Metal Studs: How to Use and Frame With Metal Studs

Author Adele Fabbri

Posted Mar 18, 2023

Reads 7.3K

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If you're planning to renovate or build a new wall, consider using steel studs instead of traditional wooden ones. Using steel studs offers several advantages such as durability, strength, and resistance to fire and pests. Moreover, they are lightweight and easy to work with, making them a popular choice among DIY enthusiasts and professional contractors alike.

One of the main benefits of using steel studs is their durability. Unlike wood, they don't rot or warp over time, which means your walls will remain stable and straight for longer. Additionally, steel studs are stronger than wood and can support heavier loads without buckling or breaking. This makes them ideal for projects that require structural support like building walls, partitions, ceilings or even floors. So if you're looking for a material that can withstand the test of time while providing ample support for your project, then steel studs may be the way to go!

Tools and techniques for building basement and partition walls with steel studs.

Tools and techniques for building basement and partition walls with steel studs are important to know if you want to undertake a DIY project. Steel studs are lightweight, easy to handle, and can be used in a variety of construction projects. According to DIY experts from Family Handyman magazine, the tools you'll need for working with steel studs include tin snips, a drill, screws, a level, and a chalk line.

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To build basement or partition walls with steel studs, start by creating a layout plan on the floor. Use the chalk line to mark where each stud will go. Once you have your studs cut to length using tin snips, use screws and a drill to secure them in place. Finally, add drywall or another finish material as desired. With these simple tools and techniques from trusted experts like Family Handyman magazine, anyone can confidently take on their own DIY steel stud project!

Why Metal Studs Might Be A Better Choice Than Wood

If you're thinking about home construction, you'll want to consider using steel framing instead of its wood stud cousins. The quality of lumber diminishes each year and it's becoming more expensive and harder to find perfectly straight pieces. However, steel studs don't shrink or split like wood studs do. Plus, they resist fire and insects, making them a smart choice for building homes.

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Another major advantage is that steel studs are 30 percent cheaper than wood studs. When you compare the cost of materials, labor, and time savings, you'll find framing with steel parts can save you thousands of dollars over the course of your home construction project. Even if you're unfamiliar with these materials and techniques, installing them is simple - just unscrew the metal screws from one end and attach them to the other end for a strong foundation. Steel studs are perfect for small non-weight bearing walls that require precision engineering without a lot of heavy lifting!

1. Tooling up

Tools Needed for Using Steel Studs

When it comes to using steel studs, having the right tools is essential. A tape measure, straight-cut aviation metal snips, plumb bob, and a 4-ft level are among the basics needed for this job. A drill, preferably cordless with variable speeds and multiple clutch settings is also necessary. In addition to these must-have tools, c-clamp locking pliers (photo 3) are useful for temporarily clamping steel studs together while sheet-metal locking pliers (called duckbill pliers inset photo 4) come in handy for forming tight bends.

Another important tool to have when using steel studs is the steel track itself. This piece allows you to attach the studs securely to the wall or ceiling. By acquiring all of these necessary tools, you'll be able to work efficiently and confidently with steel studs in your next project.

2. Photo 1: Cut the metal studs and tracks

Cutting individual steel studs and tracks quickly and accurately without causing showering sparks, acrid smoke, deafening noise or injuring yourself is important. To cut dozens of steel studs and tracks, you will need straight-cut aviation snips photo 1 with the snips jaws-and cut with the web side up. Cut each piece tightly on the flange up-clear of any web side burrs using heavy-duty gloves, wearing safety glasses, dust mask long sleeves, and hearing protection.

To make installing easier electrical and plumbing installations in a steel stud wall, examine each steel stud to ensure keyhole knockouts aligned with other studs are in place. To end protect your sawhorses from scratches and to protect your walls from sawhorse leg damage, use a piece of scrap metal or plywood between the sawhorses.

3. Pro Tip: A Faster way to Cut Steel Studs

Are you tired of the messy approach of cutting steel studs with snips? There's a faster and easier way. Home centers sell circular blades designed specifically for cutting steel studs.

A pro prefers this method because it produces a burr-free cut, saving time and effort in cleaning up metal shavings sticking onto your clothes or boots. Just remember to wear proper hearing protection and exercise caution when handling steel studs (no gloves necessary). With this simple pro tip, you'll be able to tackle any project involving steel studs with ease.

4. Photo 2: Layout and fasten the tracks

In Photo 2, we see how to layout and fasten steel tracks when using steel studs. First, you need to strike chalk lines where the tracks will be installed. Then, using a hammer drill fitted with a carbide-tipped masonry bit, drill holes for the hex-head concrete screws that will secure the tracks to the concrete floor. Make sure to use set screws to keep the metal framing track in place.

For long straight runs, overlap adjoining tracks by 6 inches and secure them with flange set screws. For corners, overlap track ends by a full length of 3 feet before securing them with set screws. This overlapping technique ensures that your structure will remain strong and sturdy over time. With these simple steps, you can easily lay out and fasten your steel tracks for your next project.

5. Photo 3: Mark, clamp, then screw

One of the essential steps to join metal studs is to mark, clamp, and then screw them. To do this, first, mark where you want your steel members to meet. Then use C-clamp locking pliers to hold the metal studs tightly in place. After that, choose an 8 pan-head screw and fit it into the screw hole.

Next, turn on your drill and select a medium speed. Meet drive with the clutch setting strong enough to push the screw home but not too much that it overdrives or underdrives it. Finally, screw home until it's tight and repeat the process for any other screws needed in that area. This method will ensure a perfect join between metal studs.

6. Photo 4: Doorway framing techniques

Photo 4 showcases the doorway framing techniques that can be used when building a non-weight-bearing wall using steel studs. Instead of using wood to fabricate the framing, metal headers and tracks can be used to create the structure. The rough opening width is cut to fit between two vertical tracks, while the rough opening height is determined by the length of the metal header.

The inset photo shows how sheet metal locking pliers can be used to attach the header tight against the track 2 ends 1 with pan-head screws. At 90 degrees from each end of the header, king studs should be installed to support the weight of the wall above it. Additionally, a web flap drawing should be included in order to ensure that all necessary cuts are made accurately and efficiently. By following these techniques, a sturdy and secure doorway frame can be created using steel studs.

7. Inset: Creating an interlocking header joint

Creating an interlocking header joint is essential for framing steel walls using steel studs. First, measure the height of the floor lay and mark it on the underlying joists using a plumb bob and level held against the ceiling track. Then, fasten the floor tracks carefully to ensure a proper fit. If you're framing a wall that runs perpendicular to the joists, fasten the stud wall framing track along the length of each joist using self-tapping drywall screws. On the other hand, if you're framing a wall that runs parallel to the joists, use drywall anchors to secure your ceiling tracks.

To ensure a tight contact between your tracks, gaps larger than 1/8 inch should be avoided because they can affect how well your wall is bearing weight. Also, when marking door openings or rough openings for windows, be sure to account for any additional space needed for door frames or wood trim (photo 4). And don't forget about solid webs, king studs and wood bucks when planning your metal framing!

Using a metal stud cutter can help you create precise cuts in no time. And when everything is done right and tight, you'll have strong and durable steel walls that will last for years to come! These are just some wall-framing tips that can help you get started with your next project!

8. Pro Tips: Wall Building

When it comes to wall building, using steel studs has a great advantage over wood studs. Unlike wood studs, the top plate of steel studs is reliably straight, which means you won't have to worry about guide placement. Also, cutting steel studs to fit perfectly is easier than cutting wood studs because you can easily measure the actual length and cut them with scrap pieces.

When working with metal studs, there are some things you need to keep in mind. First and foremost, don't lay track on an uneven floor. Instead, use wood bucks to simplify door hanging frames and casing slides. Second, when creating door openings, lay the bottom plate first and then block the top plates so they run parallel. Third, use drywall screws instead of wood screws as they work better with steel studs. Finally, avoid direct contact between the steel opening and concrete floor by using plastic shims for insulation. With these pro tips in mind, wall building with steel studs will be a breeze!

9. Photo 5: Steel stud wiring

Photo 5 showcases the process of wiring a steel stud, which is a crucial step in securing electrical cable in your home. As you can see, the center line of each steel stud is marked to ensure precise placement of plastic ties screwed on to hold the cables in place. These plastic ties are essential for making sure that the electrical cables do not move or become damaged over time.

It's important to note that while steel studs are a popular choice for construction projects, they can have sharp edges that may damage electrical wiring if not properly dealt with. This is why plastic bushings are often used around the holes where wires pass through the studs. Additionally, it's crucial to make sure that each stud is securely fastened in place to prevent any accidents or incidents from occurring. By taking these precautions and carefully wiring each steel stud, you can ensure that your electrical system will be safe and secure for years to come.

10. Pro Tip: Protect Your Electrical Cords and Yourself

When using steel studs on your construction project, it's important to be mindful of your electrical cords. Accidentally stepping or tripping over an extension cord can lead to potentially shocking developments. To avoid this, make sure to secure your cords along the sharp track of the steel studs. This will prevent any scrap chunks from damaging your cords and keep them out of harm's way.

Additionally, be aware of how you flip the track while installing it. If you're not careful, you could accidentally damage your cords by running them over with the sharp edge of the track. By taking these precautions, you'll be able to protect both your electrical cords and yourself while working with steel studs.

Frequently Asked Questions

What drill bit to use for metal studs?

Use high-speed steel (HSS) or cobalt drill bits with a 135-degree angle tip for drilling through metal studs. These types of bits are designed to handle the hardness and thickness of metal materials.

How to install metal studs to make a wall?

To install metal studs for a wall, measure and mark the placement of the studs on the floor and ceiling, then secure them with screws. Add insulation and attach drywall to finish.

How to install a threaded stud?

To install a threaded stud, first drill a hole in the desired location, then screw the stud into place using a wrench or pliers until it is secure. Make sure to choose the appropriate size and thread pitch for your application.

How much does it cost to install metal studs?

The cost of installing metal studs varies depending on the size of the project, with prices ranging from $1.50 to $4 per square foot for materials and labor.

How to mount heavy objects to metal studs?

Use toggle bolts or self-tapping screws to mount heavy objects to metal studs. Make sure to use the appropriate size and weight capacity for the object being mounted.

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Adele Fabbri

Writer at Celebrity Examiner

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Adele Fabbri is a skilled writer who has been sharing her insights and expertise with readers for years. As an expert in her field, she brings a unique perspective to each piece she writes, providing valuable information and engaging content. With a passion for helping others, Adele's writing often focuses on topics related to personal growth and development, offering practical advice and actionable tips for readers looking to improve their lives.

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