I have an old freestanding 2-car garage on my property that needs a lot of work. There are some major rot issues where the sills were sitting in water for a long time. Which brings me to the issue: the studs are 2X4 and are 24" on center.

Since I need to replace a fair number of the studs anyway, I'm considering putting in 2X6s. My understanding is that 24" is standard for 2X6 home construction. It would allow for more insulation and I would like to put in some heat in this space later. This seems to be a lot more cost effective than replacing the entire structure since the existing hip-roof structure seems to be in good shape although the rafters meet up at the studs every 24". Of course, it would be a lot cheaper to just replace the rotted 2X4s.

Is this an issue or am I making a big deal out of nothing?

  • Your understanding is incorrect. Modern framing with 2x6 walls is still done on 16" centers, except in some cases where pre-fabricated high efficiency walls are built offsite or cutting-edge insulation techniques are used.
    – isherwood
    Commented Aug 27, 2018 at 17:53
  • It's not clear what you're asking, though. Is what an issue? Cost and efficiency are subjective concerns and are your prerogative.
    – isherwood
    Commented Aug 27, 2018 at 17:54
  • @isherwood According to this 24-inch with 2X6 is plenty strong. I also happen to know engineers working to make this more standard due to the energy savings.
    – JimmyJames
    Commented Aug 27, 2018 at 18:26
  • @isherwood "Is what an issue?" -> as the question states "the issue: the studs are 2X4 and are 24" on center."
    – JimmyJames
    Commented Aug 27, 2018 at 18:26
  • 1
    My comment is on the quality of the studs, in years past what passed for a number 2 stud was chip wood in the 60's today's studs can have as few as 8 growth rings where in the past they usually had 20+ with more knots allowed, I thought about building my shop with 2x4 but after picking up half a dozen or more 20' that would break under just there weight being held at 1 end I went with 2x6 and this was back in 2000 time frame. I regularly see 4x4' that have 4 or 5 swirle or branch rings at the end cut, think of Christmas trees and this is what some graded dimential lumber is made from today.
    – Ed Beal
    Commented Aug 27, 2018 at 23:57

1 Answer 1


I live in a tract house built 1970 which is framed with 2x4 studs in all exterior walls and interior load bearing wall on 24 inch centers. It is structurally sound, but the insulation is not good. I think 2x4s on 24" centers is fine for a garage.

Houses of this vintage and quality didn't use finger jointed studs. This may be stronger than the finger jointed studs but of course it meant that some studs were curved as installed or curved in place. What type of studs are you going to use?

  • "What type of studs are you going to use?" I guess that's what I need to figure out. I could leave what ever seems to be in good condition after getting the floor level but I'm not sure what the replacements would be. I'm also thinking I might want to double up the plates (pressure treated?) which are only single now and totally shot. If I leave it 2X4, I shouldn't need that many so I'd go with the best quality i can find, I suppose.
    – JimmyJames
    Commented Aug 27, 2018 at 19:25
  • You say plates plural. Do you have single or double top plates? (There is no reason for the the bottom plate to be anything but single.) Is the bottom plate rotted? There is no reason to restore the framing to other than original unless it failed other than by rot. When I said type of studs I meant solid or finger jointed. Commented Aug 27, 2018 at 20:27
  • Sorry for the confusion, multiple walls. In the main structure, all the bottom plates are double from what I've seen. They are single. We have a lot of water in the spring and no drainage for the structure so the plate has been sitting in water for months at a time for many decades. In some spots, animals have chewed through it and you can break it apart with a fingernail. I would probably go with solid studs.
    – JimmyJames
    Commented Aug 27, 2018 at 20:40

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