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Metal Stud Framing - Light Gauge Metal

April 23,2019

Tags:Metal Studs, Wall Studs, CFS Studs

The article is intended to provide a more cohesive general reference to wall studs and their various uses than those currently available, as each tends to lean toward a particular type. As such, intermediate readers can skip the first paragraph, which explains what wall studs actually are for clarity.

What Are Wall Studs?

Wall studs are vertical framing components--often made of wood, but increasingly metal (cold formed steel studs framing)--that connect with posts, forming the vertical support of a wall. Studs join with posts to distribute the framework structural loads. Their load-balancing tasks include the wall plates which create an actual wall from the empty space between frames, as well as the various members a wall may contain, such as doors, windows, and insulation. Conversely, posts fastened to these studs generally contain the horizontal structures like sill plates and headers. Wall studs also make a good base for screws and nails, so both builders and occupants often use devices called stud finders to locate them so they can hang items like light fixtures and picture frames.

Types of Studs

The following is a brief list of conventional metal studs (cold formed steel studs) and their purpose:

  • King -- This is essentially a standard top-to-bottom wall stud. However, since king studs frame the outside of openings like windows and doors, its surface has more function than a standard stud, which is only used for support.

  • Cripple -- A section of wall stud that is shorter than the length of the wall, such as a stud between the bottom of a window sill and the sole plate. Cripples are considered synonymous with saddles and sills in most builder’s lexicons.

  • Jack -- a stud that runs from the base to the underside of a horizontal fixture, like the header atop a door frame, usually to help the king stud support the load. In some structures, jacks are replaced by header hangers


CFS Studs

Stud Requirements

Framing inspections concentrate heavily on wall studs since they make up the most practical part of the structure, and the focus is always on load-balancing. Of course, there are countless specific parameters that can govern load-balancing standards depending on the purpose of the structure, but all are held against the standard of avoiding collapse. These are a few examples of the types of questions one might see on a framing inspection:

  • Load-bearing requirements of any items attached to the studs, and whether the studs meet the minimum integrity to support them.

  • Considerations for the physical makeup of a stud, such as its grade, species, size, and the material composition (e.g. wood or metal).

  • Considerations for the uniformity, spacing, and positioning of the various parts of a frame, especially studs. This may have as much to do with architectural conventions as it does quality of work.

  • Additional questions will likely cover fire blocking, that is, observing interconnecting parts, unseen spaces, and stud grades are of the correct type to prevent the rampant spread of fire.

Metal Studs Versus Wood Studs

Wood has long been the most common building component of a building frame, and as such, it is the most common material used to create studs. Some builders consider the cost-benefit ratio of using metal studs more confining than wood, hence its continued use despite metal’s superiority. Fortunately, advancing industrial technology and an emphasis on recycling discarded metal has made metal materials much more accessible. Costs aside, metal studs are more resilient against wear and warping, lighter, capable of bearing heavier loads, and insusceptible to challenges that affect wood like termites and fire. When theese factors are account for, metal studs are the obvious choice.

If you have questions about metal stud framing, cold formed steel bridging, or light gauge metal in general, please do not hesitate to reach out: https://steelnetwork.com/site/ProductLines/MeetSales