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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
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    Default Insulation/Stud Spacing

    HELP! We are preparing to install wall insulation (blown-in cellulose) into our uninsulated 1949 Ranch. The outside is "permastone" and the walls are plaster. In hanging our flat screen TV, we ended up with about 10 holes in the wall before we found a stud. Does anyone out there know what the stud spacing was in 1949? With plaster walls, I'd hate to drill 10 3" holes in the wall trying to locate the space between the studs.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
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    The Great White North
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    Default Re: Insulation/Stud Spacing

    Depends on the methods for the area , who built the home , etc. ... 16 inch center spacing was widely used back then but could also be 2 foot spacing.

    Pick a referance like a known original location of an electrical outlet ....with your tape on the left side of the electrical box ( normally the boxes are secured to the right side of a stud ) measure out to the right 15 1/4 inches and see if there is a stud .... if so they're 16 inch spaced..... if not measure out 23 1/4 for 2 foot spacing.
    As you found out ... it's easier to find the cavities than studs.

    I take it you will be blowing in the insulation yourself ... there may be cross blocking midway up the wall in which case just do 2 holes .... one high and one low.
    "" an ounce of perception -- a pound of obscure "
    - Rush

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
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    54

    Default Re: Insulation/Stud Spacing

    Quote Originally Posted by deeda827 View Post
    HELP! We are preparing to install wall insulation (blown-in cellulose) into our uninsulated 1949 Ranch. The outside is "permastone" and the walls are plaster. In hanging our flat screen TV, we ended up with about 10 holes in the wall before we found a stud. Does anyone out there know what the stud spacing was in 1949? With plaster walls, I'd hate to drill 10 3" holes in the wall trying to locate the space between the studs.
    If they did everything right, it's probably 16" on center, but I've found incredible inconsistencies in old construction. Sometimes I've found studs several studs 3 or 4 inches apart, then a 2 foot cavity, then more close together. It depends on what brand of idiot built the house I guess. Once you find an open cavity, you can use a piece of romex to find where the next stud is. Stick the romex in the hole toward the right or left until you feel it hit a stud, mark it with your fingers at the hole, pull it out and lay it on the wall to see where the stud is.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
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    7,238

    Default Re: Insulation/Stud Spacing

    Quote Originally Posted by canuk View Post
    normally the boxes are secured to the right side of a stud.
    Good point, unless you had a left handed electrician.

    Rather than just measuring from one side or the other of an outlet, it's better to remove the coverplate and locate the stud. There is usually enough gap around the box that it's easy enough to see or carefully probe. From there it's pretty much a matter of measuring 16" on center. Weirdness happens around doorways and windows, but once you find a stud in the middle of a wall, you'll be able to find most of the others in the same wall.

    Also, homes of that era used diagonal 2x4's for structural bracing. You'll find these mostly in exterior and bearing walls, though I've found them in random non-bearing interior walls as well. Another note in a home of this age is what's known as "fire blocking", and that is a horizontal block in every stud bay at 4 feet from the floor. Fire blocking can be found in all walls, interior and exterior both.
    I suffer from CDO ... Its like OCD, but in alphabetical order, LIKE IT SHOULD BE!!!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
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    731

    Default Re: Insulation/Stud Spacing

    Quote Originally Posted by deeda827 View Post
    HELP! We are preparing to install wall insulation (blown-in cellulose) into our uninsulated 1949 Ranch. The outside is "permastone" and the walls are plaster. In hanging our flat screen TV, we ended up with about 10 holes in the wall before we found a stud. Does anyone out there know what the stud spacing was in 1949? With plaster walls, I'd hate to drill 10 3" holes in the wall trying to locate the space between the studs.
    you may not even have stud walls fake stone permastone was also often applied to block/brick masonry and poured walls too. you could even have a combination of masonry walls, half masonry with cripple walls and stud walls. If originally stud walls and permastoned 1949 would not be unusual for the walls to have been sheathed first before lath and permastone. plywood was around then as was impregnated fiber board and good old fashioned plank sheathing for sheer. horizontal bracing was common diagonal balloon style bracing on a 1949 ranch stud wall not so common on the east coast. permastone also slapped on over top of original wood siding - just like aluminum siding as a coverup over just about anything - still being done today (different names same kind of products) as a quick facade cover up. building techniques vary by region and if you're house was part of a development or a contract home if neighbors have homes built same as yours ask some may already know the quirks of your floor plan!

    if you have access to an attic or crawl space you might find locating stud spacing on gable ends easier there and other clues regarding spacing.

    if you remove the baseboard and look behind it you might find that easier to determine if you have sleepers or studs behind your plaster and their locations to mark them. keeping investigatory probes near the base of the wall makes repairs easier and less obvious. obviously framing near windows and doors will have different voids and pockets with variable spacing assuming you have stud walls at all.

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