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25 October 2017

Specify Compliant Internal Wall Openings with Confidence

1710 Sam Mckechnie

Detailed framing systems are essential for ensuring strong internal doorways, and understanding the framing process is crucial in preventing potential structural problems and plasterboard cracking. There are many traditional framing systems for wall openings, including a single light gauge steel stud, timber inside steel studs and boxed studs, however each of them have their potential downsides.

Using a standard steel wall stud in 0.55mm gauge as jamb studs in internal doorways is a disaster waiting to happen. In such installations, cracked plasterboard linings should be treated with the foregone conclusion: ‘when’ it cracks, not ‘if’ it cracks.

Internal light gauge steel framing systems are designed to allow some movement and have relatively high lateral deflection properties (bowing along the wall height) when a door is forcibly slammed against such flimsy framing installations. The wall structure comes under immense pressure to absorb such forces and the wall can deflect beyond the elasticity limits of plasterboard. This may cause the plasterboard to crack and the stopping compound to break away.

Timber/steel stud combinations are cumbersome and are rarely installed correctly, becoming a common cause of defect notices. A frequent fault in this application is for the timber stud to only be 75% of the steel stud length, with the timber stud not being fixed to the base structure, providing very little strength to the overall wall system.  This results in cracked walls when the door weight and pressure of slamming transfers through to the single light gauge stud at the point where the timber stud stops.

The alternative boxed studs option can be much slower to install and does not provide an ideal fit at the track connection. This technique requires two steel studs to be connected to form a box shape, which can be a labour-intensive exercise.

All these methods present additional costs in labour and potential malfunctions in the finished wall. The strongest and most reliable method for framing internal doorways is to simply specify a specialty jamb stud such as Studco’s HEDAjamb. This strong and durable method of framing is quick and easy to install, and by far the most cost-effective method to use.

HEDAjamb Benefits 2

HEDAjamb studs can be used as ‘jamb studs’ on either side of the opening for doors and windows, and as the lintel and sill in openings in the standard 92mm and 150mm wall systems. These jamb studs are continuous from the floor through to the structure at the top and are screw-fixed to the top and bottom track to ensure maximum rigidity and reliability. Structural wall brackets are also available to provide additional strength in high-traffic applications such as hospitals and public spaces.

Beyond internal wall openings, Studco is a steel partner that is willing to work with architects and engineers to provide the ideal engineering solution for your next project. As a global leader in innovative metal building systems, Studco Building Systems takes pride in developing partnerships with architects to assist throughout the design stage and specification process.

View more information on Studco Building Systems, including contact details.
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