed into place using nails.
As experts in leadwork repairs and installations in Winchester, we will be happy to discuss any issues with your flashing, guttering, chimney repairs or roof leaks. We are experts are delivering lead roof works that are durable and can stand the test of time.