I am framing my basement tomorrow and I'm thinking of using 24" OC for my interior non-load bearing walls. I plan on using 2 sheets of 5/8" sheet rock with a noise dampening compound.

Is 24 OC legal or within the bounds of the UDC (universal dwelling code)?

  • It may depend on your local code. we use 2x3 24" OC for such a wall where space is at a premium then the wall with sheetrock is only 4" thick and there is enough room for electrical outlets. – Ed Beal Mar 8 '16 at 21:59
  • I would research your end goal a little further - code not withstanding, denser drywall, and wider spacing, may do more to enhance vs. mitigate any noise. – tahwos Mar 10 '16 at 1:11
  • Typical practice, is 1/2" on 16" centers, and stuff the cavity with some R13. If you want to go all out, get some resilient channel - to "disconnect" one room from the next, sound wise. – tahwos Mar 10 '16 at 1:25
  • resilient channels are a good way to decouple but easy to "short circuit" by accidentally attaching the drywall to the stud through the resilient channel or otherwise. Staggered studs are a decent decouple compromise because the sound hits the drywall then hits the first batch of 24OC studs, then hits the header and bottom plate, then the next set of drywall. On the interior side, I'm use double 5/8 sandwiched with green glue. The double 5/8 mass is for bass tones, where the green is dampening and fiberglass for higher tones. 4 concepts for sound: mass, decoupling, dampening, absorption – tjcinnamon Mar 11 '16 at 15:32

According to IBC2009 Section & Table 2308.9.1 Page 483. If using Utility Grade studs your wall can't be any taller than 10' & your studs (2x3's or 2x4's) must be no more than 16"oc.

WI's Uniform Dwelling Code (UDC) Page 43 & 44 Section & Table SPS 321.25.A doesn't have the IBC's utility stud stipulation. Therefore, 24"oc is fine if your wall is no more than 14' tall for 2x4's. But, with 2x3's you still must be 16"oc with a wall no taller than 10'.

However, if you're worried about being "legal", then you should apply for a permit to have your design approved & be wiling to conform to all other standards & inspections. Such as, GFCI protected electrical outlets every 6', air conditioned space similar to the rest of the house, insulation, ceiling & floor finishes & emergency egress. Basically, willing to make it truly habitable space, so they can bump up your taxes after they bled you dry with fees.

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  • I did 24OC but staggered 2x4 studs on a 2x6 header. Therefore the sound will have to travel through the header to get to the other drywall before getting in to the adjoining room. So if you were to look at the studwall basically things are 12 OC vs 16. More load bearing and better for sound. – tjcinnamon Mar 11 '16 at 15:26
  • Fantastic Job! All of it should make a great impact on sound reduction, especially with the Green Glue sandwich. – Iggy Mar 11 '16 at 15:52

It may be difficult to get 2x4's to look good at 24" centers but if you hand-pick the studs you may get an acceptable result.

I don't think there are any codes for non-load-bearing walls. You get to do whatever you want.

Good luck!

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