Home>Discussions>DOORS & WINDOWS>Installing new doors/jambs in steel-framed walls.
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nicholas mccall...
Installing new doors/jambs in steel-framed walls.

My house has metal stud-framed walls. I've ripped out the existing (steel) interior door jambs because they were ugly and busted. But I'm unsure of how to go about installing new prehung doors. I've heard that attaching a wood door jamb to the metal studs won't work because the screws into the steel studs will strip out, and that the solution is to line the rough opening with wood blocking (plywood perhaps). But doesn't this just replicate the problem? The blocking, just like the door jamb, has to be secured to the metal somehow.

Note that, because this isn't a new build, I can't come at the blocking from inside the wall (thus anchoring the screw head against the steel) without tearing up the drywall.

So what can I do? Just screw a wood jamb into the steel and cross my fingers? Rip out the rough opening and install a wood frame? Install a metal door jamb?

dj1
Re: Installing new doors/jambs in steel-framed walls.

You are right about this: metal studs cannot support a door.

You need to fill in the U shape king studs with ripped to size 2x4s (double them), and secure them to the metal studs. the door jambs will then be attached to those wood filled metal studs.

It's the same idea when you install vinyl fence posts - you fill them with wood.

nicholas mccall...
Re: Installing new doors/jambs in steel-framed walls.
dj1 wrote:

You need to fill in the U shape king studs with ripped to size 2x4s (double them).

Double them? How so? The first ripped 2x4 would sit within the U-shaped king stud. Where would the second go?

Also, there seems to be another stud (trimmer stud?) seated within the king stud, facing the opposite way (the king stud's U faces the door opening, the trimmer's U has its back to the opening). So to put wood into the king stud it appears that I'd have to remove the trimmer.

Are there any metal door frames that I can just slap on without much trouble?

A. Spruce
Re: Installing new doors/jambs in steel-framed walls.

The best way is to fill the metal stud with a 2x4, as DJ suggests, not sure why it has to be doubled because the issue is the screws/nails pulling out of the sheetmetal, not stud strength. Check your openings, there may already be blocking there, mark the edge of the drywall accordingly so you know where to install shims and screws.

Another method would be to get yourself some metal duct strap and some 1/2" sheetmetal screws. Cut the strapping into strips the width of your jamb plus 2-1/2". Line the straps on the outside of the door frame (door frame, not the rough opening ) horizontally and secure in place with at least 3 screws. You will want at least three of these, one at each hinge, one in the center, do both jamb legs in this manner. Next you stand the door into place, level/square/shim as necessary, then bend the strap ends over the wall and secure with screws long enough to penetrate the studs. Follow this with screws through the jamb into the framing. When the trim is installed, because you have metal studs, you will only be attaching it to the door jamb itself and not into the wall, caulking the wall joint will secure it there.

nicholas mccall...
Re: Installing new doors/jambs in steel-framed walls.
A. Spruce wrote:

The best way is to fill the metal stud with a 2x4, as DJ suggests.

How do I secure the 2x4 to the inside of the stud? Screws through the drywall, through the stud, and then into the wood (perpendicular to the plane of the door)? I would think screwing into the wood and then through the stud (parallel to the door) wouldn't solve the stripping problem.

Alternatively, does anyone sell metal door frames that go into place (leaving a way to attach trim) so that I don't have to mess around with these steel studs?

dj1
Re: Installing new doors/jambs in steel-framed walls.

"Double them? How so? The first ripped 2x4 would sit within the U-shaped king stud. Where would the second go?"

I don't know your rough opening construction, but accepted construction includes a king stud and a jack stud (that's double studs) on each side of the opening.

The second stud will butt the ripped stud. Maybe your building dept will accept the metal stud and inner ripped wood stud. The thing is, the wood stud has to be fastened to the sill and top plate metal members as well.

Also, if you are on a slab, I think you might want to check if you would need the wood studs resting on PT wood.

Your best and most reliable source of information is your local building department. They will gladly tell you their standards. After you get this information, plz share with us.

A. Spruce
Re: Installing new doors/jambs in steel-framed walls.

Metal studs are channel shaped. The door framing should be the bottom of the channel facing the opening, which means that unless you've got the wall open to access the inside of the framing, then DJ's 2x4 method isn't going to work, more over, installing a double wood stud would also be unnecessary, as the metal framing should be such that it is sufficient, the only reason you're adding the wood is to give you something to attach the door to. If you go this route, then you only need a couple of sheet metal screws through the metal stud into the wood stud to hold it in place.

Sombreuil_mongrel
Re: Installing new doors/jambs in steel-framed walls.

Light metal studs in commercial spaces support solid-core steel-bucked doors all the time.
You need the right door bucks.The commercial ones come in a thickness appropriate for the stud plus 5/8" drywall on both sides. http://www.deansteel.com/hollow_metal/products_specialty_frames.php
If your house was built with heavy-gauge metal studs, then they can take screws effectively, if you use the right screws, enabling the use of wooden frames.
Casey

nicholas mccall...
Re: Installing new doors/jambs in steel-framed walls.

There are some great recommendations and ideas in this thread. Thanks all.

I've decided to install a 1/2" or 3/4" plywood buck that I can attach prehung doors to. If the buck is secure, the door should be too. Any tips on this method would be appreciated.

nicholas mccall...
Re: Installing new doors/jambs in steel-framed walls.

I went with 1x6 poplar to line the rough opening, secured with countersunk lath screws. At the two joints, I notched the adjoining boards to fit them together. Simple and sturdy and left me with just enough room to fit the door in. Thanks for all the advice!

Mastercarpentry
Re: Installing new doors/jambs in steel-framed walls.

I'm late to the party once again. In commercial construction the metal door frame provides the rigidity which the usual 24ga studs lack. In some residential work you'll find blocking or a ripped 2X4 inside the stud channel while others may use a 16ga stud there which will hold screws by itself. In the cheapest residential construction the snap-in door unit is set by gluing the casing to the sheetrock with shimming centering the top and trim screws through the casing securing the bottom. Normally metal stud framing has only one stud at opening edges; the 'header' or sill is cut to be tabbed to screw into the thin edges of the studding with a tab doing the same on the flat of the stud which gives the needed support. Sometimes you'll find track capping those openings to create a 'box section girder' with the blocking enclosed. That is usually done where non-combustible construction is required; while it isn't actually to code it usually passes inspection as it isn't easily found and the better inspectors understand why it's needed so they don't look for it. Non-combustible lumber is allowed here but normally standard framing lumber is used. Treated lumber is generally avoided since it is corrosive to metals here even though code requires it on direct metal contact. It's all up to the inspector so you'll find all kinds of variations with metal stud construction including post-inspection alterations.

Only 16ga or heavier stud construction has any structural strength and you'll only find that in some commercial or industrial work. Even then there are normally no jack studs involved as the tabbed and screwed connection is all the support needed and it's not enough for full load bearing walls by itself anyway although it can be useful for other purposes. This type of construction is engineered to meet a specific need only nd as such you cannot alter any part of it without an engineered drawing permitting that. You won't find it in residential applications.

Phil

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