Lead guttering is a common feature of homes built out of sandstone in Scotland but there can still be problems with leads gutters.

One of the earliest known metal materials to be used on roofing, lead has a proven lifespan of over 100 years. Such a durable and workable material, lead is a popular choice because of its unrivalled weatherproofing and the fact that it can be crafted to fit and protect complex roofing areas and gutters. You will find lead used for guttering on stone houses across Glasgow, Edinburgh and all the historic buildings in Towns and Villages across the central belt of Scotland. But while lead gutters may be proven to last for 100 years, so many of the blonde sandstone homes in cities like Glasgow are over 100 years old. This means that your homes guttering may have already developed a problem.

What are the common problems with lead guttering?

Lead Rolls – Poorly installed lead roll ends are a common issue on homes. A lead roll end should finish at the edge of a gutter drip point but very often, this is not the case. This can allow water to seep under the lap and into the substrate beneath. A short lead roll is one of the most comming issues with lead guttering and is visibly easy to sport by a lead work specialists like ourselves.

Flashings – Poorly fitted flashing on the parapet side and even lead gutter flashing that has been fixed without laps every 1,500mm can cause the gutter flashing to fall off the wall and create a water entry point.

Poor workmanship – Not every roofing and building maintenance company is as good at lead work as Balmore. While we have been doing this for over 35 years, there are some roofers who simply don’t have the experience or understanding of how lead gutters should be fitted. This can lead to costly mistakes that can cause dry rot, damage to your properties stonework and easy entry points for rain water.

Impace Drops and Heavy Weights – You would be amazed how many times we have been called by a new customer because their previous roofer had accessed a section of their roof by placing ladders at the base of a lead gutter. The excess weight on a set point of the gutter caused it to pond and pull the flashing from the stonewall. The roofer of course denies this and stops answering the phone and that is where we get called to fix another roofers mistakes.

Underside corrosion – It might sound strange to be talking about corrosion and lead but underside corrosion is not so much about the lead itself but what goes on beneath it. Warm, moist air rising from internal rooms below (like your kitchen, bathroom etc) can get trapped below lead guttering and cause decay to the stonework, wooden beams etc that site beneath.

Metal Fatigue – While lead guttering is a tough and durable material, it has its limits. Over 100 years of weathering, sunshine, frost and rain can cause the expansion and contracting of lead to finally cause little cracks and defects. These almost invisible defects can cause dry rot, wet rot and damage to sandstone walls.