Lead is non-ferrous; it is not attracted by a magnet. Lead is bluish-white when freshly cut but tarnishes to dull grey when exposed to the air. It can be cut with a sharp knife.


Lead is very soft, highly malleable, ductile, and a poor conductor of electricity. It is very resistant to corrosion.

The period house owner will usually come across lead in water pipes. Providing the water supply is not acidic, there is no risk to people from the poisonous nature of the lead in this role.

Some old electrical wiring is sheathed in lead.


Take care when handling lead as it is a cumulative poison. When you are drilling, cutting or sanding materials with old paint, assume that the paint is lead-based and take precautions.


Conventional paint stripper can be used to remove paint.

The patina on lead and its alloys should not be removed because it forms a protective layer which prevents further corrosion.