Lead shielding an x-ray room: what you need and where to get it

May 20, 2022 9:45:00 AM / by Jennifer Hutchison

X-rays are a part of many industries, but the high levels of radiation they emit means that lead shielding is necessary for anyone who might be exposed. As lead absorbs radiation, it has been used to effectively line the walls, ceilings and floors of x-ray rooms for years. In this post, we’ll discuss the lead shielding requirement for your x-ray room and where you can buy lead shielding.

How much lead shielding do you need for an x-ray room?

The lead shielding required for an x-ray room will depend on many factors, including the occupancy level in surrounding rooms, and material composition of the building. A physicist will analyze these factors and create a physicist’s report that determines how much lead is needed, including the lead thickness required for each part of the x-ray room.

How do you shield an x-ray room?

Lead shielding x-ray room walls

When it comes to lead shielding an x-ray room, there are a few different options. You can choose either lead-lined drywall, lead rolls, or lead-lined panels.

Lead-lined drywall

This is similar to the type of drywall that you can purchase at your local home improvement store, however there is lead glued between the drywall. These panels are pressure laminated with permanent adhesive to lead sheets. Lead-lined drywall is typically used for new construction. The thickness and amount of lead required will depend on the physicist's report.

Lead rolls

Unlike lead-lined drywall, lead rolls come in rolls instead of sheets. They are easy to unroll, bend, cut, and shape without the need of special tools. Lead rolls are a great option when you’re not able to locally source lead-lined drywall as lead rolls are less expensive to ship and deliver. Lead rolls are typically used where you have existing drywall that you can easily affix the lead rolls to and put drywall on top of it.

Lead-lined panels

Lead-lined panels are an excellent option for your x-ray room as they can be fixed together and mounted on the x-ray room wall. They are more expensive, but you can remove them to take them from one location to another, which is not possible with other types of x-ray room lead shielding.

Lead discs

Small lead discs are common and are used when mounting the drywall. When you use a screw to mount the drywall, the lead disc goes on top of the screw so you get full coverage of lead within the wall.

Lead shielding x-ray room doors

Lead-lining doors is another crucial part of shielding x-ray rooms. X-ray room doors have two solid core wood slabs - one on each side of a solid lead sheet, with the lead thickness varying from 1/32" to 3/8". Make sure to follow the physicist's report which outlines the thickness of lead required for your x-ray room doors.

Lead shielding x-ray room windows

Patients can be observed through a window in the operator area while taking x-rays. Typically, this is a 12x12" window with a lead frame and lead glass. A customized window size is possible, but make sure the glass used is rated based on the physicist’s report.

Other Considerations

Operator Area

The operator area is another critical area that needs to be protected. Operator areas are typically separate areas in the X-ray room where the technician or doctor stands behind a lead-lined wall or door while the radiographic imaging is being done to protect themselves from radiation exposure. 

The operator area usually has a lead-lined 12x12” window so that the operator can see the patient while the radiographs are being taken. 

Ceilings and Floors

Sometimes, when you’re on the second or higher floor in a multi-floor building, you may also need to lead-line the ceilings and floors. Lining ceilings and floors will protect those on floors above and below your X-ray room from being exposed to radiation. 

The building materials will also impact whether or not this is needed. For example, wood-frame buildings usually require this to prevent radiation from going through the floor or ceiling. 

Frequency and Types of X-Rays Performed

The frequency and types of X-rays being performed will also influence what kind of shielding is required, which the physicist will consider when performing their calculations. For instance, chiropractic offices do fewer X-rays than a hospital that may do hundreds of X-rays in a single day and would, therefore, have greater lead requirements. 

Where can you buy lead shielding materials?

Lead is a unique material that's not found in traditional hardware stores. It can be difficult to find and expensive to ship. When buying lead shielding, it's best to find a specialty lead supplier close by as lead is very heavy and difficult and expensive to transport.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Lead Shielding Necessary in X-Ray?

While lead aprons are seldom used anymore due to lower doses of radiation from modern X-ray machines, lead shielding is still necessary for X-ray rooms to prevent chronic leakage of X-rays from going through the walls, doors, windows, ceilings, and floors into other rooms where people may be. 

How Is Shielding Done in an X-Ray Room? 

A few options are available for shielding an X-ray room. For new construction, lead drywall offers a convenient solution. Otherwise, you can get lead rolls that can be applied on top of existing walls or the more expensive lead panel option, which is attached to the walls but can easily be removed if necessary. 


Lead shielding is an important part of any x-ray room. It protects the operator from radiation and keeps as much radiation inside the x-ray room, so it doesn't leak out into other areas where people may be nearby. We've outlined some lead shielding materials you will need for your x-ray room project. If you have questions or want professional advice for your situation, get in touch with us today.

Tags: Chiropractic Digital X-ray, X-ray Room Requirements, Digital X-ray System

Jennifer Hutchison
Written by Jennifer Hutchison

My goal is to provide my customers with the best equipment possible, at the best price possible, in order to see their business grow and thrive. I currently work hand in hand with doctors of Chiropractic all over the nation to put together custom equipment packages that meet their special needs. Each doctor has their own speciality technique, and by working directly with many of the groups such as NUCCA, Gonstead, CBP, Everest, Blair, KCUCS, and many other groups, I have built the knowledge and expertise to create custom x-ray equipment packages for their specific needs. Seeing my customers using the equipment I sold them in order to heal and help people all over the nation is the true happiness I get from my career. - 9 Years experience in medical device and equipment sales -12 Years experience in Medical Imaging Field - Sales expert for x-ray and digital x-ray equipment nationwide - Work with over 25 different manufacturers and vendors - Strong accounting, finance, and account management background - Upper Cervical X-Ray Sales Specialist