Metal Framing: How to Frame with Metal


Wood is the traditional material for framing houses. In commercial construction, steel framing is the norm, largely because steel studs are inherently fire-resistant. Steel framing, however, is gradually catching on with home remodelers. It has some real advantages over wood: It is lightweight, inexpensive, and strong. In addition, it won't rot, shrink, or warp. Steel framing is ideal for framing walls in a basement, where moisture can be a problem.

Walls framed with steel are built in place, one piece at a time. The primary fastener is a sheet-metal screw; the primary tools are a power drill/driver and metal snips.

Prestart Checklist

About 1 to 2 hours for a 12-foot wall

Tape measure, chalk line, plumb bob, power drill/driver, metal snips

Measuring and laying out, power-driving screws, cutting sheet metal

Planning where walls are to go

Metal track and studs (four studs for the first 4 feet of wall, three studs for every 4 feet thereafter), pan-head sheet-metal screws

Step 1

Lay out both sides of the wall on the floor with chalk lines. For a concrete floor, predrill 1/8-inch holes and attach the track with concrete screws. Use pan-head sheet-metal screws for a wooden floor.

Step 2

Transfer the layout from the floor to the ceiling with a plumb bob. If your wall runs parallel to the joists, install blocking to provide an anchor point. Screw the track to the joists with pan-head sheet-metal screws.

Step 3

To splice two lengths of track together, cut a 2-inch slit in the center of one piece's web. Compress the flanges and slide it into the adjoining piece. For corners, remove the flange from one of the pieces and overlap the webs.

Step 4

Lay out the stud locations on the top and bottom tracks. Cut the studs to length and stand them in the tracks. Friction will hold them in place while you check them for plumb. Fasten them with short pan-head sheet-metal screws.

Step 5

Make doorway headers from lengths of track. Cut the flanges at 45 degrees and bend down the web to form a right angle. The bent part should be 1-1/2 to 2 inches long. Attach the header with a single screw driven through each of the four resulting tabs.

Comments (6)
sgfsd wrote:

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6/6/2016 09:29:14 PM Report Abuse
ashleyreedxx wrote:

Metal framing just seems like it would be sturdier to me. We get a lot of earthquakes here, so I want to make sure that the house will be as sturdy as it can be. Are there very many differences between wood and metal, or is it just preference?

5/1/2015 08:30:57 AM Report Abuse
gunderwood3001369 wrote:

I want to finish the other side of my basement which is the laundry room. It is about 10'x 12'and want to use metal framing. How much do you think this will cost me. I found on craigslist metal framing for $150 would I come out cheaper just buying from store?

5/8/2013 01:33:24 PM Report Abuse
brendapinion wrote:

My sunroom roof is pre-fab (industrial foam (and I believe a sheet of plywood) sandwiched between two sheet of thin metal material. Problems: 1) Hard rain creates loud echo effect when hitting roof. Any product to soften noise? 2) Front of this roof is attached to a metal frame & one side is attached to a wood frame. The side that is attached to wood has pulled loose. How can this side that is pulled loose be tied down?

2/20/2011 12:22:26 PM Report Abuse
bsankpa wrote:

If your going to use metal . Make sure you get the right gauge studs and track. The heaver the trach and studs you need self tapping panhead screws

10/15/2010 08:27:34 PM Report Abuse
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