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jshattoc 01-22-2011 09:28 PM

R603 and non-load walls
I'm looking at framing my basement (single family dwelling) with steel studs. I'm on IRC2006. Section R603 details all sorts of things about steel framing, but continually mentions the rules being applicable to exterior or load bearing walls. R603.1.1 goes as far as to say the entire section applies only to those types of walls. However, I don't see anything that then applies to non-load bearing, partition walls like would be found in a basement where the load is supported entirely by the foundation walls and jack posts.

Am I reading R603.1.1 wrong? Is there some other section that I keep overlooking that applies to non-load walls? I have a tough time believing that the code would be so thorough in specifying load bearing construction, but then let you do whatever you wanted for non-load.

Gary in WA 01-22-2011 10:46 PM

I can only find similar results in the 2009 IRC, ask your local Building Department. I have never used steel studs. If you use them with the new p.t. wood for the bottom plate on concrete, you could have problems;

Isolate the steel bottom track from the concrete for a thermal break so the cavity moisture doesn’t condense on the cooler steel there. Use foam board, air tight against the concrete wall first, as fiberglass insulation alone won’t be enough. You may get “ghosting” of the studs if they are touching the colder concrete. Use a denser fiberglass for your cavity fill which will stop the natural convective loops. With steel studs, expect a reduction of the insulation due to convective loops from the stud design itself.

Air seal and foam board the rims;

No air gap at f.b./batt insulation. Anchor them well at the bottom and top. Do you realize the direction of drywall application on steel studs?


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