I have a home I bought a few months ago and I'm working on finishing out the basement space. The builder put in a 2x6 wall 12" on center. I quite certain it's a load bearing wall. 2 Story house with a basement.

The electrician notched one stud 75% to get the 14" wide sub panel in the wall. I've taken out the stud and want to put the panel back in up to code. I have to pull a permit to finish in an unfinished space. Since it appears to be a load bearing wall, do I have to maintain the 12" spacing? Or can I have a 14" space and 10" space? Do I need to frame this in like a window with a jack studs and a header then rough in the box with 2x4s?

I ask this because I need to inset a smart panel (same 14" spacing) next to the electrical sub panel for the basement and this wall will end up being an interior wall in my office.

Any help would be appreciated!

Here are Pictures for those who asked: Basement Remodel Pics

  • 1
    Why do you think there is a load bearing wall in a basement? Are there any posts ? Where do you live. I have never seen a requirement for 12"OC. Is there a carrier beam under the floor joists or in the center of the joist span? Jul 23, 2016 at 21:36
  • How old is house and get us pics. 90%+ of houses have no walls in basement that are load bearing. There might be a post in a wall that is but not the wall itself. Framing in basements is usually cosmetic and to hide electrical.
    – DMoore
    Jul 24, 2016 at 2:52
  • Look at the floor Joyce's if they overlap above the wall it is a load bearing wall. Are the Joyce's on a 12' center also? This comes down to the load the wall was designed to support. I would put a 2x4 next to the box at 14" and do the same for the smart panel. Use high quality studs #1 if you can find them I haven't seen this type of spacing since the late 60's early 70's the quality of the studs was much better or possibly double 2 #2 studs to provide the same strength.
    – Ed Beal
    Jul 24, 2016 at 12:21
  • 2
    @EdBeal - You are using are attributing a name and possessive to the joists in Lee Cox's basement.
    – Michael Karas
    Jul 24, 2016 at 14:28
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    I think that it is load bearing for the same reasons a lot of you are questioning it. The wall is there. It's 2x6 and 12" on center. Who in their right mind would build that if they didn't have to?
    – Lee Cox
    Jul 24, 2016 at 17:15

2 Answers 2


There is no place in the code book that I can recall that requires 12" centers for a bearing wall. You can move over the studs to a 16" center, rather than making a header. If you choose to. The drywall will make it a little tough to do that...


Even without knowing anything about how your structure sits, I'm 99.9% sure that slapping studs on each side (10" spacing and 14" spacing, as you described) will be perfectly fine. Typical bearing wall construction is 16" on center, frequently with 2x4s, so you'll be up to code and have something to attach drywall to.


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