Installing picture rail on steel studs - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
 
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post #1 of 14 Old 12-06-2013, 11:45 PM Thread Starter
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Installing picture rail on steel studs

Some long hallways in a condo building are getting a "picture rail", which in this case is the base molding that's installed near the floor, but flipped upside down, with a notch cut in the back, installed high on the wall so that pictures can be hung from it. Trim is 9/16" thick, through 1/2" drywall, then steel studs (not sure of gauge, but seem to be light.) So it has to be secure, and I'm not going to be gluing these up.

So far I've been using 1 5/8" self tapping trim head screws. They are threading fine through the trim and drywall, but when they hit the studs, the threads are still turning through the trim and before it can tap through the studs, it keeps pushing the trim out from the wall and I have to unthread, redo, etc. A pain.

Would it be better to use sharp point fine thread trim head screws instead, and predrill the holes? I could use a bit big enough so the threads didn't catch in the wood, but small enough so the head will still countersink and pull it secure. I don't like the idea of all those predrills slowing us down, but I'm getting annoyed at how I'm slowed down as it is.
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post #2 of 14 Old 12-12-2013, 01:12 PM
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Your idea of making pilot holes for the screws is what I would suggest. This will be touchy because the trim heads will want to sink right in. The other option is to take a smaller bit than the screw internal size and pre-drill the metal stud so the screws go right in rather than spinning as they start through the metal.
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post #3 of 14 Old 12-12-2013, 02:00 PM
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I have seen self-drilling screws, but I am not sure if you can get them with a trim head. The self drilling should reduce the problem, but I wouldn't expect them to solve the problem, because even with a drill bit it takes a little while for it to bite into steel. The self drilling may bite into the steel quicker, but would probably still push the molding out while it was trying to bite. If that is the case, then I think you will be forced to pre-drill.

One other comment. I wouldn't trust fine thread screws in sheet metal. They could easily tear out the little bit of metal holding them in place.
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post #4 of 14 Old 12-12-2013, 02:32 PM
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I would drill a pilot hole the correct size for the shank of the trim screw. Once the screw threads, the head should be able to seat properly.






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post #5 of 14 Old 12-13-2013, 09:39 AM Thread Starter
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I ended up trying these screws
http://www.mcfeelys.com/product/0715...d-Square-Drive

(From a different supplier)

We are half way done with the project and will finish the second half next week. The screws are working, but the problem we are having is what was already mentioned - we are not predrilling, and the screws are threading into the wood and before it can tap into the stud, it's pushing the trim away from the wall. Sometimes it goes right in, but sometimes we have to back out and try 2 or 3 times before it drills in. I'm thinking of either predrilling with these, or with the sharp point version. The steel studs seem to be quite light gauge, but of course I can't see them. The only predrilling that would do any good would be using a bit size the same size as the full shank size so that the screw won't thread into the wood. But then I'm a little concerned about the little bite that the small trim head will have in that hole.
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post #6 of 14 Old 12-14-2013, 11:27 AM
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Pre-drill to stop the headaches. Use the same size as drill tip is on your screws.

This is a common issue that is hard to overcome due to the threads still in the wood while trying to pierce the stud. some finishing screws head are so small as you've found they sink before pulling. IF you can find screws with a nonthreaded part of shank the thickness of wood being anchored helps. Sharp self piercing points still have the same trouble due to the small lag time of piercing the metal stud.

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post #7 of 14 Old 12-15-2013, 10:59 AM
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I agree with others that you have to predrill. Not only for the attachment to the metal but also to allow the screw head to sink before the metal strips.Tack the molding in place onto the wall with your nail gun just to keep it from moving. You can then pre drill with the molding in place. I am very fond of a screw that has a trim head and a reverse thread near the top. It is a star drive bit and the reverse thread "pushes" the molding tight to the wall as you are screwing it. I cant remember the name of the company but it may be GRK. I use these screws all the time in cabinet work. The only problem I see here is that the sheet metal might not be strong enough to drive that reverse thread head into the molding before stripping but again if you have predrilled I think it will go. Since your not gluing I would assist this moldings holding potentil by shooting several angled finish nails on a downward angle into the drywall. Sort of like the way those little picture hangers you get with a frame work. Those angled nails could help significantly with slide problems
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Last edited by shopman; 12-15-2013 at 11:03 AM.
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post #8 of 14 Old 12-15-2013, 02:42 PM
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I worked for a company that made steel studs. The drywall studs are usually 22ga or 26 ga while light steel framing is 20 ga or heavier. They are probably not load bearing so they would be drywall studs and would be 22ga most likely.

George
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post #9 of 14 Old 12-15-2013, 03:33 PM Thread Starter
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I really like the idea of that screw. It appears to be on p. 24 of this GRK catalog. They claim the reverse thread helps with the dimple size, but I can't help but think it would help with my problem as well. I don't think this is a screw intended for drilling into steel studs though, since they are only available in 2" - 3 1/2". Since they're called RT Composite, I assume they're more for composite decking.
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post #10 of 14 Old 12-15-2013, 04:03 PM
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screw

you are right. That is a wood thread on that screw and the only hope of that screw working is by predrilling with a drill bit and not over torquing the screw. You would have to try one to see if it can work. These screws were designed for decking but I have only used them in other carpentry work. They are terrific.
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post #11 of 14 Old 12-15-2013, 06:44 PM Thread Starter
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That was dumb - mean to put this link in my last post regarding p. 24.

http://www.grkfasteners.com/pdf/en/GRK%20Oct%202013.pdf
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post #12 of 14 Old 12-15-2013, 08:20 PM
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Any reason why you aren't gluing I would glue and screw. Screw in the manner you have suggested.

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post #13 of 14 Old 12-16-2013, 02:51 AM Thread Starter
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I've heard of nailing and gluing, but I don't really see the point in gluing and screwing. Screws should hold anything they throw at it.
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post #14 of 14 Old 12-16-2013, 07:30 AM
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I ve been in the building industry for over 25 yrs. personally I would do both. Screws 'should' be strong enough.

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