I was helping a friend expand the width of a closet door, and when we pulled the drywall off the interior wall frame, we noticed some diagonal wall braces in the interior wall.

I am pretty sure they are just for convenience during construction (e.g. a bother to remove once the frames are fully built or just there for drywall to be nailed into).

However, I am not an expert, so I wasn't sure if these were structural (maybe some type of shear wall support?) or not. In case it matters, the house was built in 1951 and is in western Georgia. All the wooden studs, including the angled ones, are held in place with 4" 16d nails.

Are these angle braces safe to remove and leave out? The entire cutaway area (sans drywall) would be a closet door with a frame of two 2x4s above and a vertical 2x4 on either side.

Head-on view

Angle view with window/exterior wall in frame

Closeup view


6 Answers 6


Temporary braces are nailed to the face of the wall, not fit into it. That was intended as a structural member by the carpenter.

That said, it's almost certainly not critical. The entirety of the other nearby walls and the roof structure likely provide many times what that one brace does in diagonal support. Also, you don't see that technique used anymore.

I wouldn't hesitate to remove the portion that impedes your progress.

I do suggest a doubled stud, however, and you might want to orient at least one of your header members vertically, for stiffness:

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  • When you say orient one header vertically, do you mean like |_ as opposed to || (looking down the long axis of the headers)?
    – TylerH
    Jan 4, 2019 at 2:52
  • 1
    @TylerH - No, he means |_ as opposed to =
    – AndyT
    Jan 4, 2019 at 9:07
  • @AndyT I see. Well, the plan was to go with || originally, not =; I'm not sure if the wall framing can fit something in the shape of |_, but since isherwood said "at least one", I assume || is best.
    – TylerH
    Jan 4, 2019 at 14:45
  • 1
    You'd put the horizontal member on the bottom.
    – isherwood
    Jan 4, 2019 at 14:47
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    @TylerH - Looking on plan, the studs in a wall look something like: | | | | | |. In order to then have your header the same width as the studs, your header is then laid flat / horizontally, i.e. like _ when looking down its axis. isherwood's recommendation is to do a doubled header, with the second header rotated to give greater vertical bending stiffness.
    – AndyT
    Jan 4, 2019 at 14:52

Sometimes framing of a short internal wall that tees into an exterior wall is braced that way if the exterior wall is:

  1. The exterior wall extends a long distance on either side of the tee
  2. And the exterior wall is parallel to ceiling joists and floor joists
  3. And has a high gable end wall above this area.

Intention was to eliminate a lot of flex in the exterior wall both during construction and when there is possibility of large gusty wind loads on the wall. You will see less of this with much construction moving toward 2x6 studding for exterior walls. Metal X banding nailed to the face of the studs is also a better way to achieve this result.

Repeating from Isherwood. Make sure to put double stud at the left and right side of your opening. A single 2x4 is just not stiff enough and you will really appreciate it being there when you come to install door casing or trim.

  • 2
    The last reno I did on a balloon construction, the bisecting (middle) interior walls on both floors were to be sheathed in plywood to prevent racking of the house.
    – Mazura
    Jan 4, 2019 at 5:29

We have a few of those in our walls. Local code does not require them but our builder was from a place with an appreciable earthquake threat and it was cheaper to build with the existing plans than draw up new ones lacking the earthquake bracing.

Unless the builder was lying that's earthquake bracing.


This would be bracing as someone mentioned earlier, however the end of the two piece on the middle is not supported against vertical movement, all the forces going to create share load on the nails which is not much help. To make it work, the end of the diagonal pieces in the middle, has to be trimmed back by 50 mm (2 inches) with a horizontal cut, than install a horizontal piece of 2x4 to either side of the vertical beam. That would be a sufficiently supported bracing.


Diagonal bracing is essential so that walls don't fall or "sag" sideways. A wall could be the strongest wall ever built, but if it doesn't have diagonal bracing, its structure could be compromised with any sideways force. There are 4 main bracing styles:

  • full sheet plywood
  • speed bracing (flat iron crisscrossed)
  • metal angle bracing cut into studs
  • timber bracing cut into studs, not usually cut between studs like you have shown

That being said, angle bracing has to be around 45 degrees to be effective, and that bracing in your picture isn't 45 degrees and would be doing very little to be effective for the wall, so I don't know what it is there for.

If there were noggins in the wall (horizontal timber cut between studs to stop bowing of the studs when downward pressure is applied), then there isn't any reason for them to be there.


You can remove the bracing. New drywall wall give as much diagonal bracing as those 2x4s. When you frame use screws at 15 degrees as this will introduce another diagonal into the wood.

  • 1
    Welcome to Home Improvement. Would you edit to clarify your statement about screwing in at a 15° angle? That's something I've never heard advocated anywhere else. Do you have something that supports your statement?
    – FreeMan
    May 11, 2021 at 12:04
  • In addition, I can't imagine gypsum and paper attached parallel to the framing would give any structural support, let alone as much as 2x4s braced inside the wood. Would love a citation for that.
    – TylerH
    May 11, 2021 at 15:51
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    In NZ drywall bracing is rated higher than diagonal timber bracing. Timber bracing adds 40 Bracing Units while drywall systems can add 120 BU, subject to correct installation. I had walls removed in my house and a structural engineer calculated that bracing needs to be added to remaining walls by means of drywall system. Screwing on an angle is wrong according to drywall installation guide, special glue is used and screws are spaced according to bracing requirements.
    – anm767
    May 11, 2021 at 22:00
  • @TylerH -- gypsum wallboard bracing is explicitly documented in the IBC and IRC (see for ex. IBC Table 2308.6.3(1)) Dec 23, 2023 at 1:32
  • @ThreePhaseEel Thanks; that table lists gypsum wallboard as one method of bracing but doesn't indicate the structural soundness or strength WRT racking, shear, etc. of any of the listed methods.
    – TylerH
    Dec 30, 2023 at 21:28

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