Framing steel studs are the most common type of metal studs used for wall framing, as an alternative to traditional wood framing. Steel studs are less expensive than wood studs, and they have been found to be more durable against warping or bending as well.
Framing a wall with steel studs is a fairly easy undertaking with commonly used tools.
Step 1 - Measure Space and Cut Runners
Measure and mark the space where your new wall will be installed. Snap a chalk line at the wall's edges, and then cut your metal runners with a chop saw to fit the length of your floor and ceiling.
For the most accuracy, hold the level against the floor runner and mark the edges at either end. Then, connect these floor and ceiling marks with another chalk line.
If you are cutting a significant number of steel wall studs, use a chop saw for these as well.
Make sure you have a good quality metal cutting blade, and turn the closed side of the stud upward before cutting it. This will allow you to hold the stud securely, for an even cut.
Step 2 - Install Runners
Secure your runners to the lengths of ceiling and floor that you marked in the first step. If you are attaching them to a concrete underlayment, you will need to use masonry screws and a masonry screw bit.
You will also need to pre-drill holes in the concrete with the masonry drill bit. Otherwise, use wood screws if you are screwing into wood underlayment.
Step 3 - Prep for Vertical Wall Studs
You will be installing vertical steel studs every 16 to 24 inches, depending on the overall dimensions of your wall. Before attaching any studs, measure from the floor to ceiling, and mark where each stud will be placed.
Make sure you cut each steel stud, so each will fit snugly with the floor and ceiling tracks. Double check them with the level. Also, check that each stud is marked, so it will be square vertically as well as horizontally level.
At each corner of your wall, you will need to create what is known as a running block for structural integrity. Do this by attaching three standard steel studs together—this can be done with either metal screws or clamps.
Install each running block at each wall corner the same distance apart as the rest of the wall studs.
Step 4 - Attach Steel Studs
Use your locking pliers to clamp the flange and connecting track of each steel wall stud together while securing it with the self-tapping screws.
This installation method requires no pre-drilling into the wall and is therefore less time consuming or labor intensive.
Each stud should have notches along its length meant to accommodate electrical wiring—make sure none of these are obstructed.
Step 5 - Install Door Header
A door header (also called a lintel) is simply a load-bearing horizontal piece between two posts that make up the door frame.
Return to where you marked the door to be installed. Locate and mark each wall stud in this area, and be sure to center your door in between two wall studs. Install the door jamb studs, which are support studs designed to be attached to the sides of the door framing to create a solid structure.
Attach the horizontal header to the clips on each jamb stud, using metal framing screws. Insert the header into the braces with additional framing screws.