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Opening up a wall that is load bearing requires a little more advanced planning.

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House FramingWall & Framing Tips

Most studs are spaced at regular intervals throughout a wall.  After you’ve found one, you can plot the others by measuring distance from the one you found.  To find that first stud, begin your search towards the wall’s center, not at the ends, where spacing might be irregular.

Also, ignore the studs on either side of a door or window opening.  Electronic stud finders can help and are available at most hardware stores.

Once you’ve found one stud, measure 16 inches — the most common spacing — in one direction or the other.  If you cannot find a second stud, try 24 inches, a spacing used in some newer houses.  Often, you can “sound out” a wall by rapping along it with your knuckles.  A solid thunk indicates a stud.

If rapping doesn’t tell you anything, look for nails in the baseboard.  They’re usually driven into the studs.  You can also drill a small, angled hole and probe with a straightened wire coat hanger to find the stud.

Take the face off an electrical receptacle.  Wall boxes are usually nailed to the side of a stud.

+ more home improvement tips

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