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Drywall Clips and Stops

Drywall clips and stops support drywall or wood paneling at corners and replace blocking

Drywall clipped to a stud.

These drywall clips and stops support drywall or wood paneling at corners and replace blocking at top plates, end walls, and corners. They eliminate "U-Boxes," partition tees and backup lumber at ceiling joists, and make two-stud corners instead of the common three- and four-stud corners possible - yet still provide adequate (in some ways better) backing. (For interior partitions, it is even possible to make a one-stud corner by using drywall clips.) Two stud corners not only help plumbers and electricians to snake wires and pipes, they also reduce heat loss by allowing insulation behind the studding without the risk of uninsulated cavities and cold corners - resulting in better home thermal performance. At top plates, drywall fasteners reduce call-backs for ceiling and partition separation from truss uplift. Corner cracking can be reduced by floating drywall corners using clips (avoiding the effects of variable shrinkage and movement of the framing which is responsible for most cracking). Drywall clips and stops can reduce the wood used for framing by eliminating the need for nonstructural studs, and can be easier to install than extra wood backing in difficult locations.

Manufacturers offer fasteners with different installation techniques, characteristics, and materials.

"Drywall clips" is a term that can be used for a number of different systems. This term, however, is used primarily for small pieces of hardware that function as structural backing / fastening for drywall. The clips are fitted onto the edge of the drywall by hand as it is installed on wood or steel studs. The term "drywall stops" here primarily refers to small, non-wooden pieces of hardware which function as stops for drywall installation, though they too are generally also called "clips." Stops, like wood blocking, are fastened to structural members before drywall installation. Drywall stops are available in galvanized or sheet metal, recycled high-density polyethylene or metal wire. Plastic and metal wire stops offer several advantages over some sheet metal stops. The non-corrosive plastic stops can be stapled, nailed, or screwed to wood members. Sharp talons of the metal wire stops grip the wood, eliminating the need for tools or nails.

Metal wire stops Metal wire clips grip the stud and provide a surface against which drywall perpendicularly butting into the stud, or drywall fastened to the stud, may be supported. They require no tools to affix, and once installed do not present sharp surfaces on which one could get cut. They are particularly useful for interior one stud partition walls and wall-to-ceiling junctions, allowing a floating drywall corner, reducing the risk of drywall cracking due to the normal expansion, contraction and movement of most wood framing.

Other "clips" not covered by this write-up Since the terms, "clips" and "stops" can be used for other hardware, it is helpful to outline these related systems and to distinguish them from the drywall clips and stops in this article.

Some clips are used as an accessory for a specific type of framing / support system for drywall. For more information on these, reference the article on "drywall framing accessories."

Drywall repair clips appear to be in widespread use as a method for fastening drywall to surrounding drywall - to patch a hole, for example. These metal clips first get screwed to the drywall that is to be repaired, adjacent to the edge of the hole, and extend to the plane of the back of the drywall, via their z-shaped profile, providing a support surface to which the repair piece of drywall may then be screwed.

Column and beam drywall clips are used for fireproofing and creating a finished enclosure for structural steel columns and beams, eliminating the need to spray columns or beams on eight different surfaces for fireproofing. They are applied by hand by snapping on to and gripping the column or beam. The drywall is then screwed to the metal surface of the clip which is off the column and beam the required distance via the structure of the clip. However, the application for these clips is primarily commercial.

"Melt-Away Clips" are aluminum L-shaped brackets which are used in certain fire-rated wall assemblies to melt at a critical temperature, allowing the drywall to fall away from the wall in a fire, leaving the wall in tact. They are in common use.

Acoustical / sound attenuation clips are generally used only for commercial projects. They are fastened to the framing and then the drywall fastens to the raised face of the "clip." They operate like a shock-absorber, stopping vibrations in the framing from propagating to the drywall and the interior space. They are typically constructed of a metal frame / backing and a rubber-like material to provide the acoustical break / vibration dampening.

Spring clips are typically contained within a device to aid mounting it to drywall. They are a type of fastener.

The term clip is also common for structural elements, typically metal and large enough to support significant loading. These have little or nothing to do with drywall application (e.g. structural clips, end clips, clip angles, foundation clips, etc.).


Affordability

Drywall clips and stops can reduce the wood used for framing by eliminating the need for nonstructural studs, and can be easier to install than extra wood backing in difficult locations.

Energy Efficiency

Two stud corners not only help plumbers and electricians to snake wires and pipes, they also reduce heat loss by allowing insulation behind the studding without the risk of uninsulated cavities and cold corners - resulting in better home thermal performance.


Easy

Can be easier to install than extra wood backing in difficult locations.


Drywall metal stops cost between $.07 and $.13 each, compared to $.10 for wire stops and $.09 to $.14 for each plastic stop, depending on quantity purchase. According to manufacturers $100/ 1,000 sqf of living space can be saved on material alone.


Not Applicable


The manufacturers listed below either comply with UL fire resistance rating, or their products have been evaluated by building code evaluation services, BOCA, ICBO, SBCCI codes. It should be noted, however, that the building codes do not specifically address drywall clips and/or fasteners. Rather, they reference the Gypsum Associations' standards, which themselves allow clips/fasteners if tested and approved according to ASTM standards.


Not Applicable


At two-stud corners, the metal and plastic drywall stops are installed 16" o.c., though some are allowed up to 24" o.c. for installation, from the top to bottom of the wall. Then the first sheet of drywall is hung against the stops. The second sheet is installed against the first. At top plates, the stops are installed 16" o.c. (or up to 24" o.c. for some) and at all corners and intersections. The drywall is installed with the ceiling panels first, as usual. The sheet metal stops are nailed to studs, though the sharp installation prongs provide convenient initial attachment. The metal wire stops are installed by hand, squeeze-fit to the stud, with the extension wire arm surface providing an effective rigid area against which the drywall may be supported / stopped.

The plastic stops are T-shaped flanges which can be installed any time after framing, although they could also be used by the drywallers. They have an anti-skate surface grid against which the drywall sits, as well as a tapered flat "arm" that may be fastened through (stapled, screwed or nailed). Plastic stops are attached to framing at wall-to-wall and wall-to-ceiling junctions, 16" o.c. typically, and up to 24" o.c. Plastic stops allow the corners to be screwed and hard fastened, but some manufacturers recommend leaving the corners floating. Drywall screws can drive into the 1-1/2 x 1-3/8 in. surface anti-skate grid surface if necessary. By trimming off the backs of the stops, you can attach them to the face of a stud to support a dropped ceiling.

Problems can occur with any of the drywall stops when a stud has a rounded corner, making it difficult to install the fastener. Because drywall clips are installed to the drywall beforehand, they are said to complicate and change the drywallers' work routine and therefore have not been popular, except for drywall repair. Clips and plastic stops can be used in conjunction with steel studs, unlike the sheet metal and metal wire drywall stops


Not Applicable


Drywall clips and stops can save a significant amount of wood, reduce labor, and prevent drywall cracking by allowing floating corners.

Disclaimer: The information on the system, product or material presented herein is provided for informational purposes only. The technical descriptions, details, requirements, and limitations expressed do not constitute an endorsement, approval, or acceptance of the subject matter by the NAHB Research Center. There are no warranties, either expressed or implied, regarding the accuracy or completeness of this information. Full reproduction, without modification, is permissible.