Understanding Sheet Metal Gauge and How It’s Used

Sheet metal gauge is understood by the automation industry in the manufacture of vehicles, from racing cars to an elite Rolls Royce. The aviation industry uses different sheet metal gauges for spacecraft, fighter jets, and aeroplanes. The shipping industry uses a specified sheet metal gauge for… well, ships and the construction industry understand what gauge is needed for various aspects of …you got it, construction.

Do you know what sheet metal gauge is? Gauge speaks to measurement and, regarding sheet metal, references its thickness. Your trusted metal fabricator will know how to help you, but don’t presume that all manufacturers do. Much is up to you to clarify your design intent.

Is this is big deal? Absolutely! The gauge used for sheet metal roofing is very different from the gauge used for spacecraft. Before you think you already figured that and can tell its thickness just by looking at the sheet of metal, think again. You don’t want to be leaving sheet metal gauge matters to the guesswork of any sort.

Enter the sheet metal gauge issue.

Sheet Metal Gauge Specifics

You’ll be familiar with the round metal sheet gauge disc with holes around the edge and measurements all over to gauge the thickness of sheet metal.

Regarding the discs, remember that there ate two types of sheet metal gauges;

  1. Sheet metal gauge for ferrous metals – (metals with iron), i.e. stainless steel and cast iron.
  2. Sheet metal gauge for non-ferrous metals – (metals without iron), i.e. copper, gold, or silver.

Purchasing any metal without considering its thickness or gauge is risky. Here’s why:

  • Durability: Metal gauge plays a major role in the durability of your design.
  • Costs: Using the incorrect thickness affects your budget. If you use too much metal or your sheets are too dense for your application, you will incur higher production and shipping costs.
  • Structural Integrity: Items made of metal that is too thin will suffer structural problems or deflection.

Deciding on the Gauge for Sheet Metal Fabrication

Surprisingly, whereas one would expect sheet metal fabricators to understand the correct gauge for various applications, many fail dismally, and the end-user suffers great loss. The bottom line is that optimal efficiency and functionality depend on using the correct thickness of sheet metal.

The following is what you need to understand:

  • Application Scenario

Remember, the lower the gauge, the thicker the object. For construction projects that require high rigidity, you should use a lower gauge sheet material. Conversely, if you need high flexibility and different curves in your construction, a higher gauge is better.

Lower gauge sheet metal is needed if your scenario includes pressure of any sort or will be exposed to harsh weather conditions or high temperatures. For indoor applications, high gauge materials are fine to use.


  • Suitability

On projects, it’s not only a matter of using the correct sheet metal gauge to reach the end design goal, it’s about the workflow too. Your whole project can fail on sheet metal gauge.


  • Economy

Price always matters, and having the right sheet metal gauge fabrication can either help or blow your budget.

In summary, knowing how to gauge the right sheet metal gauge can make or break a project. Metal fabricators will make what you order, so the onus is on you to state your design intention and how thick or thin your metal sheets need to be.

For more information on how Steelmor can help you with your projects, please feel free to get in touch with our team.