Why gauge numbers matter

standing seam metal roofWhat’s the difference between 26 gauge and 29 gauge steel? When it comes to durability, quite a bit.

The lower the gauge number, the greater the thickness of the sheet metal. This means that 29 gauge steel is thinner and generally cheaper. But 26 gauge is thicker than 29 gauge, which means that it will tolerate strong winds better, even when fastened to the same substrate. It will also stand up to larger hailstones.

The term “sheet metal” applies to many different types of alloy. Below are two very popular types of sheet metal:

  • Aluminum: These sheets are made from a mixture of aluminum and other metals, including copper, zinc and magnesium. The extra alloys strengthen the material, since aluminum is naturally soft — softer than its steel counterpart. Aluminum sheets are commonly used to construct the skins of planes, auto bodies, packaging and building facades, and it can withstand oceanic atmospheres. It can be recycled over and over, saving more than 90 percent of the energy that would be required to produce it otherwise. Aluminum with a gauge between .008 inches to less than .25 inches is considered sheet metal.
  • Steel: The majority of metal roofing systems today are made from recycled steel. Corrosion-resistant, steel is also light and durable. These zinc-coated steel sheets come in a wide variety of shapes and colors. Not only can steel be recycled at the end of its performance life, but its long-lasting properties mean that less overall waste goes into the landfills. Fun fact: More steel is recycled in the United States than paper, glass, aluminum and plastic combined.

If you’re interested in learning more about the different gauges and types of sheet metal, contact us today. B&B Roofing is here to answer any other questions you may have!