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Making wall studs plumb and on plane

10644 Views 1 Reply 2 Participants Last post by  AGWhitehouse
I have to redo the tile around the tub/shower in a bathroom. The house is about 32 years old and the studs are neither plumb nor on plane. Below are pictures of the left wall, back wall and right wall. Because I couldn’t get far enough away to get the entire left and right walls, I had to piece the pictures, causing distortion. So beside each picture is a drawing of the wall. Unsolicited advice is encouraged and welcome. I have never done anything like this.

Okay, lots of questions.

1. Sistering seems to be the easiest way to get something that is plumb and on plane to attach the cement backer board to. However, because of the window in the back wall, I there isn’t room to insert extra studs to the right or left of the window. So my plan is to use shims on the studs on each side of the window and sister the studs below the window (the red pieces in the drawing are where I propose to insert the sistering studs.) I plan to replace the top 2x4 at the bottom of the window, using shims to level the new piece. Then I will use shims to make any necessary adjustments on the insides and top of the window. Will that work? Would you do it another way?
2. The drawings below the pictures of each side wall show where I plan to insert sister studs (in red). The only issue I have thought of in these areas is the fact that the stud to the right of the water pipe in the right wall bows out. To make it plumb I would have to plane off almost half an inch on the top. Is that okay and won’t weaken the stud too much? Again, any better ideas about how to address this problem?
3. The silver pipe below the window of the back wall is the vent from my stove. Is there any reason why I couldn’t insert insulation around it?
4. Since the existing studs are structurally sound, do the sisters have to be 2x4s?
5. What do I need to look for when purchasing the pieces used for sistering? There are lots of different 2/4s listed on the Home Depot and Lowe’s websites.
6. I would like to put in little set-back areas between the studs to hold soap, shampoo, etc. I would like one under the window low enough for someone taking a bath. Then I would like a second one in the left wall high enough for someone showering. Any special things I need to know/consider/etc. doing this?
7. Any other problems you can see that I haven’t mentioned?
8. The ceiling will have to be tiled as well. There is a soffit above the area, and removing it is more than I want to deal with, unfortunately. How do you put the tiles up there and not have them fall down before they set?


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The issue of the studs not being plumb (laterally within the wall) shouldn't be an issue. From the pictures, they don't look off enough to be of structural hazard.

As far as them not being "flat", how far off are they? You say a 1/2". Is that the worst case?

I would recommend putting 1x strapping perpendicular to the existing framing if you are really concerned. that way you can shim and fasten them easily and it will give you slightly thicker walls that you can put either homosote of rigid insulation in. This has a picture of strapping that is perpendicular to the framing. This website pertains to sound proofing, but the concept is very similar.
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