Make bowed studs straight again
Photo 1: Check for bowed stud problems
Lay a long straightedge across the studs to find studs bowed more than 1/8 in.
Photo 2: Plane the bowed stud
Hold the straightedge vertically along the stud and mark the bow. Shave off the bow with a power plane to make straight studs.
Drywall will follow the contour of the studs, so if they’re bowed or out of alignment, you’ll end up with a wavy wall. And if your drywall contractor has to fix the problem, you can bet that you’ll get an extra charge.
You have a couple of options here to make straight studs, depending on how many studs are bowed and how badly they’re bowed. Start by placing a long straightedge horizontally across your framed wall (Photo 1). Mark any studs that are out of alignment. The studs should be within 1/8 in. of each other. Anything more will be noticeable in the finished wall.
Option 1: If only a few studs have minor outward bows, a power planer will quickly solve the problem. Simply plane the bowed studs until they’re flush with adjacent studs (Photo 2).
Option 2: For minor inward bows, simply knock the stud out and replace it or turn it around and plane off the bow. If you can’t remove it, nail a long, straight 1×2 or 1×3 to the side of the stud. This will make straight studs.
Option 3: If you have a few severely bowed-out studs that are more than 1/2 in. out of alignment, make a series of 1-3/4-in.-deep kerfs (saw cuts) every 8 to 10 in. in the bowed area with a circular saw. Toenail a 16d nail through each kerf. As you nail, the cuts will close and the board will straighten. To reinforce the cut studs, screw scrap 1-in. lumber alongside the cuts, making sure the scraps don’t protrude past the edge of the stud.
Required Tools for this Project
Have the necessary tools for this DIY project lined up before you start—you’ll save time and frustration.
- Block plane
- Circular saw
- Cordless drill
Required Materials for this Project
Avoid last-minute shopping trips by having all your materials ready ahead of time. Here’s a list.
- 1 x 3s (for inward bows)
- 16d framing nails
- 2 x 4s (to replace badly warped studs)
- 2-1/2-in. screws