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FRAMING WITH STEEL STUDS


Steel studs, joists, and rafters are old hat to most high-volume carpentry contractors. Using them may have started on the west coast, but now steel framing is used throughout the country. It has many advantages over wood. Itís lighter, doesnít shrink with age, resists water damage, and is impervious to insects. Most do it-yourselfers still prefer working with wood? But knowing a few steel work basics is a good idea for everyone, especially those who live in a new house where steel components were used throughout the building.

 

1. Cut a U-shaped steel channel to length for the top I and bottom plate. Make the cuts using tin snips or a saber saw outfitted with a metal-cutting blade. Wear gloves when making these cuts to avoid being hurt by the sharp edges. Mark the correct location of the plates on the ceiling and floor; then hold the plates in place; and fasten them using screws.

 

2. Once the plates are installed, lay them out for studs spaced 16 in. apart. Then cut the studs to length, and slide each one into both channels. Hold the end of each in the correct spot with a clamp; then join the two with a sheet-metal screw. Use self-tapping screws so you donít have to drill a pilot hole in the steel parts.

 

3. Horizontal parts, such as non-load-bearing headers, need to be modified so they can be attached to the studs. Cut the piece 2 in. longer on both ends, and snip a 45-deg. angle on all the edges. Bend the ends down, and attach them to the studs using screws.

 

 

 

 

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