There are two basic types of steel framing members: studs and track. Steel studs, as with wood studs, stand upright and bear loads, while tracks serve as the top and bottom plate of the wall. Both steel studs and steel tracks are available in the same standard sizes as traditional wood framing members.
1-5/8 Inches by 3-½ Inches
Metal studs consist of two basic parts: the web and the flange. Compared to standard dimensional framing lumber, the web of the metal stud corresponds to the face of the lumber, and the flange of the metal stud corresponds to the edge of the lumber. The 1-5/8-inch by 3-½-inch metal stud is comparable to the ubiquitous 2-inch by 4-inch wall stud. A 2-inch by 4-inch piece of lumber does not actually measure 2 inches by 4 inches, but measures close to 1-5/8 inches by 3-½ inches. The metal and wood versions of the 2-inch by 4-inch board are used for similar applications: standard load-bearing wall framing and partition wall framing.
1-5/8 Inches by 6 Inches
The 1-5/8-inch by 6-inch metal stud is comparable to the wooden 2-inch by 6-inch stud. The metal stud's flange measures 1-5/8 inches, and the metal stud's web measures 6 inches. The standard wooden 2-inch by 6-inch stud measures approximately 1-5/8 inches on its edge and 5-½ inches on its face. Builders use 1-5/8-inch by 6-inch metal studs for both load-bearing wall framing and partition wall framing. Additionally, metal studs of this size are produced for use as horizontal framing members, such as joists.
1-5/8 Inches by 8 Inches
The 1-5/8-inch by 8-inch metal stud is comparable to the wooden 2-inch by 8-inch stud. The actual measurements of the wooden 2-inch by 8-inch stud are roughly 1-5/8 inches by 8 inches. Builders use 1-5/8-inch by 8-inch studs to support extra-heavy loads or to create a larger wall cavity to accommodate extra insulation. Additionally, manufacturers produce 1-5/8-inch by 8-inch metal studs for use as floor and ceiling joists.
1-5/8 Inches by 10 Inches
The 1-5/8-inch by 10-inch metal stud compares to the wooden 2-inch by 10-inch stud. The wooden 2-inch by 10-inch stud measures roughly 1-5/8 inches by 10 inches. Builders use the 1-5/8-inch by 10-inch metal stud for the same applications as the 1-5/8-inch by 8-inch metal stud.
Nonstructural Metal Studs
Manufacturers produce light-duty metal studs for nonstructural applications such as furring, or building soffits or partition walls. The gauge, or thickness, of nonstructural metal studs is less than the gauge of structural metal studs. The widths of nonstructural studs' webs are comparable to their structural counterparts: 3-½ inches, 6 inches, 8 inches and 10 inches. The flanges of nonstructural metal studs are 1-1/4 inches. Nonstructural metal studs cannot bear loads.