While shingles have been one of the most popular roofing materials available, metal is starting to take over a large sector of the market. Not only do metal roofs last longer, but many homeowners love their unique look. If you’re thinking of getting a metal roof, one important aspect that you’ll want to understand about metal roofing is the gauge of the metal that is utilized.
What Is the Gauge of Metal Roofing?
A gauge is a measurement given to metal roofing that helps to characterize its overall thickness. Metal roofing gauges run from 22 being the thinnest to 29 being the thickest. While it may be easy to think that each gauge pertains to a specific thickness, regardless of the material, that’s simply not the case. Each type of metal used for roofing is different and will have its own standard thickness that is used to categorize its gauge size.
Metal Roofing Types
Metal roofing is typically available in four different types of metal. It is important to note that some areas of the country have building codes that require you to use a particular type of metal on your roof. Speaking with a licensed roofing contractor can help to determine any building code restrictions in your area. These various metals include:
The most inexpensive and lightweight metal roofing material on the market today is aluminum. This is a very durable material that is corrosion-resistant. However, aluminum is very prone to denting and isn’t available in all areas of the country.
Probably the most unique metal roofing material that you can install in your home is copper. It has a very unique look when first installed and turns to blue-green or brown patina over time. Copper is very long-lasting, lightweight, and corrosion-resistant. Due to its uniqueness, copper is relatively expensive as compared to other metal roofing materials. It’s also not widely available across the country and is more prone to denting than other roofing materials.
The most common type of metal used for roofing is steel. This is a very low-maintenance material that is resistant to fires and some corrosion. Steel is very durable and has high longevity. Out of all your metal roofing options, it is the most cost-effective. It is important to note that steel can be susceptible to corrosion in excessive moisture environments. Steel is also much heavier than other types of roofing material like copper or aluminum, and it doesn’t last as long as copper.
Somewhat similar to copper, zinc provides a unique appearance and will develop a patina over time. This type of metal roofing comes at a premium cost and isn’t always available in every area of the country. Just like copper, once the zinc is exposed to moisture and carbon dioxide, it will form a patina that will make it rust-resistant. One drawback that is very unique to zinc roofing is that it will produce a chalk-like substance once it turns into a blue-gray patina. This substance can reduce the appeal of your roof over time and will leave white streaks.
Factors to Consider When Choosing a Gauge
There is no one-size-fits-all roofing gauge for every household across the country. Metal roofing is available in a variety of gauges to help accommodate different situations. Probably one of the biggest factors that you’re going to have to take into consideration when roofing your home is the environment in your area.
If you live in an area of the country that experiences high winds or large amounts of precipitation, then you’re going to want a gauge size that is on the lower end of the spectrum so that it’s much thicker. Thicker metal roofing will be more resistant to these types of extreme weather conditions.
It’s also essential that you take into account the current structure of your home to determine if it’s strong enough to hold up thicker metal roofing. Depending on how your structure is set up, you may find that your rafters are farther apart than some of the newer standards. In this case, you may have to get a thicker metal roof that will be able to support itself across a larger gap than thinner metal roofing that would likely bow without support.
Another necessary factor that you’re going to take into consideration is the cost of the job. The higher the gauge of metal roofing you purchase, the cheaper it’s going to be. Not only will the materials be cheaper, but the installation will be cheaper because the metal panels are going to be lighter than with lower gauge metal roofing that is thicker and heavier. You want to opt for a gauge that meets the minimum standards for your environment without overdoing it so that you can keep this repair within your budget.
26 Gauge vs. 29 Gauge
The most common metal roofing gauges that are utilized for residential purposes are 26-gauge and 29-gauge. Homes that are in a very mild climate that don’t experience hail, snow, or storm-like conditions can get away with having a 29-gauge roof. The 29-gauge roof is obviously going to be cheaper to purchase. In areas of the country where homeowners experience snow, hail, high winds, and other adverse weather conditions, 26-gauge metal roofing is utilized. This thicker roofing provides more structural integrity than the 29-gauge. With that being said, it is priced accordingly.
The Various Benefits of Metal Roofing
One of the most desirable benefits of metal roofing is that it lasts much longer than traditional asphalt shingle roofing. Depending on the specific type of metal material that is used on your roof, it can last between 60 and 100 years, possibly more. Compare that to asphalt shingles with a lifespan of about 25 to 30 years, and it becomes obvious why metal is becoming a more popular roofing option.
Another great benefit of metal roofing over traditional shingles is that metal reflects solar radiant heat. When your new roof is effectively reflecting the heat of the sun, it will keep the inside of your home cooler during the summer season. This can drastically help to reduce your energy costs throughout the warmer months of the year.
A popular reason that many homeowners opt for metal roofing over other options is that it has a very stylish look. Metal is available in all different types of colors, finishes, and even shapes. Additionally, each metal type will present its own unique look, such as copper. Metal is simply a look that can’t be achieved from traditional asphalt shingles.
Expert Roofing Services
ProTek Roofing, Heating & Air provides the entire Tampa, FL community with expert roofing services. We offer roofing replacement, repair, and storm damage repair. We even do commercial roofing! We’re also here for all of your HVAC and indoor air quality needs. Our services include AC installation and repair, as well as heating installation and maintenance. We can improve your indoor air quality with ductless mini-splits and insulation, too. Visit our website for specials or financing, or give us a call to schedule your appointment today!