Wooden carports, garages, and outdoor buildings have been around for generations. But now, thanks to modern technology and materials, more and more folks are turning to light-gauge steel as their preferred building material of choice. What makes steel a better structural material than wood? Plenty! For starters, steel is stronger, lasts longer, and is more versatile than wood. On top of that, steel doesn’t burn, rot, or warp, and it also isn’t bothered by termites or other pests.
The Production of Steel for Metal Buildings
The steel most typically used in the construction of outdoor metal buildings is known as cold-formed steel. How is cold-formed steel produced? It starts by combining molten iron ore or recycled steel with small amounts of carbon to produce basic carbon steel. The liquid steel is poured into strips to cool, and then the rolls of steel are galvanized. In galvanization, a coating of zinc (sometimes combined with other metals) is added to help prevent corrosion and to enhance the look of the steel. Once the coating dries, the finished coils can then be cold-formed into a variety of structural steel materials of various thicknesses. The framing, trusses, and other metal building components are then constructed from this steel.
So, What’s a Gauge?
You’ve probably heard the term “gauge” (pronounced: GAYJ) if you’ve familiar at all with firearms. The gauge of a firearm indicates the size of its bore – the hollow part inside the gun barrel. The rule of thumb for guns is that the larger the gauge number, the smaller the bore. As an example, a 20-gauge shotgun has a smaller bore than that of a 10-gauge.
But we’re not talking about guns, we’re talking about metal buildings! When referring to steel structural components, the gauge indicates the thickness of the building material itself. In America, cold-formed steel framing (also known as tubing) is usually made from either 12-gauge steel (steel thickness measuring up to 0.1046 inches) or 14-gauge steel (steel thickness measuring up to 0.0747 inches). Thus, 12-gauge steel is approximately .03 inches thicker than 14-gauge steel. Are you starting to make some sense of metal building gauges yet?
14-Gauge Metal Buildings vs. 12-Gauge Metal Buildings
To make things simple when it comes to metal buildings: the lower the gauge number, the thicker and heavier the steel. The frame is the support skeleton for your metal building, so you need it to be thick enough to be able to support the roof, walls, or whatever other features you choose to include in your building. Which gauge should you choose? The answer to that question will depend on a few factors, including how you intend to use your building. Here’s a closer look at both 14-gauge and 12-gauge metal building options:
- 14-Gauge Steel Building
14-gauge steel is the generally the most popular framing option for light-gauge steel buildings in the U.S. It’s tough enough for most general applications, and 14-gauge steel also happens to be the most economical option. Additionally, most 14-gauge metal building can be certified to meet common wind and snow load capacities with the addition of proper bracing and anchors.
- 12-Gauge Steel Building
12-gauge steel may cost a little more, but it also provides for a significantly stronger, more durable structure that’s built to withstand some tougher conditions. In certain parts of the country – including some that are prone to more severe weather – 12-gauge framing is actually required in order to meet building codes. But even if 12-gauge isn’t required in your area, opting for 12-gauge framing is really the best choice for any building intended for commercial or industrial use. For most backyard applications, the choice of going with 12-gauge or 14-gauge steel is really up to you. Many homeowners will elect to choose 12-gauge simply for the greater peace of mind it offers.
Come See THE BOSS for Your Perfect 12-Gauge or 14-Gauge Metal Building!
There’s lots to like about a metal building, and THE BOSS is happy to offer both 12-gauge and 14-gauge options for metal carports, garages, barns, RV covers, workshops, and more. Here are a few reasons you should consider Boss Buildings:
- We have metal buildings in many popular styles and shapes. You can also have a building custom-designed up to 70’-wide, if that’s what you need!
- Thanks to our manufacturer-direct sourcing, our buildings are priced LOW!
- We can also usually get you your building with a shorter lead time
- Each of our buildings is manufactured right here in America
- We also deliver and install at no extra charge across our 15-state service area!
- THE BOSS has you covered!
Give us a call at 866 703 1585, and let’s get started on the metal building you need today!