When you frame a long exterior wall and do it in sections, say a 50' 2x6 wall in 16' sections, how do you efficiently keep 16" O.C. layout when the next wall section would throw off the 16" OC Layout? Every wall section needs a stud at the end of it to be sistered against the next wall. Is it better to cut the wall plates down so that sistered stud is actually an on-layout stud, and then the next section of wall starts layout 1.5" back so that 16 inches from the first section wall - last stud, lands on the 2nd stud of the new section wall? Trying to see how this is done by the pros in mass production so it stays efficient?

  • Are you framing the wall in place on a subfloor, or off-site? I think the premise of your question is flawed. Subsequent sections should not "throw off" the layout. Your plates stop at the center of a stud, and layout continues as normal. You shift 3/4" from the 16" marks on your tape measure accordingly.
    – isherwood
    Commented Sep 11, 2019 at 14:57
  • @isherwood, I answered based on the premise of two studs at each section boundary. Is it more common in practice to have single stud straddle the plates of each section?
    – JPhi1618
    Commented Sep 11, 2019 at 15:04
  • Yes, it is standard to just have one. It'll hang halfway beyond the plates. Using two messes with insulation and other standard fitments, though that's not a deal-breaker if someone prefers that approach.
    – isherwood
    Commented Sep 11, 2019 at 15:10
  • @isherwood your response is assuming that the two walls splice on the middle of a stud with the plates also starting and stopping dead center of a stud. I have found that to be more hassle than having each wall start and stop with full stud bearing. When you erect the wall that has one stud halfway beyond the plate, you then can no longer end nail the next wall section and must toenail a messily 3/4" of material. I have not seen that done around here. I suppose it would be more efficient in stud use. Is that what you are saying you do when joining wall sections?
    – CCCBuilder
    Commented Sep 11, 2019 at 17:51
  • Yes. It's never been a problem to toenail the end stud, especially since common use of nail guns.
    – isherwood
    Commented Sep 11, 2019 at 19:43

2 Answers 2


When you pull layout from a wall end, layout shifts back toward the initial point 3/4" (half the stud width). The last stud in a run typically hangs past the plates 3/4", thus centering it on the 16" interval.

When you pull layout in subsequent sections, you do the same--shift 3/4" back from the 16" interval marks on the tape measure. If you like to mark both sides, mark 3/4" back and 3/4" beyond. If you use a square later, just mark 3/4" back and X beyond.

In real-world onsite scenarios, all plates are aligned and tacked in position to the subfloor, then layout is pulled in one continuous run.


I think it may help to know why 16" OC is so important and the main reason is that drywall and other sheathing comes in 4x8 sheets. For you to properly hang drywall, you must have a stud where ever two sheets will join up. So, as long as you have at least 3/4" of stud on either side of every 16" space, you'll be ok.

Say you make 16' wall sections... The first stud after the edge should be centered 16" from the edge of the wall - not the center of the edge stud. This means that where the two wall sections join, the space between the two edge studs will fall directly on a 16" boundary and that's fine for joining sheathing or drywall. Note that you should probably plan to have the sheathing joints not line up with the wall joints, but that can be handled pretty easily.

||           ||         ||||         ||          || 
||           ||         ||||         ||          || 
||           ||         ||||         ||          || 
-------------------------- -------------------------- 
    14.5"        13.75"       13.75"      14.5" 

16 OC Diagram

Added better diagram - you can see that if you follow this pattern, the 16" OC will continue from wall to wall. The only issue is that where the walls join, you will have a joint between two studs that falls exactly on the 16" mark, but this is fine for drywall and sheathing. As the other answer mentions, these doubled-up studs might cause issues for insulation batts or other items that assume a 14.5" gap, but if you want doubled studs to make "complete" wall sections, that's what you have to do.

  • @JPhit1618 yes I am aware of the important of layout ;) That is why I am asking this question, in a sense, to see how other people maintain layout on large wall portions joined in sections. I can not frame and stand a wall longer than 16' assuming it has headers without an extra person. But in your diagram, your second wall that has the 13.75" gap. That second stud is not near the 16" mark on your tape, meaning each additional stud in the second wall is not on layout of the tape. The only way to do that is make sure the first wall stops short, so the 2nd wall begins with the 16" layout.
    – CCCBuilder
    Commented Sep 11, 2019 at 17:55
  • 1
    @Nic, Added a hand-drawn diagram to make my point clearer. The 16" OC will continue through wall sections. I will admit that isherwood has more experience with this than me, and I believe that his "don't double up the studs between sections" advice is the more common way to do this.
    – JPhi1618
    Commented Sep 11, 2019 at 18:12

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