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Old 03-03-2008, 11:49 AM   #1
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Metal Studs for Ceiling?


Hello All,

I am remodeling a city rowhouse that is about 100 years old. The ceiling joists in a few parts of the house are very uneven, to the point where if I hung drywall on them, it would look terrible (i.e. 1" variation from one joist to the next). Also, they are not even deep enough to install standard recessed lights.

What I plan to do is use metal studs to drop the ceiling by a few inches. I bought 14' x 2.5", 25 gauge metal studs from the supply house (not HD/Lowes, but an actual supply house). No one seems to carry anything in a heavier gauge, otherwise I would have bought that. The guys working there said they would be fine for ceilings, as long as I secure them to the joists above every 3 or so feet with some sturdy wire.

My question is this - will this really have enough strength to hang drywall from? They just seem so flimsy. I have used metal studs for walls before, and that works fine, but the ceiling is a different story. Thanks in advance for the replies.

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Old 03-03-2008, 12:10 PM   #2
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Metal Studs for Ceiling?


1.) Drywall Supply houses usually carry steel framing in Heavier gauge stock.

2.) Why are you using steel framing for this? Code issue?
Why not using wood framing?

3.) When installing such a ceiling, you should be installing vertical supports that will tie the new ceiling to the upper joists at intervals. This way, the span is not completely unsupported. What you were told about this is correct. This also will give the framing (wood/steel) rigidity.

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Old 03-03-2008, 01:09 PM   #3
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Metal Studs for Ceiling?


I picked steel framing primarily because I did not want to lose too much ceiling height (which is why I picked 2.5" studs) and knew that picking out lumber that was not warped, bowed, etc for that length and width would be a pain. Definitely though, I have more experience with wood, but when they told me I could use metal, it seemed easier to work with.

But it seems like as long as I support it every 3 or so feet, the studs will be able to bear the weight of the drywall for the ceiling, juding by your post above?
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Old 03-03-2008, 01:13 PM   #4
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Metal Studs for Ceiling?


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I picked steel framing primarily because I did not want to lose too much ceiling height (which is why I picked 2.5" studs) and knew that picking out lumber that was not warped, bowed, etc for that length and width would be a pain. Definitely though, I have more experience with wood, but when they told me I could use metal, it seemed easier to work with.

But it seems like as long as I support it every 3 or so feet, the studs will be able to bear the weight of the drywall for the ceiling, juding by your post above?
If you want to overkill it, you could go every 24" for support, tho, the 36" should do to, as long as you don't add alot of extra weight to the ceiling itself...
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Old 03-07-2008, 12:41 AM   #5
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Metal Studs for Ceiling?


"The guys working there said they would be fine for ceilings, as long as I secure them to the joists above every 3 or so feet with some sturdy wire"

You're kidding, aren't you? Sorry, I can't really visualize this at all. You'll be dangling metal studs from wire and then hanging drywall from it.
If the ceiling joists are exposed, just attach 2x material to them to set a level surface.
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Old 03-07-2008, 07:53 AM   #6
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Nope, I'm not kidding.

Atlantic WB seems to think it will be okay, and judging by the number of his insightful posts on here, his opinion seems to be valued around here.
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Old 03-07-2008, 11:00 AM   #7
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Metal Studs for Ceiling?


Do me a favor and post pictures of the structure you set up prior to hanging the sheetrock.
As I said, I can't picture it.
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Old 03-07-2008, 11:07 AM   #8
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Metal Studs for Ceiling?


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Nope, I'm not kidding.

Atlantic WB seems to think it will be okay, and judging by the number of his insightful posts on here, his opinion seems to be valued around here.
I actually missed the point about the wiring. I was referring to attaching the framework by using additional steel (if making it all steel), or doing the whole frame with lumber, and attaching the frame to the overhead ceiling joists, using lumber.

PLEASE DON'T USE WIRE.
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Old 03-07-2008, 12:56 PM   #9
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Metal Studs for Ceiling?


Thats not a problem, I could secure the frame to the wood joists using spare pieces of the metal studs. If you think that will be acceptable, that is.
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Old 08-17-2008, 01:43 PM   #10
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Metal Studs for Ceiling?


Wire (of the correct gauge) COULD be used. There is a grid made to hang sheetrock on that is suspended with wire, but using the scrap metal or wood would be the simplest method in this case. You should be able to get 20 ga. studs from a drywall supply which might ease your mind a bit.You would need to use self-tapping screws to fasten. You're probably looking at 25 ga. which is pretty flimsy, but should be fine as long as it's just holding up the rock as WB stated.
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Old 08-19-2008, 09:34 PM   #11
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Metal Studs for Ceiling?


im doing the same thing right now. the studs in my ceiling are 17' long and they bow down in the middle by almost 2". i measured the lowest distance from the floor to the studs, then went to the ends of the studs, measured up this distance and added the width of a metal stud. then i snapped a line, and hung the metal studs along this line. i attached the steel studs to the studs that are already there with screws. this way the metal studs are flush with the wood studs in the middle , but 2" lower at the ends. is this method acceptable?
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Old 08-20-2008, 01:46 PM   #12
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Just be sure to use plenty of screws to fasten the metal to wood. Every 8" - 10" I would suggest.
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Old 10-18-2008, 08:33 AM   #13
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Metal Studs for Ceiling?


Thought I would provide an update on the project. I'll post some pictures when I get around to it, but anyway:

I used 25 gauge, 2.5" studs. Every so often I supported the studs (at three or four points during the span, which ranged from 10-13 feet across). I used scrap wood blocking between the metal studs, and then attached scrap pieces of the metal stud, attached between the wood blocking and the joists above. It was overkill - it was so strong that I could hang on the wood blocks, all 200 lbs of me.

The drywall has been up for about six months now, and the ceiling is perfectly level and has shown no signs that the structure is not strong enough. I would definitely use this approach again.
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Old 07-30-2009, 03:51 PM   #14
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Metal Studs for Ceiling?


Metal stud framing is perfectly acceptable for suspending a gypsum ceiling. In fact it is better for usage outside where we have to addrees hurrucane uplifts. For interior work you also can use several methods either of studs tied cris-cross to each other forming a grillage whcih you shoud consider if using 2 1/2" studs and these can be wire tied to each other or use studs and hat channels clipped togeteher with furring channel clip or also wire tie. Suspending a ceiling in an hsitoric building brings the question of why especailly if the origial ceiling is plaster or you cover up hard to get and expensive details. There are other methods to acheive the same thing without covering up historic architecture.

If this is all interior, use wire to hang the system & 4 feet O.C. both ways and a rotating laser to level the ceiling. Anyway using metal studs is better in concealed spaces due to the combustability of wood and metal is lightrer and easier to level. The ssytem is perfectly strong enough.
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Old 08-06-2009, 02:32 PM   #15
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Metal Studs for Ceiling?


I am also going to chime in along with Erichs. This was interesting to read having framed and rocked for about three years at one point in my carreer using steel stud materials. The steel studs may seem to everyone that they are flimsy pieces of crap not strong enough to hold up against a stiff breeze but trust me when you get the rock secured to them and everything is tied together they become rock solid and unwavering. If anyone might be reading this posting and may be considering using steel studs let me offer a couple crucial bits of info when using steel studs. 1) always put the soft side towards the layout and 2) always take cuts from the top not the bottom of the stud.

Along with 1) the soft side of the stud is the open side. A steel stud is like a C with square corners. The open side is the open part of the C, okay enough of that. Next, the reason you want the soft side toward the layout is that you always put screws into the sheetrock that is on the soft side of the stud. NEVER, NEVER, NEVER (well there are a few exceptions but you need to know steel studs to know them) screw off the hard side first! did I mention never? The reason that you do this is that if you put the screw into the hard side first this will twist the stud and step the joint of the rock (this applies too vertically hung rock not horrizontally)

The next consideration is cutting off the top of the stud, why? because if you look at a steel stud it will have a kind of tear shaped key cut in it where the top willl be like a 2" circle with a concurrent oval below it. The circle is to feed conduit into and the oval is where the conduit rests and gets clipped into. Alright, this ends the basic tutorial on drywalling with steel studs. For all of you DIYers steel studs ARE NOT LIKE WORKING WITH WOOD SO IF YOU DON'T KNOW WHAT YOU ARE DOING THE PROJECT CAN TURN INTO A NIGHTMARE FOR YOU QUICKLY SO PLEASE MAKE SURE YOU STUDY AND LEARN THE BASICS OF WORKING WITH STEEL STUDS BEFORE COMMENCING YOUR PROJECT!!! Once you get the hang of it they are fun to work with and always wear mechanics gloves when handling steel studs!!!! THE EDGES ARE VERY SHARP SO PLEASE NEVER SLIDE THEM THROUGH YOUR HANDS!!!!

Okay, now to address the wire issue. If you are ever in doubt of using wire with steel studs we framed and rocked a school library that had (24) 24' x 24' baffles framed and rocked and hung from a 30' ceiling. Each of these baffles weighed 500+ lbs and were hung from the ceining using 9 wire snugged tight and wrapped with at least 10 revolutions with no sag. The framing was tied off every 4 feet and there was no other materials to suspend them from the ceiling so if wire can support thes 500 lbs baffles then wire will support that dinky little ceiling.

Steel studs are phenomenally strong and wire if used correctly on a project like this is more than sufficient.

Thanks all and hope this helped calm any uneasiness regarding the use of wire and steel framing.

Good Luck and be Safe!

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