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Cripple wall stud length

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I've been curious for a long time about the reason for the UBC limitation [2320.11.5] on stud length in cripple walls.  [I'm not familiar with the IBC, but I wouldn't be surprised if it doesn't have a similar limitation.]  Studs are required to be 14" minimum length, or solid blocking must be used.  I understand that there may be concerns about splitting of very short (e.g. 3") studs, but it seems to me that sometimes it might be more desirable to use larger, short studs -- say 4x4 x 12" tall -- rather than a solid horizontal member.  Less shrinkage, less wood, less cost, etc.  Yes, of course we could use manufactured wood, but that's expensive and from an engineering point of view may not be necessary.

Does anyone know the reason for this 14" limitation, its history, and/or whether it is ever considered acceptable to violate it in certain circumstances?


Ralph Hueston Kratz, S.E.
Richmond CA USA

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