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My garage has a bare wall of studs that I want to add insulation, vapour barrier, and then cover with drywall. However, there is a metal support post between two of the studs that protrudes about 1/2 an inch beyond the studs. What is the best approach to add drywall?

I am thinking that I can add 1/2 inch thick strips of plywood to the edge of each stud, but there are 16 studs that I would have to do this to. I wonder if there is a shortcut?

How flexible are 4 foot wide sheets of drywall? If I add 1/2 inch of thickness to one of studs, will drywall bend enough that the next stud can have 1/4 inch extra plywood and then finally mount the drywall directly on the third stud away from the post. The studs are 16 inches apart. Is drywall too brittle for this?

Picture of metal post between studs

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    Why not add strips to just two studs, the ones on either side of the post? The wall will protrude slightly in that section. It's a garage, does it have to be perfect? You could also box in the post more tightly, with new studs that you cut a little deeper than the others. The protrusion doesn't have to be 16 in wide.
    – jay613
    May 19, 2023 at 1:31
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    You cannot bend drywall around a protrusion like this post; it would look awful. What is the purpose of this metal post? Boxing around it alerts users of the space that there is something special in the wall there. May 19, 2023 at 1:39
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    Your first question (about "best") is subjective, and therefore off topic. I've revised your title to ask a more specific technical question.
    – isherwood
    May 19, 2023 at 14:20
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    FYI, those joints in the OSB are technically supposed to be blocked. You might do that before you close things up.
    – isherwood
    May 19, 2023 at 15:43
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    What about having a thinner sheet of material in the area around the post, with shims to increase its distance from the studs?
    – supercat
    May 19, 2023 at 16:45

5 Answers 5

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I agree with RMDman, but you certainly could taper out and around the post. Full-thickness shims on the adjacent studs and half-thickness shims on the two outside that would be adequate, though 5/8" drywall is significantly stiffer than 1/2". If you have 5/8", consider tapering out over six studs.

You'll want to hold the sheet in position while you screw it in place (with a few extra screws). Don't try to pull the sheet in with the screws. They'll punch through. A helper would be great.

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You have asked for the "best approach...".

That would be to add furring strips to the studs and across the top and bottom plates. Then the drywall.

Yes, it is a bit more work and expense. However it is the best approach and will give the best results.

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    Yeah, it's well worth doing, but you don't need to use expensive plywood. OSB, fiberboard, or any scrap you can come up with is just fine. A curve or bump will look terrible.
    – isherwood
    May 19, 2023 at 14:18
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    Especially if you plan on hanging shelves on this wall, you'll want it straight all the way across, so furring out the whole wall would be the best solution so the whole thing is straight.
    – Milwrdfan
    May 19, 2023 at 14:46
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    Or box the pipe and put a break, or simply a notch, in the shelves. Very common.
    – keshlam
    May 19, 2023 at 15:10
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    If you shim out the whole wall, because it's a garage you should not use fiberboard or anything that won't hold screws at least as well as the studs themselves. You will know what you did, and will use appropriately longer screws but future owners hanging hooks and shelves on the walls, as people do in garages, won't know. Help them out. Me, if I could start from scratch I'd sheath my garage in plywood for one giant hanging playground.
    – jay613
    May 19, 2023 at 16:03
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    @spuck true, in an attached garage the walls adjoining the residence can't be done that way. In my current house unfortunately the whole garage was done with drywall before I bought it. In my previous house the garage, attached by a breezeway, had unfinished walls that I loved. The studs and the stud bays were storage heaven.
    – jay613
    May 19, 2023 at 17:00
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Since you want to add insulation and vapor barrier, and you have "R-11 between studs, at most" 2x4 framing (which is itself about R5, so the assembled value is below R-11) put sheet foam (or go old-skool with Homasote® but then you still need a vapor barrier) over the studs (after the fiberglass [or rockwool, but I see fiberglass] between studs,] cut a channel in the sheet foam (or have a gap in a 1/2" sheet) where the column is, tape the seams of the top layer of foam (and there's your vapor barrier) and drywall the nice flat resulting surface, much better insulated than merely 3.5" between studs with the thermal bridge of a stud at R5 every 16 inches.

Obviously you'll need to keep track of where the studs are, and use longer drywall screws.

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If this is in a garage I would not bend over the post at all. The garage is going to see wild temperature and humidity swings and the paper on the sheet rock could pop where the screws go in. I recommend either cutting strips of wood to space out the entire wall or depending on how much the post sticks out you can use the cardboard strips that are designed to be used as shims and get staple hammered to the studs. Then put the sheet rock on so it's nice and flat.

Here are the cardboard shims I was mentioning.

https://www.homedepot.com/p/Grip-Rite-3-75-ft-Shim-Drywall-100-Bundle-GRDWSHIM/202090729

Here is a staple hammer https://www.homedepot.com/p/Arrow-HT50-Professional-Hammer-Tacker-HT50P/100340916

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The typical approach is to box around it. I have a finished basement in which a partition encloses a post just like your picture. I can see the finished result but not exactly how it was achieved. In my case, there is about a 1" step. In your case, could just add 1x2s to each stud to create the step; on each side of the post, one strip steps out to clear the post, the other supports the drywall as it runs into the step.

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