Wall Framing

Wall framing isn't too difficult, but there are a few things that are important to know before you get started.  First, you must determine if the wall you are planning to build is a load bearing wall or a non-load bearing wall. 

The picture below shows to adjacent walls.  The one on the right is load bearing because it is carrying part of the roof.  It also has a header over the doorway to carry the weight of the roof across the span of the rough opening for the door.  The wall on the left is non-load bearing.  There is no need for a header above the window because it doesn't support any structure above. 

Framing Walls

Load bearing wall studs are generally placed closer together (16" apart).  Whereas, non-load bearing wall studs can be 24" apart.

To lay out a wall for framing, cut the bottom and one of the top plates the length of the wall.  Positon the two plates on a flat surface so that the ends line up.  Pull a tape measure from one end and make a mark at 16" (this will be the center of your second stud). 

Make another mark at 15.75" (this will be the location of one edge of the second stud).   From this mark, make a mark every 16" and draw a line across both plates.  Continue this process until you reach the end of the plates. 

Laying out the wall plates

Keep in mind the size of the materials that will be covering the wall when you lay out your studs.  Typically, drywall and exterior sheathing come in 4' x 8' sheets.  This is why the stud spacings of 16" and 24" work well for wall framing.

Most walls will include windows and/or doors located at specific positions on the wall.  When this occurs, you'll need to add additional studs and framing.  Regardless of the location of the windows and doors, maintain the common and cripple stud spacing as shown in the diagram below.

Wall Section (typical)

What next?

What next?

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