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Old 09-29-2009, 02:43 PM   #1
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Metal studs- how high can you go?


Hi guys, I searched the net and this forum, but can't come up w/ an answer to this simple question. I have always worked with wood, but I am going to try metal studs for my new project, a 100+ year old building.

I have 6" wide timber supports in the rear of the warehouse.I need to enclose a wall on the front section of the wood floor/mezzanine that is 37' 4" w x 12' 3"h where one of those supports runs horizontally. I also have a huge open area with 20 foot high ceilings.

Now, with the cheap 25ga in the hardware stores I've seen 8, 10 and 12 feet max. Can you join these vertically over 12 feet to the 12 3"? or am I better off just using wood 2x's on the side of the mezzanine? If I am not insulating this wall, just want to enclose it, can I use the narrow 2" metal studs? Do I need to put metal stud blocking say every 4 feet up or or will it be sturdy enough without it?

On the 20' walls, do I lay track parallel, say every 4' up the wall and run short pieces out perpendicular say 5 1/2" for insulation to make it stronger? Can I use the narrow 2" metal studs and track for this to save money?

Thanks for any help,

Mike


Last edited by agent99; 09-29-2009 at 02:56 PM.
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Old 09-30-2009, 03:27 PM   #2
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Metal studs- how high can you go?


Mike, I have limited experience with metal studs having used them only once, and that was this year to build a 9’h partition wall in a below grade condominium garage under a slab concrete ceiling. I cut down 10’ studs to fit and used metal track against the floor, ceiling, and concrete block wall. The studs did seem flimsy with no blocking but after installing 5/8” drywall on both sides they seemed as solid as wood studs.

I am not qualified to answer your questions, but from my experience here are some suggestions:

Forget the Big Box stores. They don’t sell anything that doesn’t sell a jillion a week. Go to a Building Supply that services the trades. For example if you ask the clerk at HD about 14’ metal studs they might say they don’t exist. If you ask a good Builder’s Supply they might say we have 8,10,12,16,18, &20’s but out of stock on the 14’s, but we can get them for you in a week.

Consider any present or possible future electrical requirements before starting to install drywall.

For your inside partition wall covered with drywall on both sides use the largest size panels (4’x16’) that you can have delivered.

If there is a chance of dampness I would use Purple Board, at least on the bottom row where it may be exposed to occasional water splashes from floor cleaning.

Here I got a lot of help from Bourget a Building Supply in Santa Monica and help on this forum and help from a good pdf guideline download:
http://www.toolbase.org/Design-Const...eel-stud-guide

Attached are some pics of a Bank remodel done this Spring in the local ‘village’.
When I saw the length of the metal studs I jumped out of the car to take some pictures. I had not seen metal studs used for outside walls. We have stiff Building standards in So Cal. The sheathing and horizontal straps were, I am sure, code required for exterior walls.
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Old 09-30-2009, 07:12 PM   #3
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Metal studs- how high can you go?


I am not an expert, nor have any experience with metal stud construction, that said: We (where I used to work) were having an office cubicle built within the plant, being in charge of Buildings/Grounds I was to be the liason between the company and the contractors. These contractors had built many buildings in our area using metal studs, so we had conficence in them. They got started by securing the bottom plates to the floor, placing the wall studs into them and using an arc welder, welded the studs into place. They continued with the top plate in the same manner, and cut out the window and door openings this way. BUT--the local building inspector happened to come in to inspect this one day and issued a "cease and decease" (sp) order on them ASAP. Under no circumstances were these metal studs to be welded together, I certainly didn't know that. The architect for the contractor was called out to the job and he raised hell with the guys about this. Well, it turns out that this is the way they had been doing metal stud walls for a long time. OOPS! A new High School was just completed in the neighboring county by this contractor and it had to be re-inspected, and some walls torn out and re-done. Rivets were what the inspector wanted to see, not welds. Go figure. Thanks, David
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Old 10-01-2009, 11:59 PM   #4
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Metal studs- how high can you go?


Sorry, never work metal before.

"We have stiff Building standards in So Cal. The sheathing and horizontal straps were, I am sure, code required for exterior walls." ---- but not stiff safety enforcement.... Re-bar without caps, portable man lift and no flagging of area, high man working over two others with no hard hats and tennis shoes. lol
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Old 10-03-2009, 09:03 AM   #5
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Metal studs- how high can you go?


Check local building codes first, of course. I have built walls out of metal 20+' tall. It CAN be done by "stacking" an 8' wall on top of a 12' wall, or you can special order studs of the specific length you need from a drywall supply. They can tell you what gauge metal you will need (20 ga. would be minimum) as well as stud width (6" is sometimes required) and spacing (16" or 24" centers) for your application. Wood may be your best bet.....
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Old 10-09-2009, 04:58 PM   #6
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Metal studs- how high can you go?


Thanks for the info/advice everyone. The big box hardware stores can special order 14 and I think 20 footers of heavier gauge metal. I am comparing prices vs drywall supply houses as well as vs wood and labor. The narrow 1 5/8 stuff isn't all that much cheaper and even higher in some places. You would think with less metal it would be far less, but they sell the most of the 3 5/8 thus its low price. I will also have to check the 6"/ 5 1/2 vs bringing it off the wall and making it stiffer. The stacking of walls is also a good idea to consider. The heavier gauge metal will be significantly higher, but if we can go to 24 inch on center and not have to add extra to stiffen it, we may be able to counter act some of that extra cost.

We are still interested in anyone else's experiences and thoughts with metal studs,thanks.- Mike
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Old 10-09-2009, 06:20 PM   #7
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Metal studs- how high can you go?


If you"re experienced in working with wood framing, the transition to metal isn't that difficult. There IS a learning curve. Some specialty tools are necessary. Drywall screw gun and a chop saw for cutting the heavier gauge studs at least (a Harbor Freight chop saw would suffice for occasional use). A magnetic level comes in handy, but is not a must (in the $35.00 range for a 4' I'd guess). I'd get a "name brand" screw gun, not a China Freight. Still under $100.00 easily. A powder actuated gun for shooting your track to the concrete and any heavy steel beams. Self tapping screws will work for purlins and/or bar joists (lighter gauge steel). I think you'll find the metal easy to work with. It would be worth trying to find someone who has worked with metal before to give some guidance on your first "venture". Hire them hourly to "show you the ropes".........

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