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Nothing to attach top track for metal studs

4868 Views 11 Replies 7 Participants Last post by  princelake
I need to build a couple of small offices in a commercial building. From the concrete floor, there is no substantial structure until the concrete bottom of the second floor 18' up. Currently, there is a 10' drop down ceiling. My problem is....what can I attach the top track to? Obviously, there's nothing there but the metal grid work of the ceiling. Is there a way I can stabilize the new walls with some sort of framing above the ceiling? Any suggestions or thoughts are appreciated.
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If you have fairly small offices, generallly about 10 feet or less on a side, you can build a self-supporting wall system comparable to office cubicle walls that don't reach the ceiling. The room corners where walls meet will give you a lot of rigidity.

For such a self supporting wall system you can use wood (two 2x4s) instead of metal as the cap (or attach the metal top track to the wood cap.

Also add diagonal bracing inside the walls and to be covered by the drywall. This typically consists of strips of metal. These are not heavy metal or angle irons; you put one on each side of the wall making an X.
I usually just brace the top of the walls with track material to to the underside of the 2nd floor.
About every 60" at about 45* angle, alternating.

fasten the top track to the dropped ceiling cross t`s, its how most commercial guys do it
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I wont harp on if you need a permit or not, is up to you and your situation.
The little work I have done in commercial, when making dividers like this.
Was required to have a fire wall above the dropped ceiling. So if a fire started in one office, would not jump over to the office next door .... stupid silly codes.
All it amounted to was a metal stud wall hanging from the rafters and sheet rocked with 5/8" on one side and typical fire proofing procedure. This gives you something to attach the lower wall to.

They have different thickness of metal studs and top /bottom plates, could make a stiffer wall with them then wood.
Problem is, how far will you get into the job before a inspector wanders by and ask for your permit?

Even if not pulling a permit and sounds like you are not, I would find out what code is for your area and follow it.
i somewhat with woodworkbykirk. i screw my top plate to the main T's on not the cross T's of the drop ceiling. you can go up in the ceiling and add some bracing above but its not really needed. The only other way is take down part of the ceiling, build your wall to the next floor then run some L channel around your wall and cut your T bar to the ceiling and cut the tiles to fit but thats alot of a hassle
Thanks for the replies

In my research, I heard from several people about attaching the track to the ceiling framing, it just didn't sound logical from a strength standpoint. Since the concrete bottom of the second floor is 18 feet above the 10 foot ceiling, I'll give it a try.

As far as permits, sometimes one is told what and when to do something by their boss. This is one of those situations. I can only do what I'm told, and chance the consequences.

Again, thanks to everyone for their suggestions.
Is this floor 18' high or 28" high?

I am confused.

Attach it to the ceiling grid.We do it all the time on big commerical jobs.As long as its not a fire wall where it has to run all the way up to the upper deck.
your building curtain walls not fire rated walls.. just attach to the grid.. if your building seperate units all together then it has to have a fire seperation via either a concrete block wall or steel stud wall right up to the underside of the concrete deck which then gets roxul insulation and 5/8 type x board
Attaching track

From floor to drop down ceiling is 10', then another 8' until the concrete bottom of the second floor.

I'm going to take the suggestion of attaching to the ceiling grid work. Should I use something larger than the 1/2 screw I'll use to attach the studs? And, how many feet apart should the track be attached to the ceiling grid?
ya just use the 1/2 screws your using, you can also use a fine thread drywall screw. i just screw it into the main T's and if theres a large distance at the end of the wall with no screw then i'll put a screw in the cross T's.
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