• Leadwork
  • Leadwork
  • Leadwork
  • Leadwork

Lead Flashings and Lead Work in Plymouth


Lead is used as a weather sealing material on the external side of a building and can be found on the roof, or in the cavity wall or on an extension. It is manufactured into rolls and graded into codes depending on the thickness. The rolls also vary in with from 100mm up to 1500mm and can be purchased in either 3 metres or 6 metre lengths. It can be found around chimneys, joining one building to another’s sidewall, a lead tray diverting water or even as a cavity tray protecting from water penetration.

Its primary function is to prevent water penetration. If lead work flashing were not in place around a chimney, water would run down the external walls of the chimney and into the building roof space area. Another example would be when a pitched roof has another pitched roof joining it from another direction, where they join is called a valley, this valley has to be sealed with lead work then calling it a lead valley. If the lead were not used in the valley, water would run down the valley and enter the building rood space area.

Our UPVC products include:
  • Chimney Lead Flashing
  • Lead Gullies & Lead Trays
  • Extension Lead Flashings
  • Dormer Window Flashings
  • Lead Roof Maintenance and Health Checks
  • Frost & Weather damaged flashings
  • Sealing Lead Work to external walls
  • Lead Roof Surveys
  • Torn & damaged Lead Flashings
  • Replace any lead flashings or trays whatsoever
We are lead work replacement & repair specialists

Here at Acorn Roofing Solutions (ARS) offer a full Lead replacement & repair service. If you have a problem with a leak from defective lead work or are interested in booking a survey for any of our services or just a roof safety check, please contact Acorn Roofing Solutions (ARS) and a member of our team will be happy to help or advise you. CALL – Acorn Roofing Solutions (ARS) now on 01752 201077

Acorn Roofing Solutions (ARS) can carry out any form of lead work repair or replacement from industrial building in the commercial sector to all forms of flashings and lead trays in the private domestic sector. We also cater for defective lead to listed historic building churches and cathedrals. No matter what the problem is Acorn Roofing Solutions (ARS) will get it sorted.

On request we will pop round and see you for an informal chat and survey your lead problems. All our staff is courteous and polite providing a reliable, prompt service. We basically turn up when we say we are going to. We will carry out the works with minimal disruption to you and your day-to-day family life and respect your home whilst the work is being carried out. Our skilled tradesmen technicians are highly experiences in all aspects of lead and lead welding. You get a service from us second to none.

Tips to Lead Roof Repairs

I would like to share with you a few tips on what to look out for and how to carry out repairs to your lead roof. This guide explains how the professionals do it so as to give you a much more robust repair and much better than using the DIY solutions there are on the market today such as the paint on liquid seals.

Most commonly known lead roof leaks are from bay roof windows, but this technic will work on any lead roof. When a bay roof leaks the first you know about it is brown staining on the ceiling and water dripping from the ceiling onto the floor or hitting your window cill. This leakage through the lead is usually due to old age and cracks forming in the lead. Over the years lead will expand and contract from weathering conditions, this is normally allowed for on installation so is why the correct code, or thickness of lead is used for the job in hand. Unfortunately when a bay roof leaks it’s probably cracks from the original lead still in place since the property was built meaning it could be over 100 years old. In that time the lead has simply just worn out from 100 years of expanding and contracting.

These cracks in the lead are called fatigue cracks. Fatigue cracks can come in all shapes and sizes and can often be very small, fine and not noticeable unless you inspect it very closely. But big or small, once present its not long before water will find a path in.

Can I replace the lead roof with a different roof?

Unfortunately we current live in a world of theft and corruption. Scrape lead has value and there are some unethical people out there who will stop at nothing to steel your lead if given the chance. So because of this increasing crime many homeowners are steering away from using lead especially on small and low level roofs such as bay windows. Another option would be to source a quotation for either torch on felt or fiberglass GRP roof. Please see our other pages marked GRP roofing or felt roofing for more information.

When should I repair my lead roof?

Take a close look over all your lead to determine its condition overall. Note down the number of holes, tears or splits there are and weigh up the costs to repair or renew. Determine whether the repair will be cost effective or will it be better to replace it with either felt or a GRP system. If your roof has already had several previous repairs over the years it may prove to be futile to repair especially if you re issuing a guarantee for someone.

What not to do

I have been and surveyed many lead roofs that are leaking and found that people have attempted their own repairs by applying paint on bitumen and other similar products. Please let me reassure you that this will not work and to try is futile, all you will be achieving is to waste your time and money.

Let me explain why. Any form of paint on sealant will eventually dry out and set. It then is subject to the natural forces of lead when it expands and contracts, this will then lead to the dried sealant to crack or be pulled apart and so leak again. Please don’t read and listen to what the manufactures claim the paint on sealant can do. It will not work, trust us.

Another issue to consider is any paint on sealant applied will undoubtedly make a proper repair more difficult to achieve. The general rule is to avoid all and any paint applied sealer to lead work unless there is no other choice and it’s an absolute emergency.

Paint on waterproof applied roof coating

As we have already mentioned, by applying paint on waterproof solution directly to lead work will inevitably make the correct repair much harder to carry out and will inflate the cost. If a short-term repair is needed we suggest smearing a small amount od clear silicone sealant into the crack or spilt. The surface needs to be clean and dirt free. Other paint on solutions you could use in an emergency are Roofacryl, Acrypol or Acryflex. This again needs the roof surface to be clean and dry.

Repairing Lead sheet flashing

When dealing with lead work you must understand lead, its nature and the things it can be applied and use for. You need to adopt and follow good practice methods proved over many years. Lead sheeting applied and laid correctly can last for over two hundred years so by far can be classed as one of the oldest roofing material used even today. It can still be seen being made in the traditional manner by casting molten lead onto a sand bed.

Specialist companies for the use on churches and cathedrals now only manufacture it where authenticity work is of vital importance.

It was known as milled lead sheet and manufactured by using rolling mills. It was introduced at the start of the 19th century where it replaced the cast lead sheets. Today its still used in this form. Modern methods must abide to the current British standards and regulations 1178.

More recently lead sheeting made by a continued casting method is now manufactured for roofing materials only.

Reports & Surveys

On request we will pop round and see you for an informal chat and survey your lead problems. All our staff is courteous and polite providing a reliable, prompt service. If your lead problems are ignored, missed or diagnosed incorrectly the problem can grow and accumulate very quickly with warning.

The general rule of thumb is after close inspection the lead in the form of cladding, flashings or roofing is of good sound condition with just only a couple of small tears or splits then it should be repaired appropriately. If after close inspection, the lead was found to be in a much worse condition than originally thought and not sufficiently cost effective to repair the consideration of replacing the lead should be undertaken or if used as a roofing material a replacement material be used such as a torch on felt system or a GRP system be considered.

Steps of Consideration are:
  • The presence of sever splits or tears
  • If other oversized sections used
  • Restrictive thermal movement due to incorrect fixing locations
  • Worn out fixings
  • Corrosion of lead to underside or the top
  • Factors that could affect the roof deck such as heating insulation

There are of coarse other factors than can influence the decision to either repair or renew. You may have a lead valley in average fair condition and well worth repairing to extend its life by another 10 to 15 years but the slates cut in around the valley and to the existing roof are of poor quality and need relaying or renewing then the extra cost to renew the lead would in this case be the most sensible way forward.

Lead Repairs

If there are splits in the lead then it is possible to weld small lead patches over the torn areas to produce a permanent repair. Lap joints can be used to help strengthen the repair and to stop the flame from piercing through the lead. If the problem occurs to a rolled end piece then it is recommended that the complete area be cut out and removed so as a new section manufactured and welding into its position.


You should always be carful of fire when carrying out hot works repairs. Depending on your location you may need to seek to obtain a hot works permit or if hot works are completely banned you may need to take the sections off site to weld then go back to site to install them. You could use sealing tape but we would never recommend this as this method will not last very long at all.

Thermal Movement of Lead & flashings

Lead sheeting is subject to temperature weather changes and is normally fixed down externally. Lead expands and contracts throughout the year as we pass through winter and summer. If this cant happen naturally and prevented by incorrectly placed fixings then the risk of lead distortion can happen. This stress on the lead if left can lead to it tearing and splitting. On older historic building or churches the use of code 6 to 8 lead is used as it’s a lot thicker and has a lot more thermal movement allowances.

Limiting the size of the lead sheet being fixed will limit the amount of thermal movement that along with the number of fixings and their position. The fixings should be sufficient to hold the sheet in place correctly but should not restrict its thermal movement to expand and contract.

Fixing should be under the lap joints when on pitched roofs and at the top one third in of the lead roll when fixing on flat roofs. Within the joints use copper retaining clips to allow free movement and to prevent wind lift fix along the free edges.

Wind Lifting & weighing down

If lead sheeting is not fixed down correctly at the head it can slip, creep and move out of its original position. This happens because the weight of the lead was not allowed for in the calculations when determining the fixing solutions to be installed and the amount of wind exposure it potentially could suffer. The lead will rip away from fixing placed at the top end of the sheet due to fixing to near the top and the sheer weight of the lead pulling it down.

To correct method is to use a twin row of copper clout nails, the 1st row 25mm from the top and fixed at approximately 75mm centers and staggered. Lap jointing should take place over all head fixings according to pitch. There should always be a jointing detail to follow to prevent midway fixing points reduce the size of the panels being installed.

Flashings are commonly not fixed correctly or fixed insecurely. Fixing details are not always correct either; in recent years they have proved to be very week in high winds. Lead wedges placed at 500mm centers can be used to jam the lead flashing into the stone or brick its being fixed to. Lead sealers and adhesive can also be used to seal along the cut out section. A wedge should be used to each step in turn when fixing step flashings. All free edges should have fixing clips attached and suited to the amount of wind exposure the flashing will be subject to.


A suitable decking material fit for purpose with an underlay between the decking and the lead should support all lead sheeting. If a incorrect underlay is used it may result in the lead buckling and splitting even if the sections are not over fixed or oversized. Torch on felts with bituminous can get sticky when the weather is hot. This can in turn bond the lead securely to the substrate when cool.

Moisture Corrosion

In a building that is constantly heated warm moist air can find its way up through the building, through the roof structure and if not correctly ventilated it can condensate on the inside surface of the lead sheet. Left without correct ventilation this will result in the lead corroding. A common tell tale sign is white streaks appearing from under lap joints along with white powder forming beneath the lead. This can be accelerated if an organic timber fiber or oak timbers have been used as an underlay. Without correct preventative measures in place moisture can migrate to other areas and will not be stopped by vapour barriers or alike.


Installed correctly lead sheeting is a durable, reliable roofing material which can enhance the appeal and aesthetic nature of the building and can last for literally centuries.

People we work for

We are devoted in helping anyone who is requiring a scaffold in Plymouth and the South West area. We work with estate agents, block management agents, insurance companies, and investment companies all in the private sector and the commercial sector.

We carry out scaffolding projects for new builds large or small, refurbishments and demolitions where required. Please feel free to contact us where a member of our team will be happy to help.

We can help
What we can provide:
  • No obligation written scaffold estimate
  • Free survey & advice
  • Full public employers liability insurance on request
  • 24 hour emergency call out
  • The first 6 weeks free scaffold hire
  • Scaffold lighting
  • Scaffold alarm systems

We have a close working relationship with our clients at all times. This means they know that what we provide will be exactly what they need and have requested.

If you are looking for a scaffold but unsure how much you need or how its to be configured, please contact Acorn Roofing Solutions (ARS) and a member of our team will be happy to help or advise you, book a free survey and pop out and take a look to ease your mind. CALL – Acorn Roofing Solutions (ARS) now on 01752 201077

We will make an appointment and one of our surveyors will pop round to see you, survey the project, have a chat and give you some free advice. Our team is dedicated in listening to what you have to say and accommodating your every need. We will advice on what we think be best and never recommend doing any more than is required or necessary. We also we attempt a solution that stays within a budget you my have.

Our professional team of qualified riggers carries out all our work to the highest standard causing you as minimal disruption as possible to your day-to-day life and always leaves the job clean and tidy on a daily basis. We have a Public liability of £10 million pound that can be viewed on request.

As time passes your roof gets older and as with everything in life problems occur
  • Materials break down and crack
  • Mortar cracks and falls out
  • Lead work can split and loose its shape
  • Tiles or slates can crack, become loose and slip
  • Timber can rot
  • TWater penetration into your loft space
  • Render cracks
  • Paint flakes
So whom can you trust to put these defects right?

Only too many times have I seen poor workmanship and incorrect installations from bad advice. Be certain you have the correct advice and information from an approved contractor so as your roof gets the attention it needs at the right price.

Here at Acorn Roofing Solutions (ARS) can help you on any roof related item from a slipped slate to a full complex roof or new build you can count on us to assist you with professional unbiased advice to get you on the right track. Our surveys and staff have gained their knowledge and knowhow from being in the industry for over 20 years and their experience is second to none. What we quote is what you pay, nothing more.

Please feel free to contact us for help or advice
Call today

If you are interested in booking a survey for any of our services or just a roof safety check, please contact Acorn Roofing Solutions (ARS) and a member of our team will be happy to help or advise you.

CALL – Acorn Roofing Solutions (ARS) now on 01752 201077

All Our Services
  • Tiling
  • Slating
  • Felting flat roofs
  • Lead work
  • Lead flat roofing
  • GRP fibreglass flat roofs
  • Rainwater goods (Guttering & downpipes)
  • PVC Fascia, soffit, & barge boards
  • Velux roof windows
  • Fakro roof windows
  • Sky lights
  • Sun tunnels
  • Loft conversions
  • Loft ladders
  • Green roofs
  • Liquid applied roofing
  • Solar PV installations
  • Chimney rebuilds & repairs
Why Choose Us
  • Why Choose Us
    Why Choose Us?
    We are big enough to take on any challenge yet are small enough to provide a personal service. We give a reliable service that is cost effective without sacrificing quality.
  • Our Experience
    Our Experience
    Our team specialise in a first class finish. We only employ highly skilled professionals who have ample training and experience in their specialist fields. We are extremely proud of our reputation of timely, tidy, respectful, and focused employees.
  • How We Work
    How We Work
    We support you from start to finish, focusing on providing the best value for money we analyse your requirements, provide you with the options available to you and work to your needs and budget without forfeiting quality and sustainability.