Historically, lead has been a popular choice for roof cladding and flashings, because it is naturally durable and is easily shaped using hand tools at ambient temperatures, without the need for softening or annealing.

Lead has an inherent lack of mechanical strength and is laid on solid sarking. It has high thermal movement and, over time, there is a risk of distortion and lead sheet cracking. Sheet lead is available in weights from 6 kg/m² to 40 kg/m².

The thinner the lead, the shorter the length should be. A maximum length of 1500 mm or less than 1.5 m² is ideal.

Run-off from a new lead roof can stain other metals with a white lead carbonate. Application of a proprietary product or boiled linseed oil and mineral turpentine mixture can avoid that happening.

A factory applied cured coating that inhibits the contact between lead and oxides with water is available. The lack of contact reduces the potential for run-off staining other metals, and of lead entering ground water systems. Avoid using lead roofs to collect potable water.

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