lamb Builder ’ second Engineer, With green framing all the fad I have been tempted to start using studs at 24-inch spacing rather than 16, as I ’ ve constantly done. How much will I in truth save doing this, and is it safe ? I ’ molarity specially concerned with crinkled wallboard and siding. Bob M., Houston, Texas

Dear Bob ,
Tim Garrison is an author, public speaker, and professional engineer. He welcomes correspondence via his blog at    
Savings will come in several ways. First, you ’ ll use far fewer scantling. here ’ s an easy way to determine approximately how many you ’ ll write : number of dot saved=lineal feet of wall*0.25. As an case, say you ’ re building a 50-foot-by-50-foot, one-story house. The sum length of outside wall is 50*4=200 lineal feet. Let ’ s assume there are 100 lineal feet of interior rampart. The sum duration of wall is consequently 200+100=300 lineal feet. If all of that is framed with studs at 24 inches rather than 16, the count of dot saved will be approximately 300*.25= 75. That ’ randomness approximate because it doesn ’ t take into history doors and windows, but you could subtract out that lineal footage for more accuracy. If this were a two-story home, the number of studs saved would double : 75*2 floors= 150. The second phase of savings is more indirect. All that wood left out creates extra space in walls for insulating material. With our model home, at 1.5-inches in width multiplied by 75 each, that equates to 112-inches, or about 9.3 lineal feet of rampart that will be filled with insulation rather than wood. This will, in clock time, translate to energy savings. here ’ s a third kind of savings : labor. Fewer dot will mean less undertaking to haul, layout, and nail studs in target ; less labor in nailing sheathe and wallboard to studs ; less mudding and sanding for drywallers ; and less labor for electricians who route wire through holes they drill in dot. No single item here is a back breaker, but it all adds up. nowadays for the downside. What about military capability ? Studs are the skeleton of any stick-framed house, so it stands to argue that removing a few bones might weaken the structure. That ’ randomness undoubtedly true. But the better question is, is what ’ s left still solid adequate ? A leg with two femurs would be stronger than a branch with one, but would it be better ? probably not. Let ’ s run some numbers. In my neck of the woods, about all outside studs are 2×6. What ’ s the capacity of a 10-foot long, 2×6 dot at 24-inch spacing ? Where coke and weave loads are moderate—most of the U.S.—a No. 2 or better, Hem Fir, Spruce Pine Fir, or Doug Fir stud in the first report of a two-story house calcs with plenty to spare ; it makes it by some 21 %.

If a 10-foot-long dot calcs, a shorter one with the lapp parameters will besides, and in fact will make it by a larger gross profit. ( Those of you matter to in a childlike explanation of the hypothesis behind this should check out my previously published article on the Spaghetti Test. ) What about 2×4 studs ? A 2×4 stud with the same load as above but spaced only at 16 inches does not calc. Shorten that scantling to 8 feet farseeing and it makes it, but barely. To get a 2×4 to calc at 24-inch space, it can be no longer than 9 feet and support only roof warhead. Most of the trouble oneself with 2×4 studs is their failing in resisting wind burden. But interiors don ’ thymine experience wind instrument, so using 2x4s at 24-inches there makes sense. Take away the scent load and a 9-foot-long 2×4 at 24 inches calcs fine supporting a deck plus roof ; it makes it by 19 %. To restate the forte conclusions, 2×6 studs are great at 24-inch spacing, enough strong even up to 10 feet long, supporting several stories. however, you have to be careful with 2x4s – they can make it at 24 inches but with restrictions. An ideal situation could be 2x6s on the first floor and 2x4s on the top floor, with both floor ’ randomness inside stud being 2x4s. What about wavy siding ? Most nail-on siding these days is made assuming scantling spacing of 24-inches. There are credibly war stories out there, though none that I ’ ve hear, concerning properly installed siding showing waves due entirely to studs at 24-inches. If you know of such a sheath, please let me know via my blog. The lapp goes for wavy wallboard. If the stud are of good timbre and the wallboard is installed correctly, I ’ ve not heard of problems ascribable to 24-inch stud space. And that goes for ½-inch wallboard, not good 5/8-inch. Again, let me know if you ’ ve experienced differently. You might wonder if code even allows ½-inch wallboard on studs at 24-inches. You bet it does. In fact IBC Table 2306.7 includes earthquake-resisting fleece walls made with ½-inch wallboard over studs at 24 inches.

To summarize, studs at 24-inch space will save money and resources, and are safe. With 2x6s, it ’ s a no-brainer for most residential construction—they ’ re batch hard in about any shape. With 2×4 studs you can besides get by with 24-inch spacing, but walls should be 9 feet tall or less and the loads minor. Tim Garrison is an generator, populace loudspeaker, and professional engineer. He welcomes symmetry via his web log at .
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