When you hire a construction company to build or renovate a structure, you naturally want to feel up-to-date on the project. Many individuals, however, are confused by the technical talk that occurs in construction and feel overwhelmed when visiting a site or speaking with their contractor. That is why we at Carolina Services Inc have created this brief list of things to know about metal studs and framing – an increasingly popular framing style for commercial buildings.
General Structure of Studs
Metal studs are c-shaped steel rods composed of a section known as the web and 2 lipped flanges on either side of and at a right angle to the web. There are openings called knockouts at regular intervals along the stud for the wiring to be run through. When assembling a frame, studs are snapped into a metal track whose web has been attached to the concrete with concrete screws. The metal track, like the studs, has 2 flanges. These flanges are not lipped, but do bend inward slightly to hold the inserted studs more firmly.
Why Not Use Wood Studs?
Wood studs are an excellent choice for many projects and is still the predominate framing style in residential construction. Depending on the nature and location of the project, the characteristics of steel may simply be preferable. Metal studs differ from wood studs in that they do not warp, expand or shrink with changing temperatures, or twist. They are perfectly straight and easily stored for long periods without risk of damaging their structural integrity. Unlike wood studs, they are also resistant to insects and rot. Metal studs are also naturally fire resistant – which in some cases can lead to insurance savings. And although they are lightweight, metal studs are not flimsy. Their rigidity only increases when drywall is added.
– Metals studs are extremely forgiving to work with, especially for inexperienced framers. The studs are screwed into place, not nailed, and if two studs are accidentally placed too far apart, it is easy to unscrew a stud and move it over. This is not the case with wood studs, which will be weakened by the attempt to remove nails.
– Because steel has high thermal conductivity, using metal studs for exterior walls can transfer cold into the building. Using rigid foam insulation on exterior walls should help prevent this.
-The edges of metal studs can be very sharp, so it is best to wear safety gloves if visiting a job site. This sharpness is also why plastic bushings are placed in the knockouts prior to running cables through the studs.
-Backers should be placed behind studs where cabinets will be hung, as the metal studs may not hold the weight of the cabinet alone.
-In some cases, metal studs may be more expensive than wood studs, but they are also lighter and easier to work with, and usually lessen labor costs
Don’t let your next construction projects overwhelm you. Let us help you through the designing, construction, and maintaining processes. Contact us today!
Photo courtesy of: PEO ACWA