In steel stud framing, steel studs are used to frame a section of drywall instead of standard wood studs. Steel studs have several advantages over traditional wood studs, including a lower cost, lighter weight, and greater resistance to the elements and to insects. However, wooden studs are usually sturdier and can be used for load-bearing walls, while thin steel studs are not suitable for load-bearing applications.
In addition to being lighter and cheaper than wooden studs, steel studs are generally much straighter than wooden studs and do not absorb moisture. This means that steel studs do not warp and split as wooden studs are prone to do in humid locations. The use of screw fasteners rather than nails to hold together steel stud framing also means it is easier to make adjustments and correct mistakes during construction of a steel-framed wall as compared to a wooden one. Steel studs are also highly fire-resistant compared to wooden studs.
Despite their advantages, steel stud framing has some significant disadvantages. Steel studs tend to conduct heat more efficiently than wooden studs, so they can cause the temperature in the house and in the wall itself to cool more than with wooden studs. This drop in temperature can cause condensation problems in the wall itself. It is also more difficult to use steel studs to support objects attached to the wall such as picture frames, as the stud may be too thin to properly support the fasteners needed to secure such objects.