Ask The Contractors
Ask The Contractors
Question: Wood Split on a new Load-Bearing Wall. What can I do?
Question from Roy
I’m building a sauna. I have never framed anything before but have done a bunch of reading and research on it so far. It’s 4ft x 5ft x 6.5feet (interior dimensions). All walls are load-bearing.

So, I was framing my first wall and a split started to form near the end of the top plate as I was nailing in the last stud.

How much of an issue is a crack or split, and what is the best option for dealing with splitting wood?

This is a very interesting question about load-bearing walls. If the walls are load-bearing, then you’re going to have a smaller area to work in. So, you want to be careful. Always make sure that you don’t disrupt the load-bearing wall by moving part of it. It is very important.

This won’t happen, but…

In the worst case, the walls could collapse and then you’re going to have a BIG problem on your hands.

Beyond that, if the split can be replaced, then take the 2×4 out and replace it. I’m going to suggest since you’re at the end of that frame plate, pre-drill your holes. That will help you put your screws and nails in easier.

wood framing wall

Usually, 16 penny nails are very common for framing. A lot of guys and gals on small projects use screws now. It’s sometimes simpler, but pre-drill your holes. If you can get that piece of wood out of there, pre-drill.

Visit your local hardware store, Lowes, or any big box store

It gets tricky. If you can’t fit a hammer and the area is inaccessible or it’s going to be a really, really big hassle; check out Simpson brackets. You can go to Lowe’s, Home Depot, or any big box store. They have entire isles of Simpson Strong-Tie brackets. You’ll be able to find the right connector for the job.

And by the way…

“If in doubt, don’t do things that that you’re not familiar with.”


The Framing Is So Important.

Knowing the basics of building a strong structure will guide what you’re doing when framing out a room.

I encourage you to do it yourself, but make sure that you are doing it right. We want to make sure that no one gets hurt when they’re in that sauna. Okay? Pro Tip

  • Pre-drill to prevent splitting.
  • A lot of times the wood that you buy from the Lumberyard is usually around 19% moisture content. In that case, the nail would so a nail goes through relatively quickly, without splitting.
  • Even if the wood’s been in your garage for a couple of years, I would pre-drill. It’s worth the extra time.

Roy, you’re working in a small area. It’s not like you’ll have to pre-drill an entire home of 2,400 square feet. Drill each end. I think that’s going to be your best bet.

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