I am planning a 12'x24' shop. For the 24' walls I had planned on framing them as two separate 12' sections, vertically sheathing them on the ground and then raising them. I would ensure that the studs were 16" o.c. from one end (so basically one extra stud in the middle). I would make sure the double top plate would not break anywhere near the middle of the wall.

With a 12' wall there would be exactly 3 sheets of vertical sheathing per section. Even though the double top plate would join the two section together, it seems like the wall would be much stronger if the sheathing covered and joined the two sections of walls together. On the other hand, it means I won't be able to do all of the sheathing on the ground and I would either have to rip the sheathing or apply it horizontally.

What are the requirement for framing and sheathing a long load-bearing wall in sections?

This question is similar to the following, except the major difference of it being a load bearing wall.

Framing Long Walls and Where to split long wals

  • 1
    You can still build and sheet it on the ground. Build your walls as you had planned. Have the sheeting on the first section you plan to tip up overhang the 2nd section 1 or 2 studs. This will help with the 2nd section as the overhanging sheeting will prevent it from going over. Once everything is secure 1 trip up the ladder to screw or nail the siding if you put the ladder in the middle. Have your top plate break away from the seam or double stud for greatest strength.
    – Ed Beal
    Commented Mar 20, 2016 at 16:12
  • This basic framing is fine & just attach the sheathing to one section but not the other so you can just screw it down once the walls meet...after you screw or nail your end studs of each section together. This better be approved with your Building Dept. or you're looking at $10,000, a tear down & jail. You can't just throw something up. Roof pitch, snow load, roof material weight, pine lumber or fir all has to approved & inspected. Unless, you have a death wish.
    – Iggy
    Commented Mar 20, 2016 at 16:19
  • @EdBeal So that means I would rip one of the sheets. So rather than 48" + 48" + 48" of sheething for each section I would have 48 + 48 + 16 + 48 (providing a 16" overhang) and the other at 48 + 32 + 48. Do it matter that I would have a 16" vertical piece of sheeting?
    – jzacharuk
    Commented Mar 20, 2016 at 16:19
  • You're probably over-thinking this - I don't see how your method would be much different than using prefab wall panel sections. If you're really worried about it, install the sheathing horizontally.
    – Comintern
    Commented Mar 20, 2016 at 19:11

2 Answers 2


As Ed's comment said, you can still do all of the sheathing on the ground, you'll just end up having to nail one stud once the wall is up.

Rip one sheet of plywood at 16 inches, and start from your layout end with that. That will provide you 16 inches overlapped onto the second wall section, and the 32 inch cutoff piece should finish the second wall out. Try and keep it all as flush as possible with the wall ends so you have a small gap between the overhanging piece and the second section's first piece, it probably won't line up exactly and a small gap means you won't have to trim it once the walls are up.

On the other hand, you don't really need to lap the sheathing. When you layout your studs, put a stud at each end of both 12' sections. Once you raise the walls, nail the two studs in the center (at the end of the wall sections) to each other. Run the top top-plate at least 2 feet onto either wall.

  • So, of the three options, what is best practice: 1. Vertically overlap by 16". 2. Don't overlap, rely on double top plate and nailing studs together. 3. Horizontal overlap by 2'.
    – jzacharuk
    Commented Mar 20, 2016 at 21:03
  • as a best practice, the sheathing should lap; whether you do it horizontally or vertically is up to you.
    – DrewJordan
    Commented Mar 20, 2016 at 21:21

Best practice would be to do all of the above. Overlap the sheathing and overlap the top top plate (I would say overlap the top plate by at least 4' on each side of the joint) and nail the end studs together where the sections meet. That would be just as strong and stable as a single 24' section, and would allow you to do almost all of the work while the sections are on the ground. You would just need to nail the sheathing down on two studs where they overlap at the joint after standing up the second section (the stud that is nailed to the end stud of the first section and the stud where the sheathing meets). If you do all of that, which is not much work if you are using a nail gun, you will wind up with a wall that is as solid as a single frame, if not moreso.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.