How to install metal wall studs

Written by c.l. rease
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How to install metal wall studs
The wall height will determine the width and centerline spacing of the metal studs. (Jupiterimages/ Images)

Metal wall studs are used to frame non-load-bearing walls and are an affordable, eco-friendly alternative to wood studs. Unlike wood studs that sit on either 16- or 24-inch centres, the wall height will determine the width and centerline spacing of the metal studs. You will still need to keep the studs on a divisor of 48; the most common metal stud spacing dimensions are 12, 16 and 24 inches. You will need to determine whether to use a heavier stud, which requires expensive power tools, or install thinner-gauged studs closer together before you start the project.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Tape measure
  • Metal stud reference chart
  • Permanent marker
  • Carpenter's square
  • Aviation snips
  • Utility knife
  • Self-locking c-clamp pliers
  • Drill or screw gun
  • #3 Phillips tip adaptor
  • #7 by 7/16th-inch screws
  • Four-foot level

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  1. 1

    Measure the distance between the installed top and bottom track, referred to as runners.

  2. 2

    Refer to the metal stud reference chart to determine the stud spacing required for the height of your wall.

  3. 3

    Mark the centerline for each stud on the top runner with the permanent marker, allowing the spacing recommended by the metal stud reference chart . Place the first stud mark one-half of the recommended spacing from the centre of the top runner.

  4. 4

    Place a mark on a metal stud at the dimension you measured between the top and bottom runners in Step 1.

  5. 5

    Extend the mark across the flat back face of the metal stud by aligning the carpenter's square with the mark you placed on the stud and dragging the permanent marker along the edge of the carpenter's square.

  6. 6

    Make a cut down each leg of the metal stud with the aviation snips and score on the line you marked in Step 5, using the utility knife.

  7. 7

    Place one hand on both side of the cuts and fold the metal stud back and forth until the stud breaks at the score line you made on the back of the stud.

  8. 8

    Repeat the cutting procedure on each metal stud needed to frame the wall.

  9. 9

    Align one of the metal studs with a centerline mark that you placed on the top runner and clamp the metal stud in place with a pair of self-locking pliers.

  10. 10

    Insert the #3 Phillips tip into the drill and secure the metal stud to the top runner by running a #7 screw through top runner and metal stud.

  11. 11

    Repeat Steps 11 and 12 until you have all the metal studs secured to the top runner.

  12. 12

    Place the 4-foot level against the metal stud that you fastened to the top runner.

  13. 13

    Clamp the bottom of the metal stud to the bottom runner when the level reads that the metal stud is plumb.

  14. 14

    Run a #7 screw through the bottom runner and into the metal stud to secure the stud.

  15. 15

    Repeat steps previous three steps to secure all the metal studs to the bottom runner.

  16. 16

    Move to the other side of the wall. Clamp and secure the top and bottom of each stud to complete the installation of the metal studs.

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