How Far Apart Are Studs And Other Spacing Questions

How far apart are studs? Wall stud spacing is something you need to know when building a house. It seems like there’s a long list of things that the average person doesn’t know. But learning as much as you can is never a bad thing, especially when it comes to where you live.

Wall Stud SpacingView in gallery

More than 15,000 people are injured each year in the US when furniture or TVs tip and fall on them, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). The CPSC reports that one child dies every ten days as a result of a furniture or TV tip-over.

Wall Stud Spacing: How Far Apart Are Wall Studs?

One thing that is important to know is how far apart are studs when building a house or even taking one down. Learn what you need to know about wall stud spacing today to save you the trouble of learning it tomorrow.

wall stud spacingView in gallery

Wall studs are vertical boards that ensure stability and give your something to attach decor to. But unless you have experience with construction, you may not know how to space the wall studs.  

While most wall studs have the same spacing. Not all wall spaces are visible by the number that most studs are distanced. 

Wall Stud Spacing: Average Distance Between Stud

Average Distance Between StudsView in gallery

The most common, and standard distance between wall studs is 16-inches. So if you don’t know how to space your studs then space them at 16-inches. This is what most contractors use for all wall studs. 

Drywall And Wall Stud Spacing

This is the main reason that drywall is 4-ft wide and why studs are spaced at 16-inches. Because drywall is four feet it is divisible by 16. This means that each piece of drywall will be centered at each stud.

This means you won’t have to cut each piece of drywall if the walls are 8-ft tall, which is also the standard. You will have to cut the last piece if the width of the wall isn’t divisible by 4-ft, but that will be just one piece. 

Load-Bearing Vs. Non-Load-Bearing

This is a very important thing to take into account. There is a huge difference between load-bearing walls and non-load-bearing walls. Load-bearing walls are relied on for structural integrity while non-load-bearing walls are not. 

To find out if a wall is load-bearing, follow it up from the bottom. If there isn’t any other wall above it, then it isn’t load-bearing. But if you are building a new wall, things can be different.

Walls that aren’t load-bearing have more room for spacing. While recommended stud spacing is 16 inches.  

How Many Wall Studs Does Your Home Need? 

Calculating How Many Wall Studs You NeedView in gallery

Calculating the number of studs you need for your project is easy. These steps can help you determine exactly how many studs you need. 

Step 1: How Long Is The Wall?

The first thing you need to do is find out how long the wall will be. When windows and doors are added, the math changes, but let’s pretend it’s a simple wall. For this example, let’s pretend that the wall will be 12-feet-long. 

Step 2: Convert To Inches

Convert the 12 feet into inches by multiplying by 12. So twelve times twelve is 144. That’s the number we will use for our calculations, but if your wall is different then you can multiply that number by twelve instead. 

Step 3: Find The Number Of Studs

Now all you need to do is divide the total by 16 because each stud will be spaced at 16-inches. So we take 144 and divide it by 16 to get 9. Since we will need a starting stud, you need to add more, which is 10. 

Parts Of A Wall

Sometimes, when you get so caught up in figuring how many studs you need for your wall, you can neglect the other boards you need. To make sure you cover all of your bases, it’s a good idea to learn the parts of a wall.

Header

The header is only needed for walls with windows and doors. This header goes above the windows and doors and acts as the top frame for them, starting at the top plate and ending at the studs that are framing the door.

Studs

We’ve already talked about this, but there are multiple different types of studs. Such as a king stud which goes along the length of the wall next to doors and windows, holding the frames for them in.

Sill

You already know what a sill is because it is the same before the window is put in. A windowsill, or sill plate, goes just below the window and is what the window will be placed on. The sill holds the window up. 

Cripple

A cripple is a short boat that goes under the window and holds the windowsill up. You’ll have two or more cripples under a window, depending on how its width. Cripples prevent sagging windowsills. 

Trimmer

A trimmer is a longboard that goes between the king stud next to the windows and doors and the door/window itself. It goes underneath the headers and holds the headers up. There should be two trimmers for each window/door. 

Top Plate

The top plate goes stretches across the top and is placed over the studs and headers. Typically there are double-top plates with load-bearing walls. Double top plates are two plates screwed or nailed together. 

Bottom Plate

The bottom plate is just like the top place but it is on the bottom. Another name for the bottom plate is the sole plate as it is the sole of the wall and everything rests on it. This is the first board you will place if building the wall vertically. 

How To Find Wall Studs For Spacing

How To Find Wall StudsView in gallery

There are many ways to find wall studs. The most common is a stud finder, an electronic device that is moved along the surface of a wall. When the audible device detects a stud, it makes a beeping sound or a flashing (Pete Ortiz from HouseGrail found an interesting way to find a stud with a flashlight) light will turn on. Where lath and plaster are present in older structures, the device will emit sounds with minor fluctuations in the pitch.

If you don’t want to spend money on a stud finder, the following methods are effective at finding wall studs. 

Check Trim And Baseboards 

Trim or baseboards have nails where the studs are located. However, they could also be nailed to the top or bottom plate. 

If the nails are on the bottom or top, they’re on the plates, not the studs. But if they are at least 2-inches above or below the top, they’re nailed to a stud. 

Wall Stud Spacing For Switches And Outlets 

Switches and outlets are secured to a stud. To locate them, find which side they’re on. You can try both sides, or follow the switch up or down. If there is a nail straight up or down from one side, then that’s where the stud is. 

Switches are outlets installed on the right side of the stud. Take a look on the left side of the switch or outlet first. This is where a stud will be located. From there, you begin measuring. 

Measure 16 Inches For Wall Stud Spacing

This works with the other methods or alone. You can start at a stud that you have found or at the end of the wall. However, you may start from the end as there could be a double stud. 

Start where the drywall begins. because this is where the studs will go. Try the knock test, but if you don’t know the sound differences then you won’t know where the wall is hollow. 

Spot Imperfections When Wall Stud Spacing

This isn’t a great way to do it if you have good taping jobs done, but it works for bad taping or mudding. Look for any signs of mudding or drywall tape. If you see a vertical line of tape, that is where a stud can be found.

Measure 16 inches from there or use the taped stud. If you can’t apply this method it means your drywall mudding job was done perfectly. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)FAQ

What Cause False Positive Readings?

Debris or other material lodged behind your drywall could trigger a false positive reading. Stud finders are often imprecise. False positives will depend on the straightness of the drywall scanning. Place a magnet in a mount for a motion sensor. You could use one encased in silicone, which wouldn’t scratch your walls.  

How Do You Anchor Furniture?

Use an anchoring kit to secure furniture or a TV to a wall. The kits include two brackets tethered by a strap or cable. Screw one bracket into your TV and fasten the other bracket to a wall stud. The connecting strap or cable should be attached to the brackets and then tightened in place.

What Is Framing A Wall?

It’s another way of saying “installing a wall.” The average wall installation cost is between $7 and $16. The average total is $3,000 to $6,500.

How Does An Impulse Radar Stud Finder Work?

The device propagates electromagnetic pulses and detects reflected pulses from a fixed range. Unmodulated pulses, about 200 ps wide, are emitted. Reflected pulses are tabulated and averaged out. Background reflections are subtracted. Wall stud reflections or other hidden objects are detected with light-emitting diodes.

How Far Apart Are Studs Conclusion

You can rely on stud finders. However, you’ll need to possess knowledge of how your home was built.  Given the variables in wall materials and construction, be prepared for anything and everything.