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Construction FAQs

Answering your questions about lead for the construction industry

We’ll answer as many of your questions about ordering, delivery, and specification of lead as we can. But if you need any more advice – or you’ve got question that’s not listed below, you can fill in our FAQs form, or give us a call on +44 (0) 1283 224 555.

To start off, we’d like to tackle one of the biggest issues…

Machine cast versus rolled lead

What is the difference between machine cast and rolled lead sheet?

The single major difference is in the way they’re made. Rolled lead sheet (sometimes called milled lead) is made by passing a solid slab of lead back and forth on a rolling mill between closing rollers. In the machine cast lead process, a water-cooled rotating drum is immersed in a tray of molten lead – this makes the lead solidify. As the lead sheet forms on the drum it is stripped off and wound onto spools.

But in terms of quality? No difference.

In terms of appearance? There’s a negligible difference. And if you’d like to see just how small that difference is, contact us on +44 (0) 1283 224 555 for a couple of lead samples.

 So, is one better than the other? No. Both rolled (milled) and machine cast lead are made to the same BS specification (analysis, codes, tolerance, strength and sizes etc.) Actually, there are two differences worth noting – machine cast lead is more efficient to make, so it’s cheaper than rolled lead. And machine cast lead has a longer guarantee – 60 years for machine cast lead, opposed to 50 years for rolled lead.

Is machine cast lead harder to work than rolled lead?

No. Not even a little. We guarantee you won’t notice any difference between the two. In fact, if you or your clients were to lay a lead roof using rolled (milled) lead and machine cast lead side-by-side they would only notice the slightest difference in appearance – and no difference in quality or usability.

Still not convinced? Contact us and we’ll send you a sample roll of lead to work with!

What is lead made of?

Both machine cast lead and rolled lead are made from the exact same chemical specification. At Midland Lead we subject all our lead to testing in our on-site lab to ensure it meets our meticulous quality standards: 99.92% pure! The remaining 0.8% is an important part of the blend. We introduce additional elements to make the lead easier to work with in commercial applications.

Delivery questions

What is the minimum carriage paid order?

For all lead sheet orders, our minimum order weight is 500kgs for carriage paid.

For ancillaries, the minimum order is £500. Don’t worry, we’ll let you know if you’re close to the minimum order limit so that you can add a little more and take advantage of the free delivery.

Orders of lead sheet or ancillaries that don’t meet the required carriage weight have a delivery charge of £27.50

Do you give out ETAs?

We will give an estimated time of arrival for your order, and we know that our transport partners work hard to meet their ETAs. But delays do sometimes occur, particularly as a result of traffic congestion. If your order is late, let us know and we’ll look into it for you…

What is the delivery time for construction lead?

Our normal UK delivery time is two-three days, from order through production to delivery. For urgent orders, you can request a quicker delivery. If it’s possible, we’ll do it for you. This will just incur an additional carriage charge of £10 per pallet.

Overseas delivery details are available on request. Call us on +44 (0) 1283 224 555.

General lead questions

What are the standard sizes and codes of lead sheet for construction?

Code 4 (1.80mm) is the most commonly used code for the construction industry. And that’s generally the code you’ll find in a builders’ merchants. Code 5 (2.24mm) is also used in some cases.

In terms of length and width, 6.0m lengths remain our most popular length, with widths varying from 150mm – 450mm.

For more details, download our weight chart

Why does lead sometimes go white?

That’s lead oxide. It sometimes forms if lead is exposed to a damp atmosphere. It’s not a sign of damage or deficiency, but it can cause a problem if the oxide washes off the lead onto brickwork or tiling below.

You can easily prevent these stains by storing your lead in a dry, clean area – on raised pallets. We also recommend you treat the lead with patination oil as soon as the work is completed.

What’s the green rating for lead sheet?

Lead is durable, recyclable and thanks to its low melting point has a relatively energy-efficient manufacturing process (and a low carbon footprint). Lead also has working life expectancy of well over a hundred years making it a truly green building material.

Proving its green credentials, lead is now in the BRE Green Guide with a rating of A+ or A.

Can you advise on the required thickness of lead sheet for specific building applications?

Take a look at the reverse of our handy weight chart first – that should give you the information you need to select the right thickness.

But if you can’t find the information you’re after, or you just want to make absolutely sure, give us a call on +44 (0) 1283 224 555 and we’ll advise you.

Can I just order ancillaries?

Ancillaries are generally purchased with a lead sheet order, but you’re welcome to buy them on their own. Unless you are able to make a bulk order of £500, you will incur a small carriage charge.