A modern home under construction
You’ve probably heard your fundi or contractor mention it before; Gauge 30, Gauge 28, Gauge 26, and so forth. But what does that refer to?
Well, simply put, the Gauge simply refers to the thickness of your Mabati. The thickness is measured in millimeters (mm) using a micrometer screw gauge. For instance, Gauge 30 means that your Mabati is 0.25mm thick. Gauge 28 is 0.32 mm thick, Gauge 26 is 0.4 mm thick, Gauge 18 is 1mm thick, Gauge 16 is 1.2mm thick, and so on.
An interesting thing to note is that a Gauge 16 Mabati is thicker than Gauge 30. Gauge 18 Mabati is thicker than Gauge 28 Mabati, and so on so forth.
Which Mabati Gauge should you use for your Mjengo?
You see, every Mjengo has its own unique requirements. But generally, all roofing projects can be categorized into three;
Gauge 28 and 30 is recommended for residential homes
Gauge 30 is the most recommended size for constructing residential homes and other ordinary structures. Gauge 32 is deemed to be too light; also very prone to bends especially when the fundi steps over them during roofing. Some contractors may recommend Gauge 28 for residential homes; this is also acceptable. When it comes to industrial structures like Go Downs, Gauges 28, 26 and 24 are common; these are thicker, more durable and ideal for such large projects.
Cladding is a concept in building and construction that uses corrugated metal sheets on walls, usually to add character and style to your room. Bedrooms, bathrooms, fencing, gates, flower boxes; these are good examples where cladding can be applied. Have you ever come across a private property or construction site fenced using Mabatis? This too can be categorized under cladding. Gauges 26 and 24 are the most common sizes for cladding purposes.
Concrete slab on a Metal deck
Ever gone to a construction site and found the fundis laying a wire mesh before adding the concrete or cement on top? Well, fundis and contractors have become more creative nowadays when building concrete slabs. Metal sheets are the newest kid on the block; they are more powerful and durable when used together with wire mesh. Usually, Gauges 20 and 18 Mabatis are the most recommended sizes for flooring purposes.
Does it mean that if you have money and can afford it, Gauge 18 or Gauge 20 would be the best option for your residential home? You see, the thicker the Mabati the heavier they are. Yet, according to roofing experts, heavy Mabatis are likely to exert needless pressure on your structure and it may easily cave in.
Which is why Gauges 28 and 30 are the most recommended thicknesses for residential roofing. You pick very light Mabati; you risk getting them blown off by wind. You pick very heavy Mabati; your structure risks caving in due to the bulk weight.