Did You Know: Why we Frame at 16-inches On Center

Share on twitter
Share on facebook
Share on linkedin
Share on tumblr

Our wood construction traditions came from England. Where English carpenters were right at home building houses framed with studs set at about 16-inches on center for walls with wood lath and plaster.

The lath was made from riven slats, deftly pealed with a hand ax off logs about 32-inches long. This was the length a man could reliably cleave a flat ribbon of lath with a single blow. Because applying plaster over 32-inch slats of lath nailed only at the ends proved springy and unstable, carpenters added a center stud to stiffen the lath. Hence, studs were set a 16-inches on center.

Unless you’re finishing your walls with plaster over wood lath, there’s no point to framing with a 16-inches module, try 19.5, 24, or any other permitted spacing.

My source: Advance Residential Engineering Services