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How to Frame a Metal Stud Ceiling

Steel studs are beneficial for building ceilings because they are straight, light and can be purchased in longer lengths than wood studs. For low clearance areas, they also come in 1 5/8 inch widths. In many applications, installing a steel stud ceiling take less time and effort than it would with wood studs. Many people shy away from steel studs because they are unfamiliar with them. After you learn how to frame with steel studs, incorporating them into your other construction projects becomes easier.

Mark a level line around the room at the desired height to install the ceiling. A laser level works best, but a 4-foot level will get the job done.

Screw a track on the longest wall with 1/2-inch pan head screws and then screw another track on the opposite wall. Track is used as a channel to hold the studs. If your walls are made of wood, then use 1 1/4 inch drywall screws to attach the track to the studs.

With a permanent marker, layout the studs for the ceiling every 16 inches. Normally, the centre of the studs are marked, but you can mark the sides also.

Cut the studs with a tin snips or metal chop box half an inch shorter than the distance between the tracks to allow for irregularities in the walls. If you are using a metal chop box, up to 10 studs or tracks can be cut at one time.

Insert the studs into the tracks (called stuffing the studs) and attach the steel studs to the tracks with one 1/2-inch pan head screw on the ends. Use a locking C-clamp to hold the stud to the track during this process.

Tip

To keep the ceiling from sagging, screw a metal stud on edge perpendicular to the studs. This brace sits on top of the ceiling studs. Then cut short studs to attach to that stud to the framing above about every four feet. If there is no room for a stud above, attach short studs to each ceiling stud and screw them to the framing above.

Things You'll Need

  • Drill
  • 1/2 pan head screws
  • 1 1/2 drywall screws (if necessary)
  • Tin snips and/or chop box
  • 2 locking C-clamps
  • Laser level or 4-foot level
  • Steel track
  • Steel studs
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About the Author

Doug Berthon is an enrolled agent and owns ProActive Tax & Accounting LLC. He earned his Bachelor of Science in accounting from Metropolitan University in St. Paul, Minn.