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Metal studs for walled enclosures

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  • Metal studs for walled enclosures

    For those who have done walled enclosures, can you point me to the type of metal studs you used? Specifically, the gauge and size.


  • #2
    I just finished my metal stud enclosure, see here:

    I went to the local drywall supply warehouse and got 16 gauge metal studs, all were 2x4 size.

    Bottom track was secured with 1-3/4" tapcon concrete screws. Vertical studs are 12" on center, we capped the top of the vert. studs with another track.
    We then centered the roof "joists" atop the vertical studs and NOT on the top track between the studs. We figured this would provide the most support for the roof.
    The last step was to turn a track on edge and go around the ends of the roof joists, that's the top-most track that you see in the pics.

    The structure turned out to be very strong, but what a TON of work; there were 3 of us, and it took a full day to build, sun up till sun down.

    Absolute REQUIRED tools when working with structural (16 ga) steel studs:
    1) A c-clamp style vice trip to clamp studs together before you put the self-tapping screw in
    2) QTY 10 6 inch long philips driver heads. Its tough to get the back screw in the vertical track. Without a 6" long driver head, forget it, not possible.
    3) 14 inch metal cut off saw. If you try to use a 4" metal cutoff wheel plan on SLOW, SLOW going
    4) 4" metal cutoff wheel so you can "tab" some of the tracks to tie adjacent walls together
    5) a large box of self tapping screws, best to just get the lg. box at the drywall supply store and swallow the $40 charge. If a screw wabbles a bit, the drilling head is shot, throw it down and grab a fresh one.

    So, now we had a rigid structure that 3 full grown men were standing on, great now we have to sheathe it with 1/2" concrete board...

    A regular "rock-on" or "backer board" screw you find at home depot, lowes, ect.. will NOT work. They are meant for light gauge metal studs or wood.
    You ABSOLUTELY need self-drilling concrete board screws. They are special order at the big box stores, I ended up finding them at a screw specialty store called Fastenal, they are $0.25 each and I needed 350 of them. The concrete board specs call for screws 8" OC, thats a LOT of screws.

    When putting a self-drilling concrete board screw into these heavy steel studs, you have to be VERY VERY careful. Any bit of wabbling around with the drill head/screw and you end up with a 3/4" wide hole in the cement board, rendering the screw almost useless as it will pull through. I used Permabase cement board and this was a big problem. Perhaps Durock wouldn't be as bad?? I'm not sure.

    In summary, the light gauge steel studs at big box stores are 20 gauge maximum, and are NOT structural. Given the 40+ MPH winds, snow and ice in Nebraska, and the 2" thick flagstone that's going on the roof of my enclosure, I wanted something stronger so I opted for structural 16 gauge. But be prepared, they are tough to work with.