I'm using a stud finder to find studs behind dry wall and so far I've found 2 and they are 16" apart. Does that mean that there will be a stud every 16" or might the distance change between studs? Is 16" the standard for stud centers?

  • 1
    Yes, there is normally a stud every 16" and yes, the distance may change between studs.
    – DA01
    Commented Jun 16, 2012 at 18:31

8 Answers 8


Yes, in most US residential construction they are 16" center to center. Most of your standard tape measures have every 16th inch noted in red or some other way. Some internal walls may also be spaced 24" on center.

However, there may be exceptions where a door window or odd length wall is used so be sure to verify with a stud finder or a knock on the wall to check.

  • 2
    Most recent construction has 16", but I've seen 24" apart in some walls, and in one house built in the '30s they were apparently just placed at random.
    – chris
    Commented Jun 16, 2012 at 22:43
  • 3
    Agree with @chris; 16" or 24" are common for modern construction, but building codes were different or nonexistent in old buildings. My prewar apartment has no predictable pattern for stud placement. If what you've measured is 16" so far and the house is pretty new, chances are they'll continue to be 16" apart - but always use a stud finder to double check.
    – Laura
    Commented Jun 18, 2012 at 14:28
  • 1
    My parents' prewar house has them every 18"
    – Yitzchak
    Commented Jun 18, 2012 at 18:53

In Australia there are two standard widths for studs. 60cm (23.6") and 45cm (17.7").

Builders will stick to that whenever they can, but if they need to move them or add new studs for, say, structural reasons, they will. I would never ever make assumptions regarding the locations of studs.

What I would do is use the knowledge of your local stud standards to help me find the next stud.

Not sure what other nations standards are for stud distances.


There are at least 3 standard spacings, all based on an 8 foot (96" unit)

  1. 16", 6 studs per 96" (usually in red on a tape measure)
  2. 19.2", 5 studs per 96" (and there is usually a little diamond symbol on tape measures for this spacing)
  3. 24", 4 studs per 96" (most tape measure makers think you can handle this one without additional help)

Due to door (frames), window (frames), plumbing, ducts, and wall-lengths, spacing may not be completely uniform.

  • 3
    What a great tip about the tape measure. I just looked at mine and found the black diamond for the 19.2 stud. How awesome! Commented Dec 9, 2015 at 8:01
  • [Falls off his chair]. Good lord! I must have seen tape measures a jillion times over the decades, but until now had never registered that in addition to the highlighting of numbers every 12", there is also a different highlighting every 16", and -- holy epiphanies Batman! -- little diamonds every 19.2", just as you said!
    – tkp
    Commented Jan 10, 2021 at 2:28

This depends on whether it is a load bearing wall and what you are using for studs. In a load bearing wall they are normally 16in on center. In a non-load bearing wall they can be 24in and if using 2x6's they can be wider apart as long as plate and/or rafter tie-ins are used and exterior or interior sheathing, not drywall, is used to stop horizontal shear and the rain/snow load is taken into account. These widths make it easy to use 4x8 plywood or drywall for covering. In the southern United States, where you do not have a snow load, you can get away with 24 inches with the sheathing for garages but for a domicile I would use 16in in all applications.


I have a wall that is just under 11.5'. The door takes up 32". The studs from the door frame to the corner of the wall have varying lengths in between them. Spacings: 7.25", 13.5", 26.5", 19.5", 19" and 18.5". This is measuring from the approx center of each stud. This wall is made of Drywall. And, these are crazily spaced! Nothing about the room/wall really leans toward an answer to why. Therefore, What the people said above is true: "The standard is usually 16" or 24" between studs, it can vary depending on the construction". So, the best way is to tap/knock on the wall where you know a stud is, and compare that to the rest of the wall. All the while using a tape measure to test 16/24" lengths.


Don't always trust a stud finder. I always do the knock to tell. Has never done me wrong. Stud finders have. You will always have a stud next to an outlet. 16 is the standard unless you are dealing with a moble home or trailer.

  • The outlet may be an old work box that was added where there was no stud. So you can never say never or always! But usually there is a stud.
    – Ed Beal
    Commented Aug 10, 2017 at 20:17

Yes in most cases the studs are 16" apart but remember every wall is mot the same length, so the first stud coming off the corner is different. It could be any measurement lesser then 16" but all the studs coming off corners in the room will be the same distance from the corner

  • This is essentially the same exact answer as the already accepted one.
    – Doresoom
    Commented Dec 11, 2014 at 17:36

how about a look-see in the attic, crawl space, etc to see what basic construction is, own a 1969 block wall 1 story, ceiling studs seem to be 24" on center

  • 3
    There are no studs in your ceiling. There are joists, but that's not what this question is asking. You can't typically find stud layout from an attic or crawl space.
    – isherwood
    Commented May 17, 2017 at 19:01

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