How to Repair a 2×4 Load Bearing Wall Stud

This article explains how to repair a load bearing 2×4 stud that was foolishly cut by the former homeowner. The 2×4 wall stud is repair with a splice and metal reinforcement plates. A drywall repair panel is installed to close the large hole in the wall.

How to Repair a 2×4 Load Bearing Wall Stud

The prior owner of my home was a jackleg when it came to home improvement. Everything he touched was characterized by sloppy work, improper techniques and in this case, complete stupidity. He got the idea for an improvised home theater by cutting a 2×4 stud in the load bearing basement wall to install a shelf for a home theater projector. The prior owner failed to install header and jack studs to transfer the load to the adjacent 2×4 studs. Fortunately, the building codes are designed with a generous margin of safety so mistakes like this don’t result in a catastrophic failure.

Also notice the NM-B 14/2 electrical cable in the following photo that was pushed outside the wall cavity where it could get snagged and damaged. The cable staple by the outlet box was removed in violation of the National Electrical Code (NEC). NEC 334.30 Securing and Supporting states:

“Nonmetallic-sheathed cable shall be supported and secured by staples, cable ties, straps, hangers, or similar fittings designed and installed so as not to damage the cable, at intervals not exceeding 1.4 m (4½ ft) and within 300 mm (12 in.) of every outlet box, junction box, cabinet, or fitting. Flat cables shall not be stapled on edge.”

Instead of sawing out the 2×4 load bearing stud, I would’ve installed a shelf inside the room and mounted a multimedia wiring boxes and wall plates for the video, sound and Ethernet connections for professional result.

Load Bearing 2x4 Wall Stud Cut to Install a Shelf

Load Bearing 2×4 Wall Stud Cut to Install a Shelf

Drywall Repair Panel

The finished side of the drywall opening is framed by trim boards fastened with finishing nails. Notice the utility room with the water heater on the other side of the wall. This large opening in the wall disrupts the central heating and air conditioner flow between the finished and unfinished sides of the basement; meaning the air flow is “unbalanced” and short-circuits the return air duct. There’s also that NM-B 14/2 cable hanging to the left as well. Not sure why my home inspector missed these problems.

Load Bearing 2x4 Stud Repair: Home Theater Projector Wall Opening

Load Bearing 2×4 Stud Repair: Home Theater Projector Wall Opening

The trim boards were not caulked and pulled off easily by hand. One or two finishing nails remained in the wall that were extracted with pliers:

Trim Boards Removed from Drywall Opening

Trim Boards Removed from Drywall Opening

The projector shelf was attached with wood screws and was easily disassembled:

Load Bearing 2x4 Stud Repair: Remove the Shelf

Load Bearing 2×4 Stud Repair: Remove the Shelf

The opening for the home theater projector was small enough that a 2ft x 2ft x 1/2in drywall repair panel would more than cover the hole. With a helper holding the panel in place on the other side of wall, I marked two sides with a pencil to cut it to size.

I measured the drywall repair panel before fixing the load bearing stud – it’s easier when there’s no studs in the way.

Drywall Repair Panel: Mark the Dimensions

Drywall Repair Panel: Mark the Dimensions

Here’s the drywall repair panel with pencil lines marked for sawing. A 2ft x 2ft repair panel costs about $4 at the hardware store.

Drywall Repair Panel to Cover the Large Hole

Drywall Repair Panel to Cover the Large Hole

Closeup of my pencil marks on the drywall repair panel. The right and bottom sides will be cut to fit the hole in the wall. Notice how I’ve marked Left, Right, Top, Bottom and UP in the red squares so there’s no confusion about orientation:

Drywall Repair Panel: Cut Lines and Orientation Notes

Drywall Repair Panel: Cut Lines and Orientation Notes

I cut the panel sides along the pencil marks with a drywall saw. This project is continued in How to Repair a 2×4 Load Bearing Wall Stud – Part 2.

Thanks for reading,

Bob Jackson

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