Metal Roofing Gauge and Thickness: What You Need to Know

Metal roof

Longevity, durability, and versatility are some of the many advantages to having a metal roof. If you’ve decided to install a metal roof, you’ll need to determine the gauge, which refers to the thickness of the metal panel. Metal roofing panels are available in a variety of thicknesses and it’s important to choose the right one for your project.

What Does Metal Roofing Gauge Mean?

Metal roofing gauge refers to material thickness, and is represented with numbers that refer to the decimal width of the steel. The most common gauge sizes for metal roofing are 22, 24, 26, and 29. The higher the number, the thinner your metal roofing will be, with 22-gauge being the thickest and 29-gauge the thinnest. The most common choice is 26-gauge.

Each number represents a range of inches so two panels might have the same gauge but a minimally different effect on the sturdiness of the metal.

Why is Metal Roofing Thickness Important?

As a homeowner, it’s important to understand the differences between the metal roofing gauges so you can select the best material for your building. There are several things to consider when choosing your material, including location, climate, weather, budget, and structural demands. Each gauge has its own advantages and disadvantages to consider. Each type is more suited for different scenarios.

Different Gauge Roofs and Their Purposes 

Metal roof
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22 gauge

If you’re looking to add more protection to your building, the thickest option is the 22-gauge, which is durable against high winds and severe weather. However, when it comes to affordability, a 22-gauge roofing panel is the most expensive option.

24 gauge

The 24-gauge of metal roofing is resistant to all types of extreme weather. It’s durable, long-lasting, and maintains its appearance. It’s also a more expensive option.

26 gauge

The 26-gauge is an industry standard for most commercial and residential buildings. It is structurally sound, and less expensive, but a 26-gauge steel roof is not suitable for areas with high winds and other extreme weather.

29 gauge

The 29-gauge metal is the minimum thickness and the least expensive option. It’s often used for residential metal roofing instead of commercial. The 29-gauge metal roofing is not durable enough for areas with extreme storms and heavy winds since it is thin enough to dent.

When to Choose a Thicker Metal Roofing Gauge

Thicker gauge panels are stronger, however choosing the right thickness of the metal will depend on the type of building construction, building location, and personal preference.

If you have a pole barn or post-frame building, you should consider a thicker panel. Thicker panels are great for pole barns, post frames, warehouses and garages. These structures are open framed, and lack structural sheathing, so the roof panels will keep it structurally sound during extreme weather conditions.

When to Choose a Thinner Metal Roofing Gauge

Since hail storms and heavy winds cause significant damage to thinner metal panels, most homes have a layer of plywood or sheathing covered by a metal panel to keep it dry. Thin roofing gauges don’t have a structural role and work best for residential projects. If your area doesn’t receive harsh weather very often, you should choose a thinner panel.

How to Determine the Metal Roofing Gauge That is Right For You

Metal roof
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The gauge of your metal roofing panels depends on many factors, including your location, your climate, your needs, and your budget. Before you commit to any type of metal roofing materials, you should consult a professional at a roofing company. An experienced roofing pro can advise you on the best choice for your building since they have experience working with metal roofing, and will know the pros and cons.

FAQ About Metal Roofing Gauges

What gauge is best for houses?

Most homes with metal roofs use 26-gauge panels since they are the thinnest and the least expensive. Houses don’t need thicker panels, so 26-gauge is the best.

How do you measure sheet metal thickness?

You can use a basic measuring tape to find the metal sheet’s thickness in millimeters, then multiply that number by 0.0393.

Can you walk on a 26-gauge metal roof?

You can walk on a metal roof but for safety reasons that doesn’t mean that you should. If you need your roof inspected or repaired, you should hire a professional roofing contractor.

When to Hire a Roofing Pro

Why spend your free time measuring metal roof thickness when you can hire an experienced and reliable pro instead?

If you’re looking for roofing contractors for roof replacement or to install your new roof, you can quickly find an experienced roofing pro near you.

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Lydian Pine

Lydian Pine is a creative writer and studio artist whose work first debuted in a short story anthology. She graduated from the University of North Texas in 2020 and enjoys video games, theatre, and swimming. Lately, she has started to study entomology as a hobby.