Hanging Cabinets on Metal Stud Walls

Thoughts on fastening cabinet backs to light-gauge metal stud walls. April 14, 2010

I am in the process of quoting some storage cabinets for a customer that will include hanging wall units on a wall that was framed with metal studs. These are non-structural walls and in a basement, so I am making the assumption that they are similar studs to what you would find at a local home store?. Have any of you had experience hanging cabinets on this type of wall construction? If so, what type of hardware do you recommend and are there any other things to watch out for?

Forum Responses
(Cabinet and Millwork Installation Forum)
From contributor J:
I'd recommend fine thread drywall screws and liquid nails. We had a good discussion on this about a year ago - plenty of information in the link below.

Metal Studs

From contributor G:
I'd put a few extra screw style moly's in there also. They are rated at 50lbs each so just a couple will help out. Use fine thread screws. More than you would usually use. If at all possible go into the wall and install wood bracing. All you would have to do is fire tape the repairs and put your cabinet over them. This would be the correct solution, but also the most destructive and costly.

From contributor D:
You shouldn't be hanging cabinets with drywall screws. Most specs and AWI standards won't permit it. They are too brittle to carry the types of loads placed on cabinets. On light gauge I use #8 good quality lo-roots with a drill point or #10 wood screws. You may want a pilot hole for the wood screws. The lo-roots grab good enough to self countersink. On a typical upper I double up the top screw so I have three fasteners per stud. On structural stud I drill a pilot hole. Obviously if you have backing it's better. Too often I have to install in walls spec’d no combustibles. If I don't have backing I don't usually go out of my way to install any. I have complete confidence in the holding power of screws in metal framing in all but very heavily loaded cabinets. I've never had a callback due to cabinets installed this way coming loose. You have to make sure you hit the stud though!

From contributor Z:
Fastcap makes great screws for metal studs with a deep thread that will hold. I use them often in condos and they work well.

From contributor T:
We just did this in a doctor's office. It was additional work from the original up-fit. When it came down to it, I knew I'd sleep better screwing into blocking. So, for an extra $100 or so, I ripped a sheet of 3/4 ply and had the installer cut out 6" of drywall (and replace) and fill in the blocking.

From contributor C:
Drywall screws and construction adhesive? Just to reiterate what a few others who have probably done this before are telling you: drywall screws have no shear strength. They are designed for drywall and have no place in the installation of cabinetry. Use hi-lo screws, (no glue needed) they are WI approved for this application. Often there is double or triple 5/8" sheetrock so figure your wall thickness out to get the proper length screw and make sure they are squarely into the studs by laying it out and checking your locations before mounting the cabinetry. Chas McMurray, Louis and Co., etc. are my suppliers but any wholesale cabinet hardware outfit will stock these.