Laying Out Stud Walls
Building Skills: From load path to jack studs, keep these four considerations in mind.
How you lay out the stud locations in a wall affects everything that comes after, from sheathing, to hanging drywall, to plumbing and HVAC rough-in, to trimming the interior. The stud layout is marked on the plates—the horizontal members at the top and bottom of a wall. It’s worth taking the time to find straight, long stock for the plates, and to cut them accurately to length. The blueprints will rarely, if ever, specify the location of every stud, so the carpenter is expected to understand framing principles well enough to get the layout right regardless of the level of detail on the plans.
There are four things to consider when laying out a wall.
The first is load path. Loads are the weight of rafters, floor joists, and beams that bear on the wall from above. Each of these needs at least one stud below it; often…