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How to hang drywall on wall studs that are not flush

Updated November 21, 2016

The studs in your wall must be flush to hang drywall evenly. Uneven studs will result in uneven walls. You can fix this situation without reconstructing your framing by simply adding to it or taking away from it. Adding to or taking away from framing is a time-saving solution compared with completely removing all uneven wall studs. This job can be completed with basic hand tools and, since there will be no construction, you do not need a carpenter.

Hold the level across the studs beginning at the left or right side of the wall. Since studs are typically 16 inches apart, your 48-inch level will cover three studs at a time. The level will show you which stud or studs are out of line or not flush. Some of your studs may stick out too far, and some of them may not be out far enough.

Nail shims to the stud to raise surfaces that are too low. A shim is a thin piece of tapered wood that helps to fill voids. Nail the shim to the 2-inch side of the stud, the narrower end facing you. You may need more than one shim at the same spot, and you may need shims at various heights along the length of the stud.

Use your planer to shave studs that extend too far out. A planer is a handheld tool with a sharp blade. Hold the planer to the 2-inch side of the stud and push it away from you. The blade will shave off the surface of the stud a little bit at a time.

Tip

Finish nails will be less likely to split your shims than larger nails. Shims can be easily cut with a box knife if you need to trim them off.

Warning

Be aware of electrical lines that are sometimes routed through holes drilled in your studs. Do not nail into any electrical wiring.

Things You'll Need

  • 4-foot level
  • Shims
  • Hammer
  • Finish nails
  • Planer
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About the Author

Based in Oklahoma City, Debbie Tolle has been working in the home-improvement industry since 2001 and writing since 1998. Tolle holds a Master of Science in psychology from Eastern Illinois University and is also a Cisco-certified network associate (CCNA) and a Microsoft-certified systems engineer (MCSE).