In residential construction in the United States, wall studs are typically spaced either 16 inches on center (16″ OC) or 24 inches on center (24″ OC). This means that the distance between the centers of adjacent wall studs is either 16 inches or 24 inches, measured horizontally along the wall. These standard stud spacings are defined by building codes and construction practices and are used for framing both interior and exterior walls.
Here’s what these terms mean:
- 16 inches on center (16″ OC): This is the most common spacing for wall studs in residential construction. Wall studs are placed at 16-inch intervals along the length of the wall. This spacing provides good structural support and is suitable for most wall applications.
- 24 inches on center (24″ OC): In some cases, particularly in areas with less stringent building codes, wall studs may be spaced 24 inches apart. This wider spacing can reduce material and labor costs, but it may result in slightly less structural rigidity compared to 16-inch spacing. However, it is still commonly used for non-load-bearing interior walls.
It’s important to note that exterior walls, load-bearing walls, and walls that will support heavy loads (such as walls with cabinets, shelving, or TV mounts) may require closer stud spacing or additional structural support. Always consult your local building codes and plans for specific requirements, and consider your specific application when determining stud spacing.
When hanging heavy items or planning wall-mounted installations, you may need to locate the studs within the wall. Stud finders are handy tools that can help you precisely locate the position of wall studs behind the drywall, making it easier to anchor heavy objects securely.