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In my shed, there are two 2×4 diagonal braces attached across the studs (highlighted in red on a picture). I want to install shelves along those walls, so want to remove those 2x4s. Can I safely do that or should I reinforce studs somehow first?enter image description here

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    What is the wall sheathing?
    – isherwood
    Jun 30, 2021 at 14:36
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    The exterior sheathing is important. If it's structural panels like OSB or plywood then the sheathing itself will prevent the wall from racking. Where you live is also important since the structural requirements will differ depending on the wind load in your area.
    – J...
    Jun 30, 2021 at 15:58
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    Fiber cement siding is not suitable for resisting racking forces in high wind areas (your profile says San Antonio, which is a high-wind area and borders on hurricane risk zones not much closer to the coast). Those interior braces would likely have been added for structural reasons due to the exterior wall construction and your wind zone. You could remove them if adding interior structural sheathing or otherwise added compensating bracing for racking loads.
    – J...
    Jun 30, 2021 at 16:50
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    No drywall, use rated OSB or plywood. I don't know about your area (TX), but I'd be careful not to create closed pockets where moisture collects or rodents nest. Make sure the wall space is well vented and vent holes are meshed.
    – P2000
    Jun 30, 2021 at 17:33
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    Metal flat strapping works too, but what you've got there is not sufficient. Metal strap bracing only works in tension, so you always need at least two braces making a V or X shape. In your shed the metal strapping only goes one way, so you'd need to at least finish the other half of that job. The quantity of metal bracing required, and the placement, usually needs an engineering calculation.
    – J...
    Jun 30, 2021 at 18:47

2 Answers 2

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Use steel strapping , it is so thin that you can put shelving over it. I would use more than two where the 2 X 4 are ; put in a few. Parallel the existing braces and at 90 degrees to the existing braces. Get it as tight as possible. Looks like there is already some galvanized bracing. The steel banding I used was bluish and had many holes , convenient for screws.

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    Since there is already steel strapping (on the outsides of the studs) it would seem that it is not necessary to add more on the inside. Of course, extra strapping, especially to make an X pattern with the existing strapping, would add resistance to racking from wind load, but it's not really necessary, right? The OP could just remove the temp wooden braces and put up the shelves. Jun 30, 2021 at 10:09
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    Diagonal bracing is like chocolate , you can't have too much. Jun 30, 2021 at 16:20
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    It's possible the temporary bracing was kept after the decision to dispense with sheathing and apply the cement siding. Removing likely requires doubling up (as you suggest) or application of inside sheathing (as OP is also considering)
    – P2000
    Jun 30, 2021 at 17:37
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    @JimStewart The existing steel strapping is insufficient. Straps only work in tension, so each wall needs at least two in opposing directions (ie : a V or X pattern). Strapping usually also requires an engineering calc to determine the correct quantity and placement.
    – J...
    Jun 30, 2021 at 21:43
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    @JimStewart Yes notching studs for let-in bracing is normal and a correct way to install bracing. In any case, I was specifically speaking to your "...but it's not really necessary, right?" comment. Yes, an X or V pattern is necessary for steel strapping because it only works in tension. One diagonal metal strap will stop a lean in one direction but it will buckle in the other. Like an airbag that only deploys if you get hit on one side of the car... that's a 50-50 diceroll you don't want to live with.
    – J...
    Jul 1, 2021 at 12:27
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Those diagonal braces appear to be temporary bracing in order to get the roof and siding installed for two reasons: 1) different length braces, and 2) lack of double nailing at each stud.

  1. If the diagonal bracing was structural, they’d be installed uniformly, including the length of the braces.

  2. It’s difficult to see in the picture, but some places where the braces cross over the studs they are NOT nailed. In fact, if the braces were structural, you’d double nail at each stud.

You can remove the diagonal braces.

I’d be more concerned about keeping the side with the large opening square.

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    I agree with your conclusions, but not with your numbered points. 1) Diagonal bracing works very well even if it varies slightly in length or angle. 2) It also works very well when only fastened at the ends (though slightly less so on the compression axis). For this little shed what we see there would be just fine short of a tornado situation.
    – isherwood
    Jun 30, 2021 at 14:40
  • @isherwood San Antonio is not in the worst spot for tornadoes, but they're certainly not uncommon. Cat 2 tornadoes happen reasonably frequently there, with the odd 3 or 4 also. Seems to be getting worse there with climate change also. I'd err on the side of more bracing myself.
    – J...
    Jun 30, 2021 at 17:15
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    To protect against tornadoes, you’d need holddowns in the corners and certainly more bracing in the short walls next to the garage door (overhead door). If you have a direct hit from a tornado, you’ll probably find your storage shed in the next county, regardless the amount of diagonal bracing.
    – Lee Sam
    Jun 30, 2021 at 17:24
  • @isherwood For bracing to work well it should be fastened at every stud. At the ends alone produces huge torques on those fasteners. For a high wind load area it should really have nails in every stud.
    – J...
    Jun 30, 2021 at 21:38
  • It's a good/better/best situation. The assertions in this answer weren't nuanced. They were absolute.
    – isherwood
    Jun 30, 2021 at 21:40

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