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U-Panel vs R-Panel: Find Out the Differences!

U-Panel vs R-Panel: Find Out the Differences!

When erecting a metal building, there are many aspects that you need to take care of, and one such aspect is roofing. While installing a new roof, you do not only have to choose the type of metal for the roofing but also the kind of panel you want to go with. If you choose an exposed fastener panel, then you are left with the two metal roof panel types: R-panel and U-Panel. Choosing between these two panels could be tricky. But no worries, in this blog, Steel and Stud help you differentiate between U-panels and R-panels and choose the one which is most suitable for your metal building.

Table of Contents

What is R-Panel Roofing?

R-Panel Roofing

R-panel has multiple uses. It can be used as a wall and roof in a pre-engineered metal building. Roofs made with R-Panels have raised ribs and extended flat areas between the ribs and are constructed of 36″ metal panels. It is great for both commercial and residential metal roofing purposes, and you can also use them as siding. It is primarily a prevalent option for residential metal roofing.

R-panel comes with Purlin-Bearing Ribs (PBR) and one without it.

Among many, one of the differences is that PBR Panels have a bigger overlap section which is not seen in R-Panels. This overlapping section between the panels, known as a purlin bearing leg, provides the metal roofing with more additional strength.

One of the similar characteristics is that these two-panel types have the exact coverage of 36 inches.

Depending on the location, usage, and other factors, your contractor will guide you on which panel to use.

What is The Thickness of The R-Panel?

In the United States, the unit of measurement used to express the metal roofing panels’ thickness is ‘gauge’. The higher the number of the gauge, the thinner it will be, and vice versa. The different gauges are 22, 24, 26, and 29. The thickest gauge is 22 gauge, and the thinnest gauge is 29 gauge. The most common is the 26-gauge R-Panel thickness people go with. It is typically more expensive to install metal roofing with thicker gauges. Many people believe using a thicker panel is always more beneficial, but it is not always true. The choice of panel gauge depends on the building’s structure and location

Different R-Panel Sizes: 

You can get R-Panel/PBR-Panel in custom sizes as per your specifications. The length available for R-Panel is between 3′ to 45′. Four 1.25-inch high ribs are spaced 12 inches apart in the centre of each R-Panel/PBR-Panel. It is easier to install stitch screws on roofs with PBR-Panel because it has a purlin-bearing rib. 

What is U-Panel Roofing?

U-Panel Roofing

U-Panels are exposed fastener metal roofing panels with a rib height of ¾” (approximately) and a rib spacing of 6″ in the center. It also provides a net coverage of 36″. It has applications in light commercial and industrial roofing and is most famous for its inexpensive exposed fastener design.

It is highly appropriate for interior partitions or liner panels for small storage facilities. You can choose among the various energy-efficient colors and paint systems available in the market. It is a stable, enduring, and sustainable metal panel that offers architects and owners of the building an impressive yet adaptable design when integrated with other building materials.

Furthermore, purlin bearing legs provide a consistent weather-resistant joint by accelerating installation and improving panel side laps. It also provides a lower profile and more delicate impression than R-Panel.

What is The Thickness of The U-Panel?

U-Panels, come in different thicknesses, which are 22-gauge, 24-gauge, and 26-gauge. The 22 and 24 gauges can be crimped curved to accommodate applications requiring radiused corners. 26-gauge U-Panel is great commercial-grade steel.

Difference Between R-Panels And U-Panels



R-Panel material costs generally lie between $2.00 and $4.50 per square foot. 

You might find U-Panels 5% cheaper, but it entirely depends on the supplier. Otherwise, the cost is almost similar.

Various colours are available in the market, which is a huge point from the point of view of design. The vast range of colour options broadens your design prospects.

The colour options in U-Panels are limited and ordinary.

The ribs of the panel are of different heights. 

The ribs of the panel are the same height.

Home builders mostly prefer R-Panels because of the colour options, sturdiness, effortless installation, and also delivers a ton of worth for money.

U panels are mostly used on commercial buildings because they are economical.

With R panels, you’ll have an easier time finding the one you need since they are more readily available.

U-Panels could also be found easily, but when compared to R-Panels, their availability is less.

R-Panels have a robust design that is very competent in putting up with bad weather. Due to their robust design, even when pelted with hail, you wouldn’t see much damage, making it ideal for those who don’t want to repair their metal roof forever. 

U-Panels are robust, but when compared to R-Panels, it is less strong.

The maintenance charge for R-Panel metal roofs is more than U-Panels.

The maintenance cost for the U-Panel roof is very low. The roof doesn’t need any shingles replaced. In order to prevent water from getting into the roof, you must keep an eye on the seams between panels. If your metal roof is installed correctly, this shouldn’t happen. 

R-Panels are also easy to install, you can retrofit them over existing composition shingles

Installation of a U-Panel roof is easy and inexpensive as you can directly install them onto the existing shingle roof. In addition to saving time and effort, it saves money on removal costs as well.

U-Panel Vs R-Panel Which Is Better?

U-Panel Vs R-Panel Which Is Better?

Both U-Panel and R-Panel are robust, affordable, highly durable, and wind resistant, making them a good option for roofing. But which panel is better for you depends on your building’s structure, location, and application. If you want a metal roof panel for your house, R-Panel is the better option because it offers various colors and is highly durable. If you need to choose a panel for a commercial building, U-Panel is a good option, as it is low maintenance, easy to install, and robust.

Difference Between Ag Panel And R Panel

Ag Panel
r Panel
  • R-Panel is more robust when compared to the Ag panel.
  • Ag Panels are cheaper than R-Panel.
  • R-Panels are more easily available when compared to the Ag panel.
  • R-Panels are appropriate for pre-engineered metal buildings, and Ag Panels are suitable for post-frame buildings.

Steel and Stud: The Best Option for Metal Roofing

Looking for a supplier for metal roofing? Steel and Stud is the prominent metal roofing supplier in the United States. We offer the best quality metal roofing at the lowest prices. Our team of experts will not only make your buying process easy but will also guide you in choosing the right roofing option for you. We deliver steel structural building materials all across the USA. You should order panels with size specifications to lower the total project cost. We also provide custom-designed metal buildings. So what are you waiting for? Get in touch with us and solve all your metal-building queries.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between R-panel and U-panel?

U-Panels have the same height ribs, while R-Panels have different height ribs.

What is an R-panel?

Originally designed for use in pre-engineered metal buildings, R-Panels are metal walls and metal roofs with exposed fasteners.

Can you walk on the R-panel roof?

Yes, you can walk on the R-panel metal roof.

How long does R Panel last?

R-Panel metal roofs can last up to 50 or more years.

How far can R Panel span?

R-Panel can span as far as 5′-7′ apart.