Lead flashing

What is Lead Flashing?

Lead flashing is mainly used in the roofing industry to weatherproof the exterior of a structure. The term flashing is the application of any thin strip of material used to prevent water from entering a structure and lead is the preferred material used by the industry. The malleability and non-corrosiveness of lead gives it an impressively strong barrier making it impervious to the elements and the reason it lasts for many years. Lead boasts more than its incredible technical function as it comes with its own beauty, providing an aesthetically pleasing look with its lovely combinations with concrete and glass.

Types of Lead Flashing:

  • Russell Concrete Roof Tiles

As the third largest roof tile manufacturer in the UK by volume, Russell Roof Tiles was established over 50 years ago and manufactures a wide range of concrete roof tiles and fittings for the pitched roofing market across the UK. Using advanced modern techniques, to design sustainable thinner leading edge roof tiles, Russell concrete roof tiles are approximately half the thickness of standard concrete tiles and give off a natural roof vibe by replicating the traditional stone, slate and clay aesthetic.

  • Lightweight Metal Roof Tiles

Roof tiles that sit over 20kg per square metre are heavyweight tiles whilst roof tiles that cruise below 20kg on the scales are classed into the lightweight category. Lightweight metal roof tiles are very durable and often last up to 60 years or more in some cases. Metal roof tiles usually come in strips (metal cladding) and are then joined together using a special machine to form a seam. This makes installation quick but not so much as a DIY project since it’s more of a specialist job requiring training and specialist machinery.

  • Handmade Clay Roof Tiles

For centuries handmade clay tiles have been a reliable roofing material and have consistently proven themselves. The UK is a popular ground for handmade clay tiles and there is no shortage of good quality service that provides them. Clay tiles blend naturally with the natural environment and its durability make it an impressive roofing material choice especially for those wanting a historic look. The benefits of handmade clay tiles sets it apart from its rivals such as its century enduring lifespan, tile variation of color, shape and texture with each tile being singularly unique.


  • Marley Concrete Roof Tiles

Marley is one of the UK’s leading companies in holistic roofing systems. They produce concrete plain and interlocking tiles that are easy to install. Their impressive collection of affordable concrete roof tiles give options of 9 distinctive colors and 3 finishes which combines pleasing aesthetics with high-quality manufacturing for any pitched roofing project. Marley’s interlocking concrete roof tiles have been engineered to withstand the challenging elements.

Benefits of Lead Flashing

  • No More Leaks

A leaking roof can give you an annoying headache and if left unfixed can lead to sustained damage to your roof from other problems such as mould and rotting of wood in your roofing structure. Lead flashing helps seal the entry points of water and moisture around your seams and joints while deflecting water away from your home.

  • Added Beauty

Lead flashing boasts high marks not just for its functionality and versatility but its beauty too. It provides an attractive finish for your roof and as an easy maintenance material, helps keep your roof looking good with little to no effort at all.

  • Reduced Costs

All roofs will wear and tear over time and yes, it is the nature of all things unfortunately and one major reason is their exposure to the elements. Therefore, it is important to make your roof as weather resistant as possible to slow down the deterioration effects and save money from constant repairs. Installing high-quality lead flashing creates an impenetrable barrier against the elements.


Common Questions

How do you install lead flashing on roofs?

  1. Clear your workspace, roll out the lead rolls and get your required tools together for easy access.
  2. Remove old flashing and clean the area of debris. Measure the distance from the chase depth (this is the amount of lead that goes into the brickwork) to the join in the roof, and then from the join across the roof covering or the second surface.
  3. Cut lead sheets to around 1.2m long, with your measured distance as the width of the lead. Any sheet longer than 1.2 meters will make the lead harder to shape and more likely to split over time.
  4. Shape the lead to the required angle using lead dressing tools. Fit ledge straps onto the nails holding the tiles that will be covered by the flashing in place when you are done shaping the lead. The straps provide resistance and prevent the flashing from sliding down the roof over.
  5. Place the lead flashing into place. Each lead flashing piece should overlap the previous section by a minimum of 100mm to prevent leaks over time.

Included prices

  • Code 3 Lead Flashing | Lead Sheet | Lead Rolls: 2m, 3m & 6m rolls | 210mm x 2m (£44.27)
  • Lead Free Flashing – 150mm x 5m (£24.00)
  • Code 4 Lead Flashing – 150mm x 3m (£25.16)

Lead Flashing Alternatives

Lead flashing remains one of the most popular roofing materials available, but many people are gradually opting for lead-free materials that are non-toxic and friendly to the environment. Lead flashing alternatives are around 50% cheaper, usually come on a roll and are easier to install than real lead. They are light and easy to work with, reducing the need for skilled lead workers. Quicker installation options such as self-adhesive lead alternatives also speed up the fitting process.

Matt HAuthor: Matt Holder

Matt Holder is our in-house writer. Matt has been working in the construction industry for 10 years. From working on-site to integrating into our office, Matt is highly knowledgeable on all matters of construction.


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