Church Roof Replacement Using Terne-coated Stainless Steel

Guidance Note

This Guidance Note is aimed at parochial church councils and their architects, diocesan advisory committees, local authority conservation officers and other conservation professionals. It is designed to help with decisions following theft of lead from a historic church roof.

Terne-coated stainless steel (TCSS) is the most durable alternative to lead and offers advantages over other options such as slate or tiles. However, there are a number of issues regarding the use of TCSS that are often raised by congregations, architects and advisory bodies when making decisions on roof replacement after lead theft from a historic church. To address these, Historic England commissioned an independent metal-roofing consultant to survey the TCSS roofs that have been installed on a number of churches in England over the past 25 years and to review their performance, summarise lessons learnt and identify ways in which problems had been or could be overcome.

The Guidance Note considers eight design and specification issues that frequently arise when considering the use of TCSS to replace stolen lead roofing. It presents the findings of the survey and provides technical guidance on addressing each of the issues.

This document has been prepared by Keith Roberts on behalf of Historic England and replaces the previous issue dated February 2020.


  • Introduction
  • Stainless steel material choice
  • Terne coating
  • Keeping the rain out: seams
  • Keeping the rain out: details
  • Reducing rain noises: seams
  • Reducing rain noises: underlay
  • Unacceptable appearance from ground level
  • Surface discolouration
  • Appropriate skills
  • Further reading

This note forms part of a package of materials published by Historic England and written to help congregations dealing with metal theft or the risk of metal theft.

Additional Information

  • Series: Guidance
  • Publication Status: Completed
  • Pages: 18
  • Product Code: HEAG280


If you require an alternative, accessible version of this document (for instance in audio, Braille or large print) please contact us:

Customer Service Department

Telephone: 0370 333 0607
Email: [email protected]