Types of lightweight roof tiles explained

The weight of a roof tile is one of the key considerations when building or replacing a roof and is typically categorised as being either heavyweight or lightweight. Typically, a tile under 20kg in weight is labelled lightweight.

The obvious benefit of going for a lightweight roof tile is that being lighter, they’re easier to move around, potentially speeding up the roofing project. They are also safer to use during installation and therefore, the risks are reduced.


Depending of the building structure, a lightweight roof tile may be most suitable. An example of this is a low pitched roof for a conservatory or a garage roof, which may not be able to cope well with the stress of heavyweight tiles on its structure.


To help decide on which lightweight roof tile, we’ve compiled a list of materials commonly used.


Wood roof tiles

Wood roof tiles, more commonly called shingles or shakes are traditional lightweight roof tiles. They are known for their good insulation properties and natural resistance to the weather. They can be sourced in the UK and are reusable and recyclable, making them a sustainable material.


On the down side, there are unsurprisingly, concerns about fire with wood roof tiles. They also tend to wear out quicker than some of their counterparts, with regular maintenance being needed to keep their condition satisfactory. One issue is insects eating away at the wood, therefore, you will need to treat the wood with paint or varnish.



Felt is an inexpensive material that is one of the most popular materials used for flat roofs. Waterproof sheeting is applied to a fibrous membrane and then afterwards a coating of sand or gravel can be added on top, depending on the preferred aesthetic.  Generally, felt roofs are easy to install so is a preferred method for contractors.


However, depending on the roofing project, it may not be the most suitable solution. If the roof is expecting heavy foot fall, it may not last very long as the surface can be easily worn.


Rubber roof tiles


Rubber is a modern and sustainable roof tile material that can last 30 to 40 years. It is a durable material that withstands poor weather conditions such as hail stones and wind well. Many rubber tiles that are produced are made from recycled tires, making use of shredded tires that usually end up in landfill, so it’s sustainable.


However, they may not be suitable for all roofing projects, as the tiles will likely not provide the natural looking style that other materials do.


Metal roof tiles


Lightweight steel roof tiles have gained popularity in recent years. The reason being that they are strong, durable and extremely light – up to 1/7th of a concrete tile. This reduces the amount of structural supports required and trusses can be spanned at 1200mm centres.


Steel is beginning to be seen as a great alternative to traditional materials like slate and concrete, with speed of installation being significantly less. This helps property owners cut back on labour costs and it means quicker completion – an outcome everyone wants.


A disadvantage that people often associate with metal roof tiles is that it can be noisy. However, with Metrotile’s lightweight steel roofing, that is no longer the case. The tile itself has a metal base and then the additional stone coating which improves it’s thermal properties, as well as sound insulation. Due to the addition of the stone coating, the roof will not be any noisier during wind and rain as one made from slate, clay or concrete.


Metrotile offer Europe’s no.1 steel roofing tile which comes with a list of benefits that makes it worth considering for every roof. To find out more about Metrotile’s range of lightweight roofing products, call today on 01249 658 514 or use our contact form for a quick response.