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Anyone know anything about lead on a slate roof?

(7 Posts)
Albrecht Fri 27-May-11 11:07:59

We have a slate roof that is leaking a bit (in the porch and a bit damp upstairs in one room). Bought last year and survey said was no major problems but might need maintenance in the next few years, as you'd expect with old house.

Got a guy out and he said the lead valleys have cracked, IHO because they have been made too large. They have been repaired with roof sellent but he recommended replacing with stainles steel or else it will happen again. My brother reckons this bollocks (he knows everything...)

Anyone had this? Or know whether the roof guy is talking sense? Also any idea how much this type of thing costs. TIA.

(Weather is very harsh here so we need something pretty sturdy)

Pendeen Fri 27-May-11 11:50:58

Lead is very long lasting but has to be laid properly and with due allowance for the building to move due to temperature changes. This is done by limiting the maximum length for a given situation, using the correct thickness (called the 'Code'), which depends on the angle at which it is laid and other factors. It is quite common for lead to be installed incorrectly so the roofer is probably right in his diagnosis.

Failed valley gutters to slate roofs are especialy difficult to deal with as the adjoining slates have to be removed to allow the gutter to be re-lined and because of the way slates are fixed this is quite tricky. One solution is to cut the gutter into shorter lengths and then 'burn' new lead into the joints, a very skilled and potentially dangerous job if not done carefully because of the fire risk!

Stainless steel sounds an odd choice because it is far less malleable than lead and to be honest if someone is going to the trouble of stripping out the gutter you may as well have lead but fitted properly unles you have a problem with crime in your area - lead is very popular with thieves.

If you dont want the expense or disruption, yes gutters can be sealed with liquid coatings or other linings such as GRP that can be laid over the existing lead but they are all short life solutions (don't let the sales people tell you otherwise) so it really depends on how long you intend to stay, how deep your pocket and so on.

One other thing to bear in mind - is your house is a listed building? You said it is an old property. If it is, speak to the conservation Architect at your council first because you may have to use lead anyway if she / he insists.

Good luck.

(I'm waiting for a builder to meet me on a site, so I'm sitting here bored silly in the car)!!

Albrecht Fri 27-May-11 14:22:26

Oh that is so helpful, thank you, Pendeen!

He said about getting an engineering firm to make stainless steel pieces to fit the valleys. Crime is not an issue (sheep rustling perhaps), I think he thinks new lead will just crack again, although he said he could just replace it like for like if we wanted. Have no idea what I want!

Not listed just old but that's an idea, might get in touch with the council anyway just to get an opinion as it is a traditional house for the area.

Hope your builder turned up soon, can't wait to chat to my brother about the 'Code' etc. Ha!

Owlingate Fri 27-May-11 14:26:46

Wherever you are lead will get nicked. I'm sure there is a new thing they use to replace lead these days - agree stainless steel is probably not it!

conculainey Fri 27-May-11 21:09:28

Lead and cooper have similar properties in that they can expand and contract with the weather, stainless steel will not be as forgiving and is not as flexible or easy to work. Stainless steel is fine for a new build but unsuitable for a refurb or repair work imo, flexible aluminium alloys are available and are becoming popular due to the high cost of copper and lead so aluminium imo would be a better choice after lead but certainly not stainless steel.

Freezingmyarseoff Fri 27-May-11 22:01:09

How about looking at fibreglass? We recently has our roof replaced and were going to use GRP for the flat bit but ended up using fibreglass instead. I'm afraid I can't really remember many details but maybe worth investigating?

Albrecht Sat 28-May-11 10:31:39

Thanks everyone, I will query the reasoning behind the stainless steel when we get the quote (wondering if I actually misheard him now!).

Owlingate Honestly if they nicked it they'd have a hell of a journey, we are very remote here.

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