The Benefits Of Framing A Tiny Home With Metal Studs

tiny house framing with metal studs


One hugely critical element of building a tiny home is a sturdy framework. If the framework is sturdy, durable, and resistant to damage, there are bound to be far fewer issues down the line. Using metal studs to frame a tiny house is a great way to extend its life and durability.

ryans tiny house

Hi, I’m Ryan

After more than a decade of helping people build over 3,000 tiny houses, I know a thing or two about the building process. Metal studs are the way to go when framing a tiny home.

ryan mitchell simple living expert

Should You Frame A Tiny House With Metal Studs?

Is It Best To Frame A Tiny House With Metal Studs

When building a tiny house for the very first time, there are lots of small details that go into the entire process to make your house a home. Those details include which building materials to use like the flooring, ceiling, doors, or in this case, wall framing.

Details like stud selection often get swept under the rug, or glossed over altogether. But when it comes to framing your tiny home, the small details matter and I stand firmly by my assertion that metal studs are the way to go!

tiny house framing with metal studs
metal studs used to frame tiny house on wheels

Advantages Of Framing A Tiny House With Metal Studs

Advantages Of Framing A Tiny House With Metal Studs

Framing a tiny home with metal studs has tons of practical advantages in a tiny home. Metal studs are lightweight, sturdy, cost effective, and impervious to excess moisture seeping into the frame of your home.

Metal Studs Are Sturdy

One of the most important facets to consider when building a tiny house is the durability of the home. When I am helping my friends build their first tiny houses, I always advise them to focus on the lasting elements of the home.

If a home isn’t built with sturdy materials, the cost of home repairs are likely to increase down the line. One of the best things about using metal framing in a tiny house is that it’s incredibly resistant to damage from things like moisture, fire, termites, rotting, splitting, or cracking. Metal truly stands the test of time.

metal studs are lightweight and sturdy
frame a tiny house with durable metal studs

It’s Easy To Find Cost Effective Metal Studs

While it is true that metal studs are likely going to be more expensive than wooden studs, the difference isn’t as drastic as you may think. In today’s hardware market, metal framing is typically only about 10% to 40% more expensive than wood studs.

At the end of the day, this difference is worth it. When building any type of home, you want to build it with longevity in mind. Even though metal studs may be more expensive up front, they will warrant less repair and damage control, which will save you money down the line.

Metal Studs Are Water Resistant

It’s much easier for moisture to seep into porous materials like wood than it is for them to get into metal framing. Moisture damage can be insidious and become very expensive to repair, so using metal studs is a smart way to keep water damage out of your tiny home frame.

tiny house moisture damage

Metal Studs Are Lightweight

Unlike wood studs, metal studs are designed to be hollow, which makes them incredibly light. This is a huge advantage during the tiny house building process because it makes them much easier to carry, transport, and store. It also means less weight on your THOW trailer. Hollow studs even allow for nesting within each other, making them easier to transport, too.

tiny house on wheels framed with metal studs
metal studs are lightweight

Using Metal Studs Helps The Earth

Using metal studs is one of the more eco-friendly moves you can make for a couple reasons. For starters, most manufacturers produce galvanized steel studs, which is a recyclable material. Secondly, steel studs do not emit any VOCs, or volatile organize compounds, into the atmosphere, which is awesome for Mother Earth.

eco friendly tiny house

Disadvantages Of Framing A Tiny House With Metal Studs

Disadvantages Of Framing A Tiny House With Metal Studs

Any seemingly flawless solution is going to have some imperfections. While I believe metal framing is undeniably the best way to go in a tiny house on wheels, there are several setbacks to using metal studs, and one may be a deal breaker for you as you begin building your own tiny home.

Metal Studs Are Not Malleable

While the durability of using metal studs is a plus overall, their strength can pose a downside when it comes to trying to cut beams or screw things into the wall. You’ll need to use special self-tapping screws to drill into and connect metal studs to each other and wood framing members if necessary.

The easiest way to cut most metal studs is with tin snips, also known as aviation snips or metal shears. It’s possible to cut through metal studs with a miter saw or circular saw, but you would need a special blade specifically designed to cut through thin metal without grabbing the material.

The strength of steel can also be a challenge when it comes to trying to screw things into your walls. Tapping a drywall screw into a metal stud requires more effort and advanced tools than it does for wood. If you are planning to hang a lot in the walls of your home, wood may be the better route to go even though it is more subject to damage over time.

disadvantages of using metal studs to frame a tiny house
metal framing in a tiny home

Metal Studs Are Conductors Of Heat

One of the downsides to using metal to frame any home is the way metal conducts heat. Metals like steel, copper, aluminum, and more will lose strength when temperatures increase drastically, which could cause walls to buckle dangerously in extreme conditions.

Metal Studs May Rust Overtime

While metal studs may be resistant to moisture in the day to day, they still can decay from water damage over long periods of time. Today, most metal types are created to be resistant to damage from rust, but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible to see some damage years down the line.

It Is Harder To Find Metal Studs At A Store

While metal studs can come in any size, not every length will be readily available at your local hardware store. Steel studs found in places like Lowe’s or Home Depot will come in standard dimensions only.

If you are building your tiny home using uncommon dimensions, it may be a challenge to find what you need. Lumber, conversely, is much easier to cut DIY style into the length and width necessary to build your home.

tiny house dimensions

Framing A Tiny House With Metal Studs: FAQs

Framing A Tiny House With Metal Studs FAQs

When I was building my first tiny house frame, I had a ton of questions. I knew I needed to think through the quality of metal I wanted to use, the gauge size of the stud, and how much I was willing to budget out for the framing process alone.

Which Type Of Metal Is Best To Frame A Tiny House?

Which Type Of Metal Is Best To Frame A Tiny House

Most metal studs are made of galvanized steel because it is the strongest and most sturdy option for metal in home framing. Steel is one of the most versatile, durable, water resistant, unmalleable metals to use for wall framing.

I would recommend steel studs when building a tiny home, but there are other metals that production companies use to build studs that can also work well.

Metal Studs Can Be Made Of

  • Galvanized Steel
  • Stainless Steel
  • Carbon Steel
  • Aluminum
  • Beryllium
  • Brass
  • Copper
  • Tin
  • Tungsten
  • Zinc
framing a tiny house with metal studs

What Gauge Of Metal Studs Work Best For A Tiny Home?What Gauge Of Metal Studs Work Best For A Tiny Home

As a general rule of thumb, 20 gauge is best for tiny house framing. You may end up using a different gauge here or there, depending on where the studs are located in the framing of the home. However, there are lots of other elements to consider when choosing stud size, including the flange size, lip size, and web size.

Minimum Steel Sheet Thickness For Studs and Runners

Is It Cheaper To Build With Metal Or Wood Studs?

Is It Cheaper To Build With Metal Or Wood Studs

Steels studs typically cost between $2 and $4 per square foot. However, it’s hard to say whether or not wood or metal framing is cheaper, because that depends on the timeframe you’re looking at.

metal studs are more expensive than wooden studsThe short answer is that metal studs are more expensive than wooden studs upfront by about 15% to 40%, depending on the size and quality of the metal. The long answer is that metal studs can save you money as your home value appreciates and requires less maintenance over the years.

When playing the long game, I’d choose metal studs every time. They’ll increase the stability of your home and demand less upkeep, thus increasing your long-term profit and pulling less from your bank year to year.

Overall, I’d say the pros outweigh the cons when it comes to choosing metal studs to frame your tiny house. Of course, wooden studs have their advantages too, but at the end of the day I believe metal is the way to go in any home.

how much does a tiny house cost cta

Your Turn!

  • Will you frame your tiny home with metal or wood studs?
  • What type of metal will you use in your framing?
  1. The THOW that being built for me is of wood with metal siding and roof.
    Are there potential issues in extreme heat because of the metal exterior?

    The next THOWs will be of metal when I complete plans for a tiny village.

  2. Thanks for this great information Ryan.

  3. I am thinking about building a tiny house oneed info Live in Maryland

  4. Nice! Using metal studs is one of your most environmentally beneficial choices most environmentally beneficial choices you can take. Steel is one of the most adaptable, long-lasting, water-resistant, and malleable metals for wall framing.

  5. Really appreciate this article, and plan to use metal studs myself. I don’t know how volatile prices are these days, but I was surprised to discover that at the big orange box here in the intermountain west, steel studs are $8.50 – $9.50 each, while wooden ones are $5.50. (This is for 2×4, 10′ long. For 8-footers, wood are $3-$4, metal are about $7.50)


  6. Lots of good points here and I’d only add that if you can come up with a standard height on which you’ll hang anything on the drywall later, screw in a horizontal 2×4( or wider!) between any 2 metal studs beforehand at your chosen height. Hang things later with wood screws and confidence!

  7. that was awesome information, I would like to build a tiny home but not on a trailer, I’d like to build it on my property, about 3 foot above the ground, i think it’s called pier and beam, so i can get to the plumbing that’s under the tiny home more easily. would metal studs still be better to use than wood studs? and is it possible to make a tiny home that is air tight, to make it more energy efficient. And i have another question, can you spray flex seal, it like rubber in a can like spray pain, would that help the metal studs from rusting? well any information is much appreciated, I’m looking into making a small stationary tiny home for my small dog and me because I’m disabled and live on a fixed income and i want to make my tiny home very energy efficient so i can keep the cost of utilities down. Like you said I’m thinking about the long haul. I’m glad i got your email and found your site, Thank you so much for this article it was really cool and interesting, thanks again

  8. I’d think you could decide on an appropriate general height to hang pictures and things from and add a piece of wood mounted horizontally between any 2 or more metal studs and hang with confidence!

  9. We at can help with your framing of light gauge steel wall panel systems. Not only eliminating the technical ability and tools required of cutting the studs, our panel system Will also save framing time.

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