Lead was used extensively used in the past and is still maintained on older buildings to preserve the original character. It is common knowledge that churches tend to be roofed with lead. It may also be found on grander historical buildings, however many lead roofs have now been replaced.
Surveyors will propose any possible alternatives to completely replacing a lead roof but sometimes there is no alternative. Replacing it with a new lead roof is expensive however, depending on the type of lead sheet, it is sometimes both possible and more cost effective to melt the lead down and re form it.
Issues with lead roofing often encountered by surveyors:
- Due to the malleability of lead, sheets are often very large. This can result in a large amount of seasonal expansion and contraction which can distort and even compromise the roofs effectiveness.
- Ripples caused by expansion and contraction cycles which ultimately crack leaving a route for water ingress.
- Acid based lead corrosion can result from acid rain or water running onto the lead off acidic or alkaline surfaces such walls bound with lime based mortar.
Over the years lead roofs have become a target for thieves and sadly with the soaring price of lead this is becoming ever more common.