Sizing framing: tables for metal stud framing

tables for metal stud framing

We’ve been asked by a number of clients how to size and build with metal studs a few times. While it’s always good to go with an engineered design there are tables for metal stud framing that can help us size steel framing based on existing data out there. In fact, many of the engineers use these metal framing tables all the time for reference.

Exterior Curtain Wall Sizing

Exterior curtain are made of structural studs in commercial or industrial projects. Their purpose is to support exterior cladding such as brick, glass, cladding, and stucco. The key sizes factors to look for are:

  • Local building code requirements for size and strength
  • Wind Loads: The size of the curtain wall should be determined based on the wind loads that the wall will be subjected to. This will involve performing wind load calculations to determine the size and strength of the wall required to resist the wind loads.
  • Thermal performance and the size and thickness required to meet desired insulation values.
  • Structural support and the size and strength required to hold the wall in place.
  • The weight of exterior cladding such as stucco.

SteelNetwork has a nice page where excisable framing tables starting on page 17. I recommend using this one for looking up steel sizes for Curtain Walls. Specifically helpful to understand the limiting Wall Height Tables.

Floor Joists

ClarkDetrick has a page with a plethora of good tables. Specifically, I like the joists section which allowed us at US FrameFactory to understand the limits of our steel roll former. Joists are the floor members of a building. In our first build, we used 600S162-43, i.e 6″ 18 gauge studs, 16″ on center. With a quick look at the table, I can see the maximum span we could use is 14′ 9″.

tables for metal stud framing

Using the table goes as such, find your metal studs, look at your on center spacing to see what the allowable limit is. For us we were using a 600S162-43 with 16″ on center spacing. As you can see we can go 14′ 9″ this is an allowable max span with the deflection under control. Assuming a dead load of 10psi(the weight of the floor) and L/360 is the when the 20psi (live load) is applied we can expect it to defect length in inches/360. So In our case(10′ i.e 120″ it would’ve deflected 120/360 so about 1/3″. This is designed for the maximum load with factors of safety, it’s very unlikely that it would ever deflect that much.

tables for metal stud framing usframefactory

When sizing your joists on the US Frame Factory shopping portal make sure you look at the end to see the steel size.

Header and other standards.

The American Iron and steel Insitute has a great deep dive into box beam design and web stiffeners. There are two types of headers, L headers, and Box Headers. They discuss the advantages of each one starting on page 32.

I like the attached file below for a table on how to size metal stud headers. See page 79 where how to size header spans begin.

While this is by no means comprehensive or a good replacement for engineering, these guides are a good starting point when taking on smaller projects.

Sizing framing: tables for metal stud framing typical header configuration

Here is an engineering example of allow able spans with a metal stud header.

Interior Wall Tables for Metal Stud Framing

While drywall studs are not load-bearing, tests have been conducted to determine the recommended height for studs to achieve acceptable wall deflection. These recommendations are based on the use of 5/8″ gypsum board on both sides of the wall. For a typical 362S125-18 70 KSI stud, walls can typically reach a height of 16 feet and 8 inches. In accordance with the “ASTMC645-18 Standard Specification for Nonstructural Steel Framing Members,” framing walls should not exceed a lateral load of 10 pounds per square foot. This implies that the total weight of any sheathing applied to the wall should be greater than 10 pounds per square foot.

US Frame Factory estimated drywall stud height limiting table

The table presented above provides estimates, derived from online data, of achievable wall heights using non-structural drywall studs under specific load conditions. It’s important to note that the recommended height values may vary depending on the specific type of stud you purchase, as there are various products available in the market. For more information on drywall studs read here.

Additional Resources

Drywall Metal Studs: Non-Structural Metal Framing

Structural Metal Studs

Metal Stud Nomenclature for framing in North America

5 thoughts on “Sizing framing: tables for metal stud framing”

  1. Good afternoon,

    My name is Shaun Haskins, I am the Supply Chain manager for Pulte Homes Houston. We are looking into options with our flooring systems and beams. Currently for structural beams we are using from 12” up to 14” LVL and LSL beams. With your floor systems I wanted to see what you guys offer that is load carrying and if you could send me some literature on your products. Thank you for your time.

  2. Hello, My name is Chuck Lasky I am a certified
    Instructure in the International Building Codes
    2021 adopted by the State of New Jersey.
    Teaching at Brookdale Community College courses
    for prospected Building Officials. Please email
    me information understanding and explaining the concept of Structural Cold-Formed Steel Products. To instruct Students how the product is used in the Industry. Thank you Chuck Lasky

  3. I would appreciate any information you can send me. If the situation where you need some Code Data I would gladly inform you to the best of my ability.
    Chuck Lasky

  4. Hello.
    I am looking for “standard “ building materials to use in a concept for home a am working on. Initially I am looking for steel “ H “ … studs that will be used as interlocking intermediate studs to join panels that are 4’ W x 8’ H x (Thick ?) structural foam panels. *** My main challenge is to find a standard stud that will accept the thickness of a standard foam panel of 2 or 3” thick. Can you help me? I don’t know thicknesses of available foam panels on the market… Thank you.

  5. I have purchased 200 16 gauge steel studs 23 feet long. I am considering building a A frame cabin/home. Do you know or have someone I may discuss using these for the side walls..roof panels. Would they be strong enough 12 or 16 OC to use when supporting a shell of steel and foam insulated wall panels that weigh 4lbs per Sq ft. I will need to purchase the materials, track, connectors and all misc. also. Thank you

    Joe Schmidt, 701-833-9145

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *