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Jamie Buxton
04-07-2006, 11:30 PM
I'm going to be installing kitchen cabinets and laundry cabinets in a condo which is built with steel studs. Hanging heavy uppers on those steel studs is a new one for me. Does anybody know what the usual solution is? Can I just drill a pilot hole in the steel and expect the usual cabinet-hanger screws to work? Or are is there some self-drilling sheet metal screw that works better?

Steve Clardy
04-08-2006, 10:08 AM
Jamie. They make a special cab screw for steel studs.
Self drilling, #10 fine screw.
Locate a cabinet shop or cabinet material supplier and they can guide you to find some screws.
I would double up the screw on steel studs. 2 on each stud.

Jason Roehl
04-08-2006, 10:08 AM
My memory's a little fuzzy on this, but I read something about this very situation a number of years ago, possibly in the Journal of Light Construction, but have no direct experience. I believe the point of the article was that steel studs twist and flex too much to directly hang cabinets to them, and that builders would substitute either plywood or OSB for the drywall in the cabinet area for a more solid arrangement. I would guess part of the issue is the gauge of the steel in the studs. Again, I have no direct experience, this is just some food for thought. You might try an Internet search. But, if you do just hang the cabinets as-is, what you would want is a self-tapping, fine-threaded, washer-head screw of sufficient length to go through the cabinet carcass, the drywall and the steel, with enough extra to make sure the threads are biting into the steel (not just the self-tapping part).

I hope that helps!

Joe Tonich
04-08-2006, 10:43 AM
When I was in construction they used metal studs for the interior walls in the office suites. The carpenters hung the cabinets with self tapping screws and PL-400 construction adhesive. The cab's would break before they would come down.

Jamie Buxton
04-08-2006, 12:13 PM
Jamie. They make a special cab screw for steel studs.
Self drilling, #10 fine screw.
Locate a cabinet shop or cabinet material supplier and they can guide you to find some screws.
I would double up the screw on steel studs. 2 on each stud.


Steve, on-line I see screws which are called self-drilling, and ones which are called self-piercing. On the self-piercing ones, the threads go all the way to the tip, and the tip is pointed. They look pretty much like standard sheet-metal screws. On the self-drilling ones, the tip of the screw looks like the tip of a twist drill. The self-drilling ones are mostly larger diameters like 1/4", but I see them in #10. Which one are you recommending?

Steve Clardy
04-08-2006, 12:23 PM
Either will work.
I prefer the #10. I think the 1/4 is overkill, easy to strip out maybe.
I do predrill the wood, clear through into the stud with a countersink bit. Not a bradpoint tipped one, just a standard bit.
Due to the way the metal stud is fashioned, its easy to push in the lip of the stud, bending it, with a larger, self drilling screw.
Takes more effort , power to install a larger, self cutting, threading screw, thus bending the stud.
Hope I'm making sense here?

Jamie Buxton
04-08-2006, 1:46 PM
Steve... So you're drilling what I'd call a pilot hole all the way through the wood and the metal stud? Then you run the #10 sheet-metal screw into the stud? Or do you drill a clearance hole through the wood, and a pilot hole through the stud?

Steve Clardy
04-08-2006, 2:34 PM
Pilot hole all the way through. With the self drilling screws, no other clearance hole in the wood is necessary.

Jamie Buxton
04-08-2006, 7:03 PM
Steve --
Thanks.
Jamie

Roger Everett
04-08-2006, 7:06 PM
As a long time union journeyman carpenter, having done a mountain of metal stud work, maybe I can add something to metal stud thoughts. All metal studs are not the same, they come in several heavynesses ( gauge ), from 10 ga. (.1180 ) to 25 ga (.0179 ). In commerical work we do partition walls, generaly in 16 ( can be structural ) to 20 ga.. Most contractors that use in homes, use 22 or mostly 25 ga. ( wouldn't touch them , we call them beer cans ). Screws, 22 or 25 ga. use the fine thread pointy screws ( very sharp point ), can be used for 20 ga. although 20 and heavier, use the self tappers. Don't use self tappers on lt. ga. ( 22 or 25 ga.) as the drill point will make a starter hole that the threads will pull out of lt. ga. studs. Use only fine thread as in a wood type screw, the threads are so far apart that there is only a partial part of thread holding at back of metal. When installing something on the wall of a lt ga. stud, always predrill thru wood ( as thread will grab in wood and want to push away from wall ) and install a fine thread screw into stud gingerly, so not to strip out. I built my house out of 20 ga. ( which kind of pi$$ed off sparky and the plumbers, not used to heavier studs to work around ), and I can hang anything I want anywhere.
Of course the best is to have blocking. When running any kind of work that will have anything hanging on the walls, cabinets, or for trim considerations, many hours are spent with the prints making sure that the 3 main consideration are covered for any purpose needed. the 3 things are Blocking, Blocking, Blocking.
If you have heavy cabinets, and are in the slightest bit worried, remove a section of drywall, that the cabinets will cover and put in blocking and reinstall drywall. Or better after removing the rock, replace with a pc. of 1/2 ply, precountersinking for screw heads.

HTH

Roger

Steve Clardy
04-08-2006, 7:17 PM
Roger has a good point on blocking. I started to suggest that, but lost in in thought.
When I bid and do new cabs in a new house, usually around here they all use wood studs, I try to convince the framers to block all the walls for cabinets. Makes it easy for me, and stronger for the cabinets. I'm not hunting for studs in the wall to hang cabinets.

Jamie Buxton
04-08-2006, 8:13 PM
Roger ---
How does one install wood blocking in a metal stud wall? Blocking in wood studs can be done by toenailing, so the blocks all line up horizontally and I know where that line is when I'm driving screws. Do you do something equivalent to toenailing with screws into metal studs?

Jamie Buxton
04-08-2006, 8:18 PM
Or better after removing the rock, replace with a pc. of 1/2 ply, precountersinking for screw heads.

HTH

Roger

Oh... you're saying that instead of installing blocking inside the walls, I just cut out a strip of sheetrock and replace it with plywood? Boy, that sounds much easier than trying to install blocking inside the wall.