Safe to cut out stud from this wall?

Discussion in 'Remodel Forum & Blog' started by wombat, May 26, 2012.

  1. wombat

    wombat New Member

    Messages:
    18
    Location:
    Bellevue WA
    I bought a 15 inch wide medicine cabinet for a bathroom that I was intending just to fit between the studs but this is going to make it a little to close to the shower. So I am toying with cutting out a stud but I won't do so till I'm convinced the house will not fall down!
    The wall in question is only 4 feet from the exterior wall. It is on the second floor a a two store condo. There are several beams (but not near this stud that go perpendicular to the wall). The wall is parallel to the sides of the house and perpendicular to the front door.
    There is a shower stall installed on the same side as the wall. The wall in question is to the left on the pictures.

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    Last edited by a moderator: May 26, 2012
  2. johnfrwhipple

    johnfrwhipple Bathroom Design & Build - North Vancouver, B.C.

    Messages:
    4,393
    Location:
    North Vancouver, BC
    Without looking at the attic it is very hard to tell if you can start removing wall studs. That said one stud should not have any effect on the home's assembly but only someone familar with framing or an engineer can tell for sure.

    I was taught a trick from an old timer years back that involves using the "Saws-all" as a guide. You cut through the stud slowly and if the weight above bears down on your tool blade you stop and fix. If the tool cuts clean through with no binding there is little chance any load is there now. This does not mean that when your roof has 2' of snow that stud does nothing for the home's mechanics.

    Most point loads will be supported by multiple studs ie: 2- 2"x6"'s 3-2"x4"'s or more so if you expose the stud and find only one you should be alright.

    Do you have anyone that can peak into the attic for you and look?

    JW
  3. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,811
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    "Peeking" in the attic will tell NOTHING about an individual stud. The "double plate" on top and the adjacent studs will take its place. But, IF you take this stud out, without replacing "something", HOW will you secure the medicine chest in the opening, because it usually attaches to studs on either side of the box?
  4. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    22,128
    Location:
    New England
    If you treat it as a load-bearing wall, it would be safe regardless. This means you'd need to cut more drywall out to gain access. You don't cut the whole thing, but only enough to box in the area where the new cabinet is to go. You install a header between the studs next to the one you take out top and bottom, then add 2x4 material (cripple stud?) between them to box the area where the cabinet is to be inserted. The headers would sit on what's left of the stud you cut, transferring the load around the new cutout.
  5. johnfrwhipple

    johnfrwhipple Bathroom Design & Build - North Vancouver, B.C.

    Messages:
    4,393
    Location:
    North Vancouver, BC
    HJ peeking in the attic can tell alot about how a home is built. Many older homes have the weigh load transferred to the outside walls but often you see mid spans 2"x4"'s on the angle. Often these hit a single ceiling joist. In older homes it is not un common to see lath stapled up first and then the lower framing around it. We can tell by an attic visit if any of the roof's weight is bearing down on the wall in question.

    Always worth the visit. Also our structural engineers like these visits as well.

    I would look up inside the attic to see if any roof framing is bearing on the wall. I would also look for any ceiling joists lapped over that wall. If you find neither you are pretty much good to go in my book.

    JW
  6. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,811
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    My point is that even if it is a "bearing wall", removing ONE stud in the middle of the wall will have almost ZERO effect on the stuctural stability of the building. The double top plate transfers all loads across several studs. Which is partially the reason the framers can use 16" or 24" o.c. spacing.
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