Metal Studs vs Wood Studs for wall framing

Studs in wall framing are vertical wooden or metal members used to support the weight of a floor, ceiling, and walls.

Studs are typically spaced 16 inches apart from center-to-center along the length of a wall; this is called “16 on center” construction.

Metal studs are typically used in basement walls where the weight of a floor and ceiling is supported by concrete blocks or poured concrete.

Wood studs are usually 2×4, 2×6, or 2×8 dimensional lumber with either vertical grain (stud) or horizontal grain (cripple).

Studs may be placed directly on the finished floor or maybe placed over furring strips.

Metal studs for wall framing

In this type of wall framing, metal studs are placed directly on a concrete slab or basement floor. The metal studs are designed with a keyhole opening.

At the center of each metal stud, there is a large round hole where concrete can be poured through to support the wall and ceiling above it.

Concrete forms are placed over the metal holes for pouring through. Once the concrete has been placed and is cured, the concrete forms are removed leaving a round hole in each metal stud.

Studs are then placed between the holes, and drywall or another interior finish material can be installed over them.

Pros of steel studs

  1. Metal studs are strong and durable.
  2. They can support the weight of a concrete floor or poured concrete wall, as well as any additional materials that may be placed on top of them such as floors and walls.
  3. Metal studs allow for great ventilation in basement spaces because they provide air passages between the wall framing members.
  4. Metal studs are able to be secured directly to concrete slabs without the need for additional framing materials such as wood blocking or furring strips.
  5. This type of wall construction is often used in basements and other areas where moisture may be an issue because they provide ventilation spaces between each stud which allow moisture to easily pass through the wall.
  6. Metal studs are often used in commercial applications to support suspended ceilings because they provide strength and durability.
  7. They can be painted, which allows for a lot of creativity with interior finishes.
  8. They can also be covered with drywall or paneling to give them a finished look that is smooth and uniform.

Cons of steel studs

  1. Metal studs are not used in exterior applications because they are susceptible to corrosion from the elements.
  2. They cannot be easily finished on all sides, so there is a need to hide their unfinished ends with additional trim or baseboard.
  3. Metal studs are more expensive than wood studs.
  4. They may not be readily available in all areas.
  5. They can introduce electromagnetic interference (EMI) into electrical and communication systems that are installed near them, especially if they have embedded wiring or electric devices inside of them such as light fixtures or speakers.
  6. If they are not properly grounded, metal studs can become electrically charged and cause an electrical shock if touched.

Wood Studs for wall framing

Wood studs are normally made of dimensional lumber such as 2×4, 2×6, and 2×8. Wood studs may have vertical grain (stud) or horizontal grain (cripple).

Cripple walls have short wooden members called cripples that are attached to the bottom of a series of wood studs. Crippled walls are used to support sloped ceilings and roofs.

Wood studs can be placed directly on top of a finished floor or they may be attached over furring strips. A pre-made furring strip, usually 1×2 or 1×3, is attached to the floor, ceiling, or wall and then the wood studs are placed on top of it.

Wood studs can also be placed directly over a finished floor without any additional framing materials such as furring strips. This is called “direct-to-floor” construction.

Softwood lumber such as pine and fir are usually used for wood studs, but hardwood lumber such as oak can also be used.

Wood studs are often covered with drywall or paneling to give them a finished look that is smooth and uniform.

Other interior finishes can also be installed over the exposed sides of the wood framing members.

Advantages of wood studs

  1. Wood studs are often readily available in most areas.
  2. They can be used on all sides of the wall, making them more versatile than metal studs.
  3. They are cheaper than metal studs.
  4. They also cost less to install because they have fewer parts.
  5. Wood studs are lightweight and can easily be cut to fit just about any wall opening or space.
  6. Wood studs have the same strength as 2×4 dimensional lumber, but they take up less room than a full-sized 2×4 because they aren’t attached to each other on all sides.
  7. Wood studs are easier to work with than metal studs and they have a more finished look without the need for additional interior finishes such as drywall or paneling.
  8. They also allow for a lot of creativity in designing custom trim detail outside the wall spaces.
  9. Wood studs can be drywall sanded, primed with an oil-based primer, and painted without the need for a separate finishing process such as taping and painting or priming and sanding.
  10. They don’t have any holes in them to introduce EMI into electrical systems that are installed near them.
  11. They don’t have any electrical devices embedded in them such as light fixtures or speakers that may become electrically charged and cause an electrical shock if touched.
  12. They can easily be secured to each other with wood screws or nails for a more finished look than just using metal fasteners.

Disadvantages of wood studs

  1. Wood studs are susceptible to moisture damage.
  2. They can warp due to humidity changes and other weather conditions, especially if they aren’t painted or covered with another finishing material such as drywall or paneling.
  3. Wood studs can be damaged by water damage, insects, termites, and fire.
  4. They are not as strong or durable as metal studs.
  5. They cannot support the weight of a concrete floor or poured concrete wall without additional framing materials such as furring strips.
  6. If they try to support the weight of a floor or ceiling, the wood framing members will likely split and bow.
  7. Wood studs are not used in exterior applications because they are susceptible to moisture damage from the elements.
  8. They cannot be easily finished on all sides, so there is a need to hide their unfinished ends with additional trim or baseboard.
  9. Fire is always a concern when working with wood studs.
  10. Fires in the wall framing of buildings can quickly spread to other areas and may cause structural damage or make it impossible for firefighters to enter the building safely.
  11. Wood studs are more vulnerable to fire because they have less inherent strength than metal studs and they don’t have the same fire-resistant properties as steel or concrete.
  12. Once a wooden stud catches on fire, it will burn quickly and easily because of its softwood construction.

FAQs

What are studs in wall framing?

In the standard wall framing system, studs are the vertical members that go from top to bottom. The header attaches to the top and provides a surface for attaching trusses or other members. At each end of a stud is an “end” piece called a sole plate (or just sole). Sills are the horizontal pieces that support a floor.

Can you use metal and wood studs together?

When you mix metal and wood studs, there is a possibility that the two materials will react differently to their environment. Metal and wood are very different from each other in terms of use so if they are mixed together, it might cause problems as each material has its own requirements for proper working. So, using metal and wood studs together is generally not recommended.

Is it cheaper to frame with metal studs?

Metal studs are more expensive than wooden ones. However, they will last longer and be less likely to warp or break over time. Metal studs also provide better acoustics for the room. The wall framing will be stronger and less likely to sag over time. The metal studs will also provide better insulation, which reduces heating and cooling costs.

Are metal studs stronger than wood studs?

No, wood studs are stronger than metal studs. Unfortunately, most people think that metal studs will last longer and be more durable because they are made from steel. However, in actuality, the wall framing will have to support less weight with metal studs, so it is not as strong or durable overall.

Can I use metal studs to frame a house?

Yes, you can use metal studs to frame a house. They are being used by many people for just this purpose. However, in order for the wall framing to be properly installed and up to code, it must first be inspected and approved by an engineer or other professional.

Can you use drywall screws in metal studs?

Fine drywall screws are commonly used in metal studs. However, the screw needs to be securely anchored into place before it is installed. Drywall screws do not have a head like other types of screws so they will not hold well if there is any movement or slippage during installation. You will need to make sure that the screw is sunk into the stud as far as possible so it has a stronghold.

How much weight can metal studs hold?

Depending on its length and thickness, each stud’s strength to support the weight can vary considerably. An 8-foot and 3½ inch thick metal appliance will sustain over 2000 pounds of load whereas a similar-sized but 16 feet long piece made from timber may only have the same braking use up around 400 pounds for panes bolted to it.

Steel Studs vs Wood Studs: Which are better?

When you are making a decision about whether to use wood or steel studs for your structure, there are some serious factors that you need to consider. The project that you want to carry out in the building will determine what type of studs should be used. Steel studs can withstand high pressure and it is not easily affected by the fire. On the other hand, wood is a classic material for studs and has been used for years in constructing homes but it does not withstand pressure or heat as well as steel.