One of the most important terms that any construction worker can learn is the word “stud.” This is because building a wall is one of the most crucial parts of building a house. Walls offer support and make up the majority of a home.
Studs are used for exterior and interior walls. It isn’t as hard to build a wall, also known as a partition when on the interior of a home, as you’d think. But it all starts with learning the different parts of a wall.
What Is A Stud?
A stud in construction is a vertical board that reaches from the top to the bottom of a wall to support it. They are generally in one piece and are made from either 2x4s or 2x6s, rarely branching out from these sizes.
There are many different kinds of studs, but generally speaking, a wall stud is a single board that starts at the bottom of the wall and reaches all the way to the top. However, there are different types that are important to distinguish.
Studs that are load-bearing are more important than those that aren’t. After all, load-bearing walls support the entirety of your house, unlike other partitions that only separate rooms and don’t offer structural integrity.
Where Did The Word “Stud” Come From?
Many people think the origins of the word “stud” come from a word meaning young man or lad. But this isn’t what this word is referring to at all. The word stud is an ancient word related to similar words in Old English, Old Norse, Middle High German, and Old Teutonic.
The word usually means prop or support in these dialects and languages. Other words with similar meanings are quarter and scantling, which is literally a piece of lumber. So you see, the etymology isn’t as obscure as you may think.
What Is A Jack Stud?
Jack studs are primarily found on either side of windows and doorframes. They support an above header and will be the same height as the door when used for a door. When used to support window frames, things are different.
When a jack stud is placed in a window frame, it will be as tall as the window frame but will usually reach the floor. This offers the most support as making it as tall as the window alone won’t be stable.
What Is A King Stud?
A king stud supports the jack stud. It runs along the jack stud on the outside only reaches both the top and the bottom. Its job is to support the jack stud and any studs that run along that path to support the entire frame.
A king stud is needed for each jack stud that is installed. Each of them will be screws or nailed directly to the jack stud that it is supporting as well as to the above board and the below board, which is secured to the ceiling and floor.
What Is A Cripple Stud?
A cripple stud is only used for window and door frames. Or various holes in the wall, like in a breakfast area or over archways in open-concept homes. Cripple studs support the upper layers of the wall above them.
A cripple stud is placed in the shorter areas of the wall both above and below windows. They are also placed above doorways. Without them, the boards would bow, or fall down over time, as the frames wouldn’t be secure.
What Are Wall Plates?
Wall plates are the topmost and bottommost horizontal boards in a partition. Without them, you’d need to screw the studs directly into the ceiling and the floor. But with them, you can screw the studs into them.
From there, you have a complete wall that is framed by the plates, making it easy to put the wall up and screw it into the floor and ceiling. You can think of the wall plates as upper and lower “headers.”
What Are Wall Headers?
As for the technical headers, when talking about building a wall or partition, you can assume the word in question refers to a window or door header. This is the board that goes above the window or door.
Not the board that goes below the window, as this is considered the window sill. A word that we are all more familiar with. But in short, a wall header, or window header, is sort of an upper window sill.
What Is A Stud Finder?
A stud finder is the best way to find studs if the wall is already covered. You need to know where studs are if you want to put in a window or door. You also need to know where studs are if you want to hang anything without drywall anchors.
Drywall anchors make it possible to hang things in drywall without a stud, but only light things. If it’s too heavy, it can lift the anchor out, damaging the wall, the item, and possibly hurting a family member in the process.
In most cases, a stud finder can detect studs underneath the wall covering and will beep when it touches one. It also usually has a red laser that flashes and lets you mark as far up the wall as you want. So yes, it is very useful.
Best Stud Finders 2021
Here are some of the best stud finders for 2021 that make it easier to find studs that are strangely placed. Because although you can “knock on wood” to try to find studs, we all know it isn’t as easy as it sounds. It can make one feel frustrated.
Note: studs are generally 16-inches apart. But since not all wall lengths are divisible by 16, it’s hard to determine which side the studs start from. This is why using a stud finder is so important, even if you know the 16-inch rule.
This Tavol stud finder is truly amazing. It originally costs around $50, but if you’re lucky, you can find it on sale for under $25. It is the best-selling stud-finder and the highest-rated stud finder altogether.
This stud finder has four modes, allowing it to detect woods, beam, joist, metals, AC wires, and deeply embedded objects behind floor, ceiling, wall. Which is more than a step above your standard stud finder.
The StudBuddy is the cheapest and simplest stud finder you can buy. It makes the perfect small gift or stocking stuffer, so get a few of them if you get one. It can find wood or metal studs and can stay in place as a marker.
The truth is that the StudBuddy works as a metal detector, detecting screws or nails. So you may need to push it up and down to detect a stud. With the price and user-friendliness, it is definitely worth it.
Another great choice by Tavol, this stud finder isn’t as high-end as its sister stud finder but it is a solid option. This is one of Tavol’s cheaper stud finders yet it still offers the 4-in-1 combo that the expensive one does.
It also has that classic indented top that makes it easier to see where the stud is and gives you a way to mark it with a pencil or nail. And don’t forget the famous laser that gives you a straight line all the way up.
Zircon is a great, affordable brand available at most retailers. You can probably go out and buy this exact stud finder today. It has a great grip and works exactly like you’d expect a stud finder to work.
It’s a great option for beginners given the price and how easy it is to use. It is battery-operated and needs a 9v to operate which is not included. So make sure you grab one of those while you’re out too.
This is one of the nicest stud finders on the market. So if you’re a Black+Decker enthusiast who has everything in orange and black, then you need this for your collection. Not only does it work great, but it looks great too.
The Black+Decker stud finder uses laser technology not only to create a straight line for stud finding but also to be a level. You can use it as a line laser level both horizontally and vertically. That’s more than a 2-in-1.
Do I Need A Stud Finder?
No, you don’t need a stud finder to find a stud. You can simply knock on the wall, teaching yourself the difference between the sound of a hollow wall vs. a wall with a stud. However, this isn’t a sure thing as your mind can play tricks on you.
You may also make mistakes and drill a hole in the wall that you will later have to patch up. This is even more complicated when you can’t match the paint you previously used anymore. So a stud finder can prevent a lot of accidents.