Types of metal stud channels for framing

Written by sarah davis
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Types of metal stud channels for framing
Metal stud channels are most commonly used with steel and aluminium. (steel,building image by Greg Pickens from Fotolia.com)

The strength and durability of metal framing make it an ideal material for construction in almost any region of the United States. A coating of zinc can protect the steel framing from corrosion for hundreds of years. Channels are used to help support the studs within the frame. Channels can be made from many different types of metals, but steel and aluminium are most often used. Some types of channels include J-channels, U-channels, hat channels and strut channels.

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U-Channels and J-Channels

U-channels and J-channels are very similar in appearance. They are both shaped like the letters. U-channels have two walls that are similar in height and J-channels have one wall that is taller than the other. Both channels come in various sizes and can be custom made, as well. U-channels and J-channels are secured to the wall studs for lateral bridging or for rigid connections.

Hat Channels

Hat channels are sometimes called furring channels. Hat channels are made of two outward flanges that make the brim and two vertical dimensions that give the channel sides. The hat channel has a flat, horizontal surface. The hat channel is used in the furring out of masonry walls and ceilings. When used on walls, hat channels provide the support structure needed to secure the interior gypsum board, or whatever else you are using, to the exterior concrete wall.

Strut Channels

Strut channels are used for support in many different ways. The strut channels have inward flanges that add strength. Some uses of strut channels are in wiring channels, track channels, pipe supports and reinforcement. Strut channels can be equipped with channel covers that can snap or slide-on to create a duct for wiring or a cable.


C-channels are sometimes referred to as box channels. C-channels and box channels are similar except for how they are represented in print, drawings and designs. The C-channel is drawn with the opening on the side of the channel, while the opening in the box channel is drawn on the top or bottom of the channel. The C-channel is shaped like a rectangular tube with a gap in one of the sides. C-channels are used in steel purlins and can be combined into its own lightweight roof trusses or other building components.

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