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Metal Stud Sizes | Dimensions & When to Use Each

Metal Stud Sizes | Dimensions & When to Use Each

Metal stud sizes aren’t common knowledge. After all, most homes use wood studs, not metal. But there are times when it’s good to know the average dimensions and distance between them. Read on to learn more.


Disclaimer: The information included in this post is for informational purposes only and should not be taken as legal, financial, or DIY advice. We highly suggest consulting a professional before attempting any DIY home improvements or repairs.


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Metal studs are used for building anything from a treehouse to a warehouse. There are many sizes of metal studs that you can use, as they are used for a wide variety of projects. They’re the preferred material to use when building the walls of a structure because they are light and durable.

There are many different sizes of metal studs to choose from. We’ve broken down the numerical list into material thickness, flange width, and member depth. Using these measurements will help you find the right one for your project.

Standard Metal Stud Sizes

Metal studs in a commercial staircase for a piece on metal stud sizes

JPL Designs/Shutterstock

Metal stud sizes vary in width, thickness, and depth. It’s important to consider the thickness of the frame, the size of the webbing, and the size of the flange. Webbing in metal studs is the space in between the studs where plumbing and electrical wires are situated.

You also have to consider the flange size and lip size, which are both other measures of the metal stud that can affect their sizing. The flange is the area where you will apply drywall or another enclosing material to the stud. The lip is the part of the stud where they connect with a screw.

Steel Framing Thickness

You need to know how thick you need the metal studs to be for your project. In general, the thicker the metal, the more heavy-duty the project. This is because heavy-duty projects require a stronger foundation. 

Here are some examples of metal stud sizes as it relates to the thickness: 

  • 26 gauge (0.551 mils)
  • 24 gauge (0.701 mils) 
  • 22 gauge (0.853 mils)
  • 20 gauge (1.006 mils)
  • 18 gauge (1.311 mils)
  • 16 gauge (1.613 mils)
  • 14 gauge (1.994 mils)

The higher the gauge number, the thinner the stud is. The thicker the stud, the stronger the structure will be.

Various Flange Sizes and Lip Sizes

Flange sizes are expressed in 1/100th of an inch, and the thickness is expressed in 1/1000th of an inch. This measurement is also known as “mils.” 

Here are some typical flange sizes:

  • 1 1/4 inch (31.75 mm)
  • 1 3/8 inch 
  • 1 5/8 inch (41.3 mm)
  • 2 inches (50.8 mm)
  • 2 1/2 inches 
  • 3 inches 
  • 3 1/2 inches 

Lip sizes are also one of the most important things to know because they determine how the pieces of metal studs will fit together. Here are a couple of typical metal stud sizes as it relates to lip size.

  • 1/2 inches (12.7 mm)
  • 3/4 inches (19.1 mm)

Different Web Sizing 

As with the thickness, the flange sizing, and the lip sizing, the webbing size is crucial to the successful outcome of your project. Understanding which size webbing you need on your metal stud is one of the most important aspects.

The webbing determines how far apart your studs are. Below are a few standard webbing sizes:

  • 1 5/8 inch 
  • 2 1/2 inches 
  • 3 1/2 inches 
  • 3 5/8 inches 
  • 4 inches 
  • 5 1/2 inches 
  • 6 inches 
  • 8 inches 
  • 10 inches 
  • 12 inches 
  • 14 inches 
  • 16 inches 

As with any DIY project, it’s best to research as many sources of information you can find before you begin the project. Here are a few things to consider during this process:

  • After covering all the basics of the many types of metal stud sizes, consider the type of project you are doing to the right stud size.
  • For example, if you are building a small child’s playhouse in the backyard that needs to withstand a little weather, a stud with less thickness would be just fine. 
  • If you build a full-sized house for a family of four, a metal stud with a wider web size and larger thickness would be necessary for stability. 

An example on the scale is something like a commercial retail building with many floors. These buildings need the most durable metal stud with wide web sizes, thick studs, and bigger flange sizes. 

Things to Consider

Metal studs spaced about 12 inches apart with Gypsum wall on the back for an image to highlights the various metal stud sizes available

Roman023_photography/Shutterstock

Regardless of the size of your project, you must know everything you can about which type and size stud you need. You must be aware of anything that could turn your project upside down because you picked the wrong size. 

Here are a few things that you should consider when taking on a project like this:

  • Price point – be sure if you are on a tight budget that you don’t sacrifice quality to get the job done 
  • Research on the best brand to use for your project 
  • Decide on the sizing based on this research 
  • Be sure to get the correct size for your project, or it may not hold up 
  • Consult another source if you need help with installing metal studs or deciding which studs to use 
  • Be sure you know how to not only install the metal studs but also be sure you know how to enclose the walls after the studs are in place
  • Use a level to be sure it’s straight when working on a curved area

Frequently Asked Questions

Now that you know more about metal stud sizes, here are some frequently asked questions that may come up as you start working on your project.

How much do metal studs cost? 

The price can vary from store to store, but generally, they will cost between 6 dollars and 20 dollars per stud. The price depends on not only the material but also the size of the stud as well. 

Another general rule of thumb for metal stud pricing: A house will cost you around 8 to 13 dollars per square foot to build. Again, prices can vary based on many factors. For simple DIY projects, you can find metal studs of varying sizes at retailers like Home Depot and Lowe’s.

Metal studs at these retailers run between 6 dollars and 20 dollars per stud, so keep that in mind when you budget for your project. These retailers also offer a comparison option on their websites. You can use the tool to compare various sizes and their uses before purchasing. 

How do you install metal studs? 

Metal studs are installed using screws and brackets to form the structure. The retailers who sell metal studs like Home Depot and Lowe’s also sell the screws necessary to complete the project. You should use a ceiling and floor stud in every project with metal studs.

Be sure to do this step first and then put in the individual studs that make up the wall. Once you’ve installed them, you will use drywall or another wall-type material to close in the area.

Read Next: How Much Does It Cost to Have Someone Finish Drywall?

Why are metal studs better than wood studs?

There are many answers to this question, but the main reason is that metal studs are lighter and cheaper than wood studs. They are also more durable for the long term. Metal studs take less time to install and will save you time and energy on your project. Also, with lumber prices at record highs, metal offers a less expensive alternative.

Do metal studs rust? 

If the material is galvanized metal, it won’t rust. Many retailers offer warranties for this type of wear and tear. You can find that information on a company site from which you’ve purchased your tools. Here is an example of Inno Metal Studs’ warranty.

Do I need to cut the metal studs to fit my project? 

Usually, you will need to cut your studs to fit your needs. You can do this by cutting them one at a time with aviation snips. The alternative is to cut them in bulk with a circular saw. 

It’s also possible to bend metal studs to fit a project by cutting small incisions in the metal at equal intervals. Always use caution and the necessary safety precautions when cutting into metal. 

What is the best way to install the studs? 

The best way to install your metal studs is to install the floor and ceiling tracks first and then fill in the rest of the frame. Again, be sure to have the right size studs for your needs and the appropriate size screws and nails to put in the wall.

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What size studs are available?

The most common size studs available for a home are 2x6 and 2x4. In homes with 8 foot walls, studs are 92 inches apart. In homes with 9 foot walls, studs are 104.5 inches apart.

How wide do steel studs come?

Most big-box home improvement stores carry 3-5/8 inch wide studs (which is comparable to lumber 2x4 dimensions) in 25 gauge steel with 8 through 10 foot lengths.

What gauge do metal studs come in?

Metal studs typically come in 25-gauge steel with 1 1/4 inch flanges and are meant to be used for non-load bearing walls. You'll need to visit an industrial supply store for heavier-duty studs.

How wide is a 6 inch metal stud?

A 6 inch metal stud measures 6 inches on its long face. This equated to 1 5/8 by 4 inches.

Are metal studs nominal dimensions?

No, metal studs are referenced by actual size, not in nominal terms (like you're used to with wooden lumber). For example, a 2x4 is actually 3-1/2 inches by 1-1/2 inches.

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Which Metal Stud Size is Right for Your Project?

Bunch of metal drywall studs sit in a pile on a construction site floor next to bricks

You’ve learned about the various sizes and uses for metal studs. Now it’s time to decide what is best for your project. Be sure to account for how much it will cost, how expansive the space is, and if you have all the specifications necessary to accurately buy the size of stud you need.

Take measurements with you to the retailer for expert help if you are not sure. Metal studs are a simplified method of building walls than wood studs. You’ll be able to knock out your renovation project in a timely fashion with lighter materials by using metal studs versus wood studs.

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