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RE: WOOD - Load bearing studs in a party wall

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-----Original Message-----
From:	Stan Johnson [SMTP:hawneng(--nospam--at)]
Sent:	Wednesday, October 22, 1997 7:41 PM
To:	seaoc(--nospam--at)
Subject:	Re: WOOD - Load bearing studs in a party wall

Bill Allen wrote:

> I am checking the load bearing capacity of a wood framed wall 
that is
> intended to be used in a party wall. This party wall consists 
of 2x4 studs @
> 16" mounted on 2x6 top and bottom plates. These studs exist on 
each side of
> the wall. In other words, there are 2x4 studs @ 16" framed 
flush to one edge
> of the sill plate and 2x4 studs @ 16" framed flush with the 
other edge of
> the sill plate. These two "rows" of studs are offset so that 
there actually
* exists 2x4 studs @ 8".

Sorry, but I missed this one - the use of only a 2x6 plate. Full 
depth blocking would not be appropriate where the studs lap. In 
this case I would probably consider installing a 2x block placed 
on edge and keep it separated from the adjacent wall by at least 
1/2" which would place the block close to the center of the 
stud. This should still satisfy stud bracing and lower the 
effective height of the stud.

I have not found staggered studs to be all that effective in 
controlling sound to any great degree. Sound is transferred to 
the studs on each side of the wall via the top and bottom 
plates.  Unless you separate the plates and insulate the space 
between them you will never have an effective damping system. I 
have designed a couple of sound studio's where we designed the 
walls as double walls with separate plates. We went so far as to 
prevent the framing from above from lapping the walls. Adding 
batt insulation helped to dampen the transmission of vibration 
as well as providing wall coverings and texturing on each side 
of the walls.
I used the same staggered stud pattern around my mechanical room 
that you describe. The mechanical room is adjacent to our 
bedroom and den. For my opinion, I should have saved the money 
and used a conventional wall for as much sound as I dampened.