The Benefits of Using Metal Framing
When it comes to studs, instead of automatically buying wood, consider metal. According to the Steel Framing Alliance, more than 40 percent of commercial structures are now built with steel framing and nearly 500,000 homes have been built with steel framing over the past decade. The best tool for fasteners in working with metal studs is an impact driver.
Most metal studs are made from sheet steel that is cold-formed into shapes and sizes that are similar to what builders are accustomed to in dimensional lumber (2x4, 2x6, 2x8, 2x10, 2x12 and so forth).
While metal studs do conduct cold (insulation should be applied between the outside wall and the metal to act as a thermal break), they offer many benefits and advantages over wood studs:
Metal wins here, according to Thumb and Hammer. It’s lighter than wood and takes up half the space of lumber because of its hollowed shape. This makes for easier transporting and storage. Cut metal studs with aviation snips, which means no sawdust. Wear gloves, though, to protect the hands from sharp edges, and clean up any small pieces that end up on the floor.
Ease of installation
Steel framing is easier to handle because the studs weigh a third less than wood and can be installed at 24 inches on center. They also are attached with screws, so moving studs is simple if you make a mistake.
Wood is prone to twisting and warping; metal is not. Wood also wicks moisture, which can lead to mold growth and rot, while metal is immune. Metal does rust, so install a vapor barrier or sill gasket between the bottom plate and the concrete floor.
The strength and ductility of structural cold-formed steel (CFS) framing, along with the holding power of CFS connections, make it ideal for construction in high-wind and seismic zones such as the U. S. eastern seaboard, the Gulf Coast states, California and Hawaii.