I'm in the planning stages of finishing our garage. My goal is to run new wiring, add insulation, drywall, and install a wall-mounted organization system.

The house was built in the 1960s and is brick veneer. Many of the 2x4s in the garage wall are twisted. Behind the 2x4s is old sheathing and then the brick veneer. One person suggested I try to hammer the 2x4s so they are straight. I'm hesitant to do this for concern with creating a new problem associated with the brick veneer. Another suggested I try to plane the uneven 2x4s that are sticking out a bit.

I'm guessing there isn't any kind of wrap on the outside - it goes from sheathing to an air gap to the brick veneer.

  1. Would appreciate suggestions on how to ensure the 2x4s present a plumb and flat surface for mounting drywall and later the organization system.

  2. Any concerns with adding the insulation (rockwool) without a wrap?


  • The drywall will show the bumps/lumps quite well, so making the studs as flat/level as possible is good. Today's 2x4s are inch and a half by three inches and a half. 60s might be larger.
    – crip659
    Jul 23, 2023 at 14:00
  • 1
    FWIW, my 1890's house was built with 2x3's ... But they're a true 2"x3", which is actually a bit more wood than a modern 2x4. And probably older growth/denser too.
    – keshlam
    Jul 23, 2023 at 15:05
  • How many walls are unfinished? Just one or more than one? What length and how many studs? Jul 23, 2023 at 16:08
  • You could plane off the high spots and fully sheath the inside with plywood or OSB, then put drywall over that for fire protection. Jul 23, 2023 at 16:12
  • Wow, thank you all for your input. This helps tremendously. I'm going to give a shot at hand planing. If that doesn't work too well, I may have to consider the other answer of sister in 2x6s next to the 2x4s.
    – Dead Pixel
    Jul 24, 2023 at 0:57

4 Answers 4


Do not try to straighten studs by hammering them. Once sheathing is on the studs they cannot be straightened. Decades ago bowed studs were straightened by cutting a saw kerf or a notch in the outward bow and then screwing or nailing across the notch to close the notch and so take the bow out. But this was before sheathing or drywall was attached. Simply hammering on an outward bow was never done, would do nothing good and might cause damage.

You could definitely shave off the high spots with a hand plane. A power planer would really do the job, but might be dangerous for an inexperienced operator on the vertical.

I can imagine ways to fill in the low spots but don't know if my ideas are practical. You would have to ask framers and drywall installers how they deal with out of plane studs.

I would also argue aginst trying to replace the studs. The sheathing is already attached to the original studs. You could perhaps add additional straight studs between the original ones and perhaps space them out 1/2" to 1". You would attach the drywall to the new studs.

  • 1
    Cardboard shim strips are made specifically for low spots in drywall. Sadly, they usually come in huge boxes, so wastage/expense. Jul 23, 2023 at 18:08
  • Thanks for the feedback Jim. Any input on how to assist with planing the 2x4s to the desired depth?
    – Dead Pixel
    Jul 24, 2023 at 0:59
  • I don't know how bowed they are and perhaps twisted too, but since this is in a garage and, as I understand it, you plan to put up shelves I don't think it has to be to the same standard as it would be inside on a significant wall. Start off by planing off the high spots. I would try a hand plane first. Use a straight 8 ft stud to check for high spots. Finger jointed studs are usually straight. See if you can get the cardboard shims referred to by @Aloysious Defenestrate to fill in the dips if there are any. Jul 24, 2023 at 1:18
  • Hold or clamp a straight 8 ft stud framing (92-5/8") alongside a bowed one and draw a pencil line. Plane off the bowed projection past the line and see if it is flat enough. Jul 24, 2023 at 1:45

As others said you cannot straighten the old studs.

I would sister in 2x6s next to the 2x4s. Hand pick the straightest you can find.

Then as you install them you can control the flat plane that you desire. The extra depth gives room for more insulation.

  • Thanks for the input RMDman. I'm going to try planing at first with a hand planar. If that doesn't work too well, may have to resort to the 2x6s.
    – Dead Pixel
    Jul 24, 2023 at 0:58

You can also shim out studs as necessary to present a level surface. Note that you may only need shims where you intend to drive the drywall screws, so you can economize on materials at the cost of doing more work.

  • He wants to attach shelving on these walls. If there are gaps between the back of drywall and the supporting studs, then it might crack the drywall or fail to support. the drywall. before the wall is sheeted, he should consider 2x6 or 2x8 blocking at the right height to attach shelving. Jul 23, 2023 at 19:23

When I've come across this, It was easier and faster to just replace the 2x4s and make everything even. You never know what you'll end up doing until you're doing it so it pays to have all the studs lined up evenly.

There's a lot of insulation installed without a wrap but a wrap is good.

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