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Leadwork

Lead work is a highly skilled job.  One of the areas in our surveys that is often lacking.  It is all too common for builders to do their own leadwork - and there aren't too many that do it right.  One of the most common issues is that flashings are not inserted deep enough into the brickwork.  Often no more than about 10mm is folded over, and the only way it is held in is with a bead of silicone.  This shrinks and falls off within a couple of years and the flashing comes loose.  There is a very detailed set of specifications for lead work, published by the Lead Sheet Association which is the only place we advise anyone to go to. If you want good leadwork, use someone from their register and you won't go wrong!  There is a double benefit to this - most lead workers also work closely with a really good roofing contractor that they know and trust - so find your local Lead Sheet person, you'll end up with a good roofer too!"  

One of the most common problems we find is rippling of lead in valleys.  Lead is like any other metal - it expands and shrinks.  You know what happens to a piece of metal if you bend it back and forth - it breaks.  Well lead does that too - and if its in your valley, you will end up with a crack right across the valley floor, that lets water through.  Enter the rotted valley, and water pouring down the walls inside.  You can't repair lead - often we see bitumen slopped over cracks - it lasts about 6 months and goes again - the crack is there because of movement.  If lead sheet is rippling, it is because the sheet is not free to move and wasn't fitted right in the first place. Another common problem is hips and ridges - people nail through the top of the hip - right through the lead.  As it moves, the nail hole becomes a slot, and water pours in.  You cannot nail lead!  

 

 

 

 

  • Lead ridge capping - dissolved
    Examples of problems with lead

Regulated by RICS