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Old 08-29-2011, 06:36 AM  
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Default Expansion / Contraction of 2x4 whitewood studs on brick

Home was built in the 1860s.

Plaster, lath and 1 5/8" x2 1/8" studs that ran from the bottom of each ceiling joist (ceiling joists are pocketed into 1st course of brick) to subfloor were removed from a 2nd floor room. The 1 5/8 x 2 1/8s were also fastened to the brick wall with nails into wood blocks (brick shaped) that are built into the brick wall. Attic is located above the 2nd floor.

The thought behind the removal was to install a 2x4 wall that could be insulated with faced roll insulation for better temperature control.


1) Will the expansion and contraction of the 2x4s create stress on the brick wall? (brick is 2 course). The house is located in a Northern climate with no air conditioning in the summer, so humidity fluctuates significantly over the year.

2) Should the 2x4 studs be affixed to the wood blocks in the brick wall? Did this give support to the brick wall or was it intended to give additional rigidity to the 1 5/8 x 2 1/8 studs that the lath was attached to?

3) Any suggestions on reducing the impact on the brick wall from expansion/contraction of the 2x4 studs?

Pic1: full wall; Pic2: close up of wall; Pic 3: closeup of wood block built into wall.

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Old 08-29-2011, 07:53 AM  
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It looks to me like the ceiling joists run into and sit on the brick, that would mean the brick is doing the work.
I think you are mixing two completely different systems. Water or moisture does wick thru the brick and it would come into contact with cedar 2x4s and cedar lath and concrete based interior wall, all of which could dissipate the moister. In a modern house the white wood studs are kept away forn the brick or pretected from touching it in some way and you would have weeping holes thru the brick to remove the moisture.

I do not have a enough knowledge to give good advise here, I would talk to to the city building inspectors where you are, they probably see this often.
Now that we know you can have earthquakes out there I would also talk to an engineer about making that wall a stress wall, it's not much more than 1/2 plywood with special nailing instructions. One wall is better than none.
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