# Can a triple stud be replaced with a thinner, stronger material?

We have a galley kitchen and our fridge takes up a lot of room when the door is open. I'd like to recess it back into the wall using some empty space in the dining room directly behind it.

However when I opened the wall I discovered a triple stud that is load-bearing, supporting a floor joist that terminates directly above it. Because of this termination point and that the triple stud is situated on the corner of the wall, I don't have room to slide it back.

Top view:

``````             X
^      |
fridge   |
|
|
--X----X---XXX = = = = = = = > joist
|
|
|           dining room
X
``````

Elevation from behind the fridge:

``````--+----+---+++
|    |   |||
|    |   |||
|    |   |||
|    |   |||
|    |   |||
|    |   |||
|    |   |||
--+----+---+++
``````

I could probably sister a new stud to the opposite side of the existing triple but that would also mean the wall would no longer be flush on the dining room side which I'd rather avoid.

It might be possible to rotate the triple studs with a new top/bottom plate, but the edges would overlap the load bearing wall underneath it and I'm not sure how that would work out. Beefing up the wall next to the fridge (and its extension) also I don't think will work as there's no columns under the adjacent floor joists.

So I'm looking then to replace the triple stud altogether with a stronger material if possible. Ideally I want this wall to get to with a cripple and header in place of the middle stud:

``````--+----+---- +
|    |     I
+----+-----+
|          I
|          I
|          I
|          I
|          I
--+----+-----+
``````

Is there a readily available material I can use in place of the triple stud that has similar load-bearing characteristics but only takes up the space of a double stud??

Note: this question is similar to Can I modify a load bearing triple stud? but as I don't think I can rotate the triple stud or transfer the load via a span over to adjacent columns, looking for alternative materials rather than seeking to modify a portion of the triple stud.

• Can you? Yes. Should you? Only after you talk to a certified Structural Engineer and get him to make an assessment of your house and sign off on a design. Without that, you probably wouldn't get permit approval, or sign off afterward, and, even if the job doesn't require a permit, the insurance company would probably use it as an excuse to avoid paying a claim should something go wrong. Think long & hard before cowboying this - there's a big a safety and financial pit ahead of you. Jan 28, 2021 at 17:13
• I’m voting to close this question because no matter how knowledgeable or well intentioned we are, this really needs the services of an SE making an on-site assessment and staking her reputation & license on it. Jan 28, 2021 at 17:14
• You could probably use a steel post, but your situation isn't entirely clear. Photos would be great. Jan 28, 2021 at 17:43
• I vote to leave it open. An expert may come along with advanced knowledge of materials, and say, flex and compressive strength of composite or laminated materials. Regardless, any replacement has to consider all of the roles the current support performs, how those tripled studs are supported, say, sway, attachments etc. Jan 28, 2021 at 18:26
• @OldUncleHo - One has, but still, as highly qualified as Sam seems to be (I have no doubt his answer is correct), I'd feel better about following his direction here, but I'd still not feel 100%. Also, without an SE signing off on the plan, there's potential for a permit fail and/or insurance claim denial. It's important for the OP to know that. Jan 29, 2021 at 14:16

There’s four things to consider: 1) structurally support the vertical load from the 3 joists (beam) above, 2) insure there is adequate support under the new post all the way to a footing, 3) adequately support the beam from crushing, 4) provide a support for material wrapping around the post.

1. we don’t know what the load is on that existing post, but we can assume the triple stud is adequate. Therefore, we can match the strength of the existing post with a new skinny post. I’d use a steel 3”x3” x3/16” wall thickness column, which is MORE than twice as strong as the triple stud post. (I checked for 8’ and 9’ high.) Make sure the steel plates (top and bottom) are bolted into the beam above and floor below with at least 2 - 1/2” bolts.

2. if the triple stud sat on the subfloor, then there needs to be additional blocking under the post down to the ground.

3. You’ll need to provide a steel bearing plate at the top and bottom of the steel column that matches the area of the triple stud. Wood compresses easier in side grain than end grain. Therefore, to insure that the beam does not compress, the steel plate must be the same size as the triple stud.

4. If gypsum board is wrapped around the triple studs, then some wood blocking will need to be added to support the gypsum board.

• What about installing 4.5" square steel plates top and bottom and rotating the triple stud? As long as the plates are sufficiently thick enough to not bend/deflect under load, the footprint is the same top and bottom. Jan 29, 2021 at 20:12
• @Erich Yes, that will work as long as the steel plates match the size and shape of the three joists above and transitions to the new shape of the triple studs...and then does the reverse at the bottom. Jan 30, 2021 at 0:59
• I think I'm going to go with the steel column idea. Since the wall now continues on either side of it, I can just add new studs on either side 16" on center for attaching drywall. Very good points about how this needs to attach above and below. Thank you! Jan 30, 2021 at 2:00

Yes. Replace with a telepost. We have 3 in our basement holding up the triple 2x10 that all the floor joists rest on. Here in Canada about \$80. Probably \$50 in the U.S.

Edit in answer to a comment. The one in my house is 2 3/8" 2.375" The pin used to select which hole to use is longer, than this, but can be oriented along the length of the wall. The plate at the top end is 4" square. You could either trim this by 1/4" on either side to bring it down to 3.5" stud width, or cut a groove in the drywall for it, or cut a slot for the drywall, then fill with mud.

• In the US, we call that a "lally column (or post)". No, I don't know why. I've got one in my basement, too. I'd guess the down vote is because the OP would have this on his main floor, and that it would be buried behind drywall. Also, I've got one, you've got three, how many does the OP really need to support his house? We don't know, because we don't know what kind of load his needs to support. Jan 29, 2021 at 14:13
• I didn't downvote it. What are the dimensions? If it fits inside a standard 2x4 thick wall, that's a good answer to me. +1 Jan 29, 2021 at 20:03
• Found this item at Home Depot - according to the manufacturer website, this product is intended for temporary support only (or secondary support only if permanently installed). Jan 30, 2021 at 1:58
• Added dimensions to answer. I think Permanently installed just means lag bolts through the holes in the plate. The idea is that it has to be set up so that it can't slip out of position and lower the roof on you if you knock it free. One reference mentioned that you should have access to to the adjustment mechanism, hence a cover access panel. The usual standad seems to be 8000 pounds max weight. Given your use, I think you are well under that. Jan 30, 2021 at 19:51