How Much Does Metal Stud Framing Cost?

Typical Range:

$19,000 - $25,000

Find out how much your project will cost.

Cost data is based on research by HomeAdvisor.

Updated March 15, 2022

Written by HomeAdvisor.

The cost to frame steel studs in a 2,000-square-foot home will run from $19,000 to $25,000 or an average of $21,000. The price depends on your location, design complexity, and fluctuating markets.

Metal stud wall framing is a great alternative to wood framing that has been used in commercial construction since the 1950s. While wood is a traditional choice, metal is lighter, fire-resistant, environmentally friendly, rot and insect-proof, and can withstand extreme weather conditions like hurricanes, wildfires, blizzards, and other natural disasters.

Metal Stud Framing Cost Calculator

Average Cost$21,000
High Cost$25,000
Low Cost$19,000

Estimating Metal Stud Framing Costs

The price to frame your house with metal stud frames will come down to the thickness of the metal, labor costs, and other materials.

Steel Gauge Cost

Expect to pay between $2 and $5 per square foot, depending on the metal gauge—or the thickness of the metal. Most load-bearing walls require 16- or 18-gauge studs, while interior walls use 20 or 25-gauge metal studs.

Labor Cost

Regardless of the material price, labor remains constant at $5 to $10 per square foot or $10 to $30 per linear foot

Additional Cost

Metal stud framing entails using other materials such as plastic grommets, electrical boxes, fasteners, and screws when framing the house. These items are usually included in the professional fees. But if not, you will have to purchase them separately.

Average costs framing a 10-foot wall range from $150 to $375, including materials and labor

How Much Does It Cost for Metal Stud Framing per Square Foot?

Metal studs run in the range of $2 to $4 per square foot. However, steel prices fluctuate over time, causing material costs to rise or fall. 

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Cost to Install It Yourself vs Hiring a Contractor 

Only an experienced DIYer with the proper tools should attempt steel framing. Working with metal studs requires special components and devices to cut and attach the studs to place. Even if you can do the work, consider the additional cost you'll pay for the tools and supplies.

How Much Does It Cost to Install Metal Stud Framing by Type?

Steel prices range drastically between $0.50 and $75 per linear foot, but the overall cost to install metal stud framing depends on the type of steel and whether you use cold rolled light gauge steel or hot rolled steel.

Both types are resistant to rot and insects while being fireproof. Steel is flexible while giving incredible durability and longevity. It doesn't swell, warp or shrink. 

Hot Rolled Steel Beams 

Framing is available for both residential and commercial structures. It runs between $15 to $75 per linear foot for materials depending on the thickness and width.

Light Gauge Cold Rolled Steel

It costs $0.50 to $1.50 per linear foot for materials. Light gauge steel comes in 16 and 18 gauges and is used for load-bearing walls. 

While custom DIY steel frame kits are becoming popular, they are only suitable for small projects like building a home addition, shed, or garage. However, you'll need to hire a skilled professional to keep warranties valid in most cases. 

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What Factors Influence the Cost of Metal Stud Framing?

The size and design of your building make the biggest difference in the final cost. 

The Size of the Building

Most contractors charge a labor fee between $4 and $10 per square foot for metal stud framing. Complex designs call for a higher price tag when it requires more studs and more materials. 

  • Mobile Homes: DIY metal framing kits are available for small homes that run from $13,000 to $21,000, including the trailer foundation, and come partially assembled in framing panels. Metal stud framing is essential for mobile homes to reduce weight and easily move it.

  • Multi-Story Houses: Steel beams can support more weight over a longer span than wood, making steel framing perfect for large open concept homes. Contractors usually utilize structure supports such as I-beams, H-beams, and Z-beams and heavier gauge steel for support.

Residential vs. Commercial Structures 

Metal stud framing is great for residential and commercial structures, each using a different type of stud framing that would fit the layout and the design.

  • Apartment Buildings: These structures often utilize structural steel framing with heavy I-beams and load-bearing supports. Structural steel allows more design variation for both low-rise or high-rise structures. 

  • Commercial Structures: These structures range from $12 to $40 per square foot with insulation and wall coverings. Contractors utilize structural steel supports in combination with light gauge steel studs.

FAQs

What is the difference between metal and wood framing? 

Both wood and steel are popular options for framing, but what makes the difference?

Cost

The cost of steel framing runs an average of $2 to $4 per square foot while framing with wood is in the $1 to $5 per square foot range. With rising wood prices, steel makes an economically feasible option.

Labor costs are similar at $5 to $10 per square foot, though some contractors prefer steel for its quick installation, cutting labor costs. 

Durability

Both steel and wood can last well over 100 years with proper care. Steel manufacturers can offer a 50-year warranty, while most wood homes only come with a year or two. 

When exposed to moisture, wood could rot or warp. In contrast, galvanized steel is rot and insect-proof and much more fire-resistant. 

Environmental Friendly

Steel is friendlier to the environment than wood as it does not require cutting down trees.

Energy-Efficient Material

Metal stud framing can be energy efficient. The energy efficiency rating of metal framing can be higher than conventional wood construction through proper insulation.

Installation 

Compared to wood, metal studs are easier and quicker to install, while wood studs require many specialized skills to install.

Is metal stud framing right for you?

If you’re looking to frame your home, metal framing offers a few advantages over wood framing. 

  • Sturdy and safe: Holds up better against earthquakes, hurricanes, and high winds, making metal stud framing much safer in areas prone to high winds and seismic activity.

  • Durable: Steel will stay straight compared to wood that can bend or warp over time.

  • Protected from fires: Steel is also fire-resistant, so there is less chance of losing the structure in the event of a fire. 

  • Green material: Metal studs are made of at least 25% recycled material, and they are completely recyclable with no waste. 

  • Easy to Install: A metal framing system is easier to install than its wood counterpart. The whole structure can be screwed together instead of swinging a hammer all day long.

How much does it cost to install drywall with a metal frame?

To install drywall on a metal stud framing, expect to pay between $1.15 and $2 per square foot. The total cost for framing and drywall together runs in the $20 to $30 per linear foot range. 

Metal frames often seem light, but they can be exceptionally strong once drywall or sheathing is attached.

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