Why and How to Use Patination Oil?

Lead is a popular option for roofing as it is easy to apply, durable and gives a nice tidy finish. Whatever the use for the lead, it is best to finish the job with a coat of patination oil to maintain the quality finish for longer.

Patination oil is a white spirit based liquid that can be used to coat newly laid or cleaned lead. A layer of the oil can help protect the lead and prevent carbonate formation on the surface. The carbonate formation is the white staining that appears on untreated lead, left exposed to the elements and moisture (see the image below). This can then spread to the brickwork around it and leave the work looking unsightly.


The oil is made up with a mixture of chemical compounds that leave the lead with a professional, clean, metallic finish after treatment. Ideally the oil should be applied the same day as the lead being laid to avoid any unwanted moisture meeting the surface. Water on the surface will reduce the efficiency of the oil and could still allow the build up of carbonates. If the lead has been laid previously, you will need to use a cleaning gel to remove any existing staining and dirt. Once cleaned, wash the lead of the gel, leave it to dry and then apply the layer of oil.

The oil can easily be applied just with a soft cloth to rub the oil on to the clean, dry lead. The lead should only require the one coat to be applied to form the protective layer it requires. The oil is cost effective, keeping the lead fresh and only costing a few pence per metre covered.

Tips For Use:

  1. Shake the bottle well before use
  2. Only apply the oil to a dry surface to maximise efficiency
  3. Apply the oil with a soft cloth working from the top of the lead to the bottom
  4. Use a linear movement and avoid scrubbing the oil in
  5. Ensure the oil is applied as an even, single layer
  6. Oil underneath flashings to 50mm from the edge and under any clips to prevent the carbonate forming at the join
  7. Allow an hour for the oil to dry – plan for a day with a dry forecast!

We stock Code 3 and 4 lead at Atlantic Cladding along with patination oil, silicone and all the tools you will need for the job. Have a look at our product page, and our current special offer on Code 3 and Code 4 lead!