How to Work With Metal Studs

Metal studs are a great choice when installing a new wall. Here's all you need to know about working with cutting, fitting, and wiring metal studs.

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Building a wall with steel framing boasts a number of benefits. Steel is resistant against morphing, fire, rotting, and every homeowners worst nightmare: termites. They are lightweight and generally run cheaper than their wood counterparts. But, like working with wood, you will run into a few challenges when framing and installing your wall. Below, we show you how to work around those challenges such as running cables through the studs. Follow along with our steps to get the job done right.

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Getting Started

Metal studs save money and are easy to install. Metal studs have precut holes designed to accommodate electrical and plumbing lines. When running NM cable through metal framing, inspect the holes to be sure there are no rough or sharp edges that could damage insulation. Always use the special bushings designed to protect wiring.

What You Need

  • Screwdriver
  • Tin snips
  • Strippers
  • Variable-speed drill
  • Lineman's pliers
  • Nonconducting ladder
  • Bushings
  • Cable
  • Boxes for metal studs

Step 1: Insert Studs

Cut metal studs and channels with tin snips.To make wiring easier in the future, be sure that you cut the studs so that their electrical keyholes are at an even height.  Lay the channels where you want them and fasten to the ground and ceiling using a drill and screws. Slide the studs into channels at the bottom and top of the wall. Drive a self-piercing screw into each joint.

Step 2: Insert Bushing

Steel studs come with pre-cut keyholes designated for threading electrical wires. Determine the route you want your wires to go. Where the cable runs through a stud, snap a protective bushing into place. These come in two pieces that press together.

Step 3: Pull Cable Through

If the wire is connected to any power source, you must turn the power off before working with wires.Run the cable through the protective bushings. The brushing will protect the cable from any damage the sharp cut steel may cause. Pull the cable the same way you would pull it through holes in wood framing members.

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