I am trying to flush-mount a structured wiring cabinet in a non-load-bearing closet wall (nothing above it but a truss attic). The wall is a staggered stud wall, with each row of studs 16" o.c. and the rows offset 8" o.c. from one another. The plates are 2x6. I don't know if the fact that it is a staggered stud wall impacts the answer or not, but including that info for completeness.

The cabinet will fit nicely between the 16" o.c. studs, but the staggered studs in the middle of each stud bay do not give me the depth needed for it to sit flush with the drywall. I need to notch the rear stud by 1 3/8". Since this is not a load-bearing wall, I believe this is code compliant (less than 40% of the actual width of the stud).

My question: Is there a limit to the length of the notch (which would be ~42" in this case), or does length not matter because the effective width of the stud has been reduced by making the notch, regardless of its length?

Update: After removing more of the insulation I discovered a single electrical cable going through a hole in the rear stud (but behind the front studs). I can't notch it in the same cross section as the hole, right? Or does that not apply here due to it beyond a staggered stud wall with two un-notched 16" o.c. studs on either side of it? Can I fill the hole with a dowel before notching?

2 Answers 2


The most important thing is you mentioned is a non bearing wall. You can cut out the whole section, just to exaggerate the point.

Since it is a sound wall, I would cut out 2" to totally clear the cabinet so no sound transmits through the cabinet.

  • Thanks. Good suggestion on the extra clearance to avoid sound transmission. (Note: I updated the question to reflect the discovery of a hole in the rear stud that I hadn't noticed before. Does that change your answer at all? I'm guessing not based on your comment about cutting out the whole section.)
    – clang
    Commented Jun 25, 2017 at 5:54
  • To confirm, no it will not
    – Jack
    Commented Jun 25, 2017 at 16:45

When you open the wall to notch out the stud for fitting the box you could add in a flat side stud next to the side of the one being notched. This would help to keep from there being a weak bouncy spot in the wall board from the opposite side. If I was doing this I would install the flat stud full length from top plate to bottom plate even if it meant opening up more of the wall on the side where the cabinet is being installed.

  • Thanks. I updated the question to reflect that I found a hole in the rear stud farther down behind the insulation. Do you think your suggestion of the flat stud next to the notched one would mitigate that situation as well?
    – clang
    Commented Jun 25, 2017 at 5:30

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