Why Is Lead Used for Roofing? 6 Massive Reasons!

Lead has been on the list of the best roofing solutions for centuries now. This material is (still) being used in the form of downspouts, gutters, pipes, roof coverings, and more. If it wasn’t for lead, we wouldn’t be able to enjoy the beauties of numerous ancient buildings today.

Yet, how did it manage to stand the test of time? What makes it different from other, modern roofing materials? Today, we are talking more about why is lead used for roofing and what are some of its significant benefits.

1. It is long-lasting

Lead is extremely durable and outdoor elements practically have no chance against it. Most roofing materials, lead included, tend to contract when the temperatures get below 0 and expand when the temperatures reach high points. However, unlike these other materials that are susceptible to weather elements, UV rays, and pollutants circling the atmosphere, lead doesn’t weaken or change over time. Snow, frost, and heavy rainfalls can make most roofing materials deteriorate but lead is not on this list.

On top of that, lead is resistant to corrosion and fire (lightning storms can’t damage it either), the two elements that can severely impact any roof and its structure. These are all of the reasons that back up the claim that lead is a material truly made to last.

In fact, compared to other roofing materials, lead can last at least 3 times longer, provided that the roofing is properly fitted and installed (which depends on the contractor responsible for installing the roofing). It also depends on whether the roofing is properly maintained since algae can make it corrode.

2. It is flexible

Lead is malleable and lightweight, and since it is so easy to form to a particular shape, it is suitable for a myriad of roofing applications. For instance, lead roofing was often seen on historic buildings – churches, spires, and other buildings that had a bit awkward shape. Since it can be easily manipulated, lead makes a perfect choice for flashing around chimneys. However, it is safe to say that lead is used with flat roofs as well.

3. It is eco-friendly

Lead can be easily melted down and recycled. For instance, you can melt down lead that has been installed on your roof, reform it, and install it again, without ever wondering about whether its durability or weatherproofing has been affected. Every year, three million tons of lead are recycled, and, most roof coverings installed today are actually made of recycled lead.

Added to that, lead is more recyclable than, let’s say, zinc, copper, or aluminium. Thus, it makes a great choice for everyone looking for a solution that produces zero waste, no carbon emissions, and thus, is not harmful to the environment.

4. Its sealing properties are second to none

Roofs are meant to prevent leaks, which also largely depends on the type of roofing materials used. Lead roofing creates such a tight fit that absolutely no moisture or water can creep into your house. Since leaks are amongst the most common roofing vulnerabilities, lead is also used for flashing and covering joints.

5. It looks more than decent

Unlike synthetic materials used for roofing, such as fiberglass or asphalt, lead ages beautifully. Just like slate roofs, lead roofs are quite aesthetically pleasing. It makes a decent choice among homeowners who prefer vintage vibes while, on the other hand, it can be painted as well, just in case its original colour (light to dark gray) doesn’t match your liking.

6. It is reasonably priced

Fiberglass or asphalt roofings are quite affordable, not to say, cheap, and last no more than 30 years at their best. Lead roofings are, on the other hand, quite durable, as explained above, while still not being overly expensive. People have started realising that pricier roofing options really do make sense, which is also the reason behind the increased demand for lead roofing and flashing in the past couple of years.


So, now it is clear that there are numerous reasons why is lead used for roofing. But, how do we know all this? We at Groom & Co have roof leading specialists on our team who have both knowledge and experience working with this common material.

Having any kind of lead roofing, installation, maintenance and repair job in mind, feel free to contact us anytime. Groom & Co have conducted a myriad of lead roofing projects, including lead flashings. We cover both domestic and commercial properties, and operate in the Beckenham, Blackheath, Bromley, Orpington, and Chislehurst areas.