How to Frame a Wall 16 Inch on Center

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Published 18 Feb 2010
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Bob Schmidt shows you how and why to lay-out a wall during construction to a standard 16 inch on center lay-out. When laying out a top and bottom plate for a typical wall a framing square is usually the most appropriate tool.   To begin, flush up top & bottom plate ends, hook tape on flush ends.  The first measurement is 15 1/4 inches to side of first stud placement.  Each corresponding measurement should be 3/4 of an inch shy of stud marks on typical tape measure.  This will give you studs that are on 16 inch center layouts.  Sixteen inch center layouts are important for several reasons:  many building materials are designed to fit in a 16 inch layout, ie. insulation, medicine cabinets some tile backing inserts & ironing board inserts; when installing cabinets or trim ie. crown, baseboard, these materials need to be attached to framing.  If you stay true to 16 inch centers, all you really need to do in a wall is find the first stud and the rest of the studs in the wall are always multiples of 16 inches away.  Another consideration when framing a wall is to match the existing structure as far as floor joist layouts, so as to allow space to run heat ducts, plumbing pipes, wiring to electrical panels, without having wall studs in the way and saving you time and money.
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