Non-Structural Metal Framing

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Non-structural metal framing, or light gauge metal framing, has become one of the best options for supporting plaster walls. Typically, light gauge metal framing is considered to range from 25 ga. to 18 ga. Non-structural metal studs can be produced from 1 5/8” to 14” widths to meet a great many framing requirements.

Non-Structural Metal Framing
Both commercial and residential construction have seen a recent increase in the use of light gauge metal framing.   Light gauge metal framing and wood framing are very similar in the methods in which walls, doors, windows openings, and even floor joists are assembled.  The main differences lie in the shape of the metal stud and the fastening devices.  Metal stud framing systems have but two basic shapes. The horizontal member of the framing system is  the “track”, or runner, and is bent in a “U” shape with vertical legs and a horizontal leg designed to be the same width as the stud.  This member acts as the “plate” in traditional wood framing and is secured to the structure at the bottom and top of the assembly .  The tracks will receive the vertical members.  The studs are bent a “C” shape.  The opposite legs of the “C” are the surfaces to which the surface materials, i.e., drywall, sheathing, plywood, etc., are attached, and the perpendicular leg creates the stud’s width and strength.  The bent metal “stud” is very similar to the 2x4’s, 2x6’s, 2x8’s, etc., of wood studs.



Metal studs are placed in the receiver tracks at the appropriate spacing, 16” or 24” on center depending on the load bearing requirements.  The vertical legs of the track become the attachment areas for the studs to be secured in place.  Studs and track are clamped together and secured with screws.  Like wood framed assemblies, metal stud systems have the ability to have horizontal or diagonal bracing applied to keep the assembly rigid and square.

Although light gauge metal framing creates a new challenge for builders and home owners alike to become at ease with a screw gun, clamps, and chop saws instead of a hammer and nails, metal framing offers many advantages.  Unlike wood framing, metal stud framing will not burn, shrink, warp, twist or bow, and metal does not support insect, mold or mildew growth.  Metal studs can be ordered to exact lengths, reducing waste, and the pre-punched holes offer easy installation of plumbing and electrical construction.  Many of the light gauge metal framing items are produced from recycled steel, reducing the impact on our forests for building materials and landfill space.

A disadvantage of light gauge metal framing, aside from becoming familiar with the products and construction techniques, is its cost, as it is still more expensive than wood.  However, considering the product's advantages, 'green' characteristics, and its increasing usage by professionals and homeowners alike, the costs will become more competitive.

Last modified on Mon, Feb 27, 2012
More in this category: »Light Gauge Metal Stud Framing
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