Fastening Trim to Metal Framing

For commercial build-out in a coffee shop, a woodworker asks for tips on installing trim. November 19, 2008

I have a commercial coffee bar job coming up with a lot of millwork that needs to be attached to metal studs, etc. There are steel posts that get wrapped with wood, a window wall with all metal framing that needs sill, jambs, glass stop, and wainscoting. I am not used to anything but wood framing, so suggestions would be appreciated.

Another peculiarity on the job is a bar facade and bartop that are attached to a pony wall, probably with 2x6 framing. Trouble I see is that some sections of the bar top cantilever 17". This is an ADA seating area so corbels might not work because of knee/wheelchair clearances. Anybody ever support such a top on a 2x6 knee wall without corbels? I am thinking along the lines of a 3/4" plywood subtop anchored into the top plate of the pony wall and then screwing up through the subtop overhang into the working or finish bar top.

Forum Responses
(Cabinet and Millwork Installation Forum)
From contributor T:
That is what I usually do. I put the 3/4 on with construction adhesive and screws. Let run out to within 4 inches of edge. This is let into the top so bottom is flush. Can't tell it's there.

The post. I would make a 3 sided box, slip over post and attach the 4th side using all lock mitres. To keep solid, I put shingle shims and construction adhesive inside. Anchor top well and add cap or crown.

From contributor D:
I generally use toggle bolts to attach to metal studs. Get a stepped/tapered drill bit to drill a hole in the studs that is wide enough for the toggle to go into.

From contributor J:

I haven't done much trimwork with metal studs, mostly just removing and/or resizing a few pieces to fit around my built-ins. From what I've seen it seems like the trim guys are just using construction adhesive and either finish nails (yup, from a finish nailer) or trim head screws with the self tapping point.

From contributor V:
99% of our jobs have metal stud. We use #9 self tapping flat head screws and have no problem penetrating the stud. As far as the cantilevered countertop, you should use in wall steel to support this. The sheetrock will have to be removed from the wall and a 1 1/2" X 1 1/2" metal angle approximately 20" X 20" long welded at a 90 degree angle is attached to the side of the stud, then the sheetrock will have to be replaced. This is common with ADA knee spaces.

If you are just installing wainscot paneling or trim, you can use Liquid Nails and pin the paneling to the sheetrock until the Liquid Nails dries. If you have to attach the paneling to the studs, they also make a self-tapping trim head screw which works well, and you can putty the hole made by the trim head screw.

From contributor O:
I have done a lot of chair rail and base by simply X nailing at the studs. It's faster than any form of screwing. You can do a test piece and pull it off by hand to gauge whether you are satisfied with the hold. Crown requires a beveled backer strip or series of blocks. Rip it slightly smaller than the void behind the crown back side with a small spacer block holding it down off the ceiling. This space gets it away from the irregular inside corner plaster or compound can have. Run a bead of Liquid Nails, and shoot or screw to the studs and or top plate. The crown should nail up to it easy.

From contributor F:
Check plans as to whether or not the GC is to place blocking where necessary. This is usually in the general notes and not on plans.