The Top 4 Roofing Cost Considerations for Specifiers

Metrotile Lightweight Roofing Slate in Charcoal on New Build Redrow Homes

The qualities of traditional slate, clay or concrete roofing tiles are well established. Their cost, performance and installation requirements are known upside down and back to front by most roofers and product specifiers.

But what about modern steel roofing tiles? If you’ve never used a modern tile before, you might be nervous about how this form of roofing differs from traditional tiles. What are the implications for cost, and do they have an increased risk profile compared to traditional tiles?

What are lightweight roofing tiles?

First, let’s define how a modern lightweight metal roofing tile is different from a traditional one. One of the key factors is weight. Tiles weighing less than 20kg/m2 (4.1lbm/sq ft) are considered lightweight, however many lightweight tiles are significantly lighter than this, weighing around 6-7kg/m2.

The low weight of lightweight tiles is achieved by using materials such as metal, shingles and synthetic slate, which is made from a blend of recycled limestone and polypropylene. Tiles can even have in-built photovoltaic panels. Metrotile steel tiles are made from ZAM steel, comprising of a steel material that is coated with a zinc, aluminium and steel compound which is formed into overlapping pantiles.

The low weight of these tiles means they can be placed on structures including conservatory roofs and steel or timber framed structures. Lightweight tiles are ideal for use on non-traditional and system-built housing (for example, prefabs) built in the decades after World War II and are suitable wherever a pitched roof is required.

In many cases, the ratings for fire safety, weather resistance, durability and thermal ratings can exceed those of traditional tiles. For example, Metrotile roofs have the highest external fire rating possible, EXT.S.AA.

What determines roofing cost?

Let’s look at some of the key determinants of roofing cost and how this differs between traditional and modern tiling systems.

  1. Transportation

It goes without saying: lighter tiles mean easier, cheaper transport. Less fuel is used to move them and transportation vehicles can be lighter and cheaper to operate. Their lightness also makes them quicker and easier to unload, a real plus in locations with limited space or other restrictions. The carbon emissions are lower, too.

  1. Wastage

Traditional heavyweight roofing tiles are often brittle and prone to breakage. Modern roof tiles made from materials such as steel are much more robust, meaning there is much less wastage during installation and breakage during transportation, therefore lower wastage cost.

  1. Speed of installation

For a start, the lighter nature of modern tiles means it is quicker to move them around a site, which can have a significant impact on installation time. Their lightness also means the process of installation is less taxing physically and therefore progress is faster.

  1. Longevity

With proper maintenance, modern tiles can outlast traditional tiles. For example, steel tiles are more resistant to the weather and wear and tear (they’re tested under cyclone conditions in Japan and wind conditions in California), giving them a longer lifespan. Clients will be delighted to save money on repairs for deteriorating tiles or leaks. Metrotile roofs are guaranteed for 40 years provided the underlying roof structure is approved, but lifespans can last significantly longer than the guarantee period.

Lightweight Roofing: Advantages

  • Reduced transportation – and therefore reduced environmental impact.
  • Reduced weight on foundations and supporting structure.
  • Reduced storage space required on site.
  • Reduced labour requirements and installation time.
  • Reduced costs per square metre of roofing.

Could lightweight metal roofing boost your business?

Recommending Metrotile lightweight roofing systems to your clients could prove beneficial to your business, giving you an edge on competitors and pleasing customers with improved performance and lower lifetime maintenance costs.

Why not get in touch with Metrotile to talk through your options?