What’s the best way to frame outside corners?
A.Tim Uhler, a lead framer for
Pioneer Builders in Port Orchard, Wash., responds: Most of
the time, we frame walls with a “California” corner
— just two exterior wall studs nailed together in an L
shape, with another backing stud (see illustration). Compared
with a traditionally framed four-stud corner, this method uses
less lumber and provides room for some insulation.
In cases where the corner doesn’t have to transfer shear
loads between adjoining walls, the IRC allows the backing stud
to be replaced with scrap lumber or with metal or plastic
drywall clips (R602.3, 2006 IRC). Using drywall clips leaves
the corner stud bay completely open for insulation, but it also
increases the drywaller’s labor. For this reason —
and to reduce framing waste — we typically use scrap
material for the drywall backing at corners and
Because I frame in an earthquake zone, corner framing on many
of our jobs is subject to seismic design requirements, which
typically call for doubled end studs or solid 4-by or 6-by
corner posts, as well as hold-downs. When this is the case, we
follow the engineered design but still try to install backing
so as to maximize the insulation in the corner bay.