March 2016

The Inequality Of EQ Studs

Scott Hughes and Amy Hockett

Every element counts. To achieve a better building assembly, take a closer look at all the products you combine – right down to the steel or EQ (Equivalent) studs.

A conventional 20-gauge stud has a design thickness of .0312 inch. An EQ 20-gauge stud has a design thickness of .0205 inch, considerably less than the standard steel. EQ studs are produced with stronger, thinner steel but the steel industry and all gypsum board manufacturers have been wrestling over their finer points. These studs may be EQ in many respects – but not when coupled with certain high performance gypsum boards that have a denser core.

GA-216 issued an update stating, “Where studs complying with ASTM C645 are used to receive Abuse-Resistant or Impact-Resistant Gypsum Panels, they shall not be less than 0.0312 in. (0.792 mm) design thickness and shall be in accordance with sections 4.3 and 8.1 of Specification C645.” In addition to abuse- and impact-resistant boards, this affects high performance boards that provide IBC/IRC wet area code compliance: Gold Bond® brand Hi-Impact® XP®, Gold Bond® brand Hi-Abuse® XP®,, Gold Bond® brand eXP® Tile Backer, PermaBase® brand Cement Board (5/8 in.), Gold Bond® brand eXP® Interior Extreme AR Gypsum Panel and Gold Bond® brand eXP® Interior Extreme IR Gypsum Panel.

Call us today, and we’ll explain in more detail how to specify the correct stud for your project (and why you should always spec bugle head screws). As always, we’re here to help you design and build better.

"Choosing the right gypsum board product for each wall assembly on your project takes some careful thought. If the walls in a room have a good chance of seeing some abuse, you will need to decide whether an abuse-resistant product or an impact-resistant product is appropriate. Careful choice of type and spacing of the studs is just as important. Abuse- and impact-resistant gypsum board products perform best on true 20-gauge (.0312 in.) structural studs."
- Scott Hughes, Construction Design Manager for the Northeast/Atlantic Region

"Architects and designers are encouraged to carefully review the steel-stud, fire-rated wall assemblies and STC (Sound Transmission Class) tests to determine if EQ studs are approved for use in the specified fire-rated assembly and that the desired sound ratings are achieved using EQ studs. Many UL fire-rated assemblies are tested with minimum 25-gauge studs (a minimum 20-gauge EQ stud would be acceptable), but it is important to research all components to ensure they meet the assembly requirements. Similarly, it is important to examine the sound test for the preferred STC rating to verify an equivalent STC rating tested with traditional steel studs is feasible with EQ stud framing. If EQ studs are incorporated in the wall construction, confirm that they are compatible with all system components."
- Amy Hockett, Architectural Specialist

Product Overview

Specify These High-Performance Products
For Your Projects

These boards are built to battle high moisture and humidity:

Gold Bond® brand eXP® Tile Backer has an enhanced moisture- and mold-resistant core and fiberglass facer.

Made of Portland cement, aggregate and glass mesh, PermaBase® brand Cement Board has an exceptionally hard, durable surface.

Project Profile

Post-Tornado Rebuild


Greensburg School District, Kiowa County Schools, Greensburg, Kansas
BNIM Architects, Kansas City, Missouri
Platinum certified

In May 2007, a tornado swept through the small town of Greensburg, Kansas, razing 95 percent of its structures, including the schools. Town officials committed to rebuilding “green.” The new two-story, 120,000-square-foot K-12 Kiowa County School is LEED Platinum certified, and officials hope it will become a regional educational model. Greensburg is also now one of the world’s leading communities in LEED-certified buildings per capita.

Read More About The Project

Continuing Education

Don’t let spring fever sidetrack you. Take one of these online courses anywhere under the sun – just click and start:

Abuse and Impact Resistant Gypsum: Stronger and Safer Walls
1 hour/ 1 AIA HSW CE Hour
High Performance Gypsum: Protect Against Mold, Moisture and Exposure
1 hour/ 1 AIA HSW CE Hour


Batter Up!

Watch how well Gold Bond® brand Hi-Impact® XP® Gypsum Board holds up when hit hard.

Watch Video


Amy Hockett
National Marketing Manager, Architectural Services & Sustainability

Pat Grotlisch

Frank Fuller

Alan Zeedyk
Gulf / Southeast

Thad Goodman
Central / Midwest

Scott Hughes
Northeast / Atlantic

Trang Schwartz
Architectural Specialist