How to Attach Wood Trim to Metal Studs

Trim screws are used to attach wood to metal studs.
Trim screws are used to attach wood to metal studs. (Image: Turn of on screw image by Marek Kosmal from

Many living areas are built with metal studs, which creates a challenge when no wood backing was initially installed. Though there are some difficulties to overcome, attaching trim to metal studs is not unusual in commercial construction and in multi-unit homes. You can successfully install your trim to your metal studs once you know the process.

Things You'll Need

  • Drill
  • 9/64-inch drill bit
  • 2 1/4 inch square-drive, fine-threaded trim screws
  • Construction adhesive
  • Stud finder or magnet
  • Nail gun and nails

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Attaching Trim Where a Stud is Found

Locate the steel studs with a magnet or stud finder where the trim will be attached. If using a magnet, hold the magnet between your thumb and first finger while sliding it against the wall. Keep the magnet about 1/8 of an inch from the wall. You will feel a tug where the studs are located.

Drive an 8d finish nail into the wall to verify the stud locations.

Drill a 9/64-inch pilot hole in the trim at each stud location.

Attach the trim with a drill and 2 1/4-inch fine-threaded trim screws.

Attaching Trim to the Wall Where There is No Stud

Apply construction adhesive on the back of the trim.

Set the trim in its location and place two nails in opposite directions into the drywall. This technique helps to keep the trim from pulling away from the wall. This must be done with a nail gun.

Apply pressure to the trim by placing a kicker against it. Creativity is essential here. Use a 3/4-inch board to but against a wall or cabinet and the trim. This is only necessary if the trim is not sitting tight against the wall.


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