How to Fix Rotted Studs in a Outside Load-Bearing Wall

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Things You'll Need

  • Power saw

  • 2-by-4 or 2-by-6 lumber

  • 2 1/2-inch wood screws


Remove the interior wall sheathing rather than the exterior sheathing, if possible. The exterior sheathing offers more support for the wall while repairing the wall. Use treated wood, wood chemically treated to prevent decay, if the possibility of wet conditions remains in the wall. This can slow or prevent the rot from occurring.

Studs of a load-bearing wall support the roof and are among the most important structural components of the home. Rotten studs compromise the ability of these pieces of lumber to maintain the structural integrity of the wall and home. Proper repairs restore the structural strength of the wall and help maintain the safety of the home.

Step 1

Remove the interior or exterior wall sheathing to expose the wall studs and plates. Remove any insulation between the wall studs. This exposes the studs for work.

Step 2

Scrap away any rotted lumber from the exposed studs. Make any repairs necessary to prevent moisture from reaching the studs. Dry wall studs are less likely to rot than dry lumber.

Step 3

Cut new lumber to the length of the rotted studs. Matching the exact length of the studs is vital. If the new stud is too long, it will push the top plate up and can affect the roof position. If the new stud is too short, it will not support the plate and roof. Use the same type lumber as the rotted studs. Add 2-by-4 lumber to a 2-by-4 stud wall or 2-by-6 lumber for a 2-by-6 stud wall.

Step 4

Fasten the new lumber to the existing studs. This process is known as sistering studs. Use 2 1/2-inch wood screws to fasten the new stud to the most solid portions of the old studs. If the old stud is completely rotten and has no solid sections, add new studs to both sides. Fasten these new studs in place with 4-inch wood screws that reach through the rotten stud and fasten to the new lumber on the other side.

Step 5

Replace wall insulation and wall sheathing to restore the wall to regular use.


Keith Allen

Keith Allen, a 1979 graduate of Valley City State College, has worked at a variety of jobs including computer operator, medical clinic manager, radio talk show host and potato sorter. For over five years he has worked as a newspaper reporter and historic researcher. His works have appeared in regional newspapers in North Dakota and in "North Dakota Horizons" and "Cowboys and Indians" magazines.