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DIY Tips on Steel Framing

DIY Tips on Steel Framing

Most of the time when we think of remodeling our homes, we think about the paint we are going to use, the throw rugs we want to buy, and the window treatments we think will look best in a room, but we often forget that we have to build a wall in order to decorate it, and there are choices in how a wall is built.

In the past, a wall was framed from wooden boards. 2x4’s made of yellow pine were the most popular boards for house framing. These boards were not always straight so the carpenter had to learn to look down the edge of the board and see which way it curved so that they could turn it in the best way to make the finished product look its best. Today we have metal studs that can be used for house framing and these studs are perfectly straight and they do not rot.

The first thing you will need to know about working with steel framing studs is that you are going to need a chop box or a circular saw to cut the studs with, you will need fasteners to pin the studs in place with, you may need a power actuated nailer, a screw gun, a level, a plumb bob or a laser level.

When you frame a wall with wooden studs, you use wooden boards to form upper and lower plates. When you frame a wall using steel studs, you will use metal tracks instead of plates. You will need to put one stud every 16” and place an additional stud on each side of a window location.

You can mark the floor where the track will need to be placed using a chalk box to make sure the line is perfectly straight. Then you will nail the track in place, or screw the track in place. When you need to overlap pieces of tracking you can flatten the side flange of the bottom track so that the pieces fit together well. You should overlap your sections about 6” and secure the overlap section to the floor so that it does not shift or move.

You will need to plumb the top track in order to keep everything level and straight as you go. You can use a laser level by placing it on the bottom track and pointing it to shine a vertical laser beam up to the wall. This method of creating a plumb upper track is highly recommended by professionals.

Once you have gotten plumb established on the upper track you will start to place the metal studs in-between the track sections. If you have run the tracking perpendicular to the ceiling joists you will be best served by using self-tapping drywall screws to anchor the studs with. If you ran the tracking parallel to the ceiling joists you will be best served by drywall anchors as opposed to screws.

Cut all of your studs to length from the same end so that all of the keyhole knockouts for electrical conduit to run through will be lined up correctly once the wall is framed.

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