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A Smart Way to Frame a Corner

Construction How-To, Framing, walls April 1, 2004 Matt Weber


The great advantage of doing a project yourself is that you’ve got complete control to make sure the job is done correctly. And when it comes to rough framing, you can’t overstate the importance of a job well done. When building a home, adding a room or just adding a wall, rough framing creates the skeleton of your home, and attention to detail will pay off in the long run.

One of EHT‘s readers recently inquired about recommended methods of framing a corner on a new room addition. This article will focus on corner framing techniques that not only stand strong structurally, but also take into consideration often overlooked aspects of rough framing, such as wiring and insulation.


Interior 90-degree Corner

When framing a wall corner, the two initial factors to consider are structural integrity and providing a good nailing surface for the interior sheathing and/or wall covering. One standard method often used for interior wall corners is called the “three-stud corner.” In this case, the corner is constructed of three studs nailed together or two studs sandwiching blocking that functions as a spacer.

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At the end of the wall where you began your layout, nail the three studs together and install into the wall as you assemble it on the floor. Secure all corners together with 16d nails every 16 inches, nailing the boards flush on all surfaces. At the opposite end of the wall, where the plates are 3 1/2 inches shy of the edge of the foundation (because of the overlapping walls), place a single stud.

This method provides the adequate structural integrity for the wall, but it also creates a solid block of wood at the corner that isn’t very friendly to the process of installing electrical wiring. If wiring is to be routed through the corner, sandwich blocking between the two corner studs. The spaces between the blocking leave enough room to drill holes and run cables through the corner more easily.

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Close-up of three-stud corner using blocking instead of solid center stud.

Alternative Interior Corner

Not all corners are created equal. Sometimes it’s hip to be square, but other times you might want to take a new angle on things.

Corners that aren’t square can be constructed of studs that are installed 90 degrees to the respective top and bottom plates of the two intersecting walls (see diagram #2). The studs will meet on the inside of the smallest angle of the corner. The top and bottom plates extend beyond the studs, and are cut to meet flush at the intersection of the walls. The top plate is doubled, with one of the second plate layers extending beyond the seam of the first top plates and cut to be flush with the edge of the studs.

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This method creates a gap between the wall studs on the opposite side of the corner. The gap formed from this angle provides a poor nailing surface where the wall covering will intersect. This is often overlooked by “framers on the run,” but should be addressed by the competent DIY’er.

Rather than leaving this gap and simply hiding it with wall covering, miter two additional studs to fit into the gap, adding additional strength and a proper nailing surface for the wall covering.

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The gap shown in this interior corner is in need of additional studs or blocking to provide a solid nailing surface.