I'm in the process of finishing my basement (east-central Minnesota, US). So far, I've put up a couple of wood stud walls... non-load bearing, simple partition walls.

One one of these walls, the studs aren't exactly vertically plumb, and one in particular is about an inch out of whack between top and bottom fastening.

Note that this is in what will eventually become an inside corner of a bedroom (around a foot inward, actually), and I don't expect that I or future owners will really struggle too much to find the stud, if at all required.

How critical is the actual 16" between studs? Should I sister this stud up with another one next to it, just to make sure a mounting surface can be found in the future, or is this not a big deal?

  • 2
    Well, it will certainly make hanging drywall more of a pain. It will take longer to mark and no doubt several screws will get misplaced. If you're paying someone else to hang drywall, are you okay with them taking longer? If you're hanging it yourself, well, I predict that you'll soon find out that the answer to this question is indeed: just make the studs plumb and consistent :)
    – gregmac
    Commented Jan 30, 2015 at 19:45
  • 1
    After drywall is up it can be annoying, but is rarely a big deal: most people use a stud finder at or very near the (vertical) point they're drilling anyway. Not having regular centers (16 or 24") can also be annoying when hanging things that span studs (cabinets, shelves, tv mounts), but again, usually you use a stud finder and mark them all anyway because you just never know what people have done before you.
    – gregmac
    Commented Jan 30, 2015 at 19:48
  • 6
    Pro tip: to avoid this problem in the future, attach your top and bottom plates together and mark out the locations of each stud, door, etc. Typically you pick one end, extend the tape measure, and mark every 16", or actually 3/4" to each side of 16" and put an X in the middle. Once done, separate the plates and use a speed square to mark the inside of the plate so your stud has a line to follow. You'll still need to plumb the wall, but once done every stud will be perfect. Also, don't forget to flip each stud so the crowns face the same way.
    – BMitch
    Commented Jan 30, 2015 at 20:04
  • 1
    Annoying for the next person that wants to find a stud, but for non-load-bearing walls, it's mostly irrelevant. It's probably too late now, but FWIW, in climates like MN, I much prefer to use metal studs over wood: diy.stackexchange.com/a/8644/1209
    – DA01
    Commented Jan 30, 2015 at 22:17
  • In my experience, about 5% are critical and about 5% are fumble. I'll be leaving now.
    – corsiKa
    Commented Jan 30, 2015 at 23:57

2 Answers 2


Not critical at all. There are best practices. Like making sure corners have stud surface on both sides, making all studs 16 on center, make all studs plumb. Does it matter? No. Do inspectors care? No. Now I wouldn't suggest making your studs further than 16 inches but back in the day they were generally 24 for basements. I have seen people do them at 12. The only concern that you should have is when you drill the drywall in, is the stud in question going to cause issues...

But if it were me I would just whack it back in place.

Note: That my answer here is given that it is a non-loadbearing basement wall. If the wall was a loadbearing wall or attached to a loadbearing wall it would differ a bit. In a basement the framing is just space to put insulation, wires, pipes, and an attachment point for drywall.


An inch out is not that big of a deal, though an inspector might not want to see it. If you can Add a stud, Can you not just fix it so it is straight? I will use construction screws with pre-drilled holed when I have a tricky placement that needs a bit of finessing.

Attaching a second stud to it would also make that one out of plumb, but would suffice the code of installation.

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