Sheet Metal Gauge: Measuring Gauge of Your Steel Building

We like to explain a lot about our metal building products. Sometimes we talk about the metal in terms of “gauge.” In our case, this is a measure of the thickness of sheet metal. Various industries use different kinds of gauges to describe different things: wire gauge is a measure of the thickness of wire; Stubs iron wire gauge is a measure of the thickness of a hypodermic needle, suture wire and catheters (ouch!); and a measure of the diameter of a shotgun barrel. You may think that all these gauges refer back to something standard, but unfortunately for the case of simplicity, they do not. To make things more complicated, the Stubs’ measure is also known as the Birmingham Wire Gauge and is used widely in the UK for sheet metal, pipes and so forth as well–not just painful medical implements.

But wait, there’s more! In North America, sheet metal thickness gauges for steel are based on the weight of the steel per square metre or foot. This allows more efficient calculation of the cost of material used. The standard for this is 41.82 pounds per square foot of thickness. It is called the Manufacturers’ Standard Gage for Sheet Steel.The higher the number, the thinner the sheet.

Because it’s a measurement based on weight, it cannot be standard across different types of metal. So, aluminum, brass, or lead and platinum are clearly going to be using different numbers when talking gauge. However, even different types of steel have differing gauges, because their weight varies with differences in makeup: stainless and galvanized correspond to different gauge numbers than does plain mild steel. Custompart.net has a cool calculator for standard, galvanized and stainless steel, as well as aluminum and zinc.

So, now when we talk about our steel building products being offered in 24-gauge standard and 22-gauge optional, you’ll know that 24-gauge is about 2/3 mm in thickness and weighs 5.35 kg per square metre, and 22-gauge (optional) is 3/4 of a milimetre in thickness and weighs 5.95 kg per square metre. News you can use!

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