I was preparing to hang some shelves in our garage the other day and after some inspection I discovered that the drywall is hung on staggered horizontal 1x’s attached to the studs (can be seen just inside drywall in picture).

Our home is a split-level built in 1963 and the wall in question is an exterior wall with brick veneer. There appears to be sheathing between the studs and brick.

I’m considering removing all of the drywall to make some repairs for old termite damage. When hanging the new drywall, is there any reason I can’t/shouldn’t attach it directly to the studs? Or is the “air gap” created by the 1x’s somehow important to the function of the wall?

Really, I’m trying to understand why the drywall was originally hung this way rather than attaching directly to the studs. enter image description here

  • 2
    If you hang it directly on a brick wall with no vapor barrier it will start turning black shortly after the first rain the black is mold.
    – Ed Beal
    Dec 21, 2020 at 18:53
  • Thanks for the comment. I’ve updated my post with a picture to show the black exterior sheathing I was referring to. Also, I’m talking about installing the new drywall onto the existing studs, not directly to the brick wall.
    – Oliver
    Dec 21, 2020 at 19:17
  • 2
    Are the studs spaced at 'standard' intervals, or would a normal 4' sheet hang over one side if oriented vertically?
    – brhans
    Dec 21, 2020 at 19:42
  • You may want to consider putting in insulation while you have the walls open. Dec 21, 2020 at 19:57
  • 1
    I'd like to point-out the vertical lines in your photo. It looks to me like water run lines on the brick sheathing wall. Or is it marks from the factory? You are in a better position to confirm.
    – ojait
    Dec 22, 2020 at 2:39

2 Answers 2


It's hard to say why someone installed the framing in such a way. Most likely it was installed to (as you stated) allow for better air circulation and removal of moisture in the wall.

You should plan your project to include a means to prevent moisture and/or a way for it to escape. This can be anything from vent holes for every wall bay or spray foaming each wall cavity. The foam would have the secondary benefit of also providing a R- value by insulating your home.

Since the wall is an exterior one (I believe?) some type of insulation should be installed in order to keep the living space in your home comfortable and utility bills low. Foam is a good choice<as mentioned before, but blanket insulation with a paper vapor barrier would be less costly. Check the exterior facade for vents which should be considered in your plans.

  • Thanks. It is an exterior wall and the garage has no heating or AC, so I could install insulation but I'm not sure it would do much for me.
    – Oliver
    Dec 22, 2020 at 1:57
  • Oliver- if the room won't be "lived" in (like a garage) than theres no need to insulate. (that's good). You should still plan on venting to remove condensation and such from inside enclosed wall. Leave the furring strips if possible and drill some holes along the eave line to open wall space for air ciculation. cover with screen.
    – ojait
    Dec 22, 2020 at 2:31

After some further investigation (i.e. removing a bit more drywall), I've discovered the reason the drywall was hung this way.

It turns out portion of the wall is framed with studs, however another portion is CMU block. The CMU portion of the wall has furring strips to keep the drywall off the block. Therefore, the remaining portion of the wall needed to be furred out as well.

  • Thanks for coming back to share what you learned!
    – FreeMan
    Jan 12, 2021 at 17:36

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