Every structure starts with framing. It provides support and shape, making it one of the essential steps in construction or reconstruction. And usually, when it comes to building these, there are two common options available: wood and metal.
Now, using metal studs for framing is more common than you think. It has replaced wood in most home, office, and commercial construction due to its significant advantages. It is perfectly straight, light, and easy to store.
Furthermore, it doesn’t shrink, split, rot or even mold. It’s resistant to fire and insects and most of all, though the cost of metal studs is 3-15% more than wood, you will be able to save more for installation and long-term maintenance.
And if you need metal framing anytime soon, here are important things you should know including metal stud framing cost per linear foot and other prices to consider.
Metal Framing Average Cost
With the supply of quality lumber reduced, most builders have turned to using metal as an alternative to framing as it is more stable both in price and production. It has become a structural material that allows them to enclose an area with minimal cost, all the while achieving a variety of style and design.
Aside from the characteristics already stated, there are other advantages of using metal for framing residential or commercial structures.
And they are:
- Metal is lighter than wood.It may sound surprising, but a metal stud will be lighter than that of wood. It will take up half the space of lumber, making it more convenient to transport and store. This results in a decrease in shipping costs. Furthermore, because it is lighter, it requires less concrete at the foundation to support the structure you’re planning to build, ultimately cutting your budget.
- Metal framing is faster to accomplish.A fast construction would mean you can save time – which also translates to you saving money. So, if you’re planning to hire people to do the job, their labor cost would be lower as there would be less time needed to accomplish framing with metal.
- Less human error.Metal studs are pre-engineered parts that are ready to be erected. These are ready to assemble which could mean less human error as there would be a fewer need for measuring, cutting, and reinstalling – also reducing your costs.
- High in strength.Using metal results in safer structures. There’s less probability of damage in an earthquake and high winds.
- Less Maintenance.Because metal or steel is not vulnerable to termites or to any type of fungi or organism, there’s little need to replace them. Plus, with metal framing a structure ages slower.
- Highest strength-to-weight ratio.This means that metal framing requires lesser material to carry the same structural loads you need. And lesser materials mean lesser expenses for you.
Now, there are various materials needed for a complete metal framing. There are metal studs, steel tracks, and fasteners. And the average metal stud framing cost per linear foot, as of writing, is $0.30 to $2.50. Steel tracks cost about the same. And fasteners or screws can range from $2 to $7 for 30 pieces.
Other Costs to Consider
If you are planning to hire professionals to do the job, your expenses should include labor costs. For a four-man project, it will cost about $95 per hour. This includes project planning, layout, the setting of elevations, tracking-out, level and plum walls, stud-out, cutting of materials, and screwing. One person could accomplish these tasks too but that could take longer.
On the other hand, if you are to do it yourself, there are certain tools you’ll need such as:
- Metal cut-off saw.
- Hammer drill.
- Screw gun
- Level, laser level or plumb bob.
Framing with metal also requires you to use an electrical device box made out of steel. A device box or junction box is a critical component of a structure’s electrical system and should be installed together with your metal studs. It is used to enclose and protect electrical connections while also providing a safety barrier. And each box can cost about $4 to $6.
Remember, metal stud framing prices differ from one shop to another. But rest assured that the differences are not that huge.
To give you an idea of the many places you can purchase materials, here are the top three biggest, easiest and most convenient shops you can visit:
- Home Depot: They are the largest company in America that offer home improvement supplies, including tools and construction products that are necessary for metal framing. They also offer rentals and other services which may be helpful to you.
- Lowe’s: Shop at Lowe’s and find all the quality tools and materials like metal studs, tracks, and fasteners all in one place.
- Menards: One of the largest companies in the United States, coming next to Lowe’s, Menards offer home improvement products primarily in the Midwest. They have tools, lumber, appliances and all the materials you need to frame a structure with steel.
Metal Framing Cost Factors
Aside from where you are going to purchase the materials, there are other factors which affect the cost of metal studs. For one, there’s the difference in gauge. There’s 16, 18, 20, and 25, where the lower the gauge number the thicker the steel it is made up of, thus, making the metal stud framing prices higher with lower gauges.
To give you an idea, a 25-gauge stud with a length of 120 inches costs about $3 to $5. But a 16-gauge stud with the same length will cost around $22.
Materials also have different prices depending on its purpose. Are you in need of an interior metal stud? Or do you need it for your exterior? There’s a significant difference in price between the two materials.
For example, a metal track which is designed for interior purposes costs around $0.3 to $0.9 per linear foot. An exterior metal track, however, will tend to be more expensive and can range from $1 to $2 per linear foot.
There are different kinds of fasteners as well, and each has a different price. A pan head frame screw is needed to fasten the studs with the track, primarily for assembling a wall. And you need about four of it for each stud. A rough estimate of its price range is from $2 to $3 per 30 pieces. There is also hex head concrete screw which you can use for your bottom track. And prices are from $4 to $5 for 30 pieces. Lastly, you also need pan head wood screws to fasten the top metal track to the wood floor joists. And prices can range from $4 to $7 for 30 pieces.
What Else You Need to Know
One way to lower prices is to order in higher quantities, particularly for fasteners. The cost per fastener will usually go down if you order in bulk. Furthermore, you can save on future projects if you already have some of the basic tools on hand, for example, a metal saw or screw gun.
Since framing is the first step in the actual construction of a structure, it will be the first thing you’ll be spending on. And, it has been determined that framing can be 65% to 70% of your entire expenses. So, you can expect the following processes to be lighter in terms of costs.