Light Gauge Metal Framing aka Steel Studs is one of the most wonderful inventions of the 20th Century.
For some things they are the cats pajamas.
Case in point, the coffered ceiling in the new world headquarters.
This was the back wall a few days ago.
The rafters are connected together above the horizontal 4×6” beam as the primary support. What you don’t see is the vertical 4×4” post hidden by the wood framing I have in place.
(a quick note: Post and Beam used to be the method of wood frame construction for many years. A Beam is a horizontal member Usually out of wood, above the ground. A Post is a vertical member whose job was to form the vertical corners and intermediate support for the Beams. Between the beams were either rafters which were thinner wood members that formed the roof, or joists, in the case of multi story or level buildings. ‘Studs’ didn’t show up until ‘Balloon’ framing became a standard construction method in wood. Then came Platform framing which is what you see today.
Platform framing like its ancestors was an attempt to enclose more space more efficiently at a lower cost.
Once you have a load bearing structure built, where you put your walls is pretty open. This is where steel studs enter the picture….)
There are a couple of challenges here.
1. I need to provide a place to run the heating and air conditioning [HVAC] ductwork. Since I am not a fan of postmodern industrial design, I am going to hide the ductwork.
2. The ceiling slopes from the front to the back. This means that I need to provide a surface that is level. I like flat ceilings.
3. I like coffered ceilings.
Since I have already figured out where my HVAC supply is, which starts 15′ feet away on the far side of the living room, which is why I built a soffit in the living room which crosses the entire length of the living room, to get it into the new office, I know what I need for ductwork as well as the register(the metal grille where the air comes out) this dictates a couple of design constraints.
A. The soffit needs to be big enough to house the boot, which is the sheet metal piece that the register attaches to, and B. deep enough to carry the ductwork, which in this case, will be flex duct, another great invention of the 20th century.
Armed with this information, I can establish lines to begin framing the soffit for the ductwork,
and start the framing for the coffered ceiling. In the upper left hand corner is the wall area we will be punching out to run the flex duct.( one concrete block is all we will remove)
One of the nice things about steel studs is there are only two pieces. Studs which have a ‘C’ cross section, and holes punched at regular intervals for running cables[phone,Cat5,CATV,etc] and romex for electricity. Track which has a ‘U’ shape that the stud fits into, and is used for all your horizontal runs.
A measuring tape, tin snips, and a screw gun, and you are ready to become a framer. It’s more complicated than that, but you don’t need a lot of tools to work with it.
Where you see the line of track rounding the corner is establishing the lowest level of my coffered ceiling. This ceiling will have three levels. Two steps and the final ceiling.
Here is the backwall with the three levels completed. Yes you can count 4 here, but the last one is the HVAC soffit.
Gotta run the ductwork, electricity, phone, CAT5, and the CATV lines. More later.