A common question I receive from homeowners concerns what metal roofing guage they should purchase. While those who ask this are hoping for a simple answer such as “only purchase 26 gauge,” the answer is never nearly that simple. Below I will share my thoughts on what sort of metal thickness (or gauge) is best for residential metal roofing.
First of all, I despise what I call the “gauge game.” Referring to metal thickness by gauge is an old process that I believe is antiquated and should be eliminated. It is done primarily only with steel today. Other common roofing metals such as aluminum and copper have gone on to refer to metal thickness in decimal form — representing exactly how thick the metal is in inches. This would be my preferred method for steel as well.
The problem with metal roofing gauge is that there is a wide range of tolerances. For example, one company might sell a product as being “24 gauge” but, in reality, the thickness of the metal could vary from 0.018″ to 0.0335″ based upon exactly how that company looks at things and how big of a tolerance they allow for. There are even different ranges referenced for steel versus galvanized steel. Overall, this creates a huge range! Now, in reality, the range will usually be narrower than what I have given above, but the fact is, this is open to interpretation and manipulation and I don’t like it one bit. I have lobbied the steel industry to change this but to no avail. I think some folks enjoy playing the “gauge game” but to me, it just hurts consumers and also hurts manufacturers who are trying to keep things honest.
So, while metal thickness is not the key consideration when buying a metal roof and some folks will try to fool you on metal thickness, I understand the concern. Please understand that recommended metal thicknesses will vary based on the design and engineering of the metal product being considered.That said, here are a few general recommendations. These recommendations are with paint.
Exposed fastener corrugated steel roofing: .014″ – .018″
Exposed fastener corrugated aluminum roofing: minimum .024″
Steel standing seam: minimum .024″
Aluminum standing seam: minimum .032″
Steel shingles: minimum .0145″
Aluminum shingles: minimum .0185″
Steel tile: minimum .024″
Aluminum tile: minimum .032″
Please feel free to contact me whenever you have questions. firstname.lastname@example.org
Todd's expertise comes from his years of experience in metal roofing manufacturing. As president of Isaiah Industries, based in Piqua Ohio, Todd runs a several of the world’s leading manufacturers of residential metal roofing; Classic Metal Roofing Systems, Kassel & Irons, and Green American Home. His personal goal is to educate homeowners of the long-life benefits of metal roofing.
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