Steel frames are common in most commercial and office sites. They carry myriad advantages over wood. Steel studs don’t shrink, they don’t split, mold, or rot. They are also perfectly straight. In this post by Steel and Stud, we look at how to work with metal/steel studs and how to install them.
Materials for Installing
- Metal Studs
- Chalk box
- Eye protection
- Safety gloves
- Drill machine that has hammering function
- Aviation snips
- Electric screwdriver
- Carpentry pencil
- Measuring tape
Measuring The Track
Start by calculating the number of studs you would need. Ideally, you should go for 1 stud per 300 mm of wall space (linear).
Buy tracks or steel plates for the top and the bottom. Measure the wall in a linear feet fashion and then double it. Buy additional studs for either side of the door or window.
Draw Lines Where You Will Fasten the Track. Use chalk to outline the floor where tracks will be going.
Use The lower track lengths and screw them into the floor
Using the outline you drew in the previous step, position the lower side of the track and screw it in. Drill a hole first in the track and stud. Then use a screw to fasten it in. Use a hammer drill or a power nailer if you will be drilling through the concrete.
- Flatten the side flanges of the first track to overlap the corner. The idea is to make sure that the overlapping tracks can easily slide into the right place. Overlap the tracks 6 inches when the runs are straight and long. Then secure the overlapping tracks on the floor using a concrete screw.
Plumb the Track
To plumb the lower and upper tracks perfectly, you can either use a plumb bob, two water levels, or a laser leveling.
- If you are using a laser, place it on the middle bottom of the tracks. Turn the laser on so that it shoots a vertical line up the wall. Using this plumb point to direct. Most constructors suggest using this method for the highest accuracy.
- Another common method is – using a plumb bob. This is quite similar to the laser one. You start by tying the strip to the wall and then waiting for the bob to come to a halt. Once stopped, it will create a straight line touching the floor bottom.
- The third method you can use if you don’t have the first two things is pressing the two water levels together. Keep both the water levels together while extending one onto the floor and other towards the ceiling. Make sure that both levels remain plumb. Mark off the line on either the ceiling or the floor. Attack the tracks to the ceiling once you have established the plumb. Use a screw gun and a drill just like you did the ground track.
Fastening the Metal Studs
Cut the flanges from both sides of the stud to make sure it’s trimmed right.
Use aviation snips to cut the sides. Bend one flange clearing it off the jaws and then cut through the stud’s web.
- It’s better if you cut all the studs from the same side to length. This will help to keep the keyhole knockouts properly aligned while also helping to make plumbing and electrical work much easier. Make sure to wear heavy-duty gloves to protect your hands.
- A miter saw will help to cut several pieces all at once. Be sure to use one with a metal blade.
- It’s better if you score the studs first using a knife on either side and then screw the stud up and down and back and forth until it rips apart.
Clamp the two tracks together to join studs using pliers that lock C-clamp. Drive half a centimeter Number 8 pan-screw. Make sure to do this at a medium speed. Make sure that the setting is not too strong to break the hole and weaken it. Just keep it strong enough.
Cut the track 5 cm longer than the opening width to create metal headers. Use locking pliers for sheet metal to bend the web 90 degrees down.
Place the electrical cable along each stud using plastic ties. Use every knockout for popping plastic bush so that the cable doesn’t rub against the sharper edges.
If required, use wooden blocking for cabinets, windows, and doors. In case the stud wall appears flimsy or weak, wait until the sheathing or drywall is applied. After that, the wall will gain complete rigidity.
Use drywall screws to hang sheathing or drywall. Make sure to space them out by 8 inches along the edges and 12 inches on centers.
- Don’t use screws that have a coarse thread. Instead, use one with a finer threading.
- Be sure to check local codes. They may ask you to place the screws closer.
Installing metal studs is rather easy once you get the hang of it. The beauty is – they don’t sag, rot, burn, or are vulnerable to external factors.