Have you ever wondered why metal studs are better than wood studs? When a construction project is getting ready to start, whether it is a house or a commercial building, the type of studs to be used has to be decided quickly. With the type of studs, however, there are just two options to choose from – either metal studs or wood studs.
According to housing and building professionals, there are advantages to both types. Most architects & builders have a preference of one over the other. More importantly, most people are interested in understanding which of the two is truly better for their project.
So, let’s take a good look at the advantages and disadvantages of both wood studs and metal studs. The facts presented will give you the information you need to choose the type of stud that is best for your project.
Advantages Of Wood Studs
There was a time when wooden studs were the most preferred in the market. However, things have changed, and now metal studs are selected and used much more often. So, what’s the reason for the change to metal studs?
After taking a good look at the advantages and disadvantages of wood studs as compared to metal studs, we found several reasons why the market has moved away from wood studs. These days, it is harder to find wooden studs and the prices have gone up.
- Wood Studs Were The Traditional Option: Long before the use of metal studs for building applications, wood was the only option people had. Wood is capable of providing considerable support to a range of different structures. Homebuilders and contractors had to use wood, so the use of wood became the traditional option for studs.
- Traditional Wood Framers Are Unfamiliar With Metal Studs: Metal stud framing may be foreign to traditional or small builders, so wood studs are used. However, the transition from wood to metal is very easy. Rather than hiring a traditional wood framing crew, it is vital to engage with a building and frame crew with previously erected metal stud construction if you choose to go with metal studs.
- Wood Is Easy To Cut: Wood is easy to measure and cut with a saw. It can be shaped and molded to whatever you need, typically on the project site.
- Various Types Of Wooden Studs Are Available: When it comes to wooden studs, there are a lot of varieties available. You may come across something as small as 2 x 4 or 2 x 6 inches or something as big as 2 x 8 inches. These types of wood studs are typically constructed from softwood trees. Examples include spruce and pine. These are also called light structural lumber.
- Most projects do not require anything bigger than the typical standard sizes. However, it is still possible to come across studs that are made from hardwood or perhaps cedar. It all depends on the level of quality that one desires.
Disadvantages Of Wood Studs:
There are some disadvantages when using wood for your studs. Wood is not a suitable material for all kinds of building projects. Depending on the nature of the construction project, here are a few of the factors that should be considered while making a choice:
- Rot And Warp: Wood studs can be compromised when exposed to water and humidity. Wood must be protected from getting wet
- Expensive: Currently, wood prices are way up and can be more expensive than metal. There was a time when would was economical. Although a few soft woods are not as expensive as hardwood, the comparative cost between metal and wood studs has changed over time
- Difficult To Install: It is way more difficult to install a wooden stud as compared to a metal stud. In the case of a wood stud, several tools are required at the time of installation. These may include a table saw, nailer, common nails, hammer, drill and screws to secure the studs properly.
Reasons to Choose Metal Studs Over Wood Studs
The steel framing industry and the use of metal studs is increasingly becoming popular. The market size of this sector in Canada is 11 billion and projected to grow. In fact, data from the Steel Framing Alliance shows that about half a million homes and over 40% of commercial structures have been built using steel studs or steel framing over the last decade. Construction Canada points out the benefits of using steel framing here, including significant advantages to using wood in cold weather.
Furthermore, metal studs are designed from sheet metal steel that’s cold-crafted into various sizes and shapes, tailored to what builders are used to working with in dimensional lumber. Steel construction studs are a great alternative to wood studs & wood framing and can be used in several applications.
The construction tools typically needed for framing are a tape measure, metal snips or metal aviation snips, c-clamp locking pliers, and a few other common tools. The point here is that working with steel framing is not any harder than working with wood studs!
While some modern construction professionals boast about the advantages of wooden studs over metal counterparts, there are a lot of benefits associated with the use of metal studs. As a result, there is a lot of demand for them in the market.
Advantages Of Metal Studs:
Stronger than Wood
Metal studs can support more weight for materials that might be far heavier than the metal itself. Hence, metal studs would be the ideal choice for load-bearing walls, frames, doorways, cabinets, etc.
More Durable & Lasts Longer Than Wood
Metal is more resistant to moisture and humidity, hence offering unmatched durability. Using metal studs in your construction means that your structure won’t crack, split, rot, or warp and can remain sturdy and straight for an extended period of time. Metal lasts longer than wood.
More Convenient Than Wood
Metal studs are lighter than wood studs and occupy half the space. This is because steel studs are hollow, making them easy to transport, work with, and store. Metal studs also do not produce sawdust, a characteristic of wood. With metal cutting, you only need to wear the appropriate protective gear such as gloves to protect your hands from sharp corners (always wear hearing protection equipment when using any loud tools like circular saws or chop saws).
Insect & Fire Resistant
Insects like termites and carpenter ants can significantly damage wood structures. If there are termites around, the chances are high that a wooden stud will not be able to stand against it. Sooner or later, the termites will damage wood studs. However, with a metal stud, there are no such risks. Metal is fire-proof, (refer to your local building codes) so the level of protection against fire is better. Wood studs are highly flammable, but metal does not burn. Structures built with steel studs are generally insect-resistance and fireproof.
Easier To Install Than Wood
Metal studs are lightweight, making them easier and more comfortable to handle & install than wood studs. Besides being lighter, metal components can be easily modified or adjusted since they are installed using screws. So, if you make a mistake during installation, you can quickly correct it. Installation costs (including the price paid to the contractor and for acquiring the parts for installation) should be similar for both metal studs and wood studs.
More Affordable Than Wood
Metal studs are more affordable than wood. Most of the metal studs these days are manufactured using recycled materials. It allows for reduced costs when compared to wood studs.
Lighter To Transport and Carry
A metal stud is much lighter than a wooden one. Therefore, it is easier to transport, carry and store in bulk. The weight of a metal stud that is 3-5/8 8 feet is 4 lbs. A wood stud that is 2×4 8 feet is 9 lbs.
The Sizes & Types Are Standardized
The size of metal studs is more or less standardized as compared to a wooden stud. The standard size of a metal stud varies from 1-5/8” to 14”. The size of a particular stud also depends on the framing of the wall depth you wish to achieve.
Readily Available & Easy To Purchase
It is easy to buy metal studs. Since there has been an increased use of metal studs, manufacturers have started producing them in large volumes. Most hardware stores carry metal studs. For instance, if a project requires constructing a doorway or a window, the ideal choice would be to use metal instead of wood for the framing.
Structural metal studs are among the most common studs found in hardware stores. These are used in most construction projects. Metal wall starts are usually made of metal. These are specifically meant for basement walls. It can also be used to design a partition wall or some other portion of a typical metal structure.
Metal studs are generally used to support both load-bearing and non-loading bearing walls. Such walls are common in home decoration and are considered a light gauge metal frame. This type of material is common while erecting temporary partitions or structures. Constructing a frame with metal studs is usually quite fast and simple and, at the same time, affordable too.
Construction & Building Costs Are Lower:
There are a few variables to be aware of in this area. According to Metal Framing Alliance calculations, metal framing can cost three to fifteen percent less than wood studs; however, metal studs have price benefits in other areas that can outweigh this price difference. There are no shrinkage issues with metal; it won’t split or distort, therefore warranty calls are minimal. As a result, there are no drywall cracks or nail pops to correct once the building is finished when installed correctly.
The consistent quality of metal studs indicates that scrap is considerably reduced (2% for metal vs. 20% for wood), lowering costs for carting away and disposing of waste material. Metal-framed structures may also qualify for large discounts on risk insurance. You also can get custom length of metal studs made to size and have 0% scrap for even more efficiency.
Metal buildings are faster and easier to construct and easier and cheaper in regards to maintenance. Usually, it will cost between $50 and $65 per square foot on average to build a metal home, which is around 30% less than a standard home. Metal, unlike other materials, is frequently regarded as a one-time investment.
Disadvantages Of Metal Studs:
- Decorative Wall Hangings: A homeowner or commercial builder owner or tenant cannot simply drive a nail into a metal stud for hanging a picture, portrait, television arm, or a mirror, unlike wood studs. When constructing a metal stud structure, the contractor will frequently install wood blocking in the regions where these things will be positioned. This allows the use of standard nails and screws to nail or screw directly into the wood. This, according to a few, is a minor disadvantage of metal studs that can be readily remedied with some forethought.
- Metal Studs Are Non-Biodegradable: We typically miss the fact that metal studs do not have biodegradable properties and consist of embodied energy, usually on the higher side. Even though wood is a renewable resource, harvesting trees has a considerable environmental cost.
- Metal Studs Can & Should Be Recycled: One thing to keep in mind concerning framing in metal studs is that the components are frequently made from recycled materials. Metal stud buildings can be recycled and reused once they are dismantled. Complete research on the ecological implications of metal studs vs. wood studs is not available yet, so choosing one system over the other based on the environmental impact is challenging.
Dass Metal – A Leader in the Production of High Quality Metal Studs
If you are searching for high-quality metal studs for construction purposes, then Dassmetal.com is your one-stop destination. Here, you can get access to a comprehensive range of the best-in-class construction solutions in the form of top-quality metal studs of all types. With expertise in the field for many years, Dass Metal specializes in the delivery of high quality metal studs and drywall accessories. Based on the unique requirements of our clients, the company also offers customized solutions for specific construction projects.