Stud-Wall Construction

Load-bearing and non-load-bearing stud walls may be built of wood, aluminum, or cold-formed steel. Basic framing consists of vertical structural members, or studs, seated on a bottom, horizontal, bearing member, called a sole plate, and capped with a horizontal tie, called a top plate (Fig. 11.16). In addition, diagonal and horizontal bracing may be applied to the framing to prevent racking due to horizontal forces acting in the plane of the wall.
The studs usually are spaced 16 or 24 in on centers. Traditional surfacing materials are manufactured to accommodate these spacings; for example, panels to be attached to the framing usually come 48 in wide. (Inasmuch as the panels are fastened to each stud, panel thickness required, and hence cost, is determined by the stud spacing and generally is larger for 24-in spacing than for 16-in. Overall wall cost, however, may not be larger for the wider spacing, because it requires fewer studs.)

Wood stud walls are normally built of nominal 2  4-in lumber. This type of construction, usually used for residential buildings, is described in Art. 10.25. Advantages of wood construction include light weight and ease of fabrication and assembly, especially in the field.
Aluminum and cold-formed steel construction offer the advantages over wood of incombustibility and freedom from warping, shrinking, swelling, and attack by insects. Studs may be provided with punched openings, which not only reduce weight but also permit passage of pipe and conduit without the necessity of drilling holes in the field. Stud spacing usually is 24 in, rather than 16 in, to reduce the number of studs required.
Metal framing is not so easy to cut and fit in the field as wood. Hence, prefabrication of metal walls in convenient lengths is desirable.
Metal members are manufactured with a variety of widths, leg dimensions, lengths, and thicknesses. Steel studs, for example, are available as C shapes, channels and nailable sections; that is, attachments can be nailed to the flanges. Widths range from 1⁄2 to 6 in, and lengths, from 6 to 40 ft.
For partitions, a nonstructural interior finish, such as gypsum plaster, gypsumboard, fiberboard, or wood paneling, may be applied to both faces of stud-wall framing. For exterior walls, the interior face may be the same as for partitions, whereas the outer side must be enclosed with durable, weather-excluding materials, such as water-resistant sheating and siding or masonry veneer.
For quick assembly, stud walls may be prefabricated. Figure 11.17 illustrates erection of a cold-formed steel stud wall that has been preassembled with sheathing already attached.

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