Last updated on May 13, 2021
Wall studs serve as a wall’s backbone, giving it rigidity and allowing it to carry vertical structural loads. While wall studs are typically spaced 16 -24 inches apart, (or 400mm – 600mm apart) it depends on each house design and load-bearing/ lining requirements.
There are a lot of factors that determine what appropriate stud spacing can be. Additional studs affect the spacing and are also required to hold windows, doors, exterior cladding, interior finishes, insulation, and other utilities. Brace yourself, because it’s time to go on a trip to learn about proper stud spacing.
Why is it important to have the proper spacing of wall studs?
Knowing how far apart are wall studs is crucial to structuring a home. So why do we need to know the distance between studs interior wall?
Required fixing for interior linings
Having proper stud spacing not only allows for better support with lesser material but also makes panel installation easier and faster. This is because proper spacing closely follows the dimensions of panels to minimize material wastage.
To meet bracing fixing requirements
Wall bracing runs diagonally and is fixed at the corners between studs and at the top or bottom plate. Because of this, stud spacing determines a bracing’s overall length. Having proper spacing will ensure that the bracing can handle even heavier loads throughout the wall’s entire structure.
Required fixing for wall claddings
Wall cladding is an external finish that functions as a structure’s ‘skin’. It serves as the primary layer of protection for building interiors and is, at the same time, an external decorative or aesthetic.
Proper stud spacing makes it easier to determine the orientation and how your chosen cladding can be or should be installed to reach buildings bracing requirements for its wind zone or earthquake risk.
To mount hardware on the wall
Mounting hardware such as utility boxes, bike racks, shelves, cabinets, large pictures, and TVs need to be anchored to a stud to prevent them from collapsing. As interior panels are not strong enough to support anything large on their own like setting up a bike rack.
Spacing wall studs accordingly will help ease future hardware mounting as well as prevent already mounted hardware from falling when doing a renovation.
Considerations when spacing studs
Load bearing and bracing requirements
Load bearing and wall bracing are both important structural requirements as they help provide needed stability and security to a building’s structure and integrity. Stud spacing is mostly standardized to suit wall linings and also so you can better fit house items made to the same dimensions.
But stud spacings also better support the weight of floors and roof structures above. Bigger, heavier homes require studs that are properly aligned with joists and rafters above so that the entire structure stays solid, and weight is transferred effectively.
Stud spacing will dictate the amount of wall lining fixings that can be used for bracing, which helps protect from structural failure in sideways movement from … earthquakes or strong wind.
Spacings for interior and exterior linings to fix on centers
Depending on the standard distance between wall studs, you can have access to more design options which, in turn, dictates what options you’ll have for interior and exterior lining. Standard 16-inch framing already supports a variety of cladding options, from normal 4.5-pound, 4 x 8” brick cladding to contemporary 2400 x 16mm MDF, plywood, or drywall panels.
Since lining or cladding is meant to also provide an additional layer of protection, the appropriate inside-wall distance between studs helps provide an anchor as well as helps gauge your wall’s insulation and thermal affinity.
A closer stud spacing at 16 inches (400mm) will still take standard linings as there is now fixing on every third stud instead of every second at 47 inches (Or 1200mm).
16 inch (600mm) stud spacings
- Fewer wood requirements.
- Faster to build.
- Allows for more insulation in walls.
- House can sometimes make some movement noise.
- Might not be allowed if the wall height exceeds the maximum height for this spacing.
- Less fixing points in a wall for mounting hardware.
16 inch (400mm) stud spacings
- Stronger building.
- Less building wastage on wall linings.
- Does not actually cost that more for an extra few lengths of timber.
- Longer building process.
- Slightly less insulation to timber ratio.
Height has an overall impact on the vertical structural loads that wall studs can handle. In terms of load-bearing and structural integrity and as dictated in the international building codes, exterior and should not exceed specified height with only a single stud. But instead, 2 studs connected side by side.
Width and size of studs
Not all buildings use the same stud size. Standard studs are 4X2 inches in size and should be spaced closer together while larger studs can be 6X2 inches and can be spaced further apart while still being strong and allowing for thicker insulation.
While you can make your own studs with non-conforming dimensions, especially for specialized builds, you must still be careful and act within the scope of allowed regulations and local building codes. Wider studs, though already generally better compared to steel studs, will still cost more than standard, at least by a small margin.
You should only use thicker 6X2 studs if you are in a cold or loud environment for sound and heat insulation. If not required for structural reasons.
If you’re thinking of going a step in the future for insulation you should compare the price of a wider wall stud and lining the entire house with plywood. Known as a Rigid Air-Barrier. Doing this will be close to equal in terms of insulation and Greater for bracing.
Hardware to be mounted on the wall
Wall-mounted hardware such as large picture frames and TV brackets are put into consideration when spacing studs so that the mounting hardware lines up with the supporting beams.
Larger and thicker hardware might even require double studs to be able to meet the load requirements. When designing framing a wall distance between studs, have an oversight of the wall’s end-function as well as the possible hardware it must support, for added support where needed.
So how far apart are wall studs for different stud sizes?
When it comes to studs, dimensions matter. Larger and more numerous studs can handle more load and provide stronger support. Refer to this chart as a guide when laying out your framing plan as a international standard, also make sure to adhere to your local building code.
|Supporting Roof and ceiling||Supporting one floor above||Supporting two floors above||Non-bearing wall|
|2x4||24 in||16 in||-||24 in|
|3x4||24 in||24 in||16 in||24 in|
|2x5||24 in||24 in||-||24 in|
|2x6||24 in||24 in||16 in||24 in|
How to locate existing wall stud distance behind linings?
Here are the ways on how to find the typical distance between wall studs:
Tap the walls
Use a stud finder
Here’s how you can find studs with a stud finder.
Tools needed to cut and build timber wall
To build a timber wall or timber frame, you’ll need to cut and process material first from timber stocks. Easier said than done, but the entire process is made easier thanks to the help of several tools. Some essentials would be:
- Power saw (Preferable a miter saw and a circular saw).
- Electric planer (To remove humps).
- Slotting & mortise machines for joinery.
- Power or a cordless drill (To drill holes for hold-down bolts).
- Chisels (For checking-out grooves for straps so they don’t protrude).
- Air or gas nail gun.
- An Adze or your modern titanium hammer.
How to measure and mark wall stud centers?
A 16-inch center means that the center of each 2×4 stud is exactly 16 inches apart. The same concept applies to 24-inch centers. Depending on what the framing of your house is, in general, you’ll want to:
How to install wall studs?
If the distance between your floor and ceiling is even all throughout the length of your wall, simply cut your studs to fit the same size. If your floor-to-ceiling measurements vary, then you will have to cut each stud manually as you go.
Why should you pre-cut nogs/dwangs?
Nogs should always be pre-cut in uniform sizes for speed and to help in stud spacing. Not doing so can lead to irregularities in the spacing and can even cause bowing or warping if the length of the nogs varies within a single vertical group.
Pre-cutting all your standard nogs at once will save time from individual measurements and walking back and forth.
How to install nogs and straighten corners?
When determining how far apart should wall studs be follow the standard. as wall studs centers serve an essential purpose in construction. With the introduction of modern building codes, wall stud spacing layout is standardized in order to meet the right load-bearing requirements.
This knowledge along with reliable tools, such as stud finders and power saws, will definitely help you in cutting, fabricating, and building sturdy walls and structures.
Did we mention that you’ll also have an easier time wall-mounting various things for a snazzy look?
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