The Science of Experience



The Anatomy of a Wall: Insulation to Studs

Posted by Becky Eades

Jan 21, 2016 11:30:00 AM

Whether you're remodeling your home on your own or hiring a professional to build for you, understanding the basic anatomy of a wall will help ensure you choose the right materials and designs.

The Origins of Basic Wall Materials

Many homeowners take building materials for granted, but the basic materials for your construction projects can be traced back to the industrial revolution. This is when framing lumber and nails were first mass-produced. These two materials remain the basis for all wall construction. However, they're not the only materials used in today's walls. Today, plywood is typically used to give walls a rigid structure, and insulation is used to seal in the heat and make the home more comfortable.


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How Walls Are Laid Out

Exterior walls are generally framed in 2 x 4 wall studs, spaced 16 inches apart. These studs are fastened to top and bottom plates and to the floor structure to keep them in place. Once the studs are in place, the wall is covered in an exterior sheeting to make it a solid mass. Plywood is typically used for sheathing in homes, since it is easily fixed to siding.

Once the exterior wall is constructed and fitted with plywood, insulation is typically installed between the studs. Then, the interior surface of the wall, often made from drywall, is attached to the studs. Add some joint compound and paint, and you have yourself a finished wall.

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Topics: Home Design, NCFI