Should I Upgrade My Metal Building to 26-Gauge Roof Paneling?

Do you need a new metal carport? How about a garage? Maybe you need an RV cover, or garden shed. It does not matter what kind of metal building you need, Metal Barn Central has the exact building for you! Our steel buildings are reliable and rugged. We offer two different roof paneling options to ensure that your prefab metal building fits your exact needs. For those of you who live in mild climates or are on a tight budget, we have our standard 29-gauge roof paneling. But, if you are looking for extra durability and strength, we offer premier 26-gauge steel roof panels. Read on to find out more!


What is a Roof Gauge?

The roof gauge of steel buildings refers to the thickness of the steel panels used for the roofing. The gauge number refers to a certain thickness that is measured in inches. For example, Metal Barn Central’s standard 29-gauge roof paneling is around 0.0135 inches thick. Our 26-gauge paneling is 0.0179 inches thick. Essentially, the lower the gauge number is, the thicker the steel is.


26-Gauge or 29-Gauge?

While 29-gauge is the standard thickness option, there are times when you may want something thicker. After all, a slightly thicker steel panel can make your metal building more durable, more secure, and more likely to stand the test of time. We know you want to make the best decision for you and your new steel building, so let’s compare the two options more thoroughly.


Comparing Durability

Firstly, we should note that both 26-gauge and 29-gauge steel are durable options. They are both fire-resistant, weather-resistant, pest-resistant, mold and mildew resistant, and proven to last for years to come. However, their differences appear when you look at the level of durability that you need. Do you live in an area that experiences a lot of severe weather? If you are continually getting snowstorms that drop feet of snow or if you live in an area that is rocked by hurricane season year after year, you want the most durable metal building structure possible. This is when you would want 26-gauge steel roof panels for your prefab metal building.

The other advantage of 26-gauge steel is that it is heavier. This might seem like a disadvantage when you think about it going on the roof, but it is a much better option if you live in an area that experiences high winds. These winds could be the continual coastal winds, or they could be the erratic winds of a tornado. Whichever wind you face, the heavier 26-gauge steel is less likely to be ripped from your metal building structure.


Comparing Appearances

There is no difference in the appearance of 26-gauge paneling versus 29-gauge roof paneling. The two thicknesses look almost identical to the untrained eye. However, there are some advantages to the 26-gauge option. The thicker metal serves as an aesthetic safety net. If screws or bolts are tightened too much, 26-gauge steel is less likely to bend and cave in around them than 29-gauge steel is. The slight difference in thickness makes a big difference in appearance in this regard.


Comparing the Cost

There are two factors to consider when you think about the cost. The first factor is the initial cost. The second factor is the total cost.

The initial cost is exactly what it sounds like. When you buy your prefab metal building, how much will you be spending on the roof? The 29-gauge roof is the cheaper option. Your initial cost would be lower with 29-gauge than it would be with 26-gauge. You see, 26-gauge steel paneling is ten to fifteen percent more expensive per square foot. It would be the more expensive option in the short term.

That brings us to the long term—that is, to the total cost. The total cost factors in the initial cost, but it also includes the cost of future repairs and maintenance. The thinner metal will require more frequent repair if you experience severe weather. 29-gauge steel is more likely to be punctured by falling debris, or damaged by excess precipitation, than 26-gauge steel. This means that its upkeep will be more expensive.

So, is 29-gauge steel actually cheaper? The answer is no. The upfront cost of 26-gauge steel will be more expensive than the thinner option, but you will not have to pay for the same level of upkeep and repairs. 26-gauge steel is the more budget-friendly option when you consider the total cost.


Which Gauge Do I Need?

So far, we have given examples and explained why the thicker panel option is a better choice. However, we do recognize that the additional thickness is not necessary for all metal buildings. We are sure you are wondering when you should choose the thicker option and when the thinner option will suffice. We made a guide to help you decide which roof gauge you need for your steel building:

You should choose 29-gauge steel if:

  • Your initial budget is tight
  • The building has a short-term purpose (i.e., you are not concerned with its lifespan)
  • You do not live in an area with high winds
  • You do not experience severe weather, like hail, blizzards, and hurricanes, frequently

You should choose 26-gauge steel if:

  • You need your building to last for years on end with minimal to no repairs
  • You live in an area that experiences high winds
  • You live in an area that experiences hail, blizzards, or severe storms frequently
  • You need your prefab metal building’s appearance to be perfect
  • You want a clear span structure


Does my Building Have to be Fully Enclosed to Upgrade it?

One question we get asked frequently is whether your metal building has to be fully enclosed in order for you to upgrade the steel gauge. Our answer is always, “absolutely not!”

Firstly, the 26 and 29-gauge steel paneling is roof paneling, not wall paneling. That means that the amount of enclosure (walls) does not affect your ability to upgrade the roof paneling. After all, every building we sell has a roof! If you want to upgrade your carport that is not enclosed, go right ahead! If you want to upgrade your fully enclosed garage, be our guest! You can upgrade your prefab metal building’s roof no matter what the walls look like.


What Metal Barn Central Can Do for You

Metal Barn Central is the top provider of high-quality, durable steel buildings. Whether you choose a building with 29-gauge steel roof panels or 26-gauge roof panels, you will be getting a high-quality, durable structure. That is because we offer the best metal buildings with the best features. Not only do we offer great metal building structures, but we have the greatest customer service team in the industry. Our building specialists are highly trained, friendly, and determined to help you no matter what. In fact, they are on call to answer any questions you have. Call us now at (980) 365-8481 to see what we can do for you!