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I recently built a metal frame construction for drywall. Before fixing the boards I applied some pressure on the frames and they were all extremely wobbly. At this point I was worried that the end result with the drywall will be to flexible and strengthened everything with wooden frames.

Is this expected behavior of the drywall metal framing that it only gets the rigidity once the drywall is fixed?

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Yep. The steel studs provide lateral stiffness in the middle of the wall. The drywall provides longitudinal stability for each individual stud. Plate channel attachment provides diagonal stability and lateral stability at the top and bottom of the wall. As a system, all bases are covered.

Steel framing is not really structural (load-bearing), but merely supports drywall for partition walls, soffits, etc. For that it does its job well.

Wood framing is actually also rather floppy before it's blocked or sheathed, especially in the case of taller garage walls, etc.

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  • There exist bearing steel studs, though, right? Judging by the flexibility, the OP's aren't structural, right?
    – popham
    Dec 6, 2023 at 16:49
  • In industrial buildings, sort of. They'd usually be I-beams with purlins or something not "studded". I think we can safely assume we're not talking about those.
    – isherwood
    Dec 6, 2023 at 16:50
  • Bearing steel studs exist: 12 gauge to 20 gauge with G60 or G90 galvanization. A pack of them work as a cheap column of significant strength. There's a section in chapter 6 of the IRC that prescribes ASTMs etc. for them.
    – popham
    Dec 6, 2023 at 17:00

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