2x2s for a basement workshop walls

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Forum topic by Jeremy Greiner posted 05-31-2013 04:48 AM 1981 views 0 times favorited 14 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Jeremy Greiner

568 posts in 2797 days

05-31-2013 04:48 AM

I’ve been looking at houses with the intent of creating a basement workshop, in Missouri I’ve been told that non-loadbearing walls can use 2×2 studs instead of 2×4s. This would certainly cut costs, but I am not sure if for shops would the 2×2s be strong enough to mount cabinets or shelves, or even a lumber rack if I wanted.


-- Easy to use end grain cutting board designer:

14 replies so far

View Marty Backe's profile

Marty Backe

251 posts in 2797 days

#1 posted 05-31-2013 05:40 AM

I can’t imagine the amount of money saved by going with 2×2’s would offset the benefits of deeper walls; more capacity for insulation, easier routing of electrical (and providing adequate clearance from screws and nails), and load bearing for lumber racks, etc.

As the saying goes, “Don’t be penny wise and pound foolish”.

View crank49's profile


4032 posts in 2996 days

#2 posted 05-31-2013 05:51 AM

You talking about framing a wall over the concrete or CMU exterior walls, or stand alone interior walls.
If you mean frames over the exterior walls then I suppose they would be okay if the frames are attached to the existing walls.
If you mean stand alone walls, no, I would not use those to support cabinets and shelves and racks.

Mobile homes used to be built with ripped 2×4s. I lived in one for a couple of years.
Those walls were mighty puny. I hung shelves and there were cabinets in the kitchen hung on those walls, but the whole thing was niticably weak and shaky.

View OnlyJustME's profile


1562 posts in 2402 days

#3 posted 05-31-2013 07:40 AM

I think 2×2 dividing walls would be fine in a few circumstances. If they are securely attached both top and bottom and if you used plywood instead of drywall to cover (glue and screwed). If you run electric in it be sure to use the nail/screw guard plates. Plywood would let you mount shelves cabinets anywhere on the wall. Only thing unsure of would be a lumber rack on it, depends on how much lumber you stack up on it.

Doors would be more difficult to install on those walls though too.

probably would not cut costs this way unless you already planned on using plywood on the walls but could save a couple inches in floor plan that way. In a predefined space sometimes an inch can make a big difference.

-- In the end, when your life flashes before your eyes, will you like what you see?

View ajosephg's profile


1880 posts in 3586 days

#4 posted 05-31-2013 09:20 AM

2×2’s are also one of the most perverse pieces of wood on earth. They twist, bow, warp and while they are doing that they are thinking of what to do next.

-- Joe

View jimmyb's profile


185 posts in 1917 days

#5 posted 05-31-2013 12:14 PM

I only used 2×2’s “shot” onto the concrete exterior walls. 2×4 for the dividing wall to basement from workshop.

-- Jim, Tinley Park, IL

View doubleDD's profile


7437 posts in 2068 days

#6 posted 05-31-2013 02:14 PM

2×2’s would not be the best idea for supporting your needs. If its such a cost factor, then at least go 2×3’s. The standard 2×4 would pretty much hold anything you throw at it. I can’t see that significant of a cost difference to challenge using anything less without the worries of something bad happening in the future. As jimmyb mentioned, shot into the wall will give you extra strength but you will be limited to the size of screw you can use to support something off of it. { like a lumber rack } Why give yourself the worries? Just my opinion.

-- Dave, Downers Grove, Il. -------- When you run out of ideas, start building your dreams.

View bondogaposis's profile


4765 posts in 2376 days

#7 posted 05-31-2013 02:37 PM

In looking at Lowe’s website they have 2×4 studs listed at $2.80 ea and 2×2 lumber at $6.88 ea. The 2×4 studs are a lot cheaper! Not only that but easier to work with and if you are going to run wiring and insulate it you are going to be way better off going w/ 2×4 studs.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View RussellAP's profile


3104 posts in 2311 days

#8 posted 05-31-2013 02:42 PM

Even if you do use 2×2, cut them from 2×4’s yourself. If you let it sit more than a day it turns into a pretzel. If you use an actual 2×4 every other stud you’ll save a buck too and it’ll be stronger. I wouldn’t hang any wood on it though, only small shelves.

-- A positive attitude will take you much further than positive thinking ever will.

View Shawn Masterson's profile

Shawn Masterson

1325 posts in 1973 days

#9 posted 05-31-2013 04:16 PM

Shooting them to the wall only works if it is straight. How many straight concrete walls have you seen

View Bernie's profile


422 posts in 2862 days

#10 posted 06-03-2013 03:52 PM

I would not cut any corners in any construction even if you have to double the cost. Be safe and don’t be sorry even for interior walls. Cabinets full of tools can be heavy. I wouldn’t want to run wires in 2X2 walls. As previously stated – lots of reasons not too and the only reason for is cost… An extra $100 over the next 20 years means $5/yr.

I remodeled my kitchen last year by knocking down 2 carrying walls and taking part of my barn for the kitchen. Building inspector walked in, saw my beams and beam hangers and the plates protecting my wires and said “I see you don’t cut any corners – I’ll sign you off and won’t bother coming back unless you want me too”

-- Bernie: It never gets hot or cold in New Hampshire, just seasonal!

View Charlie's profile


1100 posts in 2311 days

#11 posted 06-03-2013 05:20 PM

That’s funny about the building inspector. He came out when I built my workshop and then again when we redid the kitchen. I explained the garden shed project to him and he said, “I’m not worried. I know you’re going to overbuild it anyways.” heheheh

So I did. My rationale is, “It’s ME that has to fix it if something isn’t right.”

What I’ve found over the years, is that you put the money into the things that won’t be easy to change later. Usually the cost difference between “it’ll work”, and “done right and ready for the next upgrade” is pretty low.

If I cheap out on building some cabinets for the shop to get me by, I can build better ones later, but if I cheap out on the WALL then I have to remove everything, and start over.

View AandCstyle's profile


3072 posts in 2282 days

#12 posted 06-04-2013 01:40 AM

If you don’t have the time/money to do it right, when will you ever have the time/money to fix it?

-- Art

View Jeremy Greiner's profile

Jeremy Greiner

568 posts in 2797 days

#13 posted 06-04-2013 05:12 AM

I certainly don’t want to do it half assed, it was brought up by my buddy and I was curious. From what I a, getting it doesn’t seem worth it.


-- Easy to use end grain cutting board designer:

View MarkSr's profile


215 posts in 2075 days

#14 posted 06-04-2013 05:48 AM

Jeremy, how did you make out with the pallet breaker? Are you having one made?

Retired with over 40+yrs. in the construction business, if I may, a little advice. No 2X2 or 2X3’s and NO shooting into the concrete or CMU walls. Save your money until you can do it right and frame a new wall in front of the existing concrete or CMU walls. Put down a new pressure treated plate, 2X4’s at 16” o.c. and regular top plate. Any wood that touches concrete should be pressure treated. You will have a better wall, plum and straight. If cost is a problem which usually is for most of us, pick one or two areas and place 1/2 CDX (cheapest plywood) in those areas you want to hang heavy cabinets and wood racks, the rest of the shop use 1/2 drywall. If you don’t do taping, don’t worry, just do the screw holes and leave the seams. It’s a wood working area or a garage which ever way you look at it. It’s not your living room. When you paint the walls and get everything done you will have a great room.

Good luck and let me know how you made out with the pallet breaker.

-- Mark, ”...NEWBEE: On the road to learning a lot; but; a lot more to learn…” ("My Granddad used to tell me, if you didn't learn something new today, it just wasn't worth getting out of bed")

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