Lead Roofing Materials
Lead sheet is the oldest and most durable metal roofing: when properly installed, it can last 200 years. A 1997 restoration project of a 15th-century church in England, for example, included the replacement of the lead sheet roof and church documents indicate that the roof was last replaced in 1730. Much of the old lead roofing removed was covered with graffiti left behind by the craftsmen who had worked on the roof over the years. They drew pictures or traced their hands and feet. The earliest date found on the lead was 1700 and the most recent was 1935.
Lead's resistance to atmospheric pollution and acid rain makes it ideally suited for roofing and for protecting stone cornices, copings, and other projections. Its extreme malleability also makes it an ideal material for dressing over complicated shapes and forms.
Lead is a non-ferrous metal, which makes it corrosion resistant. It will oxidize with exposure, developing a silver-gray patina that is insoluble in water. Because of this insolubility, rainwater runoff over a weathered lead surface carries little lead.
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