Attaching Dry wall to i-beams

Old 05-20-04, 07:35 PM
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Attaching Dry wall to i-beams

In my office we need to extend the dry wall up from the drop ceiling line to the top of the metal roof, about 45" above. The challenge is that other than the structural steel i-beams that run perpendicular to the wall, there are no other nailing strips or beams. Because we're going into 3/8 steel, I assume using metal screws is out of the question.

At Lowes is was recommended that we attach metal studs to the i-beam using a .22 caliber impact nail gun, then attach metal studs perpendicular to those with screws, running from the edge of the drop ceiling up to the roof. We would then screw the dry wall to these 45" studs.

If I've described the problem with enough detail, does this sound like a viable solution? Is there a better way to skin this cat? I've installed wood stud walls and hung tons of drywall, but this is my first attempt with steel beams and studs.

We're going to attempt this install over the week-end so a quick reply would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks in advance
Old 05-20-04, 10:09 PM
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Hi Tim,

Sounds like for once Lowe's handed out some good advice, hard to believe! Yeah that's pretty much how I would do this project.

For this application, I'd run my vertical studs at 24" centers and use 8' sheets. For a couple of reasons, you can get two cuts out of each board & the stuff will be easier to handle up there if you run them vertically, with the 24" centered framing, you'll only have to rip maybe one piece at the most per wall.

Also I'm guessing this is being done for fire code compliance above a drop ceiling? If that's the case, there is fire tape available now that is compliant with national fire code that doesn't require any mudding! Here's what info I've got for a contact on the company. I get it thru a drywall supply house down in the city, not sure if you'll find it at Lowes, but look under drywall suppliers in the local yellow pages, probably some place in your area that stocks it.

E-Z Taping System, Inc.

P.O. Box 11263, Green Bay, WI 54307-1263

(800) 721-8273 Fax: (920) 429-9413

One other thought, you can most likely rent to Hilti (.22 caliber impact nail gun) instead of buying one, check local rental yds. Hilti is the brand I own, but there's several other brands as well.

That should get you on your way bud.
Old 05-21-04, 05:18 AM
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Thanks for the quick reply. As I've continutied to noodle this through project, a few other questions have arisen in my mind.

First, it occurs to me that we'll need to install a top plate against the corrugated metal roof as well as a bottom plate on the top of the existing wall. If we only have a single span in the middle of the gap, there would be nothing preventing it from wall spinning, which would be bad . Or do you think we only need one or the other (top or bottom)? For the top plate, would you also recommend using the nail gun? What about liquid nails adhesive?

As an alternative, could we toe-nail or screw the 45" vertical studs into the existing wall and ceiling? It would certainly be a bit easier and speed the job along.

Second, how would you recommend we attach the metal studs to each other? Can we use the same fine-thread drywall screws or is there a better method?

Thanks again for all your advice. I'm quite at home working with wood but a bit out of my element when it comes to metal. ;-)

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