How to Replace Rotten Wall Studs

How to Replace Rotten Wall Studs


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Replace Rotten Wall Studs

Replace Rotten Wall Studs


How to Replace Rotten Wall Studs will instruct you on how to cope with compromised Studs which may have been discovered after removing some Wallboard. If these rotten Studs are the result of termites or carpenter ants, you will need to get an exterminator in to rid yourself of these pests before proceeding. If these rotten Studs are due to water damage from a plumbing leak or any other water source, you will need to address and repair those issues before proceeding.

If you will be replacing Studs that are on an exterior Wall of your Home (an outside Wall), there will be some extra steps in the process. If you are replacing Studs on interior Walls, then, you can skip those extra steps, and complete your Project using only the steps that apply to you.


Materials & Supplies Needed:

    • 2” x 4” Studs (amount dependent on your needs)
    • 1# box of 2 ½” Flathead Screws
    • Paper-back Insulation
    • 1# box of 2” – 2 ½” Galvanized Nails
    • ½” Wallboard (number of sheets dependent on your Project)
    • Greenboard (if replacing Wallboard in Bathrooms)
    • 1# box of 2” Wallboard Screws
    • Self-Adhesive Mesh Drywall Joint Tape (you can also use the Paper Tape, but it is harder to work with)
    • Sheetrock Lightweight All Purpose Joint Compound (or comparable product)
    • Trim


In order to purchase any Materials & Supplies Needed, see the appropriate page in any of the drop-down pages under:  Home Products – Supplies  in my Top Menu.

Scroll down the list to find the correct item. You will find an explanation of that item, as well as, links under each item, which direct you to my Recommended Suppliers for you to check out their offerings.


Tools & Supplies Needed:

    • Safety Glasses
    • Mechanics Work Gloves
    • Dust Mask
    • Steel-toed Boots
    • Claw Hammer
    • Sledgehammer
    • Flat-edged Pry-Bar
    • Chalk Line
    • 4’ Level
    • Stanley Knife with Sharp Blades
    • Painter’s Tape
    • Duct Tape
    • Garbage Bags, Cans, or Dumpster (depending on the size of your Project)
    • 4” Putty Knife
    • Saws-All
    • Electric Cords
    • Cordless Drill with Phillips Head Bit and Drill Bit sized to the Shank of your 2 ½” Flathead Screws
    • Skill Saw
    • Compound Miter Saw
    • Staple Gun with Staples


In order to purchase any Tools & Supplies Needed, see the appropriate page in any of the drop-down pages under:  Home – Garden: Tools and Equipment List in my Top Menu.

Scroll down the list to find the correct item. You will find an explanation of that item, as well as, links under each item, which direct you to my Recommended Suppliers for you to check out their offerings.




Step-by-Step Instructions


Please review the information included here in the first 5 Steps, and then review my page 5 Steps for Project Management.  When you have completed those first 5 Steps, you can return here to continue on to Step 6.


Step 1 – Assess the Project


In order to properly Assess this Project, you will need to do some preliminary work to be able to Assess the number of Studs that need to be replaced, as well as the cause of their rotting. Remove any necessary Wall Materials in order to expose Studs to check their condition. If they are rotted, you need to first determine the cause of the rotting and make any necessary repairs before replacing them. Then, Assess the additional Materials & Supplies that may be needed in order to change out the Studs.


    • Begin by removing any necessary Wall Materials from the inside, in order to expose the questionable Studs. This may include: Trim, Tub Surround (if working in the Bathroom),Wallboard, Insulation, etc.
    • If you are attempting to save and reuse your Trim, take your Flat-edged Pry Bar and your Claw Hammer, and starting at one end, begin tapping in your Bar, and gently prying in order to loosen the Trim. Do this slowly, and all the way down one piece of Trim at a time, loosening a little more on each pass until the Trim piece can be removed with no damage. Set it aside, and go on to the next piece of Trim and repeat the process until all Trim has been successfully removed.
    • If needed, you can mark each piece of Trim on the backside with a number to make reinstallation easier.
    • Once all necessary Trim has been successfully removed, carry each piece to your Work Bench and remove the Nails. Placing your piece on the Bench, with the Nail to be removed an inch or two over the edge, pound the Nail with your Claw Hammer while holding the Trim piece firmly to your Bench. Once the Nail has been completely tapped down, go on to the next until all Nails have been tapped down. Then, turn the Trim piece over, and using the Claw on your Hammer, gently pry the Nails completely out. Do not attempt to save the Nails. Use new ones. Set the Trim aside.
    • If the problem area is in your Bathroom and you need to remove the Tub Surround, see the first 6 Steps in my Post:  How to Install a Tub Surround  for removal instructions.
    • If you will be removing any Wallboard that contains Mold, you should spray the Mold areas lightly using a Spray Bottle filled with water, in order to keep the Mold spores from becoming airborne when removing the Wallboard. You will also need to remove the Wallboard as gently as possible to help prevent this. Place the Wallboard immediately into Garbage Bags or Cans.
    • If your Wallboard does not contain any Mold, then you can simply use your Sledgehammer or Claw Hammer to punch through the Wallboard in-between the Studs and then remove pieces by hand. Put the Wallboard pieces into Garbage Bags, Cans, or your Dumpster, depending on the size of your Project.
    • Once the Studs are exposed, examine them for rot and determine the cause. Repair the cause before you proceed with the remainder of these instructions.


Step 2 – Create a Materials & Supplies Needed Sheet


Based on your Assessment, create a list of the Materials & Supplies Needed, adding any Tools & Supplies Needed to your sheet.


Step 3 – Calculate Project Cost


(Follow the Instructions on the:  5 Steps for Project Management  page.)


Step 4 – Order Your Materials & Tools Needed


(Follow the Instructions on the:  5 Steps for Project Management  page.)


Step 5 – Inspect Your Delivery


After reviewing the information here, additional information to complete these first (5) Steps is found in the page:  5 Steps for Project Management.  Simply click on that link and you will be directed there.

After completing those first (5) Steps, return to these Instructions and continue on to Step 6.


Step 6 – For Bathrooms, Expose Your Studs From Outside


If you are replacing Studs located behind a bathtub on an outside Wall, it will be necessary to either remove the bathtub or the outside Wall coverings in order to address the Studs. Decide which you feel is most appropriate and then proceed.


    • Once the interior Wallboard and Insulation have been removed, and you have determined which Studs will need to be replaced, it is time to determine how best to access them.
    • Studs located on an outside Wall, behind a bathtub, will require you to either remove the bathtub or the outside Wall coverings in order to replace the Studs. If the floor under your tub has been damaged due to leaking water, and needs replacement, then it is appropriate for you to remove the tub. If not, it will probably be easier to remove a portion of the outside Wall coverings to deal with the Studs.
    • If you are removing a cast iron tub, you will find it much easier to take your Saws-All with the appropriate blade, and cut it up into 2 or 3 pieces and replace the tub. They are very heavy and awkward to deal with otherwise. You will obviously need to remove all attached plumbing, including detaching the drain to the tub before removal.
    • In most cases, it will be easier to remove outside Wall Materials in order to remove and replace the Studs. These may include: Siding, Tyvek or Fiber Board, Plywood, etc.
    • If you have Aluminum or Vinyl Siding on your Home, and have decided to remove a section of that, I strongly suggest that you hire a professional for this part of your Project. It will take someone very familiar with those materials, in order to give you the best chance for removing them without any damage, and being able to reuse them.
    • If you are removing Hardboard Siding, be sure to mark the backside pieces with numbers, so that you can replace them in the proper order. You will also need an Assistant to complete this task. You and your Assistant should each start near the middle of the lowest board to be removed, and work toward the outside edge. Take your Flat-edge Crowbar, and loosen up the bottom of each board and remove all of the Nails except for the outermost one on both sides. Then, take your Crowbar and loosen the board above. Then, remove the final two Nails and remove the board. Mark it with the appropriate number on the backside for easier replacement. Repeat the process until all necessary boards have been removed.
    • Once all of the necessary Siding boards have been removed, it is time to mark the area for removal of the rest of the Materials. Take your Cordless Drill with Drill Bit installed, and drill holes from the inside through all of your Materials. The placement of these holes should be outside of the outermost Stud being changed, and as high as you can go. If you can not easily access the lowest point, due to tub placement, drill your lower holes as low as possible. Then, using your Tape Measure, measure from the lower hole to the top of your Sill Plate, and then measure and mark this location on the outside Material.
    • If you have Tyvek wrap or Felt Paper, use your Chalk Line and connect the drill holes. Then take your Stanley Knife and cut along your marks and set the removed Tyvek or Felt Paper to the side. You will need to replace this later.
    • Now, take your Skill Saw, and set the blade to a depth of about 1”. Plug in your Saw, and plunge cut near one of the corners, and into the Material (Fiber board and/or Plywood), and work the Saw to the corner of your marks, and then cut the entire perimeter. Remove the Materials and set aside.


Step 7 – Replace Rotted Studs


Use your Saws-All to cut out existing rotted Studs. Cut new Studs to size. Predrill and screw in new Studs.


    • Then, take your Saws-All and cut through the Nails holding the first Stud that you are removing, at the top and the bottom. You will only be removing, then replacing one Stud at a time. Do not remove all of the Studs at once, since your outside Wall is a bearing Wall, and this would cause you issues.
    • Once the Stud has been removed, set it next to the replacement Stud and check it for proper length. Cut the new Stud to the proper length if necessary, and hammer it into place. It should fit snugly.
    • Using your Cordless Drill and Drill Bit, drill holes in the top ends of your Stud (at a 45 degree angle about 1” from the end) in order to attach with your 2 ½” Flathead Screws. Then, remove the Drill Bit and replace it with your Phillips Head Bit and using your 2 ½” Flathead Screws, attach your Stud. Repeat the process for the bottom of the Stud. Then, repeat the entire process for all other Studs that you will be replacing, one at a time.


Step 8 – Replace Outer Materials


Replace all outer Materials. Tape and caulk as needed.


    • Replace all of your outer Materials in the reverse order of your removal; Plywood, Fiber board, Felt Paper or Tyvek, and Siding.
    • Seal the cut seams with Caulk. Tape the Felt Paper or Tyvek with Duct Tape as needed. Replace the Siding by pounding new 2” – 2 ½” Galvanized Nails into the Siding about ½” above the old Nail holes. Seal old Nail holes with Caulk and touch up with House Paint.


Step 9 – Replace Inner Wall Materials


Replace all inner Materials. Tape and caulk as needed.


    • Begin by measuring the length of the Insulation needed. Measure, mark, and cut your Insulation to size using your Stanley Knife and a scrap piece of 2” x 4” for a backer. Tack up with your Staple Gun. If you are replacing Insulation behind your bathtub, you may not be able to staple it all the way down. That’s fine.
    • Next, measure and cut your Wallboard (or Greenboard in Bathrooms), and attach using your 2” Wallboard Screws. For instructions on how to best cut Wallboard, see my Post:  Patch Holes – Drywall
    • Then, tape and mud the Wallboard joints. See my Post:  How to Tape and Mud Drywall
    • If you need to install a new Tub Surround, see my Post:  How to Install a Tub Surround
    • Apply Caulk as needed and install any Trim. For help in making miter cuts, see my Post:  How to Make Miter Cuts
    • Prime & Seal and paint as required. For Instructions on painting, see my Post:  Best Way: Paint Ceiling and Walls


Congratulations! You have successfully replaced your rotten wall Studs! Nice Job!


Please leave a Comment or ask a Question in the Comments section below.


Thank you,

CJ Dodaro


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