Wood Vs Steel Studs

Old 07-21-03, 09:19 AM
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Wood Vs Steel Studs

Im about to frame-in non load-bearing walls in my basement and need to decide if I should use steel or wood studs. The only reason Im even considering steel studs is that the house had previous termite damage. Although weve repaired all the damage and had the house treated 2 years ago with Termidor ( http://www.termidorhome.com/home.asp ) and there were no active termites at the time I know that termites are still active in our neighborhood. Accordingly Im VERY concerned about using wood studs (even with pressure treated bottom plates on the floor) because it seems like it could provide a path to the house structure should termites ever make it through my basement floor again.

However, since steel studs are a bit unfamiliar to me and my carpenter friends should I consider a different alternative? What about using PT wood for all the studs? Ive heard termites dont like PT wood but is the repellent effect permanent or does it fade over time? Since PT wood is often damp when purchased, is there any danger of it twisting/warping after being installed and causing problems with the drywall? Is there such a thing as kiln dried PT wood? Does any manufacturer offer a termite resistant product designed for use in stud walls?

If I do use steel any hints for making the doorframes sturdy and for getting insulation that fits snuggly between the hollow steel studs (i.e. wider insulation)? Or should I just adjust the steel stud spacing so the standard width insulation fits snuggly?

All responses appreciated!

Chicago, IL
Old 07-22-03, 08:43 AM
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1. Properly pressure-treated wood usually has a 50-year warranty, and should last longer if not in a constantly wet exterior environment.
2. It retains its rot and pest resistance.
3. Yes, p-t wood can twist and warp worse than untreated wood as it dries out.
4. Yes, p-t wood is available kiln-dried, and it will be stamped KDAT (Kiln-Dried After Treatment) if it is. This is usually to 19% moisture content like normal untreated lumber.
5. Steel studs won't rot, get termites or other pests, or warp.
They are supposedly less expensive than wood. You just have to get a contractor who is familiar with steel framing and the tools and equipment to do it right.
You also have to use protective fittings through the steel for electrical and plumbing, but all of that is available from the supplier.
Good Luck!
Old 07-22-03, 02:56 PM
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Thanks Oldguy!

Thanks! - I think I'll go with steel.

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