Types of Metal Framing Studs

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Metal framing materials are moving into residential construction.

Metal framing materials are not new to construction projects. Traditionally metal studs have been used in commercial construction where incombustibility and fire protection is required to meet building and safety standards. Because metal studs will not burn and are termite proof, residential construction projects are making greater use of metal stud framing systems. A variety of metal stud products are available to meet your construction needs in both commercial and residential building applications.


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C-Shaped Metal Studs

Metal studs are produced by forming the studs from strips of galvanized steel in cold rolling machines. When you view the C-shaped stud in cross section, it has three main parts. The web is the portion of the stud that creates the stud dimension. Common stud sizes include 1-5/8, 2-1/2, 3-5/8, 4 and 6 inches. The web has punched openings at regular intervals to allow access for plumbing and electrical service and horizontal stiffening where required. The flanges of the C-shaped stud are the portion of the stud where you will apply wall-enclosing materials such as drywall or sound boards. A short return completes the C shape of the stud and strengthens the stud. C-shaped stud are available in 8-, 10- and 12-foot sections, as well as custom lengths. Use these studs in non-load-bearing applications.


U-Shaped Channels

Top and bottom tracks for installing the studs are available in each stud size. Stud track does not have a stiffening return and appears as a simple U shape when viewed in cross section. U channels do not have regular punched openings. Attach these members to floors and ceilings to align stud systems. Use power-driven fasteners to secure the U channel to floors and ceilings.

I-Shaped Metal Studs

Metal studs are available that look like a capital I in cross section. The web portion of the metal stud is moved to a point that intersects the center line of the flanges. This type of stud is extremely rigid. Use I-shaped studs to frame around vertical shafts, ducts and stairwells where you can only apply wall surfacing materials to the outer flange of the stud. The I-stud is available in 2-1/2-, 4- and 6-inch sizes. Frame only non-load-bearing walls with this stud.


H-Shaped Metal Studs

Metal studs that have an H-shaped cross section are a slightly heavier version of the I-shaped metal stud. H-shaped studs have a wider flange for receiving wall finishes. Standard lengths include 8, 10 and 12 feet with custom lengths also available. Frame only non-load-bearing walls with this type of stud.

Structural Metal Studs

Metal studs are produced for use as structural building elements. Structural metal studs incorporate much heavier gauges of metal. Stud widths are available in 2-1/2-, 3-5/8-, 6- and 8-inch configurations. Studs are available in 20, 18, 16, 14 and 12 gauges to meet specific building specifications. Use structural metal studs when constructing load-bearing walls and partitions.


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Ned Millis

Ned Millis has been published in "Tennis Industry Magazine," "Golf Industry Magazine," "Sales Management Magazine" and other trade publications. He is a graduate of Claremont Men's College.