The light gauge metal stud framing phase of a commercial project significantly impacts several other aspects of the job. As a general rule good planning and adherence to best practices achieve higher production rates and level of quality that meets the project’s specifications. Planning and layout are typically the responsibility of the project foreman; however, everyone should be as involved with preparing the work flow as possible. During actual layout, other production items should also be considered in relation to the entire project.
Non-load bearing or non-structural metal studs and framing are not intended or designed to carry any axial loads. Axial loads include elements such as floor joists, ceiling joists, roof rafters, or roof trusses. They are designed to carry the dead load of many standard wall finishes such as gypsum board, plaster work, or similar finishes, and provide resistance to normal transverse loads. Lateral loads cannot exceed 10 lb/sq. ft on a steel framed wall system as defined by ASTM C645.
Light gauge metal framing used for interior wall partitions is available in various shapes, thicknesses, sizes, and finishes. Each of the components has a specific function in the wall assembly. Selecting the correct size and thickness depends on the spacing of the framing members and the height of the wall. Center to center stud spacing for interior applications is either 12″, 16″, or 24″. Other aspects of the selection process include the makeup of the wall finishes, whether the wall finishes will be applied to one or both sides, and impact resistance requirements, where applicable. In general, interior walls of a public space require more resistance to impact.
Typical Components of an Interior Wall System consist of:
– Studs (S)
– Tracks (T)
– U-Channels (U)
– Furring Channels (F)
– L-Headers (L)
The standard lengths of metal studs typically range from 8′-0″ to 24′-0″ and the tracks come in 10′-0″ lengths. These are marked by manufacturers with the acronym S T U F L. Aside from this acronym, other series of numbers are used to identify specific framing members too. A smaller gauge number indicates thicker and heavier metal studs.
“Studding”, “stuffing”, or “framing” are just a few of example of the terms construction crews use to refer to installing studs. Installing the vertical studs is a fast and simple operation that can transform the ambiance of the project. Vertical framing, however, is a three step process.
Light gauge metal stud framing seems a bit labor intensive in comparison to the low cost of the materials. Around 60% of the metal studs used in the United States are for interior non-structural wall partitions alone. Light gauge metal framing provide durability, strength, and stability for wall partitions. They have other benefits as well, which include:
– Corrosion Resistance
– Fire Resistance
– Not susceptible to mould, and
– Made with recycled material
Producing a quality project and maintaining high production rates depends on best and acceptable framing practices, innovative steel framing products, and better tools used.