As the supply and production for wood studs reduce, metal studs have quickly become a reliable and handy replacement. Like wood studs, they support the construction framing of ceilings, roofs, and the exterior, interior, and partition walls. In addition, they are securely stabilized and fastened with screws and fixed clips, giving designers more freedom and a better variety of bypass framing options (commonly used in curtain wall construction).
However, the amount of load weight they can support depends on a myriad of reasons ranging from the width and spacing of the studs to the height of the studs. Regardless, their framing techniques remain to that of wood construction, and they come in many of the same dimensions as their wood counterparts.
Axial Load and Load Weight Limit
The load weight limit for metal studs is heavily dependent on various factors. Most of them involve the length, spacing, thickness, and width of the studs, as these determine the structural integrity of the construction. Moreover, this also affects the capacity of the axial load, as the metal studs should be able to substantially support the amount of pressure and weight exerted from the top (structure) and the sides (from extreme weather conditions and elements).
Traditionally, from a simple physics and gravity standpoint: Shorter studs are more stable and can support heavier loads, while taller studs are less stable and can support lighter loads. To put it simply, as the length of the studs increase, the weight they can support decreases. Therefore, to accommodate the heavier load weight limit, taller studs are often spaced closer to compensate for the same stability that could be achieved with shorter studs.
Determining the Axial Load Allowance
The axial load also heavily depends on the manufacturers’ instructions, who will provide you with a guide or chart that indicates the guidelines you should adhere to when effectively determining the distance of the studs, especially when the studs are of differing heights. In most cases, the guide is likely to advise placing the studs as closely together to provide more stability for the structure. However, suppose the manual suggests that the spacing is unlikely to play a major role in the metal studs’ stability. In that case, you can proceed with spacing the studs further apart to save more building materials costs.
Spacing has a significant impact on the structural integrity and the extent of support your metal studs can provide. This factor considers the length and thickness of your metal studs, which will determine the axial load they will be able to support. However, it is worth noting that as your metal studs become shorter, spacing has a lesser effect on the support they can provide. For instance, 8-foot steel studs will maintain the same amount of support regardless of whether they are placed in 11 inches or 22 inches intervals.
How US Framing Can Help
At US Framing, we specialize in multiple building approaches that range from cross-laminated timber (CLT) framing to wood framing to metal stud and industrial framing. Considering your project preferences, our team of expert consultants will advise you on the best building approach that will best cater to your needs. We also evaluate the extent of fire resistance, thermal insulation, and noise insulation according to your requirements. We are more than a wood framing contractor and can adapt our framing approaches to work on your projects.
For more information about the framing approaches we adopt in our construction practices, please do not hesitate to contact us today!