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Staggered stud wall with 2x4s?

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
Would it be effective at all to do the staggered stud wall with a 2x4 bottom plate and place the studs length-wise on the edge of each side instead of across the bottom plate touching both sides? Make sense?

So do this (the Is obviously are studs, the periods are insulation):


instead of this (dashes are studs):


Would this way just make the non-bearing wall too weak?

I just turned a straight shot stairway into a L-shaped stairway with a landing so my theater could get 2+ more feet in width. The theater shares a wall with the landing now. So my options are:

1) Build a normal 2x4 wall on top of the landing and beyond to preserve the extra space I just got. Maybe use resilient channel or Green Glue.
2) Build a 2x6 wall and lose a couple of inches on the landing.
3) Build a 2x6 wall next to landing but lose 6 inches of space in the room.
4) Do funky 2x4 staggered wall.
post #2 of 8
One of the things I do for fun is walk upstairs to my framed out, but not completely drywalled staggered stud wall and slap a 2x4 along the flat side. Man I can do that for hours. Anyway, that sucker will just flop nicely back and forth for a good while. If I try hitting it on the thin side, it hurts my hand.

The moral of the story is, if you try drywalling a wall that's using the flat side of the 2x4, you'll have a much easier time hitting the studs with screws, but your drywall with crumble in no time, to say nothing of how good it will be at supporting a load.

In general, a thicker wall (with insulation) will do a better job of sound isolation for lower frequencies. That being said, I'd still rather have a 2x4 wall + green glue and one additional layer of drywall than a stagger stud 2x4 wall that's as thick as a 2x6 wall.

If space is your big consideration, you could always try a 2x3 stagger studded wall with 2x4 base and top plates. Put insulation in the wall and toss on some drywall+GG. 2x3s aren't all that great for construction material though. Just try finding 20 good ones and you'll soon realize that 2x3s are wood that they rejected when they were making 2x4s. They also tend to warp.

In any case, your door is probably going to be weaker for sound isolation than the wall is. Start with a solid core door with an automatic threshold (like $15, not bad) a bunch of weather-stripping all the way around and possibly a layer of OSB + green glue on the inside surface is damn fine start for dealing with a door.
post #3 of 8
Thread Starter 
Interesting hobby you have there! Good point. I plan on using a solid core door. Is the automatic threshold the same type that came with the exterior door between my house and garage?

I was also thinking we could rip the 2x4 treated lumber for the plate on the strip that will be next to the stair landing and then maybe just use regular 2x6s the rest of the way.... Doing this, I'd only lose out on 2 inches instead of 6 inside the room and nothing on the landing.

I'm sure a picture would help give a better idea of what I'm dealing with.

My bigger soundproofing concern is actually the ceiling, seeing as my wife will be sleeping above kiddie-corner when I'm watching manly movies that require much bass output!
post #4 of 8
Thread Starter 
Well, we ended up ripping a 2x4 pressure treated stud (hope that doesn't make it lose its pressure-treated values...) and kind of doing a makeshift staggered stud wall on one half and a normal one on the other side. It should be better than a normal 2x4 wall at the very least, right?

Has anybody done staggered stud walls for other rooms other than theaters? I was thinking of having them do one between our main family entertainment room, which will have our plasma screen, and a future bedroom.

If these walls are as good as advertised, I wish I would have done them everywhere.
post #5 of 8
I've done staggered stud walls in apartments for a few years, for the wall between apartments, and for the common hallway. 2x6 top and bottom plates w/2x4 staggered studs (typical), and weave faced (sturdier on edge) insulation between the studs. It works better than not using staggered studs, but the geek's right that GG and dual-layers of drywall is better overall. Both concepts together are even better..
post #6 of 8
maybe he already asked my goofy question but...could you just take a 1/2 inch off the studs and still stagger them on a 2x4 bottom and top plate? You'd still get separation, but lose about 2 inches in wall width (vs 2x6 plates).
post #7 of 8
There is only one correct way to do this. 2x6 Header and Sill, 2x4 studs framed in the classical fashion. Strength, integrity, predictability (very important for mods in the future), etc. all play into this being the only way to go.

Best Regards,


"Try not! Do, or do not. There is no try." - Master Jedi Yoda
post #8 of 8
Thread Starter 
I think the makeshift staggered stud wall that partially sits on a stair landing worked out well -- at least it looks good and solid.

However, the wall they did between the family room and a bedroom is wacked. They did a 16-foot wall in two sections, but the two sections are kind of bowed in the middle. It certainly didn't help that the a couple of the studs look like they were in training to be used in archery competitions.

I'm gonna take a photo of one Home Depot stud that ironically has the phrase: "Quality You Can See" in big black letters on it. Unfortunately, it protrudes in the middle about as much as my big-bellied profile!
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