How to Repair a 2×4 Load Bearing Wall Stud – Part 2

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A new section of 2×4 lumber is spliced into the load bearing stud, secured with mending plates and cross braces. The drywall repair panel is then installed to close the wall. This project is continued from How to Repair a 2×4 Load Bearing Wall Stud – Part 1.

Load Bearing Wall Stud Splice Repair

The ends of the load bearing 2×4 stud are checked with a square and trimmed with a hand saw to make the ends flat and true. It’s important for the ends of the new splice stud to seat evenly against the existing stud to make an even load bearing surface with no high or low spots.

Next, the vertical gap in the stud is measured and a new board is cut a 1/2 inch or so longer than the gap measurement. The new board is rested on the bottom of the existing stud, the actual length marked with a pencil and sawn about 1/8″ longer:

Load Bearing Wall Stud Repair: Mark the 2x4 Splice Stud Actual Length

Load Bearing Wall Stud Repair: Mark the 2×4 Splice Stud Actual Length

After a trial fitting and trimming with my DeWALT compound miter saw for perfect edge, the slightly long (1/16″ to 3/32″) splice board is tapped into place with a hammer for a tight fit to restore the load bearing path:

2x4 Load Bearing Wall Repair: Fitting the Splice Stud

2×4 Load Bearing Wall Repair: Fitting the Splice Stud

2×4 Splice Stud Mending Plates and Cross Bracing

The splice stud is fastened to the existing stud with Simpson Strong-Tie metal mending plates and SD8 #8 1-1/4″ on both sides of the stud, using four mending plates in all. The mending plates are not rated for load bearing capacity and carry almost no load in this configuration.

Four short horizontal 2×4 braces are attached to the splice stud at the top and bottom of the opening in the drywall. This serves two purposes:

  1. Bracing for the splice stud
  2. Provides backing and a ledge to fasten the drywall repair panel with drywall screws.
    I attached the 2×4 braces with Simpson Strong-Tie metal angle connectors because I had several available and there was no room to swing a hammer for nailing.

Two vertical 2×4 blocks were attached with wood screws to the studs on the left and right to provide mounting support for the drywall repair panel.

This setup is if anything, over engineered. I grabbed splice stud and worked it back and forth with my 215 lb weight – it was very rigid and strong.

2x4 Load Bearing Wall Stud Repair: Splice Stud, Mending Plates and Bracing

2×4 Load Bearing Wall Stud Repair: Splice Stud, Mending Plates and Bracing

The following photo is from the finished side of the wall. Notice the horizontal 2×4 braces and vertical side blocks are set evenly with the back of the existing drywall so the drywall repair panel will seat evenly with the rest of the wall:

Drywall Repair Panel: 2x4 Framing

Drywall Repair Panel: 2×4 Framing

Install the Drywall Repair Panel

The drywall repair panel required some trimming with a utility knife and trial fitting. The panel was adjusted to allow a 1/8″ gap around the perimeter for stress relief and space for the drywall mud. When I was satisfied with the fit, the panel was centered with plastic shims to maintain the 1/8″ gap around the perimeter:

Install a Drywall Repair Panel: Center with Plastic Shims

Install a Drywall Repair Panel: Center with Plastic Shims

The repair panel is fastened to the 2×4 wood framing with 1-1/4″ drywall screws and a drywall screw setter bit:

Drywall Repair Panel: Fasten with Drywall Screws

Drywall Repair Panel: Fasten with Drywall Screws

The drywall screw setter bit sinks the screw to the correct depth with small dimple every time. Install screws in each corner and space the screws about 8″ apart (and not more than 12″) on the sides. This is a small panel so my fastener spacing was more like 6″ to make it secure:

Drywall Screw Setter Bit

Drywall Screw Setter Bit

The old nail holes from the trim boards are dimpled slightly with a hammer to be filled with drywall mud:

Drywall Finishing: Dimple Nail Holes with a Hammer

Drywall Finishing: Dimple Nail Holes with a Hammer

This project is concluded in How to Repair a 2×4 Load Bearing Wall Stud – Part 3.

Hope this helps,

Bob Jackson

Copyright © 2018   Reproduction strictly prohibited.


  1. Bonnie July 7, 2015 at 5:55 pm - Reply

    This is just what I needed. Thank you very much!

  2. Rob Call July 15, 2015 at 1:12 pm - Reply

    Very professional and thorough instruction. (“Zoom in” capable photos would be appreciated.) I have high confidence in the quality of this repair.
    Thank you,

    • Bob Jackson July 16, 2015 at 8:37 pm - Reply

      To view the full size images:

      Click the image to open it, then right-click the mouse. Depending which browser you’re using:

      FireFox: Select “View Image”.
      Chrome: Select “Open image in new tab”.
      Internet Explorer: “Save picture as…” then save it to your computer. Double-click the file open it.


  3. Martina Finley April 1, 2016 at 9:59 am - Reply

    I have a termite damaged outside load bearing wall. Since the outside of the building is covered with asbestos shingles, I was thinking about repairing the damage from the inside of the house using your methods. Is there anything that I should do differently? Thank you so much for your how to advise.

    • Bob Jackson April 2, 2016 at 3:32 pm - Reply

      Hi Martina,
      I suspect the 2×4 sole plate and studs will have to be replaced. That will require temporary support, tear out & rebuild work. You may find additional terminate damage during the job, too. The cement/asbestos siding shingles will have to be removed and most likely crack or break. Therefore I don’t believe it can be done from the inside like I did for an interior wall to correct the prior homeowner’s mistake.

      I’d consult with home improvement/repair companies that are fully insured and provide a guarantee. BTW – my home was treated by Terminix and I have termite bond that includes annual inspections and repairs for any termite damage. I’m careful to keep the exterior walls well clear of bushes, vines and trees, too.

      Good luck,

  4. Brian February 24, 2017 at 5:07 pm - Reply

    Thanks for posting. I’m wondering if this conforms to residential building codes? I don’t see anywhere in the IRC that splicing is a recognized method of repair.

    • Bob Jackson February 24, 2017 at 6:25 pm - Reply

      I’m also sure it’s not an International Residential Code (IRC) approved method. This repair technique was about making the best of a bad situation. The IRC (Building Code) compliant method is almost surely to replace damaged stud or install a full length sister stud.

      The challenges with replacing the damaged stud are:
      * Damage to the drywall where it’s nailed or screwed to the stud.
      * Have to remove the 2×4 fire blocking on both sides of the stud, causing further drywall damage.
      * Need to temporarily disconnect and remove the NM-B electric cables routed through the stud & fire blocking. (Not a big deal on the unfinished wall.)
      * Reinstall the fire blocking and electric cables.

      Installing a sister stud also requires removing the wiring and fire blocking with similar drywall issues. The sister stud would be installed the normal way and fastened to the top plate & sole plate, then fastened to the damaged stud with structural wood screws.

      The above IRC compliant repairs can certainly be done with extra time and effort.

      Given the cut/damaged load bearing stud had no apparent effect on the wall (no cracks in the drywall, floor sagging, bowed adjacent studs) I chose a more expedient solution to prevent possible problems in the future.


      • Brian February 26, 2017 at 8:15 pm - Reply

        Thank you for the clarifications.

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