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Drywall shimming - uneven stud surfaces

E._Gianopulos's picture

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I am hanging drywall over several rooms in my house and find the stud and joist surfaces to be uneven. I have seen thin (1/16" thick cardboard?) shims on several home improvement TV shows used for just this issue, but can't seem to find them at any of my local home improvement centers. Has anyone heard of these, used these products, or have suggestions on how to shim out those pesky bowed studs and joists?

(post #159658, reply #1 of 17)

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Make your own out of an old shoe box. To straighten bad 2X's you may have to cut and brace them (cut about half way or so and sister next to it)don't cut ceilings though.

(post #159658, reply #2 of 17)

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Get an 8' level. Place it horizontally along the wall at various elevations to determine the thickness of the shim.

I just rip plywood. I usually have lotsa scrap 1/4" stuff around. Less than that, I use construction adhesives which will take out the slop for a 1/16" easy.

(post #159658, reply #3 of 17)

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They never heard of them at the home stores. Hard to find sometimes, I thought they were extinct for a while. 30 years ago, everybody used them. Call the drywall suppliers.

(post #159658, reply #4 of 17)

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If one side is low, doesn't the other side have to be high? On interior walls, I cut in a few saw kerfs at the height of the bulge, press it a litle further than flush and sister on a another length of stud.

For exterior walls, yes, you'd need to fill in with something. I've used ripped lengths of 1/8" and 1/4" ply or studs ripped to 1/8" to 3/8". Staple up enough layers to bring it up to a taut line. And for bulges, get out the skilsaw or jigsaw. Save the scrap and use it on another low spot. -David

(post #159658, reply #5 of 17)

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Here's a place that carries what you're looking for. I'm sure there are others near you - real drywall supply houses should be able to get the stuff.

http://www.hobanco.com/Products-BuildingPapers.htm
Look at the bottom of the page.

Hope this helps. Rich.

(post #159658, reply #6 of 17)

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If the studs are old and hard, it's best to remove the high places, rather than kerfing and sistering. Wiring is likely in the way of a sistered stud anyway. I just hack off the high places with a hatchet, clean up with a belt sander ala Norm Abrams. A power plane works better, but you will eventually hit a nail or screw. Shims can be be made of almost anything that wont compress and cause pops. Cardboard seems a poor choice unless a very thin piece is used. Thin ply is better, or rip some strips from 2x material.

New work I'd cut and brace, or replace the bowed stud entirely.

(post #159658, reply #7 of 17)

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we got a hold of some 2nd qulaity birch door skins at $5 each. Rip them down to 1 and 1/2 inches and keep a buch on hand. Power planer the high ones.
forget which trade magazine recently had an article on this very subject

(post #159658, reply #8 of 17)

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I know Home Depot isn't very popular with some of the guys at this site BUT they do sell the cardboard shims you're looking for. 1/16 thick, 1-1/2 wide, 48 long. Something like $.12 each or a bundle of 'em for two bucks. They're right with the rest of the drywall tape, joint compound, etc.

(post #159658, reply #9 of 17)

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E.,

Just how off are the studs? If it's only a 1/16 to an 1/8th, most people just rock over that. You can work it out smooth with the first skim coat.

Ed. Williams

(post #159658, reply #10 of 17)

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I also agree with Ed that 1/16th or 1/8th will make very little difference, with the exception of areas like where large bathroom mirrors will be glued to walls or where cabinets or tile may be going.
Our home depot does not carry the shims mentioned

(post #159658, reply #11 of 17)

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josh makes a good point...There are something like ten to fifteen HD stores in the Denver area, and I'm in and out of five of them all the time. I've noticed that they don't all have the same stock. One store may have a big stack of shims while another store never heard of them.

(post #159658, reply #12 of 17)

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Thanks for the responses. Unfortunately I don't have a planer or a table saw, so I can't make my own shims from old plywood stock.

Most of the bows are fairly small, and I'll sheet rock over them. I have one lu-lu, though - a floor joist (and consequently a ceiling surface) that deflected a good 3/4 inch at it's midpoint (non-load bearing wall directly above it - great, huh?). I jacked it up and sistered a 2x6 along it's length, but I still seem to have 3/8 inch sag [and I KNOW I'm not going to cut that bad boy out].

I've checked with all the Home Depots in my area, along with the drywall supply houses, I think I've checked everywhere, but with no success.

I'll check out the web site mentioned. Thanks again.

(this site is great)

(post #159658, reply #13 of 17)

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You can use your trusty circular saw to knock 3/8 off the bottom of the joist. Just mark your line and cut. Be careful about kickback.

(post #159658, reply #14 of 17)

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Out here in Seattle those shims are at HD and at drywall suppliers. BUTT SHIMS! Don't ever forget it!
;-)

Bob

(post #159658, reply #15 of 17)

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When I worked in Seattle for a summer I learned about drywall shims, but back east they'd never heard of them. 30# roofing felt could be sliced for the same purpose. 3/8" sag in ceiling? Do you have strapping up there you could notch?

MM

(post #159658, reply #16 of 17)

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I am hanging drywall over several rooms in my house and find the stud and joist surfaces to be uneven. I have seen thin (1/16" thick cardboard?) shims on several home improvement TV shows used for just this issue, but can't seem to find them at any of my local home improvement centers. Has anyone heard of these, used these products, or have suggestions on how to shim out those pesky bowed studs and joists?

Drywall Shim Supplier (post #159658, reply #17 of 17)