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residential: do you draw 4" or 3 1/2" stud walls?


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Jack's house is measured in Cubits..




LOL...you are closer to right than you think! These old hillbillies did things their own way. Funny thing is, it usually worked.

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I think I'm living in the twin of the house Jack lives in. Well, not quite. A 2x4 is really a 2x4 and rough sawn. Every stud has at least five nails in each end and none are shorter than 3". Nothing is plumb, nothing is level and there are no ninety degree corners. The foundation below grade is rock and mortar while above grade it is a double brick wall separated by a 2" space. No fire stops because it is balloon construction. Horsehair plaster walls on lath. The original electrical panel was a 60 amp. House has been heated over 108 years by wood, coal, oil and now natural gas. Renovation projects are always a challenge as one never really knows what to expect. Oh, and because it was built at the turn of the century it has the old gas piping for the lights (still have two gas fixtures in the attic) and some of the old "knob and tube" wiring is still in use.

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  • 7 years later...
  • 1 month later...

What about 3/8", 1/2" & 5/8" gypsum board?  What about an extra layer of fire rated gypsum board on one side of the wall? What about bulletproof panels under the GWB?


4" walls or center wall dimensions get you only skoffs and laughter among the trades.  Luckily we have OJT to get by on out here.


These days, I find almost all architectural plans in the commercial remodel industry devoid of critical dimensions. 


I work for a commercial full custom cabinet shop.  My concern is finished dimensions AKA Verified in Field.


One GWB & stud wall is not another GWB & stud wall.  They are all individuals with their own quirky personalities.


I think the plans noted above get that way by skinflint general contractors or architect/design firms running as built sketches through $5.00 per hour outsource drafting in South Asia or somewhere.  Dimensions, hah.  What about non-existent elevations and sections, with or without call-outs.

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On 12/28/2019 at 9:11 AM, acad_2k said:

yes, 3-1/2" for wood studs. 


I draw metal studs at 3-3/4". The actual stud measure 3-5/8" but I add 1/8" for the runner that the stud sits in.

How tall is that runner?  The difference tapers out at the first drywall screw off the floor.  

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now we're getting down to brass tacks, 1-1/4" high but then there are self-tapping screw-heads that protrude from the runner. 😀


so for me, 3-3/4" works


edit: Happy New Year 

Edited by acad_2k
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Measure to the actual framing members using real dimensions for plans. Finish materials are noted and dimensioned in the sections and detail views. Framing crews will love you for it.

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6 minutes ago, SuperCAD said:

Measure to the actual framing members using real dimensions for plans. Finish materials are noted and dimensioned in the sections and detail views. Framing crews will love you for it.

I agree, this is great advice for the OP

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  • 3 years later...


On 3/9/2012 at 7:43 PM, slipperypete said:

I decided to dig in my office and take a look at house plans that I have from others. I found plans from eight designers & six architects. This is how their plans are done:


4” Studs / o.c. – 7 designers, 1 architect

4” studs / stud face – 1 designer, 1 architect

3.5” studs / o.c. – none

3.5” studs / stud face – 4 architects


This really touches in the importance of architects having some field (actual building ) experience and vice-versa.  I would imagine then the range of opinions/methods would be considerably less.  Pulling centers is foolish (increases the likelihood of error) and a royal PITA.  Why use a program like Autocad if precision is not an important part of the overall goal.  Part of the problem is that in the days of hand drafting and 'blueprints', a high level of precision was not possible.  The carpenters learned to make it work in the field.  Despite the use of Autocad and high precision, carpenters still 'make it happen' as one commenter said rather toungue in cheek, "tell me where you want the walls and I will make it work."    But why not give the carpenter the precision if its built into the program by default? The fact that my ACAD built in 'stud' tool produces a stud image  that is literally 2" x 4" makes me laugh and is annoying at best.  


Thanks slippery pete for doing the very revealing study.  here is my lighthearted but to the point response to your finding.....   


4" studs / o.c. – 7 designers, 1 architect      =  no architectural or practical building experience

4” studs / stud face – 1 designer, 1 architect  = same as above but exhibiting some level of practical thinking 

3.5” studs / o.c. – none    =  proves my point about practicality and economical methods

3.5” studs / stud face – 4 architects    =   well trained and/or simply practical and economical 

I strive to be in the fourth group  😆

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