Lead Flashing: How to Cut & Install in a Flash!

What is Lead Flashing?

Lead flashing is a thin, flexible sheet of lead that is used to cover joints and seams in a roof. Typically used in areas where two roof surfaces meet, such as around chimneys or dormer windows. Lead flashing is available in assorted sizes and thicknesses, depending on the application. Due to its malleability and unrivalled waterproofing properties lead flashing is perfect for roofing jobs such as flat roofing/pitched roofing, dormers, chimney flashing and more. Fully sustainable and environmentally friendly, lead roof flashing is 100% recyclable with a life expectancy of over 100 years!

What is Lead Flashing Used For?

Lead flashing is used to prevent water from seeping into your home through the roof. When two roof surfaces meet, there is a gap between them that needs to be covered and sealed to prevent water from entering the home. Lead flashing is the ideal material for this job because it's highly flexible and malleable, meaning it is easy to work with and can be bent and shaped to fit any angle or contour on the roof. It's also non-corrosive and extremely durable and long-lasting, so it will protect your home from water damage for many years.

What Will You Need?

Lead/tin snips are the number one tool you will need for cutting lead, they will not blunt easily and remain nice and sharp to get the job done.

Stanley knife, the perfect tool to mark out a nice straight line before using your tin snips to cut.

Tape measure/Ruler to measure the length and width of the area you are installing the flashing.

Pliers, perfect for gripping and shaping the lead whilst you are working on it.
Lead dresser or mallet, used to flatten or shape the edges of the flashing once you've cut it to size, perfect for tapping the lead into place.

Gloves & goggles, safety first! Perfect for protecting yourself from any sharp edges and flying debris that may cause you harm.

Cutting Lead Flashing

The best way to cut your lead flashing sheet is with your trusty tin snips, though with a thicker flashing something more appropriate like lead cutting shears or even a circular saw may be more appropriate. Make sure your cutting tools are sharp and in good condition to ensure a clean cut.

Step One: Ensuring you have measured up the area is key, measure and mark the cut: Use a straight edge or ruler to measure the length of the flashing you need to cut. Mark the line with a pencil or marker making sure the line is straight and even.

Step Two: Cut the lead flashing with your tin snips: Use a sharp utility knife to score the lead along the cut line. Make several passes with the knife to create a deep, clean cut. Take care not to cut too deeply, as this can damage the flashing or cause it to warp.

Step Three: Bend the flashing along the cutline: Once you have made the cut with the utility knife, you can use your hands to bend the flashing along the cut line. This will help to break the lead along the scored line and create a clean edge.

Step Four: Finish the cut with metal snips: Use heavy-duty metal snips or tin snips to finish the cut. Follow the scored line with the snips, cutting through the remaining lead until the flashing is fully separated.

Step Five: Clean up the cut edge: Once you have cut the lead flashing, you may notice some rough or jagged edges. Use a metal file or sandpaper to smooth out the edge and create a clean, even finish.

When cutting lead flashing, it is important to take proper safety precautions. Lead can be toxic if ingested or inhaled, so be sure to wear protective gloves and a mask to prevent exposure to lead dust or particles. Dispose of any lead scraps or waste in accordance with local regulations.

Installing the Flashing

Step One: It is essential the measured area is clean and free of any debris, prepare the area!

Step Two: Cut your lead following the steps above! Ensuring you are using your appropriate sharp tools.

Step Three: Shape your lead: Using the lead dresser or mallet, shape the lead to fit the area, pressing it into all the curves and angles.

Step Four: Installing the lead, now the lead has been shaped it is time to apply a layer of roofing sealant to the roof surface where the lead will sit. Ensure the lead is flush by pressing it in firmly.

Step Five: Making the lead secure: With the use of lead clips or copper nails secure the lead flashing by placing them evenly along the length.

Step Six: Seal the deal! Once you have the lead in place and you are happy it is secure, it is time to add the lead sealant to ensure there are no gaps and the joints are filled. This prevents any water from penetrating the flashing and causing any damage to your roof space.

Step Seven: Patination Oil: Designed to stop streaking and the carbonisation happening keeping your lead looking fresh.

Lead Flashing Maintenance

Lead is a hardy, durable and resilient material that requires little maintenance, however, there are some steps you can take to ensure you get the most out of your lead flashing material. Following these steps can help extend the life of your flashing and keep your roof space protected from any potential water damage.

Step One: Inspect regularly, this will help keep on top of any issues that may have arisen. Signs of damage, cracks, splits, or any gaps that may have emerged are better fixed as soon as possible.

Step Two: Roof Cleanliness is a key factor, making sure any debris sat on the roof is removed is key, leaves and branches that have collected on your roof can hide any damage that may go unnoticed for some time.

Step Three: Repair any damaged areas that you notice as soon as possible, this will help prevent any further damage. Fill any cracks with high quality sealant and by replacing any damaged sections.

Step Four: Rust checking is a good practice; any rust can be removed using a wire brush and rust prevention tools like rust inhibitor will help prevent further damages from occurring.

Step Five: Installation, ensuring that proper installation has been achieved is one of the main steps. The flashing needs to be securely fastened to the roof and all joints and gaps need to be properly sealed.

Choose your Lead Flashing with Roofing Supplies UK

Roofing Supplies UK is an expert retailer of lead flashing products. We can advise on the right option for your needs, to ensure your roofing project is a success. We have a range of Lead Flashing available to suit a wide variety of roofing needs.

Are you interested in choosing your lead roof flashing today? Email us at sales@roofingsuppliesuk.co.uk, call us at 01752 466151, or order online 24 hours a day, seven days a week. We’ll be able to help you purchase your lead flashing now.