Take the 2-minute tour ×
Home Improvement Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for contractors and serious DIYers. It's 100% free, no registration required.

I am installing a small safe in a wall and when I cut the opening in the drywall I noticed that the studs were in an unusual distribution. The stud on the right was normal but then there were multiple studs on the left - obviously a support column with a narrower than normal distance to the next stud. This is too small for the safe. Question: Can I safely (and if so how) cut out the portions of the involved studs? Since there will be a sturdy metal object between the ends, is that good enough for weight distribution? Or is this just a really bad idea? On the right, the drywall is flush with the stud. On the left, only 2 of at least 3 studs is visible. The outer square in my text drawing below is the drywall cutout and the columns on the left are to represent the studs that are visible in that cutout.

I am a new user so I cannot post an image... My best txt version of this would be:

+-+-+-----------------+
| | |                 |
| | |                 |
| | |                 |
| | |                 |
| | |                 |
| | |                 |
| | |                 |
| | |                 |
| | |                 |
+-+-+-----------------+
share|improve this question
1  
+1 for the ASCII art. Simple is good, illustrates the situation perfectly. –  geerlingguy Jan 28 '13 at 3:07
add comment

1 Answer

up vote 12 down vote accepted

It is not safe to simply cut a hole in the studs, and while the safe probably would transfer the load, you do not know that the safe was designed to transfer vertical loads, or how it will react. The consequences of a mistake here could be severe long term.

Therefore the proper course of action is to reframe the wall. Generally you would do this by adding a lintel (a RIGID horizontal beam that spans an opening typically over a window or door) at the top and bottom of the wall wide enough to transfer load to either side of the existing column, and then add new columns on either side of the existing post to carry that now transferred load down to the floor lintel and thus to the underlying support.

share|improve this answer
4  
another good clue is to look directly under this triple stud in the basement. I bet there may be a column very close by. Great advise, always assume a triple is load bearing. –  shirlock homes Mar 4 '12 at 12:02
    
It turns out that there was an acceptable spot just to the right of my original hole so I'll put it there instead. Thanks for the feedback! –  b-p Mar 4 '12 at 18:14
add comment

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.