Attaching Wall Cabinets to Steel Studs

      Steel wall framing poses a particular challenge when it's time to hang upper cabinets. Here are a few installation tips. November 19, 2005

Question
What is the best method and fastener for attaching cabinets to drywall covered steel studs?

Forum Responses
(Cabinet and Millwork Installation Forum)
From contributor D:
I use #10 x 2-1/2" wood screw at 3 per stud with 2 in the top and 1 in the bottom for the uppers. I use 2 in the top to insure that at least one really does grab. I have never had trouble with cabinets that I have installed myself this way but I have had to go back and install toggle bolts on some cabinets that have let go recently that were installed by employees.

I think that they over tightened the screws and stripped them out. I prefer wood backing but it's not allowed in many buildings these days. A lot of architects are specifying 16 Ga. sheet steel backing. I find that this doesn’t work very well because the screws just push it out of the way so you still have to hit a stud.



From the original questioner:
One thing I am a little worried about though is getting a good connection on the top cabinets.


From contributor J:
I would do all of what Contributor D said except use wood screws. I would suggest using the fine threaded drywall screws they are designed for metal studs. Your pilot holes through the cabinet should be the same as the screw diameter plus a little more.

You only want to screw through the sheetrock and into the metal stud - not the cabinet. Make sure you hold tight against the wall and set your clutch so you don’t strip the hold in the metal. Also, I would glue them with Pl 300 ,400,500, even liquid nails.



From contributor R:
To contributor J: Make sure not to mistake drywall screws with wood screws. They are for hanging drywall. I suspect that you have been using them for some time to hang cabinets, but they haven't been designed for that purpose.

I like the point about using the fine thread screws for attaching to studs, but not a drywall screw. Make sure to use a screw with a shank diameter designed to carry the load of the cabinet and its contents - drywall screws are not. I'm sure Baer Supply and all other fastener companies carry a fine thread wood screw to do the job.



From contributor J:
I don’t use drywall screws. I use cabinet installation screws 2.5" #17 double auger tip. I was using drywall as a generic term.


From contributor M:
I find the most important thing is not to over tighten. I always try to put wood blocking between studs before sheet rocking. It's not always possible however. I ask the contractor to have them put in before the sheetrock and they usually will do it.



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