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 August 5, 2022

Written by HomeAdvisor.

The cost of metal studs for framing a 2,000-square-foot home will run from $19,000 to $25,000, or an average of $21,000. Your total metal stud framing cost depends on your location, the design complexity, and fluctuating markets. 

Builders have used metal stud wall framing in commercial construction since the 1950s. While wood framing is a traditional choice, metal is lighter, fire-resistant, environmentally friendly, rotproof, and can withstand extreme weather conditions like hurricanes, wildfires, blizzards, and other natural disasters.

2022 Notice: Material Prices are Surging

Demand for siding and other building materials has grown over the past year. And as a result, manufacturers are increasing materials prices. Prices have gone up 5% to 10% this year, and many parts of the country are experiencing long delivery times. If you're planning a building project, we recommend starting as early as possible in the season, preparing for potential price fluctuations, and allowing extra time to order materials.

Metal Stud Framing Cost Calculator

Average Metal Stud Framing Cost

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

Estimating Metal Stud Framing Costs

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

By Gauge

The cost of metal studs varies 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. The lower the gauge, the thicker the studs are, so you’ll usually find that lower gauges cost more. For example, 20-gauge metal stud prices are usually lower than 16-gauge metal stud prices. 

By Type

Steel stud 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 and are fireproof. Steel is flexible while giving incredible durability and longevity, and it doesn't swell, warp, or shrink.

Type of Steel Average Cost Range per Lin. Ft. Uses
Light gauge cold-rolled steel $0.50 – $1.50 Load-bearing walls (comes in 16- and 18-gauges)
Hot-rolled steel beams $15 – $75 Residential and commercial structures
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Per Square Foot

Metal stud prices range from $2 to $4 per square foot. However, steel prices fluctuate over time, causing material costs to rise or fall. Check with your pro or your local supplier to get current pricing. 


Some pros prefer working with metal studs for framing, thanks to the shorter installation time. The cost of labor averages out to $5 to $10 per square foot or $10 to $30 per linear foot. However, the complexity of the project can drive up the cost.

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

What Factors Influence the Cost of Metal Stud Framing?

The size and design of your building make the biggest difference in the final cost. Read below to find out in-depth information on these cost factors.

Size of the Building

Most contractors charge a labor fee between $5 and $10 per square foot for metal stud framing. Complex designs call for a higher price tag when they require more studs and materials. 

  • Mobile homes: DIY metal framing kits are available for small homes that run from $13,000$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 move easily.

  • Multi-story houses: Steel beams can support more weight over a longer time 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 fits 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 and high-rise structures. 

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

Steel Studs vs. Wood Cost

Steel framing costs an average of $2 to $4 per square foot, while framing a house costs around $1 to $5 per square foot if you use wood. With rising wood prices, steel makes an economically feasible option.

Labor costs are similar at around $5 to $10 per square foot, though some contractors prefer steel for its quick installation, cutting labor costs. The hourly rate to hire a carpenter is about $15 to $150, and the cost of wood framing for a wall is $1,000 to $6,000 per wall.

Remember that metal stud framing requires different materials than wood framing, including screws, electrical boxes, plastic grommets, and fasteners. Keep in mind that screws cost more than nails.

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DIY Metal Framing vs. Hiring a Contractor

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

While custom DIY steel frame kits are becoming popular, they’re only suitable for small projects like building a home addition, shed, or garage. Additionally, you'll need to hire a residential framing contractor near you to keep warranties valid in most cases.


What is the difference between metal and wood framing?

Both wood and steel are popular options for framing, but you can see a breakdown of the differences below. 


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 rotproof, insect-proof, and much more fire-resistant. 

Environmentally Friendly 

Steel is friendlier to the environment than wood as it doesn’t require cutting down trees and you can recycle the frame. 

Energy-Efficient Material

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


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

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: It 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’s less chance of losing the structure in the event of a fire. 

  • Green material: Metal studs consist of at least 25% recycled material and 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.

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

To install drywall on 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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