I want to remove a stud from a load bearing wall in order to recess my fridge another 3-4 inches. In doing so I will be removing the bottom plate, one stud from bottom plate up to height of the fridge as well as drywall behind the fridge.

Is it sufficient to place king studs next to the two studs that are on the left and right side of stud being removed and then run a header plate between the 2 that would support the remaining part of the center stud . See picture. Red studs are king studs in picture.

enter image description here

4 Answers 4


Instead of using king studs on either side of the header, use jack studs. enter image description here

The jack studs take the load from the cripple and transfer it vertically to the floor. You could attach to king studs as you showed, but the problem is you now have to worry about sheer strength as well.

  • 2
    I'd place the jack studs on top of the bottom plate if possible, but not the end of the world if you can't.
    – BMitch
    Sep 22, 2014 at 13:15
  • Any particular reason why? The bottom plate won't transfer load laterally very much. Sep 22, 2014 at 19:21
  • 3
    If the structure supporting this wall below the floor is joist running perpendicular over another load bearing wall, then you may not have any structure directly below that jack stud. The bottom plate helps transfer the load to the nearest joist.
    – BMitch
    Sep 22, 2014 at 20:03
  • Interesting point. I'd be curious to see how much load transfers laterally vs vertically in such a scenario. I agree, some will transfer - but what percentage, I wonder? Sep 23, 2014 at 2:21
  • 1
    Since the Jack is nailed to the King, and the King is on top of the bottom plate, it should be a fairly minor issue. Think about it as if you were forcing a 2x4 through a piece of OSB, compare the force that it would take to push through on end vs when it's flat. Even if the load is only spread out at a 45 deg angle through the bottom plate, you've doubled the surface area that the load is spread over.
    – BMitch
    Sep 23, 2014 at 3:26

With studs at 16" on-center, the two studs left would give you 30 1/2" of clear space; subtract the 3" for the two new studs and 1" for new drywall; you are left with only 26 1/2" of clear space. Are you sure this is going to be wide enough?

The header in your illustration should be 3" wider and the "king" studs you illustrated in red should be cut shorter to support the header.

  • 1
    A good consideration but does not answer the question asked. Sep 22, 2014 at 13:05

As others have mentioned, the header goes on top of your jack studs, not between them. The king studs are the full length studs that are either added to get the proper width opening, or your existing 16" OC studs. When removing studs, before the header is added, you'll need to reinforce the area with an adjacent load bearing temporary wall to prevent sagging or a possible collapse depending on what's above.

The sizing of the header is important and will depend on the load. You may only need a pair of 2x6's installed on edge with a plywood filler, while a pair of 2x8's will likely be more than enough, but you'll want to seek professional advice on this.

I think the bigger question is if you actually want to do this. You'll need to find somewhere to run the water line, install an outlet, and you need to be sure that the fridge is properly vented (they aren't creating cold, they are moving heat, and need to be able to exhaust it into your home). If anyone pushes the fridge too far back, it will likely go right through the unsupported drywall behind it. And if this is an exterior wall, you'll be compromising the insulation and vapor barrier.

  • What would you think of the idea of replacing the stud with one that's rotated 90 degrees? That would allow the refrigerator to move back 2" further than if the stud was left as-was, while leaving 1.5" of air space between it and the drywall, and providing some support for the drywall.
    – supercat
    Oct 17, 2014 at 1:36
  • If that wall is supporting anything more than drywall, you're looking for trouble. A stud turned sideways has a fraction of the structural support. And 1.5" is not much room to run utilities. You'll end up with power and water lines uncomfortably close to the drywall surface. A nail for a picture or trim could cause a short or leak.
    – BMitch
    Oct 17, 2014 at 1:46
  • I would expect that a wall full of studs turned sideways would have a fraction of the lateral strength of a normal wall, and would be prone to buckling, but I would think a single stud turned sideways would be less of an issue. From what I can tell the OP was planning on having nothing between the back of the fridge and back of the next room's drywall. As for the power and water lines, aren't those usually inset a little from the back of a refrigerator?
    – supercat
    Oct 17, 2014 at 2:08
  • I'm referring to the utilities inside the wall, where do you plug in your refrigerator, and where is the water line going? These are usually in the wall behind the refrigerator. If it's not inside the wall, a surface mounted outlet box is going to add 3" or so, defeating the purpose of removing the wall. I've seen fridges without that much of an inset anywhere.
    – BMitch
    Oct 17, 2014 at 12:58
  • Looking at some random side-plan views of refrigerators, it seems they vary. On some the back is rectangular pretty much down to floor level, while others are inset at the bottom. I think water lines are often run through the floor rather than the wall, and I don't know what codes would require with regard to precise outlet placement [e.g. could the outlet be in the rear of the cabinet beside the refrigerator]? Perhaps a good approach would be to remove the drywall to improve ventilation, but leave studs in place?
    – supercat
    Oct 17, 2014 at 20:29

You can remove studs the number is a more important question. Happens all the time. That's how windows and doors go in. You should make sure it's enough space for your fridge and your header needs to be on top of the studs. You'll never fasten a header to a stud via the side and get the support you need.

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