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  1. #1
    Beezo Guest

    Default wood studs vs metal studs

    I am looking for some info on the debate of wood studs vs metal studs. I already know the debates about not sorting lumber, straighter wall and lighter weight to carry in. I am interested in using them in a basement remodel. Here are a couple of questions

    I have seen a tool by Malco that crimps the studs to the top and bottom channel. I am not sure if that is a cone approved way to fasten them or not. Is it OK?

    I was wondering about the fact that wood may rot or get mold and mildew but the metal studs could rust. I know they have some protection but I have also seen them rust. Is that a problem in a basement? This basement is dry and has been for as long as it has been there but all basements seem to be damp to me compared to the rest of the house.

    Wood costs more to begin with. But I am looking at about 150 studs so the cost difference to purchase wood vs metal is about $300. I was wondering about the extra costs such as things like additional blocking for installation of baseboards, cabinets, door frames, etc. Also for the electrican if there additiona cost for the grommets, different types of wires, boxes that do not cost 39 cents each, etc. So do the cost of things like that make the cost the same of cheaper?

    Any other thoughts on wood vs metal would be appreciated?

  2. #2
    RJC Guest

    Default Re: wood studs vs metal studs

    Beezo

    Last year I did a good sized basement job and the architect spec'd. metal studs. I used to work commercial a while back, so was very familiar with their nuances. What I did was to put down a PT 2x4 plate first, then attach the metal bottom plate (runner or track) to that. That helps keep the moisture off of the track. Even though they are quicker and lighter to use, a fair amount of special detailing is required for a stiff installation IMO. At all corners, I use wood studs screwed together with the metal studs, at door and window openings, an extra couple of studs for backing and stiffness. Re: the stud crimper, we found that they get knocked loose to easily, so we always screwed the studs to the tracks using the short self drilling pan head washer type screws made for metal studs. A possible problem you may have is finding full 16" wide insulation batts to fit the studs. 16" is needed to fit all the way into the "C" channel side of the stud. We found the best way to support the insulation was to spray the top 2 feet of the studs with adhesive "3M" worked well for us. Also use that to hang the poly also. For base backing we would just rip 5/8" OSB (we used 5/8" drywall)cut a little narrower than the base and scribe and set level before drywalling. We always used the hi-lo type thread on the drywall screws, not the coarse or fine thread type. Re: wires or grommets, that was not an issue as the electrician used conduit. They like it because they can use the precut cutouts in the studs. Hope this helps

    RJC

  3. #3
    Beezo Guest

    Default Re: wood studs vs metal studs

    RJC
    I had not thought about the full size 16 inch insulation to fit the cavity of the stud channels. I was thinking that if you use conduit that that would for sure negate any savings you had from the metal studs. But if you use the grommets can you use regular Romex?

    What about plumbing? is there a grommet to go around the PVC and the copper pipes? I also know that most plumbers use some type of hole but for wood to drill studs and the metal would take a hole saw. Maybe not a problem but was wondering.

    I had also thought about the extra blocking that would be needed and had thought if part of it has to be wood and part metal why not stay with wood? I know most is because of what I am used to. Have only used metal studs a time or two and only on some commercial work.

    You mentioned installing plastic. I that because the insulation was not faced? And did you hang it on the drywall side or the back side of the wall. Someone I talked to here recommended that it go on the back side (closest to the concrete wall to keep moisture out of the insulation. Any thoughts?

    Thanks, Beezo

  4. #4
    RJC Guest

    Default Re: wood studs vs metal studs

    Beezo:

    The 16" wide insulation was only available as sound attenuation blanket (SAB), so it was not available faced, hence the need for seperate poly.

    Electrical code around here is conduit, but if allowed in your area, I'm sure grommets are available at an electrical supply house for use with Romex. The area of plumbing that was done on my job was basically furring out a wall, so the plumber ran his stuff tight to the wall, and I had to notch and block around him.

    Re: which side plastic - Since this was a dry basement with painted walls, the architect wasn't concerned about moisture coming through the masonry, but he did have us leave a 1" air space behind the framing.

    Since I had a lot of experience working with metal studs from my commercial days, the framing went along rather quickly, but there is definetley a learning process associated with it.

    Probably the best thing about using metal, is for soffits. I use a combination of OSB and the 2" x 2" metal studs and they are straight and stiff.

    Bottom line - if I were doing my basement, I would probably use wood, with metal for soffits.

    RJC

  5. #5
    Beezo Guest

    Default Re: wood studs vs metal studs

    RJC
    I think that is interesting that you would use wood studs for your own basement. Have to admit that is how I sometimes choose what I use. Try it out on my own home before I recomment it or use it on someone else's home. I will probably go with wood although I sure like the weight of metal since these have to be carried quite a ways to get into the house.

    The learning curve was also a consideration since I have not done but one or two jobs with studs and that was quite a while back. Kind of like roofing when I come to have to weave a valley-always have to give it a bunch of thought to get it right. Have to remember it all over again. Would be the same way if I used metal studs-have to rethink some connections instead of just moving along.

  6. #6
    RJC Guest

    Default Re: wood studs vs metal studs

    Beezo

    Timing is everything - The new issue of JLC just came today and the main article is "framing with light-gauge steel". I have not read it yet.
    Maybe it will help.

    RJC

  7. #7
    Beezo Guest

    Default Re: wood studs vs metal studs

    RJC

    I will be looking fo that issue really hard. I feel confident enough to do the framing with steel studs. Mostly was concerned about the cost factor of the additional cost for electrical and plumbing and blocking.

    Thanks,
    Beezo

  8. #8
    Mark Guest

    Default Re: wood studs vs metal studs

    Breezo:

    Have you considered using finger jointed studs and skipping the learning curve for metal?
    I have always wanted to try the metal, but as long as I have the finger jointed available to me I will keep on using them. They are consistantly very straight with only a 3% max throw out rate.
    Mark

  9. #9
    Beezo Guest

    Default Re: wood studs vs metal studs

    Mark,
    who is making the finger jointed studs that you are getting? I have not found them at the local lumberyard that I frequent. Also what about cost? I also had seen a wood stud that came predrilled fot the electrical work but cannot seem to find that either. I would assume that you are happy with the finger jointed studs? Tell me some more please.
    Beezo

  10. #10
    Mark Guest

    Default Re: wood studs vs metal studs

    Beeezo,
    I am happy with them. Like I said somewhere around a 3%-5% rejection rate instead of the 25%-30% that I have been finding in regular studs, and they stay stable and straight. No more going back and curfing and straightening. Price: I have been paying .30 to .50 more each. Not sure about the manufacture, I will check

  11. #11
    Mark Guest

    Default Re: wood studs vs metal studs

    Breezo
    One of the manufactures of the finger jointed studs is Stimpson Mill, Bonner Montana
    Price 92-5/8 2.64 regular studs .03 more for finger jointed
    104-5/8 2.96 reg .04 more F.J.
    Mark

  12. #12
    Mark Guest

    Default Re: wood studs vs metal studs

    BEEZO (sorry about that)
    Marrk
    jurst warshed my kreyboard and carn't do a thring wirth it

  13. #13
    Beezo Guest

    Default Re: wood studs vs metal studs

    Thanks for the information. Cost is really surprising. I thought that the cost would be much higher than regular studs. Any problems or concerns from the inspectors since this is a new concept, at least around here.

    Will see what I can find out in my neck of the woods.
    Beezo

  14. #14
    Mark Guest

    Default Re: wood studs vs metal studs

    Beezo
    None around here. I am in the greater Des Moines area in Iowa. Fingerjointed studs have been here for at least 15 years however not cost competetive till now. With the better preformance they woulld be a good deal even at a little more money. Where are you from by the way?
    Mark

  15. #15
    Beezo Guest

    Default Re: wood studs vs metal studs

    Mark,
    I am not too far from you. Live in the St Louis area. Been to Des Moines something like 25 years ago. Went there for a wedding if I recall correctly. Had a roommate in college that was from as I remember it. Have lost track of him since those days. Probably been cold up there. Had our first frost yesterday, around 35 at night this week. Last week was high of 80. Time to find some inside work.

    Beezo

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