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29 versus 26 gauge
What is the difference between 29 and 26 gauge panels?
The lower the number the thicker the metal, hence a 26 gauge panel is thicker, heavier and would be considered higher quality.
rustyjames is correct. There can be slight differences between definitions of pitch, but generally 26 gauge is about 25% thicker than 29 gauge.
There also can be differences in how the panels are profiled and installed.
If your going to install on a sound substrate such as plywood, go with the .29ga.

The difference in the gauges is structural in nature.

The lower the gauge, the further you can span the sheet over open support, and it also correlates to the wind uplift,impact resistance and fire rating of the panel.
Rick,

Not to be disagreable, but the thickness of the metal doesn't really affect the fire rating.

Metal roofing has a Class A fire rating. Now if its installed over existing roofing, that can change the rating, partially depending on the type of existing roofing as well as the barrier between the two.
So, if I were to have a polebarn with an attic truss that I planned to turn into a workshop/office, should I go with 26 gauge.
Uplift resistence should probably be your primary choice criteria - although not likely to withstand a direct hit from a tornado, 26g will toletate strong wind better than 29g when fastened to the same substrate.
Also, a 26 gauge will withstand a larger hail stone with less appearance damage than a 29 gauge. James lives in a state where hail is a common occurrence. But, if it is large enough the hail will destroy any of it.
Thanks all.
In general the majority of people who do not work in or around the metal industry would not recognize the difference between 26gauge and 29gauge metal. The lower the number the greater strength/thickness the material is. There are other varitaions such as which Todd Miller mentioned depending on the profiles,etc.. Both can come with great warranties even though in most cases you will find 29gauge cheaper and with 0 warranty. If your installing on a roof be sure to receive the proper paperwork from the metal company which will be required to receive lower insurance premiums. Without it you may find that great deal you got on the metal wasnt so great after all.

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