Narrower alternative to stud wall (interior nonbearing)?

I was looking at replacing my bathtub with a slightly wider, deeper unit (32" wide over 30") - but space is so limited as is in the bathroom that instead of taking up more floor space I was wondering about going the other way and altering the wall behind the tub. As I'd only need 2 inches more space and don't want to intrude into the adjoining room, I was wondering if I could rebuild the wall other than conventional stud construction - possibly turning the studs 90 degrees so the framing thickness is 1-1/2" rather than 3-1/2", and to give it more rigidity, instead of drywall, using 1/2" (marine) plywood instead of wallboard on the tub side. Is this a harebrained do-it-yourselfer's idea that would have inspectors crying foul? I'd have to work out how it connects to the rest of the framing, and it couldn't take an electrical box (and there'd be no plumbing in that wall), but I've done enough structural work on my house that I'd feel pretty confident in my work.
VMacek
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snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote:

if this is an interior, non load bearing wall, it is doable. there are no code issues that i am aware of (call your building department and ask if you are going to have it inspected). the problem with flatwise 2x's is that they tend to not lie flat in that dimension. so you should pick your material very carefully. another possibility is to use steel studs flatwise, since they are perfectly straight. you would have to use them in pairs, one facing in, one facing out. then the track that comes with it wouldn't work, but you could divise something. i'm not sure what you would gain with plywood, and marine plywood is overkill. if you have that much water getting into your wall, you have big problems which need to be fixed anyway.
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marson wrote:

I would feel pretty confident with turning 2x4 on side. I would consider using cement board in that location.. rigid,waterproof. You should be able to have elec box facing adjacent room as long as you place it in space usually available as tub curves inward from top.
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Thanks for the input, folks - and I'm glad to see replies that don't include the words "You're insane". Good to see the electrical box is still an option. Re water damage, I guess I'm a little paranoid just now. The plastic tub surround in there is cracking in spots, and it's backed with green-paper gypsum board, not quite up to cement board. What's more, the supply line connector into the toilet broke last week, flooding the bathroom and adjacent room floors. Thankfully homeowner's insurance will cover repair expenses (after a fat deductable), but things are going to be upside-down here for a while. Maybe I should bite the bullet and start this job while the place is taken apart.
VMacek
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snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote:

If you could steal an inch from both sides, it would leave the drain where it is and probably allow you to rip an inch off the 2x4s above the tub[below it isn't required] and construct the same style wall. You could probably even cheat a little and recess the tub into the wall to the finish overlaps a bit more than normal and no one would notice.
If you look at the other side of the wall much I would be wary of the wall warping with 2x4 sideways. If it is a closet or something, who cares?
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if you use lumber, try to find some old 2x4's that are completely dry, and of course still staight. the soggy stuff new from the lumber yard can warp quite a lot in that direction as it dries.
bill

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Assuming the wall isn't load bearing, it sounds doable, just a lot more work.
You could reframe the wall with studs turned on their sides, but then you'll have to sheetrock, paint, etc. the room on the other side. If I were going this route, I would find the straightest KILN DRIED 2x6 studs I could find. These would offer slightly more strength than a 2x4 layed flat, and I would think it would offer better resistance to twist if you anchored each side well.
If you want to try avoiding damage to the wall on the other side, how about cutting the original studs back 2"? You could set your circular saw to a 2" depth, then cut notches every 1" or so. Then knock out the pieces. If it were me, I'd add a layer of 3/4" plywood, SCREWED every 6" to the studs to add extra strength. Then install your tub. If you're tiling, put hardiboard or durock over the plywood.
Anthony
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