Ryan Davis, Assoc. DBIA, ADMG
When it comes to steel stud framing for interior non-load bearing partitions it might be worth your time as an owner to take a second look at what your designer or contractor has specified. It could save you some headaches down the road. Throwing around 25 GA (18 mils) flimsy steel studs for your partitions is not always the right answer, and most often times not!
A junior project manager or draftsmen might take wall details and notes off an old set of drawings for a simple T.I. project that might not necessarily be what is correct for yours. Something that is commonly overlooked is specifying the correct steel stud thickness, size, and spacing.
As an owner you might want to think about the following: Are my walls full height, demising or just above the ceiling? What is the wall finish going to be; paint, stone veneer, how many layers of drywall? What kind of sound attenuation am I seeking? Does the wall contain any mechanical or plumbing?
Typically for any material other than a single layer of drywall each side you are going to want to go with something thicker than 25 GA (18 Mil). We usually specify nothing less than 20 GA (33 mils) for high end interiors. Also, Check to make sure the studs have the appropriate corrosion protection as required (galvanizing, G40, 60, 90) ASTM A653. There are also many stud options, smooth, dimpled, high performance, each affecting strength, sound attenuation, and of course cost. Finally make sure walls have the appropriate stud spacing. Not all steel stud walls are 24” O.C. as some like to believe!
The specification of your steel stud framing can have dramatic effects on project cost, whether or not that expensive stone veneer on your wall cracks, whether or not can hear a conversation in the next room, and if you see a nice ghosting line on your expensive wall paint. When it comes to steel stud framing it pays to be informed.
Here are some links for more information on steel stud framing.