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Metal or Wood Stud Framing - Pros & Cons

The Pros of Metal Studs

  1. Moisture and humidity do not affect galvanized metal studs, so they do not warp or rot and can remain straight and sturdy for a long time.

  2. The durability and strength of metal stud construction stands up to severe winds.

  3. Termite-resistant metal studs eliminate the need for pest control measures.

  4. Metal studs are hollow and lightweight, which makes them easy to carry and store.

  5. Manufacturing metal studs with steel creates a green product because steel can be recycled.

  6. Metal studs do not emit VOCs.

The Cons of Metal Studs

  1. Cutting metal studs can be difficult and hazardous. It typically requires a miter or circular saw equipped with a metal-cutting blade in conjunction with tin snips.

  2. Limited availability of less popular dimensions of metal studs can slow the construction progress.

  3. Taping a drywall screw into a metal stud requires practice and patience.

  4. Metal studs do not contribute towards energy-efficient structures due to thermal bridging. Thermal bridging allows heat to flow from the inside of the building along the most conductive path, which is the metal studs. Thermal bridging makes a structure drafty and cold. It can also create black staining on the cold portions of the walls.

  5. While metal is incombustible, it loses strength at high temperatures, like during a fire, which makes the metal studs prone to buckling and even collapse. Also, as an active conductor of heat, metal studs can ignite adjacent materials, which may cause flames to spread to other areas of a building rapidly.

  6. When considering only the framing system, studies show that a metal stud framing system can cost 15 percent more than wood stud framing systems.

  7. The acoustics within a metal stud structure produce loud and echoing noises as the sound waves reflect off the hard surface.

The Pros of Wood Studs

  1. Environmentally-conscious builders often choose renewable wood studs. Also, wood studs require less energy to manufacture and transport than steel. Furthermore, the lifecycle of steel results in 26 percent more greenhouse gas emissions than wood.

  2. Wood studs are readily available products that builders can quickly obtain at locally owned and big box lumber stores.

  3. Over time, it is easy to maintain and repair wooden structures.

The Cons of Wood Studs

  1. Building a disaster-resistant wood stud buildings costs 25–30 percent more than standard wood-frame construction.

  2. Building a fire-resistant structure with wood studs challenges builders because of the combustibility of wood and the difficulty in reducing the spread of flames.

  3. Termites can damage a wood-stud building's durability and cost thousands of dollars in repairs. Protecting a wood-stud building requires a qualified professional and specialized equipment.

  4. Moisture accumulation within the walls of a wood stud building leads to mold. Mold is unhealthy to the building's occupants and can degrade the structure.

  5. Wood-studs may contain chemicals, adhesives, and VOCs that compromise indoor air quality.

  6. For wood-stud walls, construction requires soundproofing features to ensure a quiet and peaceful home.

  7. The low thermal mass of wood studs creates thermal bridging reducing the overall energy efficiency of the whole wall assembly.

  8. The quality of wood studs has diminished resulting in more on-site waste.

  9. Energy codes are driving wood walls to be thicker, even double stud applications to meet insulating standards.

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