Best Practices for Lead Lining an X-ray Room

Lead’s excellent shielding capabilities make it a perfect shield for radiation protection in many industries, including medical, nuclear, and construction facilities. One place where you’re sure to find lead-lining is X-ray imaging facilities, but not all lead-lining is the same. Depending on the location of the X-ray room and the equipment inside, different lead-lining regulations apply. This article will allow you to discover the ideal lead lining for radiation shielding for your radiology room design.

Lead-lining-for-X-ray-room - Raybloc X-ray protection

What is Lead Lining and How Does it Stop Radiation?

Anything lead-lined is composed of dense lead metal, along with the necessary material to produce your lead-lined item of choice. The purpose of adding lead to our products is to create a dense barrier within the product that will prevent ionizing radiation from passing through, stopping the likes of X-rays and gamma rays in their tracks. In other words, it is lead that provides our products with their radiation-attenuating ability. Naturally, the thicker the lead sheet, the more shielding you have from radiation.

Lead can be applied to walls, floors, ceilings, screens, windows, etc. where deemed necessary by a Radiation Protection Advisor. In other words, for any facility where radiation is being emitted, it is vital to install lead lining within all possible elements to protect staff and the public. Lead is the perfect element to shield from radiation due to its high-density levels whilst remaining easy to construct with – protecting people from radiation exposure.

What are the UK’s Regulations for Lead-Lining Facilities?

Under the principle of standardisation, the Royal Charter established the British Standards Institution (BSI) as an independent body in 1901. UK standardisation rules apply to lead-lining and are maintained by British Standard BS EN 12588, ensuring all lead sheet is produced to certain specifications and exact chemical compositions. The lead-lining standards include:

  • Pure lead: 99.81%
  • Standard thickness tolerance: +/- 5%

There are six BS EN 12588 codes for lead thickness and weight:

Lead Code Lead Thickness Mass per Square Metre
Code 3 1.32 mm 15.0 kg/m2
Code 4 1.80 mm 20.2 kg/m2
Code 5 2.24 mm 25.4 kg/m2
Code 6 2.65 mm 30.1 kg/m2
Code 7 3.15 mm 35.7 kg/m2
Code 8 3.55 mm 40.3 kg/m2

Establishing the correct thickness of lead for radiation protection is officially advised by the RPA (Radiation Protection Advisers) courtesy of the HSE (Health and Safety Executive). Any employee working on ionising radiation must consult an RPA for advice in line with the Ionising Radiations Regulations 2017 (IRR17). If you need to find a local RPA, Raybloc has compiled a comprehensive list of RPAs across the UK to assist with radiation shielding requirements.

3 Requirements for Lead-Lining an X-ray Room

While numerous forms of lead shielding exist for radiation protection, an X-ray room requires permanent shielding through lead sheets, slabs, or plates used on walls, floors, ceilings, and floors. Transparent shielding is also applied in lead windows, essential for X-ray imaging facility procedures as radiologists must observe the patient while the X-ray procedure takes place.

Lead-lined X-ray room walls

Lead-lined wall panelling increases the density between the partition and external walls to protect the exterior of the radiography room from the radiation contained within it. Lead thicknesses range from 1mm to 3.5mm for each board, but higher lead equivalences can be achieved by installing multiple layers. All lead-lined panels can be supplied and fitted to a high-quality standard by our experienced and talented installation team.

Raybloc provides lead panel products of lead-lined plasterboard or plywood. Our standard size is 2400 x 600mm to account for the heavy weight of lead and for ease of handling.

Lead-lined X-ray room doors

Doors should be manufactured with a solid lead core structure and conform to the latest hygiene regulations (NHS HTM 58). As a rule of thumb, ensure the beam path isn’t directed at the doors during procedures. We offer bespoke lead-lined door sets in various finishes, including wood veneer, pre-primer painted, plastic laminate, and PVC encapsulation with rebated meeting stiles.

Flush Mounted Door Warning Lights are ideal additions to warn staff and patients of ongoing procedures. All our mounted wall lights come with a lifetime guarantee with RPA approval, CE marked, while meeting UK lighting legislation.

Lead glass X-ray room windows

While X-ray room windows have no lead sheet protection for obvious reasons, they still protect from radiation through lead glass – a glass compound that contains lead whilst remaining transparent, offering radiation-attenuating properties. We recommend shielded window frames with sufficient lead-lining and overlap protection. Raybloc supplies and installs radiation-shielding lead glass, with lead thicknesses ranging from 1mm to 3.55mm. Windows are made to your exact structural opening sizes, with a maximum glass size of 1100mm x 2400mm before requiring a mullion or transom.

Occasionally, privacy is required between the control and X-ray room – in these instances, Raybloc can offer two options: Switchable glass, and interstitial blinds.

  • Interstitial blinds: In these windows, a blind unit is embedded between a pane of regular glass and lead glass, offering a blind that is free from collecting dust and maintenance free.
  • Switchable glass: An alternative to in-between-glass blinds is switchable glass. This type of glass is opaque in its entirety, however, when an electrical current is passed through it, the glass becomes transparent and appears just like regular glass.

Invest in Highly Protective Lead-Lining for Your X-ray Room

At Raybloc, we have over 35 years of experience in supplying and installing quality radiation protection products. As industry leaders in X-ray protection, we’ve built our reputation on protecting people from the dangers of radiation across various industries. For more information on how we can help protect the lives of your staff and patients, speak to one of our X-ray protection experts today.


Why are X-ray rooms lead-lined?

An X-ray room is encapsulated in sheets of lead where specified by the professional advice of an RPA to prevent radiation from within the facility from getting out and exposing those walking past or waiting outside from being exposed to ionising radiation.

How thick should the lead be in a wall of a diagnostic X-ray imaging room?

There is no single answer to this question – depending on the position of the X-ray machine contained in your facility, the frequency in which it is used, and the power of the machine, the amount of lead required to effectively attenuate the radiation will alter. To determine exactly what you require for each of your walls, ceilings, and floors, contact a trusted Radiation Protection Adviser (RPA).

Why is lead lining important for X rays?

X-rays are a form of ionising radiation. Although X-rays are useful in diagnostic imaging, being exposed to them more frequently than recommended by health professionals can result in potential health problems. Lead is used to block X-rays where necessary to stop them from reaching you.

To find out more about our X-ray protection products, download our eBook today.

Lead Lined Wall Panelling

Do not skip corners when it comes to radiation protection. It is what shields you, your staff, and your patients from harmful radiation. There is no compromise when it comes to people’s lives. Call today to speak to one of our x-ray protection experts on 01902 633383 or email Follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.

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