How to Fix a Bowed Stud in a Wall

A straight and level wall begins with level studs. Because these upright lengths of 2-by-4 or 2-by-6-inch lumber support the wall, bowed or warped studs not only make the whole wall look bad but also serve as a safety hazard. Repair the damaged studs before hanging drywall, so the finished surface appears straight. Although excessively bowed studs should be replaced, you can easily repair a stud that is slightly bowed and restore it to its original shape. The method for repairing a bowed wall stud differs according to the extent of damage.

Minor Bowed Stud

Even erect wall studs may bow with time.

Step 1

Hold a 6-foot level horizontally along the wall to identify which stud is warped more than 1/8 inch.  Mark the bowed stud with a pencil.

Step 2

Make a vertical guideline along the bowed section of the wall stud so you know how much you need to remove.  Check that the line is vertical and level.

Step 3

Position the power plane vertically on the bowed section of the stud.  Move it over the bowed section to shave off the wood until the stud falls in line with the surrounding studs.

Keep stopping to check the depth of the bowed section so you do not exceed the vertical guideline. 

Step 4

Hold the level horizontally against the wall to check whether the repaired stud falls in line with the surrounding studs.  If required, shave off excess wood until the level is completely straight.

Step 5

Wipe a tack cloth over the repaired section of the stud to remove residual wood.  Collect fallen shavings from the floor and discard.

Major Bowed Stud

Step 1

Hold a 6-foot level horizontally along the wall to identify the wall stud that is bowed more than 1/2 inch.  Mark the bowed section on this stud with a pencil.

Step 2

Make a series of 1 3/4-inch-deep cuts along the bowed section of the stud, spaced eight to 10 inches apart.  Use a saw to form the cuts through the wood.

Step 3

Hammer a nail through each saw cut along the bowed section.  With each tap from the hammer, the nail closes the cut on the stud, straightening the bowed section.

Continue this process of hammering nails along the saw cuts until the stud is completely straight. 

Step 4

Cut a piece of 1-inch scrap lumber to the length of the repaired section on the stud.  Hold this lumber vertically along the repaired section, ensuring it does not protrude the sides or edges of the stud.

Drive equally spaced 2 1/2-inch screws along the scrap lumber to reinforce the cut section of the stud. 

Things You Will Need

  • 6-foot level or straight edge
  • Power plane
  • Tack cloth
  • Circular saw
  • 16d nails
  • Hammer
  • Screwdriver
  • 1-inch lumber
  • 2 1/2-inch screws


  • Wear protective eyeglasses and a face mask when shaving off the bowed section of the wood stud.

About the Author

Tanya Khan is a freelance author and consultant, having written numerous articles for various online and print sources. She has a Master of Business Administration in marketing but her passion lies in writing.

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