R Panel vs U Panel – Which Metal Panel You Should Use?

Do you confuse making decision between R Panel vs U Panel? You do not need to worry because we are here to help you out in making a mindful decision.

As you already know that U panel and R panel are used in metal building applications. They simply protect the structure and maintain its integrity.

Despite both being used for metal building applications what factors make them particular and different. R panel and U panel have several differences in surface and features that can either make it or break it for you.

Here, we will define the R panel and U panel and will differentiate between both of them in terms of advantages and disadvantages. However, several factors differentiate them. It might be the differences in structure, texture, appearance, or properties.

The following guidelines have everything you must read to consider factors for metal panel selection.

What is an R Panel?

metal r panel

R panel it’s a versatile wall panel and roof that is primarily a pre-engineered material and application.

R-Panel is the first thing that comes in your mind when you think about any residential roofing. It is most commonly used in the Southwestern world. 

The R-Panel has a PBR that stands for purlin bearing leg, that sits over purlins and provide hard-to-beat support.

The R-Panel consists of Kynar resistant coatings that provide long-term support. This coating also helps the panels to retain their color even after years of use.

These panels barely need maintenance and are a quick and ideal replacement to standard roofing material. It can be fit over existing retro-fitting and shingles. As a result, anyone can save labor effort and time.

As discussed earlier that it can be installed over an existing roof it also saves disposal costs resulting in overall pocket-friendliness of budget. Many different R-Panel brands offer attractive sheet at competitive prices

R-panels come in 36” long panels that have raised ribs; the area between panels is flattened. Apart from roofing, the panel can be used for metal siding and metal roofing. The panels have a range of gauge sizes from 22 to 29 gauge metal panels. 26 size is most commonly used in commercial and residential applications.


  • 30-year warranty; hence, durable and weather-resistant
  • Numerous designs and colors
  • Hail Resistant since the panels inhibit class 4 rating
  • Fire Resistant
  • Wind Resistant
  • Free of cost Maintenance
  • 26-Gauge size
  • Commercial Grade Steel
  • Energy Efficient
  • Greater Life Expectancy
  • Outstanding Durability
  • Lightweight
  • Sustainable and energy-efficient
  • Possible Insurance Savings


  • High installation cost
  • Time-consuming installation
  • Proximity to saltwater
  • Lack of contractors

What is U Panel?

u panel

U-Panel is made up of 26-gauge high-quality steel that is more detailed than the 29-gauge material. U-Panel is used for roofing purposes. Oftentimes the panels can directly be installed over the existing roof. Therefore, it saves time, costs, and labor. U-Panels come in various sizes and colors.

These metallic panels come in a 36” long coverage. U-Panels are famous for an economical price, easy-to-install design, and other industrial applications. It is commonly used for liner panel and tiny storage. These durable panels are energy efficient and easy to get painted. U-Panels can host different architecture and buildings due to their flexibility.

To speed up the process of installation, purlin-bearing leg speeds are incorporated with U-Panels. The quality of the panels and the side laps are resistant to weather. The U-Panels can either be fastened with wall or roof panels.

The maximum rib height is about ¾” with about 6” inter-rib distance. U-panels are softer than R-panels. U-Panels are widely used in the liner wall and partition panel.


  • Lifetime warranty
  • Different color and shades
  • Water-resistant
  • Fire resistant
  • Economical maintenance
  • High-quality anti-corrosion metal
  • Sustainable
  • Durable and resilient
  • Possible insurance


  • Difficult installation
  • Time-consuming maintenance

U Panel vs R Panel- Factors you need to consider

Both R and U panels have different properties and specifications. There are several factors to consider before choosing between R panels and U panels. The panels are similar in application but there are many differences in texture, shape, size, and color. Some important factors to consider are:

Durability and Resistance

R-panels and U-panels are durable and resistant to weather extremities. R-panels have over 30 years of warranty because it is made from high-quality steel.

On the other hand, U-panels have a lifelong warranty, but the 30-year warranty also feels like a lifelong warranty anyway. The metallic panels are coated with chromium to make them resistant to rust and corrosion.

Panels are made from strong metal that is hail resistant. Before you buy panels, you can ask whether the brand offers the warranty and money-back guarantee, provided the panels fail to function.

Related: Rebar vs Wire Mesh: Know the basic difference between them.


R-Panel comes in different thicknesses that range from 26 gauge to 29 gauge. On the other hand, U-Panels come in 26 gauge. However, the inter gauge panel is fattened to form the intricate design.

The roof panels are made from aluminum because it has a low density. An average roofing panel has a thickness of about 0.032 inches.

Nonetheless, it solely depends upon the users what thickness do they need. If they need a stronger roof, they can buy the 0.040 inches thickness. Before you buy the roofing panels, you can choose between R-Panel and U-Panel because both have a family of designs and thicknesses.

The thicknesses at the gauge vary, but the inter-gauge distance is flattened. This is the part where the thickness is measured.


R-Panels are commonly made from aluminum and are not flexible. However, while the installation process technicians can use advanced welding processes to bend at certain points.

U-Panels are also made from high-grade aluminum and are not prone to flexibility and bending. This resistance to bending allows the panels to be hail-resistant and dent-proof.

There are other metallic materials than are easy to bend. Some panels come in flexible metallic substances, but it can bend n slightest of the pressure. Therefore, before you buy roofing panels you must check the flexibility and bendability of panels.

If you live in a region where hailstorms are very common you will need aluminum roofing panels.

Another important factor is the type of climate in your region. If your house is situated in a hot climate then you will need a thick roofing panel. In hot weather, metallic substances undergo thermal expansion. If the roofing material is thin, it might sag at the protruding corners and unsupported areas.


The roofing panels are attached to the existing roof using strong screws that are drilled deep into the concrete or other material that the roof is made up of. Before the installation process makes sure you have hired expert staff and strong screws.

Before the roof paneling, an interconnected metal frame is welded and attached to the roof. Later the panels are screwed to the frame. This allows the user to change the panels easily; otherwise, the removal of panels might destroy the original roof.

If you are installing the R-Panel and U-Panel over plywood make sure that the woof is not soggy or moist.

Application Time

The installation and application of both R-Panel and U-Panel can be a complicated and time-consuming process. The installation can only be done by designated professionals. The whole process can take about a week because the interconnected metal structure welding can be a time-consuming process.

Therefore, before considering the installation make sure you have ample time to supervise the installation.

U-Panels are easier to install because they can even be installed without the meta frame. Therefore, if you need the roof paneling urgently you can prefer u-Panels.


Roof panels come in corrugated texture that has gauges. R-Panels are more textured because they have more gauges and less interconnected flattened space. On the contrary, U-Panels have fewer gauges and more interconnected flattened surfaces.

Apart from the general dips that the panels have, the roof panels come in different designs and textures. Some of the textures that are available in R-Panels are standard metal texture, standing seam, corrugated metallic texture, seamless texture, and tile structure.

Different brands offer different textures of roof paneling so you must buy the design that is according to your house’s architecture.

It is a brotherly suggestion to choose the roof paneling that has fewer details because it might fill with dirt and snow which might be difficult to remove later.


Since you all know that R-Panels and U-Panels come in the metallic structure. Buyers can choose from two different metallic appearances: matte and lustrous. People prefer lustrous roof paneling because it shines in the sunlight.

The roof panels can be painted with different colors to improve their appearance. Matte roof paneling is suitable for houses where there is less sunlight such as in Canada where the weather is characterized by snow. A matter of roof paneling can help to sweep away the accumulated snow.

A recent introduction of the Bridger steel is an advancement in roof paneling because it has impeccable and eye-grabbing designs. These new roof panels are easy to install, once installed the alternate boundaries between aligned roof panels are recessed and it gives a look of all the roof as a whole.

Therefore, before you buy roof panels you can choose between different textures and appearances. You can choose the design according to the exterior and architecture of your house.


Concisely, choosing R-Panel vs U-Panel is cumbersome because they barely have any dissimilarities. The difference can be spotted upon close investigation only and no one would climb up to see, which type of roof paneling do you, have.

Apart from the appearance, other factors differentiate between R-panels and U-Panels. If you prefer a quick installation, you must choose U-Panels because they do not require complex installation and metallic welding.

On the other hand, if you want paneling and don’t want your original roof to disintegrate you can choose R-panels because they involve the special installation of an interconnected metal frame that does not damage the original roof.

So, the choice is yours. You can choose what suits your house, budget, and climate. Pick one, and get your roof furnished.

You Also Read.  Top Gutter Guards for Metal Roofs.

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