I'm renovating my kitchen. The current cabinets were screwed into 2x2s and in some cases directly into a cinder block wall. I'm not a fan - it makes it difficult to run my electrical. However, framing the wall with 2x4s will push the wall out just enough where it makes the refrigerator opening awkward. Not impossible, just close enough to a window where opening the refrigerator would be awkward.

Any issue (other than code requiring 2x4s?) with using 2x3s to frame the wall? It is not load bearing (for the house; obviously it will bear the load of the cabinets plus contents). The 1" saved on the depth of the wall will really help. To be clear, I'm not exactly sure how much it will save me as I haven't demo'd the existing kitchen yet to confirm the exact size of the lumber currently used; I'm basing it off of what I can barely see through a hole under my sink. but I know it is not 2x4s.

Regardless, if 2x3s are just fine it will save me some space. I plan on using blocking between the studs to make hanging the cabinets easier.

2 Answers 2


No code issues at all. In fact using 2x3s for interior non-load bearing walls is a staple of "cheaper" construction.

However yours being next to a cinderblock wall negates the cheap aspect (cheap because when you are in a house with 2x3 walls, they often seem "shaky"). I would just make sure the 2x3s are of high quality because when you start getting into smaller dimensional lumber you can get some warpage that makes getting a straight wall up harder.

If that inch is helping you that much you have good reasoning to use 2x3 and given good/straight lumber you wouldn't notice a difference. I will also say if hanging cabinets it is a good idea to run many cross braces in the framing to help support. If you run two lines with the board flipped at strategic locations, installing cabinets a breeze.

  • I agree and because of the sketchy quality I have laid 2x4 flat made several things easier but required more wire because I had to make splices above and have those boxes accessible.
    – Ed Beal
    Commented Sep 15, 2020 at 16:51
  • @EdBeal - There are actually a lot of decent wide boxes at big box now for 2x3 applications - at least near me. The main issue I have is that I have a really really hard time getting good 2x3 quality near me unless I go to a lumber yard and even there I am picking out a lot of knots and curves. We still use 2x3 on outer walls in basements... why? Because I tell home owner I want to leave a gap, then they talk about not wanting to lose that inch. Its common now. Note - still will not use 2x3 in basement interior walls, you for sure notice a difference and hanging doors is a chore.
    – DMoore
    Commented Sep 15, 2020 at 16:58
  • " If you run two lines with the board flipped at strategic locations, installing cabinets a breeze." Can you clarify that statement? Two lines of what? What board would be flipped and how would the OP do it? How would one identify strategic locations? Maybe I'm just being dense after a boring meeting...
    – FreeMan
    Commented Sep 15, 2020 at 17:15

There needs to be a minimal depth to protect the wires from nails and screws, otherwise you'd need to protect the wires with stainless steel or equivalent.

This means you can fur out the wall by only the minimal amount to fit a metal conduit for the wiring behind the drywall. But then your electrical boxes will start to be too small unless you chipping into the cinderblock wall for those but that's easier than routing chases in them.

  • Could I use armored cable instead of running conduit?
    – Mike
    Commented Sep 15, 2020 at 16:28
  • You don’t have to use conduit an inch and a quarter plus the thickness of the wiring method method is enough I have laid 2x4 flat the junction boxes accessible from above as the shallow boxes for the outlets can’t have splices, but I have done this on maybe a dozen homes and never failed an inspection.
    – Ed Beal
    Commented Sep 15, 2020 at 16:46

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