Last edited 15 Nov 2017



A stud is a vertical framing member which forms part of a wall or partition. Also known as wall studs, they are a fundamental component of frame building and are typically made of timber. However, steel studs are increasingly popular, particularly for non load-bearing walls and firewalls.

As part of a wall, studs may carry vertical structural loads, or as part of a partition wall, may be non load-bearing. They are sandwiched between top and bottom plates and must be equally spaced. The spacings will be governed by the size and spanning ability of the facing or cladding material.

Load-bearing walls will typically use a double top plate. A single top plate can be used if the roof rafters or trusses and floor joists are stacked directly over the wall studs.

In addition to helping maintain the shape of a building element, studs hold in place the windows, doors, insulation, interior finish, utilities, and so on. In order to form interior and exterior corners, intersecting walls, headers, jambs and sills, studs can be bundled together in a variety of ways to best suit the application.

Traditionally, studs were fastened to the plates by hammer and nail, and then by nail gun. Modern techniques such as screw fasteners, clips and ties can be used to enhance resistance to wind and seismic activity.

Care must be taken to ensure that the (timber) studs are completely dry when installed, otherwise they may be prone to shrinking and twisting as they dry out. Therefore, they should be stored carefully on site before usage.

Timber studs are easy to use, lightweight, adaptable, and can be clad and infilled with various materials to give different finishes and properties. They should be of prepared or planed material to ensure that the wall is of constant thickness with parallel faces.

There are different names for studs that are used to frame around window and door openings. These include:

  • King stud: On either side of a window or door, and runs from the bottom to top plate.
  • Trimmer or jack: On either side of a window or door, and runs from the bottom plate to the underside of a lintel or header.
  • Cripple stud: Either above or below a framed opening.
  • Post or column: Group of studs fastened side-by-side.

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