Weighing up the many pros of Lightweight Steel Roofing Systems

// the building envelope

Metrotile Lightweight Roofing has risen to prominence in the public sector, particularly in the realm of Housing Association and Local Authority home refurbishments. But what, exactly, are the key selling points for this unique roofing material?

The use of steel, a truly modern material, is the central factor to the many benefits the product offers. Steel is strong yet lighter in weight - up to seven times lighter, in fact - than so-called traditional roofing materials such as slate and clay when pressed into a .450mm-thick tile profile. Each light, thin profile is easily stored when stacked, taking up significantly less space than equivalent traditional materials.

The lightness of each profile means more can be transported around site in one batch and can be installed very swiftly - ideal for Housing Association refurbishment projects, where it is important to minimise disruption to the families already in the homes. A Metrotile roof is installed using a cross-nail interlocking method that, combined with the inherent strength of the steel, results in an extremely secure roofing solution. Vandals cannot pull the tiles from the roof top by hand and in areas where security is a major concern, extra-thick .900mm tile profiles are available.

This is just an example of the benefits offered by a Metrotile roof tiles, however the availability of a full roof installation - from rafters to accessories - should not be underestimated. One such product offered directly is the Metrotile Photovoltaic System, Metrotile’s integrated home energygenerating panels. In addition, Metrotile can also offer a system to retrofit Photovoltaic panels on to an installed Metrotile roof, as utilised by Valley 2 Coast Housing Association in Maesteg, Wales. The architects responsible for the installation was national firm Michael Dyson Associates: “We examined requirements of CDM (Construction Design Management) and decided on 2 storey houses that lifting large sheets up a scaffold created unacceptable risks in handling. The Metrotile was suitable for manual handling, less likely to be carried by wind during installation and allowed PV fixing rails to be used without special weather sealing.” - Mark Perkins, Associate, Michael Dyson Associates

Metrotile’s durability was also a key factor in its use for Hawksley Bungalow refurbishments in Doncaster, as overseen by Henry Boot Construction. To bring the homes up to ‘Decent Home’ standards, two major changes were made to the building’s exterior envelopes. The first was a brick ‘skin wall’, that was built around the metal walls of the homes (adding a layer of insulation in the process) while the other major alteration was that of a new roof. Henry Boot Construction chose Metrotile as they required a swift installation, yet traditional looks and a low weight to reduce the load on the Hawksley Bungalow’s structure. Lightweight steel roofing ticked all of these boxes and more, impressing Henry Boot Construction in the process: “This (Lightweight Steel Roofing) was a first for Henry Boot. The pitch of the roof was very low and also the existing sheeting was aluminium so the lightweight option of Metrotile was perfect. The finish and speed of construction were fantastic and the profile was also lighter than the similar steel tile previously specified by the client ” - Robert Young, Quantity Surveyor, Henry Boot Construction.

Furthermore, the residents were pleased. The original Hawksley Bungalows featured at corrugated iron roof that was very noisy when under duress from wind and rain. With stone-coated lightweight steel roofing, this is no longer the case: “When It rained, the old roof would make a terrible noise inside the house, but since the refurbishment rain doesn’t cause any noise at all” - Mrs Banks, Resident People across the UK are certainly catchingon to the many benefits of Lightweight Steel Roofing, with Metrotile’s profits growing 30% in 2014 with much of that driven by refurbishments in the public sector.

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