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The proper spacing for wall studs

Updated February 21, 2017

The spacing of studs is important when building a wall because building codes require that studs be placed closely enough to properly support the building. Choose 2-by-6-inch studs instead of 2-by-4-inch studs, especially on an exterior wall, because they provide extra support and more room for insulation.

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Studs should be spaced 16 inches apart on centre. Because of the thickness of the wood, the first stud should be placed 15 1/4 inches from the end. This ensures that the sheathing will land exactly in the centre of the fourth stud. Some studs can be spaced 24 inches apart if the wall will not be load bearing.


Before cutting the studs and assembling the wall, make sure you draw everything in chalk on the floor, including the locations of studs, doors and windows. This allows you to visualise everything in a concrete way and make any changes.


Although you can save money on a non-load-bearing wall by spacing the studs 24 inches apart instead of 16 inches apart, this type of wall is not as sturdy. The drywall, especially if it is thin, can sometimes move when you push it or lean on it.

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About the Author

Karen Sheviak has more than 10 years of experience as a writer, researcher and copy editor for "Canadian Living" magazine. She has worked as a freelance editor for other magazines including "Toronto Life." Sheviak has a Bachelor of Arts in English and history from the University of Toronto and a diploma in journalism from Centennial College in Toronto.

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