Re-studding a load-bearing wall
I'm doing a complete remodel of an 8 x 8 bathroom. As part of the demo, I took out an extra interior wall that limited the available space for the vanity to 36". It was only after the demo was nearly complete that I realized the purpose of the wall was to disguise the fact that part of one wall is framed with 2 x 4's and the rest is done with 2 x 6's to allow room for the plumbing vent.
After considering my options, I decided that my skill-level precludes moving the vent so I'm going to sacrifice the 2" of floor space and bring the 4" section out to 6" to match the rest of the wall.
I considered just sistering off-set 2 x 4ís but there's also an old frame for a small set-in medicine cabinet in the same section that I need to remove (and possibly replace with a larger one). So, by the time I got everything done, the framing would be a mess.
What I'd like to do is just re-stud that section with 2 x 6's and be done with it. The bathroom is located on the top floor of a split level home with an unfinished attic above. The upper part of the wall in question is an exterior wall with double top plates and studs 16" oc. The span from the perpendicular wall to the first 2 x 6 is just under 42".
My questions are:
 Can I just remove and replace one stud at a time without using temporary jacks?
 Can I add 2 x 2ís to widen the top and bottom plates?
 Should it be done before or after the stud replacement?
 Since this wall supports the attic floor joists, should I do anything to allow for shrinkage in the new lumber?
Any help will be gratefully appreciated!
Just replace them one at a time---the top plates will hold up the ceiling just fine---
Your new studs are kiln dried so shrinkage is not a concern---
Add what ever size filler you need to the top and bottom plates before you add the studs---
Removing studs is usually easiest of you slap your Sawsall blade onto the bottom plate and cut the nails holding the stud-----a good bi-metal wood blade will work well--no need for a hacksaw blade---
Just what I hoped you'd say! I sort of thought it would be okay but I've learned that it's far better (and a lot less expensive) to find out from someone who knows rather than learning the hard way that there was a flaw in my thinking.
Thanks for your help.
"The upper part of the wall in question is an exterior wall with double top plates and studs 16" oc."
Just know that your exterior sheathing and siding are nailed to the studs you plan to remove.
Yikes! I hadn't thought that through. Thank you SO much for the warning. I may luck out because the roof lines of the upper and lower parts of the house are perpendicular to each other and I know that at least part of the wall I'm planning to work on opens into the attic of the lower section. Based on the location of the plumbing vent on the roof it looks like the most I'll have to worry about is a small triangular area where the lower roof is coming up under the soffit of the upper one. But I won't be touching anything until I'm sure of exactly what I'm dealing with. Thanks for saving me from possibly ripping a hole in my siding!
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