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  #1  
Old 04-16-2008, 10:12 AM
John Mace John Mace is offline
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European Construction Standards

In the US, builders typically place studs for walls on 16" centers (sometimes 24"), and that easily accommodates the 4' x 8' plywood/drywall standard sizes.

What is the practice in Europe? Are the same stud distances and sheathing sizes used, just converted into metric, or are different metric based standards used? 16" = 40.64 cm, so that's a somewhat awkward number. Or do builders actually use feet/inches (hard to imagine that they would) as in the US.

And what about lumber sizes: 2x4, 2x6, etc?
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  #2  
Old 04-16-2008, 11:51 AM
elmwood elmwood is offline
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As a followup, I'm curious about standard sizes for windows, doors and other fittings. In the US, interior, exterior and garage doors come in several standard sizes, as are non-custom windows.
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Old 04-16-2008, 12:01 PM
Giles Giles is offline
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I know a little bit about Australian sizes, which went through a conversion from imperial to metric some years ago. In general, sizes went to the nearest round number, e.g. the standard 4 x 8 foot sheet went to 1200 x 2400 mm, and 2x4 timber is nominally 50x100 mm, but about 45x90 mm in practice. (Most dimensions in building and carpentry are given in mm, to avoid the confusion of multiple units on plans & specifications).

But most European countries have been metric a lot longer, and they didn't have to convert from imperial, so sizes may be quite different there.
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Old 04-16-2008, 12:20 PM
Colophon Colophon is offline
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Here's a link to plywood at a British DIY store.

Plywood is generally 244 x 122cm, or almost exactly 8ft x 4ft (8ft = 243.84cm). In other words, the labels went metric, the plywood stayed the same. (If you can find plywood cut to a tolerance of 1.6mm (1/16 in) then you are doing well!)

BTW as you can see, the standard "2 inch" thickness is 4.7cm in metric terms. Are American "2 x 4s" actually 2 inches? I suspect not.

Last edited by Colophon; 04-16-2008 at 12:25 PM..
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Old 04-16-2008, 12:39 PM
John Mace John Mace is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Colophon
BTW as you can see, the standard "2 inch" thickness is 4.7cm in metric terms. Are American "2 x 4s" actually 2 inches? I suspect not.
No, they are 1 1/2 X 3 1/2.
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  #6  
Old 04-16-2008, 12:46 PM
Really Not All That Bright Really Not All That Bright is offline
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Note that European market vans, like American work trucks, are designed around the 8x4 plywood sheet.
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Old 04-16-2008, 01:14 PM
Giles Giles is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Really Not All That Bright
Note that European market vans, like American work trucks, are designed around the 8x4 plywood sheet.
Which they probably think of as "2,4 x 1,2 metres".
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Old 04-16-2008, 01:17 PM
Really Not All That Bright Really Not All That Bright is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Giles
Which they probably think of as "2,4 x 1,2 metres".
They might have metric tape measures but if you ask an English builder what size sheet of plywood he's carrying he will say "eight-bah-four".
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Old 04-16-2008, 01:17 PM
John Mace John Mace is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Giles
Which they probably think of as "2,4 x 1,2 metres".
Ack, that hurts my eyes!
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  #10  
Old 04-16-2008, 01:49 PM
Cerowyn Cerowyn is offline
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I don't know the answer to the OP, but I should point out that the UK is hardly a good gauge of how things are handled in metric Europe. Of all the European countries, it is the one in which metric has the most tenuous hold.
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  #11  
Old 04-16-2008, 02:18 PM
Gorsnak Gorsnak is offline
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Seems to me that for North American-style stick-built framing, the ideal would be 240cm x 120cm plywood, which would let you frame on 40cm or 60cm centres (approximating the common 16' and 24' centres currently used) as well as 48cm or 30cm and still have the seams land on studs/joists. There's a 5 stud per sheet spacing that gets used in NA construction at times, and it comes out to approximately 19 5/16" centres. You'll see markings on some tape measures at these points. I think it's mostly used for truss spacing, but it must be a royal pain in the ass to work with.
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Old 04-16-2008, 02:58 PM
smithsb smithsb is offline
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Little if any stick-built wall framing in Italy. Roof (hip not flat) framing still has wood as one of the methods. Interior treatments, windows and doors are wood (manufactured or "real") with standard sizes typically carried over from inch measurements. All commercial and most home construction is coded by European Union standards with local (stricter) regulations also in place.

Private and commercial construction walls are typically hollow brick/tile/block construction. Steel framing for supports is used. Mortar finish on the outside and plaster interiors.

Plywood, particle board, and the like are metric sized and similar to inch dimensions. Generally used in furniture and shelving projects. "Real" wood is expensive, took a lot of forest to heat all the castles back in the day. Forests have been replaced recently but tree harvesting is still limited.

If you're going to do work on your home here; masonry skills are more important that carpentry.
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  #13  
Old 04-16-2008, 03:11 PM
SmackFu SmackFu is offline
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Yeah, in my experience from watching British home shows, wood construction is very unusual. A proper house is built from brick or concrete block.
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  #14  
Old 04-16-2008, 04:03 PM
Ximenean Ximenean is offline
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True, but upstairs interior walls are very often stud and plasterboard (drywall).
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