Remodeling and refurbishing a house can be a daunting task to most people specially to those who have no background on it. There are lots of different materials to choose from that can easily overwhelm any homeowner. One of the best example of this is choosing the different types of studs for your wall framings. Basically, there are only two types of: wood and metal.
As most structural material, there are numerous pros and cons in using either wood or metal as your wall studs. Professional builders tend to prefer one material over the other and the debate on what is the best is never-ending. In this article, we will be discussing the different advantages and disadvantages of the two and see for yourself what is the best stud material for your home renovating project.
Wooden studs were the main choice of material for wall framing back in the day when metal studs are not yet widely available. But due to difficulty in acquisition and strict environmental regulations that we have today, most homebuilders are turning away from this material and preferring to work with the more common metal studs. Although not that common anymore, you can still find wooden studs in your local hardware stores that is suitable for any refurbishing projects.
Wooden studs come in wide variety of sizes from small 2” x 4” to large 2” x 8” lumber. These studs are mostly made from softwood trees such as redwood, pine and spruce. These trees also grow faster as compared to hardwood making them much cheaper to acquire. Softwoods are also easier to work with and without compromising the inherent durability of wooden materials. Unlike metal studs, it is highly recommended to use nails than screws when fastening and joining pieces of wooden studs. Wood screws tend to ruin the integrity of the wood when forced and can open up huge holes when done incorrectly.
Wooden Studs Pros
One of the main advantages of wooden studs over its counterpart is that it can easily support more weight and stronger than metal studs. Although steel is generally a stronger material than wood, metal studs are made thinner to reduce weight and bulkiness. Wood studs can also be used as foundations for fixed cabinets, doorways and other load-bearing constructs.
Wooden studs are also easier and safer to work with; you just need a saw to easily shape your desired designs. The durability of wood is also unquestionable; it can last for decades and replacing them is cheap and affordable.
Wooden Studs Cons
Although wooden studs are easier to work with, due to its weight and bulkiness it is much difficult to install. You need a lot of tools and materials in order to properly install as wall framings.
Water, humidity and moisture is also a main issue for wooden materials; it can easily warp and rot when exposed to these elements and protecting them is an added burden to the homeowner. Although generally cheap at some point, wooden studs can cost more than today’s metal studs.
Metal studs are typically made from strong, lightweight and durable cold-formed steel. These were initially intended for basement walls where moisture and wet conditions are ever present. These are also ideal for non-load-bearing walls and the framing process is generally simple, quick and cheap.
Like wood, metal studs also come it a huge selection of sizes and types depending on its applications. Sizes can range anywhere from 2” to 14” and above. There are even special types of metal studs than can be used as load-bearing framing for appliances such as wall mounted TVs albeit more expensive than ordinary ones. Joining and attaching the metal studs together can be done with any fastening material EXCEPT traditional nails.
Metal Studs Pros
In contrast to wooden studs, metals studs will not easily succumb and rot to the elements specially in wet, moist and humid conditions. They are also generally maintenance-free, fire-resistant and termite-proof. Being naturally lighter, this kind of material is also easier and faster to install than traditional wooden studs and will remain sturdy when fastened correctly.
Due to modern-day recycling methods, steel materials are now generally cheaper than disposable woods. Wooden materials also take time to acquire since you need to grow trees first thus adding to its acquiring costs.
Metal Studs Cons
Although easier to install than wooden studs, metal studs are harder to form and cut. It is also much dangerous to do so and special tools and PPEs are needed to shape them to desired lengths and form.
Another disadvantage is when hiring a building contractor to construct your wall framings. Since metal stud installation is considered a new technique, they may not be well versed on the proper installation methods and might cost you more on the long run.