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Q.The local framing inspector told us that our L-corners are not acceptable. He says that an L-corner is not as strong as a corner framed with two studs separated by blocking. Is he right?

A.Corresponding editor Paul Fisette responds: As long as you install nailed structural sheathing, an L-corner is certainly strong enough. Extra studs at the corner of a house are unnecessary for supporting the building’s vertical load and provide little significant benefit to improve a frame’s racking resistance, which is provided by the nailed sheathing.

When it comes to supporting the vertical (compression) load from upper stories and the roof, the stud at the end of a wall carries about half the load of most other studs. A stud in the center of a wall carries 16 inches of load (8 inches on either side of the stud), while a stud at the end of a wall carries only 8 inches of load — from the stud to a point halfway to the next stud in the wall. Furthermore, most gable ends have studs that redistribute some of the roof loading at the end of the wall.

In most cases, the easiest way to resolve a dispute with an inspector is to agree with the inspector. But in this case it’s worth trying to persuade the inspector, since there is an energy conservation benefit to framing with L-corners.

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