How To Straighten a Bowed Stud

If you are hanging new drywall over existing framing you may encounter the occasional bowed stud. This can create difficulty since there may be a gap left between the drywall and stud. This can however, be remedied in a variety of ways. It is important first to find out if the wall the stud is in is a load-bearing wall. If it is, the best thing to do may be to replace the stud altogether. If it is not, any of these simple methods will allow you to hang your drywall evenly.

  • If the gap left by the bowed stud is not severe, the simplest option may be to leave it alone. As you are hanging the new drywall, carefully curve it in to fit the curve of the stud. Drywall is flexible and will be able to take on the curve of the stud. Once all is said and done, the curve will not be noticeable.
  • If the bowed stud has too much of a curve to it to simply fit the drywall up against it, there is a simple way to make up for the gap. You can get a bundle of thin pine shims and some small finish nails from any hardware store. Stack enough shims (in alternating directions to compensate for the angle on each shim) to fill out the gap and make the nailing surface of the bowed stud even up and down. Use the finish nails to attach the shims to the stud. Pine shims are soft enough that you can trim them to fit perfectly with any razor knife.

The above two methods are acceptable for bowed studs in most load-bearing walls. If the bow is severe, and the stud is NOT in a load-bearing wall, the following method will allow you to literally straighten the stud.

  • The first step is to take a handsaw and cut one and a half to two inches into the stud at the center of the bow.
  • Next, pull the stud towards you until the stud is straightened.
  • Then slip a few shims in behind the stud in the space left from pulling the stud. Again, you can trim the excess shim with any razor knife.
  • Next, cut a piece of 2x4 the length of the bow and brace the existing stud by screwing it into place against it. This will hold the bowed stud in a flat, level position to attach your drywall to.


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