Steel is one of the most commonly used materials in our everyday life. It is used to build equipment and machines that help us in many ways. It is always a favorite choice, from complex robots to simple door locks when building things.
Because it is a highly durable material, steel is also used for the structure of tall buildings or the chassis of our vehicles. Up until now, maybe you haven’t been interested in the thickness. They vary a lot based on the type of sheet metal used.
See below where we will reduce the confusion regarding this subject. We will convert the thickness to millimeters and inches and show you how thick some of them are.
What are sheet metal gauges?
If you want to measure the thickness of a metal sheet, you will use gauges. These units are completely independent of the imperial or metric system you are used to. As the gauge number increases, the thickness of your material will decrease.
A metal gauge can also be referred to as a sheet metal thickness, representing the thickness of a specific material. The thickness can differ from metal to metal, but in today’s article, we will focus on steel and its measurements.
The standard system will express gauges in numbers, and the thickness will decrease as the gauges increase. It is in an inverted measurement system, but it is easier to use once you understand how it works.
The most common sheet metal sizes range from 7 to 30 gauge, and they can be measured with a special tool with accuracy within thousandths of an inch. That is why it is essential always to have a conversion chart available, so you won’t have to calculate the measurements manually.
This way, you can determine the actual thickness in inches or millimeters at your convenience. That is why we present you with a chart designed for your comfort, so you no longer have to do the calculations yourself.
You’ll learn to convert steel thickness gauge to mm and inches, including thickness 11 & 14. We’ll go over what they’re used for below.
Steel gauge thickness chart
7 gauge steel
Because the rating of the thickness of the steel is backward, the lowest number is also thicker. That is why this steel is the thickest one making it also the most durable one. Steel gets stronger as it increases in thickness, which helps improve safety and security levels.
But the 7 gauge steel is much more difficult to cut through and is also harder to operate. However, safety is greatly improved especially against fire.
10 gauge steel
The 10 gauge steel is commonly known within the industry to be the Manufacturer’s Standard Gauge for steel sheets. Other materials will have different measurements, and you need to change the format if you work with aluminum or brass. Such a steel sheet is known to have a thickness of 0.1345 inches, making it thick and durable.
An object manufactured from 10 gauge steel will be twice as strong as another one made from 12 gauge steel. The durability and resistance of the steel increase as the thickness decreases.
11 gauge steel
If you want to precisely measure the thickness of metal, you have to use a caliper. They are special tools designed to be held in hand, and their purpose is to measure the distance between two points. All you have to do is to fit the caliper around the metal and determine its thickness.
This type is stronger than 12 gauge steel. With high durability, it has many uses in the industrial world. Metal benches and picnic tables placed in recreational areas are manufactured with this material to resist the test of time.
12 gauge steel
This type is often used in the manufacturing of safes because it is a highly durable material. It is 2.86 times stronger than 14 gauge, even if it’s only thicker by a fraction of an inch. The price is higher if the steel is thicker, and you will have to choose the ideal thickness for your budget.
But if you are after an increased strength and a heavier weight, the 12 gauge steel is worth the money. Strong but relatively easy to work with, there are many people who consider this to be their first option in their projects.
13 gauge steel
It is the first one that starts to be thinner than the inferior gauges. It has a thickness of 0.09 inches and is commonly used in construction work or manufacturing. Because it is such a lightweight and durable material, it has a wide application.
At this thickness, steel can be cut and shaped to your preference while still being strong enough to withstand a certain degree of stress. While it is not as thick as the 10 gauge steel, it still gets the job done in some specific applications.
14 gauge steel
It measures 0.747 inches in thickness. There are many factors that define the strength of steel. This option might not be as strong as the ones presented above, but it still has a large range of applications while also being quite durable.
It is the nationally accepted thickness for metal structures and carports, making it a popular choice. Some budget-friendly safes are also manufactured with steel that has a thickness between 0.036 to 0.080 inches, making it very thin. If someone might try to break in, they can easily do it with a drill.
16 gauge steel
The 16 gauge steel sheets are 0.598 inches thick, which is a common one for these plates. Construction and manufacturing industries often use this material because it is strong and durable. Because of its balanced thickness, it has many applications.
The thickness of steel reduces as the thickness increases. It happens because the gauge measurement system had the 1-inch thick steel plate as a base for the control measurement back when this system was introduced.
18 gauge steel
Today there are many systems used in the industries that work with steel. But the gauge number has no relevance to the actual measurements, so we need to use the conversion chart. In the case of the 18 gauge steel, the measurements show a 0.0478 inches thickness.
However, be advised that this thickness changes based on the material used. Aluminum will always be thinner, while other metals will show different results. But the 18 gauge will always be thicker and stronger than a 20, regardless of the material.
20 gauge steel
20 gauge steel will always be thicker than the 22 but much thinner than the 18. It is thin enough to be used for various applications but also strong and durable. Often, items with a more minimalistic appearance feature the 20 gauge.
20 gauge steel equals 0.036 inches, which is a measurement you can find in the chart presented above. This system is used across the country, and you can easily understand the dimensions with this instant conversion.
22 gauge steel
22 gauge steel has a thickness of 0.028 inches, which makes it thinner than the ones with a smaller gauge. It has many uses in today’s society, such as making structures and buildings extremely durable with 22 gauge panels.
If you want to measure the thickness yourself, use a caliper or any similar tool. An expert in metalwork will help you with more information. They can also confirm that the 22 gauge steel is commonly used in construction projects.
24 gauge steel
The 24 gauge is thicker and heavier than the 26 gauge one. This measurement is often used in the construction industry, where builders’ 24 gauge roofing panels are the first choice. These panels weigh 30% more than the 26 gauge ones, and their durability is also increased.
These panels do not wear out as time passes. They are also weatherproof, and severe storms will not crack or corrode the roof. That’s why most roofs with 24 gauge panels can last for decades.
26 gauge steel
26 gauge steel is exactly 0.018 inches thick and is another excellent choice for roofing. Because it is thinner than the 24 gauge option, it is also more budget-friendly while still having a similar efficiency. However, experts recommend a minimum of several 26 gauge panels for successfully withstanding hail or severe storms.
That’s why this is the best minimum option for roofing panels. They can tolerate strong winds better and will not wear out over time as external conditions change.
12 vs 14 gauge steel
Steel with this thickness is often used for containment systems. You should know the difference between these gauges and analyze each feature they provide. If you are looking to create such a system, consider the differences before making a final choice.
While this steel has a thickness of 0.098 inches, the 14 one will measure 0.070 inches. The thickness directly influences the durability and sturdiness of the steel. The thicker the steel is, the stronger and more durable it will be. Depending on your needs and budget, you will have to choose the best option that suits you.
Keep in mind that these sheets are also 40% heavier than the 14 gauge ones. If you are dealing with pressure, remember that the 12 ones are designed for dynamic pressure. In contrast, the 14 gauge ones are intended for static pressure that does not change.
Sheet metal can be created from various materials, and the choice will determine the final thickness. Steel is the most common choice for various industrial applications. This metal can be either stainless or galvanized, but you can also obtain sheets out of aluminum or copper.
Your costs will be lower if the company providing you with metal sheets uses basic laser cutting methods. This way, you can make more improvements to the material you get.
The standard sheet metal sizes are:
– 36” x 96”
– 36” x 120”
– 36” x 144”
– 48” x 96”
– 48” x 120”
– 48” x 144”
Depending on your budget, you will have a wide range of options. The cheaper ones include 19 gauge stainless steel kitchen sinks which are also considered to be a standard. But if you want to get better quality for your price, you might consider the 18 gauge which is also equal to 0.050 inches.
Home improvement experts recommend the 16 to 18-gauge range to be the perfect choice for a stainless steel sink. But the 16 one is more expensive and often categorized as a luxury object. Because it comes with a thickness of 0.062 inches, it is also more durable and will last longer.
You should also consider the size of the sink. Thin gauges are always better for smaller sinks. For large ones, you might need thicker materials. If the sink is thinner, it will be exposed to the risk of denting and bowing, which is something that is less likely to happen on a sink with a smaller thickness.
The sheet metal can have a thickness starting from 0.019 inches all the way to 0.23 inches. There are no sheet metals thicker than 0.23 inches because they become metal plates at that point. While sheet metal is easy to form, it also provides incredible strength and is highly durable.
Sheet metal is cheaper than metal plates and they are very versatile. Engineers use them for many applications, which is why you can see these sheets everywhere.
Sheet metal will be formed into flat pieces which can easily bend due to their reduced thickness. When they are rolled, it is easier to transport them in large quantities to reduce the costs further. The higher the thickness, the easier it is for the sheet metal to roll.
Depending on the grade, high-carbon steel is the cheapest material. It is an alloy that has between 0.60% and 2.5% carbon. Because the carbon content is greatly increased, the material can be as strong and durable as stainless steel and less expensive.
It is more durable and less likely to warp or deform than aluminum. Some unique features include high heat and force resistance, making this material an excellent choice for many engineers. But there are also some drawbacks to the high-carbon steel sheets.
While their durability is greatly increased, this material is not corrosion resistant and is susceptible to scratches. Construction workers that handle this material often apply special protective layers on top of them to make this material resistant to rust or corrosion.