Steel Studs

Discussion in 'Home Theater Projects' started by Ramon O. Valera, Apr 16, 2004.

  1. Ramon O. Valera

    Ramon O. Valera Stunt Coordinator

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    Hey everyone,

    I'm going to start the studding of my basement withinthe next few weeks and wanted to get your opinions on using steel studs instead of wood. I heard that it is a lot easier to use and quicker to install. any Cons against steel? Have any of you ever used steel? Thanks in advance for any responses.

    -Ramon
     
  2. Cary_H

    Cary_H Second Unit

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    A few years ago I spent some time working alongside a crew of carpenters that spent the majority of their hours building out tenant spaces in office buildings.
    We used steel stud and track exclusively.
    The methods of how it's constructed will be something you'll need to pick up, as well as having to develop some minor tool skills.
    Using conventional wood studding is a thing of the past IMO. For the average Joe it requires some pretty fair skills and demands tighter tolerances making it far more daunting and time consuming.
    Steel studding is no fuss, no muss, is far less demanding measurement-wise, far easier to rectify screwups when they happen, requires less tools, and makes for a cleaner and quieter worksite.
    I reckon I could do any job in 1/3 the time using steel vs. wood, without any assistance.
     
  3. Steve::Weaver

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    Steel studs also have the benefit of better isolating the room from the outside world sonically.
     
  4. GeorgeAB

    GeorgeAB Second Unit

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    Steel studs have much more potential to vibrate, ring, rattle, hum, buzz, etc. If you intend on having decent bass reproduction in the room, be very careful about damping the steel studs and all connections. One little loosely screwed joint can buzz every time a certain bass frequency is reproduced in the room. Personally and professionally I never recommend steel framing for a home theater.

    Some folks may have experienced good results but there is certainly more potential for vibration problems compared to wood. You will be living with the room a lot longer after its construction than during.

    Best regards and beautiful pictures,
    G. Alan Brown, President
    CinemaQuest, Inc.

    "Advancing the art and science of electronic imaging"
     
  5. Eric Hahn

    Eric Hahn Agent

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    I have used both steel and wood studs in my basement, If I did it again, no steel...

    they can rattle, under base, they are a pain to hang any pictures on, constantly cutting my fingers, need wood reinforcement around doors, and anyplace you might want to nail, need to use trim screws instead of a finish nailer, for trim, etc,

    just my .02, but the best way I found was using the metal track from the metal studs, shooting into my basement floor,and screwing to joist and cutting wood studs in the middle, much quicker and easier than making a wood header, and footer, and easier than screwing the metal studs to the metal header, and footer.

    again, just my .02
     
  6. Brett Loomis

    Brett Loomis Stunt Coordinator

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    All- excellent responses.....I built my current HT in my basement with all wood studs. I did not enjoy "gunsighting" all of the studs, header and footer boards to insure true wall straightness. I am now building a new house and will have a truly dedicated HT in a portion of my lower level walkout basement. It will be approximately 27.5' by 13.5'.

    I really like Eric's idea of putting up steel headers and footers and using wood as the actual studs. I have a couple of concerns and that is that I have heard that when using steel framing or in Eric's case steel header/footers that it can be a pain in the butt to get the trim nailed properly or keep the trim nails secure.

    How would/do you deal with this?

    2nd, Do you just nail (Hilti) the footers to the concrete and use screws for the headers. How do you secure the studs to the header/footer??? Do you just zip one screw in the top and bottom at every 16" O.C. It seems like this might not secure the studs if just screwed from the front side where the stud intersects the track. What keeps the stud from pivoting or is this a non-issue since the tracks are the same width as the studs insuring a tight fit?

    Any help in helping me with a faster framing method would be appreciated. In my current HT I built 10 foot wall sections on the floor with all wood studs and a framing nailer, then propped up sections, shimmed in place to floor joists and then used framing nailer and Hilti to secure to header and footer.

    There must be an easier way. All responses welcome.

    Brett
     
  7. Colin Goddard

    Colin Goddard Stunt Coordinator

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    Brett

    Just curious? Have you priced steel studs compared to wood studs recently? Here in Ohio the steel studs have doubled in cost in the last 6 months. If you do decide to go with metal studs get 20 gauge, not that 25 gauge that most HD and Lowe's have. You'll probably have to find a local drywall supplier. Check the yellow pages.

    GeorgeAB has a valid point about the possibility of vibrations with metal studs. And also, Eric's method of using steel track along with wood studs works well. It lessen's the chance of wall vibration and gives you solid "blocking" to nail into for your trim, hanging picture's, ect...

    If you do go with metal, you will need 7/16 self tapping pan head screws for fastening the steel studs to the track, and 1 1/4 self tapping drywall screws. I would personally use 5/8 drywall.

    Colin
     
  8. Eric Hahn

    Eric Hahn Agent

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    Brett, with the trim, it was easy, just nail it to a stud, that way you do not need to use the trim screws.

    I just used a Hilti, for the bottom plate and screwd the top plate to my floor joists.

    I only used 1 screw in the front, it seemed strong enought to me, but I am no contractor,the drywall seemed to stiffen everything up nicely once that was screwed to the studs. I guess I could have screwd some cross blocking, but I didnt think it was necessarty, and that would have complicated my electrical and heating install.

    like i said just my .02, just some things I did in my home, maby thier are easier ways.??
     
  9. Ron_S

    Ron_S Extra

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    I am in the process of building my home theater and I used metal studs. They were very easy to install, however I took a couple precautions during installation. I made sure the front and back edge of every stud was screwed in and I also used liquid nails on every part of the studs and top and bottom track that touches my drywall. By glueing as well as screwing I'm hoping it will be a less prone to vibration, i'll know in a couple months [​IMG]

    Ron
     
  10. KenA

    KenA Stunt Coordinator

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    I'm finishing off my basement theater and a contractor suggested steel studs to eliminate warping and battle moisture. I'm still a little hesitant to use them, though. This is a helpful thread. I'm looking forward to reading the test results after your theaters are completed.
     
  11. Dan C

    Dan C Agent

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    My whole house is made of steel and I love it! It goes up faster, I used Icynene insulation (lower gas bill), and you do not have to use wood to frame out doors and windows. My house can handle 135 mph winds (not like I need it in Illinois), I will never have termites and the hat track keeps the those from vibrating (the spray in Icynene is wonderful. I did glue and screw the drywall but that was just my preference. I just started my HT and I will caulk every stud at the bottom and use RC1, but I can take every wall in my house down and reconfigure it if I want to. I did buy my house 2 years ago (came on 1 truck) so steel was not as expensive as it is now. It came on 1 truck 3800sq. ft. I have the same in the basement with only 1 pole and I wish I would od paid the extra $1000 to get rid of it. Now my basement walls are 12in. thick, but I would use steel!
     
  12. Colin Goddard

    Colin Goddard Stunt Coordinator

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    Dan C

    Glad to hear you like your house of steel! You forgot to mention one other advantage of metal studs over wood. They DON'T BURN! [​IMG]

    You see, I like to work with metal studs. I'm proud to say this has been my profession and trade for the past 28 years [​IMG] I have helped build everything from churches to casino's using metal. I have yet to see a design from any architect, that we could not build using metal!

    Although, I am somewhat curious how the new price increases with steel studs will effect my trade. Time will tell I guess.

    I was hoping the original poster of this thread would chime back in to let us know which way he would be going with for his home theater.

    Colin
     
  13. Ramon O. Valera

    Ramon O. Valera Stunt Coordinator

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    Hey guys,

    thanks for all of the responses. I have decided to use steel just because of the easiness, cleanliness, and the fact that although it will have a modest HT in it, it won't be an HT only room. This meaning that I won't be doing eveything to the T to make it audibly perfect. The wife and I want to do it ourselves and we feel as if steel would be easier for us. Thanks for all of the responses!

    First up to bat though it laying down the Dri-Core.

    Thanks again!
    Ramon
     
  14. Dan C

    Dan C Agent

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    Yes, they don't burn. My house is energy efficient, every appliance is energy star rated, 90% efficient furnaces' and a/c. I had the whole house foamed, even the roof. My house is like a big cooler. I have to bring fresh air in because the air gets stale. Love my house!
     
  15. Colin Goddard

    Colin Goddard Stunt Coordinator

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    Ramon,

    Just a few hints for DIY with metal studs. If you are right handed, look for metal cutting tin snips with the yellow hand grips. Wiss is a very good brand. Also, a med. point "Sharpie" black marker pen shows up very well on metal.

    When cutting your studs to lenght,cut both short sides of the stud first. Then bend the stud over at the cut, to about a 90% angle. Complete the cut on the long side by making the cut look like this "(". Don't try to go straight across with the cut. There are a few other ways to cut them, but that is one of the safest ways to go for a beginner.

    Also, when fastening the metal studs to the track , it is good to wear safety glasses and don't forget a light pair of gloves. Have fun!

    Colin
     
  16. Ramon O. Valera

    Ramon O. Valera Stunt Coordinator

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    Thanks for the tips Colin! When I begin, I will post pics on a website.

    Thanks again!

    -Ramon
     
  17. Ramon O. Valera

    Ramon O. Valera Stunt Coordinator

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    Still haven't begun, but I have a few other questions. I'm about to start(well I was about to start) laying downthe Dri-Core, but then I noticed that the floor is uneven in some places. Should I buy leveling concrete and lat it down or just use the levelers that come with the dri-core?

    also how hard is it to pour leveler and get it right? I'm the newbiest newbie there is when it comes to things like this.

    Thanks!
     
  18. Parker Clack

    Parker Clack Schizophrenic Man
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    Dan:

    Do you have any pictures of your house? It sounds great to me. BTW, how was it in getting a loan for the house. I know in a lot of areas banks don't want to lend out any money on houses they don't consider at traditionally built. In other words stick built with wood studs and windows, etc.

    Ramon:

    Be sure to post some pictures of your HT on our gallery page at http://www.hometheaterforum.com/gallery/index.php

    Parker
     
  19. Dan C

    Dan C Agent

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    Sorry it took so long but I was trying to talk my wife out of keeping the new dog she came home with. I had no problem getting a loan but I was the buyer and the contractor. I applied for a construction loan and had no problem. The place where I had the most problems is in the beginning. The plans were done by a structural engineer not an architect. I sent in a sketch of the home I wanted to build and they sent back a completely different home. Every time we made changes we went to the bottom of the to do list. When we finally got everything right we had to have an architect make it up to code (electric, plumbing). Naturally the village had no idea how to inspect our home because it was the first in the area so we were held to strict codes. There are some things that throw sub-contractors for a loop but I would never build with wood again. I almost went with a steel roof and I wish I had because of the durability and guarantee. My house is energy efficient, all appliances are energy star rated, 90% furnace and water heater (thinking of going tank-less or solar), Isonene insulation throughout (2X6 outer walls), no vents in roof (we sealed them with batts then sprayed over them) so my house works like a cooler. You need to bring in fresh air because it gets stale. Any way I will go steel from now on. My zip drive just broke litteraly, got to pic one up and post pics. Sorry
     
  20. Cary_H

    Cary_H Second Unit

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    Let me see if I'm getting this right...you're saying you now have no provision for make-up air to enter?
    And you've sealed off the vents in your soffits?
     

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