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Steel studs and standard electrical boxes

Posted by jgodfrey (My Page) on
Fri, Jan 5, 07 at 9:47

Hi All,

I've been *slowly* finishing my basement (over the past few years!) and am ready to begin some of the electrical rough-in. Most of my exterior walls have been framed up with steel studs, which causes a obvious issue with standard, nail-in type plastic switch and outlet boxes. I assume there's a special box made for attaching to steel studs, and I also assume that it's rather expensive. I'll check into that before I continue, but I wondered if the following would be acceptable...

1. Rip a wooden stud down in width just slightly (if necessary) so that it fits *inside* the steel stud.
2. Cut the wooden stud into blocks of say 10-12" long.
3. Nail a standard box to the block
4. Screw the block inside the steel stud at the proper height

Obviously, I'd need to end up with the proper "reveal" on the box surface...

While the above is simple enough to do, can anyone see any problems that I may have overlooked?



Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Steel studs and standard electrical boxes

check out the link below for another discussion on this forum about metal studs

Here is a link that might be useful: metal studs and electrical boxes

RE: Steel studs and standard electrical boxes

Thanks for the link. I thought I'd searched this forum fairly well prior to my post, but don't remember seeing that particular post. It definitely provides some useful information.

Does anyone have specific thoughts regarding my idea for using standard boxes on metal studs as outlined in my original post?



RE: Steel studs and standard electrical boxes

The issue is connecting any type of box to metal studs. It's necessary to use self tapping screws to go through the metal to anchor the box. The normal type of metal boxes for metal studs have ears on top and bottom which makes connecting much easier. IF you iinsist on using plastic boxes you will probably need to predrill holes in the boxes to allow for the self tapping screws.

RE: Steel studs and standard electrical boxes


Thanks for the reply, but I think one of us misunderstood (could be me). I'm planning to *nail* a standard box to a "block" created from a standard wooden stud (ripped down in width slightly if necessary). That block will probably be 8-12" long (whatever looks right). I'll then insert that block (complete with box) inside the "C" shaped metal stud, slide it to the proper height, and then screw through 3 1/2" side of the metal stud into the wooden block to hold it all in place.

Also, it's not so much that I insist on using plastic boxes - I just already have a bunch of them and figured "why not"?

As I said before, this all seems simple enough, and I can't see any reason why it'd cause any problems - but thought I'd ask here to be sure.

Thanks again.


RE: Steel studs and standard electrical boxes

" I just already have a bunch of them and figured "why not"?"

If you already have the wood, the screws, etc. you can do it.
The cost of the wood, screws, and all the time for this will is more than the cost of the correct boxes.

RE: Steel studs and standard electrical boxes

I understand what you want to do. If you plan to drywall the walls or add paneling, be sure to mount the boxes to allow for the finished thickness of the wall material. There are situations where we can't use remodel boxes and we cut the nail tracks off of nail-on boxes and screw them into a stud using drywall screws.

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