I had some water damage in my bathroom and a few of the studs are rotted. I am assuming they need to be replaced. The problem is these studs have a plumbing vent pipe drilled through the middle of them. How would I go about putting new ones in? Is there a way to do this without cutting vent pipe?

  • 2
    Got a picture? I would probably just notch the stud and put a strap across it once installed. Commented Jan 12, 2015 at 15:47

3 Answers 3


Why do you need to replace the stud? Unless it has rotted, you do not need to replace a stud with water damage. Removed the damaged drywall and any other wet items and let the wood dry out before replacing the drywall.

If this is inside the bathroom, be sure you are using the right type of product. You would not use regular drywall in a shower or bath area, you would use cement board or something similar.

  • i have updated the question, they are rotted. Commented Jan 12, 2015 at 13:35
  • Other answers talk about replacing studs in load bearing walls. However, the stud is most likely not load bearing, so only needs to have integrity to support the drywall and protect the pipes. Cut out the rotted part and replace, applying a strap or another piece of wood on the side of the studs to join them together.
    – Mark
    Commented Jan 14, 2015 at 5:32

You can notch a non-load bearing stud out by 40% (1 7/16 inches for a 2x4). S if you're willing to fudge a 16th you could accommodate a 1 1/2" pipe. I'd probably put a strap across the notch - nail guard at minimum. If it's bigger then that, you'll likely have to bore it out - you can go to 60% (2 1/8 inches in a 2x4) in a non-load bearing wall. Load bearing walls are significantly restricted by comparison.


  • The URL shared redirects to a general course page, pdf is not accessible unless you have signed in to account on purdue.edu. Currently, familyhandyman.com/project/… has an infographic (Figure A) containing the info shared by CoAstroGeek, click the "enlarge" button in the lower right corner of the image.
    – neesey3po
    Commented Jun 21, 2023 at 15:34

Need a picture to see what is going on, but in general the best procedure is probably to take out the studs and put in some kind of steel support. If you leave a damp stud in the wall you are asking for mold. Also, replacing with wood just leaves you vulnerable the next time the same thing happens.

The advantage of steel is that it is thin, so it is easy to work around any existing piping. Note that there also in-line gizmos you can use, like this:

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