Help! Need extra 1/4" between studs!

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drobins9
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Help! Need extra 1/4" between studs!

Post by drobins9 » Sun Dec 30, 2018 3:16 pm

Hi- I am attempting to install an in-wall safe. The studs should be 14" apart, and the safe is exactly 14" wide. However, the studs are about 13 7/8" apart at some points, and there are electrical wires running down one side of the stud. For that reason, I need about another 1/4". I have been trying to figure out the best way to shave down one of the 2x4s (this is on an interior wall), but it is very slow going. I have tried a reciprocal saw, a circular saw blade not long enough to go all the way through), a chisel, and other techniques. What is the best way to cut 1/4" off the exposed stud without going through the drywall on the other side?

Thank you!
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Aaron
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Re: Help! Need extra 1/4" between studs!

Post by Aaron » Sun Dec 30, 2018 3:46 pm

My guess is the best way would be to install a header, as though you were putting in a window. I think that would be absolutely necessary if it were a supporting wall.

If it's a non-supporting wall you could maybe just use 2x4 headers. Or perhaps alternatively, on a non-supporting wall, you could notch 1/8" on both studs and if you install some steel straps on each to compensate for its diminished vertical support.

Shannon and others know much more than me about framing so they will probably chime in.

At any rate you will need to re-route those cables... Or, easier, pick a different stud bay. One without conflicts.

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A. Spruce
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Re: Help! Need extra 1/4" between studs!

Post by A. Spruce » Sun Dec 30, 2018 3:56 pm

I would simply cut two bocks of 1x4 at 14-1/8". Notch one end of both pieces just wide enough and deep enough to accept the wires laying flat and side by side.

At the bottom of the opening, lay out the wires flat and side by side and slip the notched end of the block over them so that the end of the block is started below the cut opening. Carefully lay block flat and tap it into place with a hammer. When you are finished, the surface of the block should be flush with the surface of the drywall cut edge. Do the same thing at the top of the opening. To make getting the blocks in flush with your cuts easier, you can screw sticks inside the opening 3/4" below the cut line, they will act as stops for your blocking to stop on. You can then also screw your blocks into these sticks.

Installing the blocking CAREFULLY should minimize popped fasteners or cracked joint, in fact, you probably won't see any damage at all. This method is a lot less brutal and invasive than trying to shave the side of a stud.

When you install your save BE ABSOLUTELY CERTAIN that the fasteners are not going to go through the wires running along the side of the cabinet, if there is a problem, you will have to relocate the holes in the cabinet, relocate the wires somewhere else, or find a different place to put the safe.
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A. Spruce
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Re: Help! Need extra 1/4" between studs!

Post by A. Spruce » Sun Dec 30, 2018 4:00 pm

Aaron wrote:
Sun Dec 30, 2018 3:46 pm
My guess is the best way would be to install a header, as though you were putting in a window. I think that would be absolutely necessary if it were a supporting wall.
Working within a stud bay does not require a header, regardless of this being a bearing wall or not. Notching one or both studs by 1/4" won't affect their structural integrity either.
If the women don't find you handsome, they should at least find you handy.

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Aaron
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Re: Help! Need extra 1/4" between studs!

Post by Aaron » Sun Dec 30, 2018 4:54 pm

A. Spruce wrote:
Sun Dec 30, 2018 4:00 pm
Working within a stud bay does not require a header, regardless of this being a bearing wall or not. Notching one or both studs by 1/4" won't affect their structural integrity either.
Well any notching DOES affect structural integrity; if only by a degree where it wouldn't matter. I think that's what you meant to imply. If he bolted his safe on each side to notched studs, then the safe itself becomes structure. Heck it would probably improve and stiffen the structure if anything.

I don't understand your proposal using 1x4. That sounds pretty elaborate.

All I can advise is those cables should be centered in the middle of the 3.5" stud depth and ideally stacked as they are now. If your proposal is to have them closer than 1.25" to the finished wall, then steel plates need to be applied to the drywall that the cables are too close to, to eliminate the possibility of puncture from that side of the wall.

I don't even know an easy way to notch a pre-existing 2x4... ever done that?
Last edited by Aaron on Sun Dec 30, 2018 4:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.

drobins9
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Re: Help! Need extra 1/4" between studs!

Post by drobins9 » Sun Dec 30, 2018 4:55 pm

Thank you very much. I thought about banging a piece of wood in there to spread them apart, but thought it would create too much damage. I'll give that a shot!

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Aaron
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Re: Help! Need extra 1/4" between studs!

Post by Aaron » Sun Dec 30, 2018 4:56 pm

drobins9 wrote:
Sun Dec 30, 2018 4:55 pm
Thank you very much. I thought about banging a piece of wood in there to spread them apart, but thought it would create too much damage. I'll give that a shot!
Oh, just wedge them apart? Hmmm, yeah!

Still don't know how you'd deal with the cables, though...

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A. Spruce
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Re: Help! Need extra 1/4" between studs!

Post by A. Spruce » Sun Dec 30, 2018 5:07 pm

Aaron wrote:
Sun Dec 30, 2018 4:54 pm
Well any notching DOES affect structural integrity; if only by a degree where it wouldn't matter. I think that's what you meant to imply. If he bolted his safe on each side to notched studs, then the safe itself becomes structure. Heck it would probably improve and stiffen the structure if anything.

I don't understand your proposal using 1x4. That sounds pretty elaborate.

All I can advise is those cables should be centered in the middle of the 3.5" stud depth and ideally stacked as they are now. If your proposal is to have them closer than 1.25" to the finished wall, then steel plates need to be applied to the drywall that the cables are too close to, to eliminate the possibility of puncture from that side of the wall.

I don't even know an easy way to notch a pre-existing 2x4... ever done that?
A 1/8 to 1/4" notch doesn't significantly reduce structural integrity, in fact, as part of doing fire repair, so long as fire has not penetrated more than 1/4", a stud does not need to be replaced, simply scrape, seal, and cover it up! So, in this instance, for all practical purposes, a tiny notch isn't going to affect anything.

The 1x4 acts as a spreader and will gently push the two studs apart if installed gently and carefully. The only purpose of putting blocks under the 1x4 is to act as stops so the 1x4 isn't driven down too far, not that it particularly matters.

Good call on placing an armor plate over the wire, in this case, since they'd be close to the surface along the length of the stud, I would say that armor should be installed from top to bottom of the hole.

I have notched 2x4 in place. In an open wall it's easy, simply score with a saw and break out the debris with a chisel. In an enclosed space like this, it's much more labor intensive because you can't jostle the wall too much or you'll crack seams and pop fasteners. For something like this, I'd probably just go after it with a sharp chisel. A good quality wood chisel that can be sharpened and hold an edge is the way to go, if you bought your chisels at the dollar store, they aren't going to cut it, literally. :mrgreen:
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Aaron
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Re: Help! Need extra 1/4" between studs!

Post by Aaron » Sun Dec 30, 2018 6:06 pm

For a notch, maybe you could jig up a piece of plywood on the wall to run a circular saw against and shave a notch on that 2x4? Not sure what the maximum cutting depth of circular saws are, though. But you could maybe chisel out the rest?

Another excellent tool are those oscillating tools. Those are just amazingly handy tools for retrofit work. That could be used to cut out a notch too, or the balance of what a circular saw blade could not reach.

Interesting fact about fire damage to 2x4s being okay if the charred part is 1/4" or less. I had no idea.

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A. Spruce
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Re: Help! Need extra 1/4" between studs!

Post by A. Spruce » Sun Dec 30, 2018 7:46 pm

An oscillating tool would probably work quite well. I've never owned or used one, so it isn't something I think of as an option.

FWIW, circular saws can only penetrate 1-1/2" to 2-1/4", give or take a couple hairs, and depending on the diameter of the blade. You really only have about 1/3 of the blade to cut with. It would probably be a good tool to start with, then finish with an oscillator.
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Shannon
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Re: Help! Need extra 1/4" between studs!

Post by Shannon » Sun Dec 30, 2018 10:53 pm

Spruces way would work ,though because I own a oscillating saw i would use it in combination with cutting as much as possible with a circ. saw first. Keep the wires to the centre of the stud and be sure you don’t puncture them screwing safe in place
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Jaxburt
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Re: Help! Need extra 1/4" between studs!

Post by Jaxburt » Fri Sep 13, 2019 9:00 am

I think an oscillating saw is the way to go.
Im still teachable.

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