Metal Framing, Magnesium Oxide (MgO) Boards - Building & Construction - DIY Chatroom Home Improvement Forum

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Old 02-14-2010, 11:06 PM   #1
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Metal framing, magnesium oxide (MgO) boards


I am considering building a house in California (earthquake zone). I have 2 big questions:

1) I was thinking about metal framing. I see a lot of praise from the manufacturers, and a couple of interesting comments:
My orgional part of the house is metal studs and a pain in the ass.
Steel studs are great for the 1st guy in. Rough on remodlers and customers later.

I can not get any useful information about what is wrong with steel studs. Does anybody have actual knowledge about their PERFORMANCE, not handling during construction?

2) I would like to avoid any VOCs, I am sensitive to chemical smells, and read horrible stories about people forced out of the house after new window installation. So, I also thought about (MgO) boards for exterior and interior walls, especially after this high sulfur drywall scandal. However, I can not find any reliable information about MgO board, only bold claims by dealers. As far as I can see from the open sources, MgO is not very chemically stable substance. On the top of that, the boards contain Magnesium chloride, which should be corrosive. Plus, all these materials require some kind of adhesive, and I can not get the information what particular kind of adhesive is used in the manufacturing process of these boards.

Further, I could not find ANY information about their performance. Do they crack, especially in earthquake? Do exterior walls require some kind of special paint, how they hold the paint? What about acoustic isolation, especially in combination with steel studs?

I would really appreciate if anybody will share experience of exploitation of these two materials.

Last edited by Quinian; 02-14-2010 at 11:14 PM.
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Old 02-03-2011, 10:49 AM   #2
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sorry, didn't understand your question
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Old 02-03-2011, 04:57 PM   #3
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If you're going to use a contractor to build this house, you definitely should seek their opinion on steel studs.

No, exterior wall steel studs do not have to be painted. They're covered up and are thereby weatherproof.

Can't speak to the seismic California issues. You should talk to a local engineer or your City's building department on that.

Personally I'm not a fan of them for a lot of reasons, but specifically because of fire. Although they won't burn, steel studs and joists lose their strength incredibly quickly when heated. Much, much faster than wood does. A steel framed house will go down a heck of a lot faster if your carpet or couch catch on fire. Not to mention trimming is a challenge, pulling wires is a bigger challenge, and so on.

Pick up a steel stud and wiggle it around. Then do the same with a 2x4. I'll take the 2x4.
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