If you have found yourself delving into a life of DIY, you may be lost in a world of fixtures and fittings, confused at the many varieties in materials and unsure what is the best fit. When it comes to studs, the more traditional material is timber. Sturdy, strong and reliable, or so we thought, but steel studs are quickly becoming the more popular option and here’s why.
Studs are a key component in frame construction, and steel studs in particular provide many benefits over good old-fashioned wood.
Stability – Wood, as we know is prone to rotting, warping and termite infestation, weakening the structure over time. Steel on the other hand provides a stable construct that will not experience the same aging disadvantages, making it a much more reliable material for construction.
Weight – Steel is surprisingly much lighter in weight than wood, making it much easier to build with. DIY is a tiring job without the added strain of heavy components slowing you down.
Fireproof – Of course, there is the added benefit in the eventuality of a fire that your structure will be more stable as steel studs are fire resistant, and if accompanied by fire resistant plasterboard you will be ensuring even higher levels of protection, unlike wood which would unfortunately be victim to the flame.
Strength – With different gauges depending on the load baring of the wall, steel studs as Construction beams give you strength in a variety of structures. You can use steel studs for both heavy load baring walls and more lightweight partitioning walls.
Cost – Unlike its wooden counterpart, steel studs are much more cost effective and therefore much more affordable for the average household DIY project.
Storage – Building a structure takes time and therefore you will need a sufficient storage space for your materials. One limitation of wood studs is that they need to be kept dry to prevent the wood expanding or warping. With Steel studs you don’t have to worry about where you store them, they will not be damaged from air conditions.
The list of reasons why steel studs trump timber seems to be endless, but it important to highlight some potential downsides to using steel. You will need to consider the type of cabling and electrical boxes you use because steel can conduct electricity which could be very dangerous if not dealt with correctly. Another potential downside you may want to consider is the lack of insultation steel studs provide. Being a naturally cold material, you would need to think carefully about a good insultation to fill your frame with, whereas wood is quite good at retaining heat, steel will not provide you with the same warmth.
And a last word of warning, heavy gauge steel stubs are a little harder to come by, you probably won’t come across them in your local DIY store, so if you are looking to build an exterior wall or load baring, it’s something to consider s you might have to buy from somewhere more wholesale that sells to contractors.