The smallest factors can have lasting effects on your metal roofing installation. One of the first decisions your clients will need to make is how thick their panels should be. This can impact the durability, and it is essential to choose the best fit. We are covering everything you need to know about gauges for metal roofs. From what gauge is most metal roofing to how your climate can be a significant factor in which thickness you choose, it is essential to understand the details so you can advise your clients correctly.
1. What Defines Gauge for Metal Roofing
Gauge is the thickness of the metal used in a metal roof’s installation. A number in a range of inches represents gauge. The higher the number is, the thinner your metal roof will be. The most commonly used range of gauge for metal roofing is between 24 and 29.
2. What are the Gauge Options
Each roofing style has its gauge option. Whether you are installing an exposed fastener or standing seam metal roof will determine which gauge options you can choose from. The exposed fastener is the cheaper of the two metal roofs, but both are great options, and the decision often boils down to the overall aesthetic. It is important to note that every gauge type is only available for some metal roofing panels. Standing seam roofs typically come in 24 to 26-gauge, while exposed fasteners will range mainly from 26-29 gauge.
3. Factors That Affect What Gauge is Best for Your Project
Numerous factors affect the gauge best for your project. Your client’s budget and location are factors in choosing the best gauge.
A simple tip to remember is that when the gauge is thicker, it becomes more expensive. The thinnest gauge option will be the most budget-friendly, while the thicker gauge will be on the pricier side. However, a narrow gauge is more susceptible to damage from outside elements. A 29-gauge product will be 10 to 15 percent less than a 26-gauge. A thicker gauge may cost more on the front end but save your clients money in the long run once you factor in the cost of maintenance and repairs.
Since a thicker gauge is more durable, the weather conditions in your area could affect which type of gauge is best for your project. Hail, snow, and heavy winds can cause roof damage when the metal is thin. A thin gauge requires added support from the roofing structure, while a thick gauge can remain sturdy with minimal support. If you live in the north and experience much snow, your clients may benefit from a thicker gauge. However, if you live in the south and do not receive much snow, but have a better chance for hail, a thicker gauge should be considered here. Overall, thicker gauge should be used when your location experiences extreme weather to prevent a metal roof from receiving damage.
4. How does Gauge Affect Durability
Gauges can come in various materials. Each has its levels of durability and life expectancy. It is important to remember that each type of metal has its own rules for measuring thickness. So, two different types of metal could be the same gauge but have different thicknesses. Price is based on the thickness of the metal, not the gauge number. Copper and zinc are traditionally more expensive options, while aluminum and steel are more budget-friendly.
If you choose a steel gauge for your next project, you will find that different kinds of steel can be more complex than others. Be sure to consider its tensile toughness when choosing your steel. The higher the tensile toughness, the stronger its durability. When you see steel labeled as “80 steel” or “60 steel,” it means that it has an 80,000 psi or 60,000 psi tensile strength.
Roofing fasteners are an integral part of a metal roof’s durability. When you choose a suitable fastener for your top, it can extend its lifespan. These support the roof’s structure, and their placement can increase durability. The top can be secure during the weather by installing the fasteners in strategic spots.
How to Choose the Correct Gauge
Choosing the correct gauge is essential to ensure the structural integrity of your project. While thicker gauges are not always required, there are times when choosing that is the wisest choice. Choosing a thick gauge is imperative if you install a roof over a post-frame building with fewer supporting walls. Most post-frames use a 29 gauge roof. These structures typically do not have the same structural support as residential homes, and the roof panels must stretch from one purlin to another. Choosing a thicker gauge can reduce the risk of a structural collapse if something heavy falls or rests on the roof or for oil canning which can be unasthetically pleasing in residential areas. This type of gauge is also less likely to experience oil canning and is easy to install accurately.
If your project is for a residential home, it will likely have a layer of plywood under the water-resistant barrier. When this is prevalent, a thick gauge is not necessary. While some contractors prefer to use a thick gauge for almost every job, sometimes it does not work for the client’s budget. A thin gauge can be just as reliable if installed correctly, and the home does not have gaping areas without structural support. When there is already a layer of plywood, the panels do not serve as additional support but as a barrier to protect the sheathing. However, a thinner gauge can be more prone to denting or damage, so a thicker gauge may be a better choice if you are located where there is a lot of snow or hail.
Make Sure You Have What You Need
Once you have decided which gauge you need for your next metal roofing installation, you are ready to move on to the next step. You cannot begin any project without having the right tools or materials. Ensuring you have all the equipment beforehand can keep your project on time and within budget. Download our handy Builders Materials Checklist for Contractors to confirm your installation starts on the right foot.