Framing a Basement Wall or Building a Wall

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Framing a wall or building a wall is an easy project. Basement Framing is very easy. If the basement floor and ceiling are nearly level, it's rather easy to preassemble a stud wall on the basement floor "build a wall" and then raise it into position. If the floor and ceiling are uneven, or if you're building the wall in tight quarters, it's best to build the wall in place, custom-cutting each stud to fit and toenailing it to the top and bottom plates.

Framing Walls
How to Build or "Frame" a wall on the basement floor and raise it into place.
How to Build a wall or How to frame a wall Marking the walls....Begin by deciding exactly where the wall will go. Use a framing square and a chalk line to mark its location on the floor. For long walls, check for square using the 3-4-5 method. Using a framing level and a straight 2x4 that is as high as your basement ceiling, mark the wall location on the ceiling, joists, or cross bracing. These marks will help you position the wall before you plumb it. Make sure there is adequate framing in the ceiling to which you can nail the top plate.

Click here to see detailed Layout instructions How to finish a Basement

How to Build a wall or How to frame a wall ... How to finish your basement Cut and mark the plates... Using your floor layout as a guide, mark and cut 2x4s for the top and bottom plates. Place them on edge beside each other and mark for the studs. The first stud will be at the end of the wall. The remaining studs should be 16 inches on center, meaning that from the edge of the wall to the center of each stud will be a multiple of 16. Make a mark every 16 inches; then with a combination or speed square draw lines 3/4 inch on each side of your first marks. Draw an X in the middle of the marks to show where to nail the studs.

Tip! - When you finish your concrete basement, be sure to use the right kind of lumber for the plates. The sole plate (the bottom 2X4 that sits on the floor) should be treated lumber. That way, it wont be affected by any moisture that could leech up through the concrete floor. The rest of the wall (the upright 2X4s and the top plate) are standard lumber.

How to Build a wall or How to frame a wall ... How to finish your basement Install nailers and cut studs...If your new wall runs parallel to the ceiling joists, cut pieces of 2x material as cross braces to fit tightly between the ceiling joists and install them every 2 feet or so. Measure for your studs and cut them to length. If the wall runs perpendicular to the ceiling joists, simply fasten the wall's top plate with two 16-penny nails at every joist.
How to Build a wall or How to frame a wall ... How to finish your basement Assemble the wall...Working on a flat surface, lay the studs on edge between the top and bottom plates. It helps to have something solid, such as a wall, to hold the framing against while you assemble and nail the wall. For speed, nail one plate at a time to the studs. Drive two 16-penny nails through the plate and into the ends of each stud. Because hammer blows tend to knock studs out of alignment, continually double-check your work while nailing. Keep the edges of the studs flush with the plate edges. If any of the studs are twisted or bowed, replace them.
How to Build a wall or How to frame a wall ... How to finish your basement Raise the frame....Framework can be cumbersome, so have a helper on hand. Position the bottom plate about where it needs to go and tip the wall into position. If the wall fits so tightly against the ceiling that you have to hammer it into place, protect the framing with a scrap of 2x4 as you pound. Tap both ends of the frame until it is roughly plumb in both directions.

Click here to see detailed instructions How to frame a wall in place Wall framing - Framing walls in place.

How to Build a wall or How to frame a wall ... How to finish your basement Snug the frame with shims...If the wall is a bit short in places, drive shims between the bottom plate and the floor or between the top plate and the ceiling joists. Have your helper steady the framework while you drive the pieces in place. Drive shims in from both sides, thin edge to thin edge, to keep the plate from tilting.
How to Build a wall or How to frame a wall ... How to finish your basement Fasten the frame to wall and floor....Once the frame is snug, recheck that the wall is plumb in both directions. Check both ends of the wall and every other stud. Fasten the top plate to the ceiling by driving in a 16-penny nail through the plate and into each joist. Fasten the bottom plate to the floor. Use 16-penny nails if the floor is wood; use masonry nails or a power hammer if the floor is concrete.

Click here to see detailed instructions How to frame a wall in place Wall framing - Framing walls in place.

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Additional Notes for Basement Framing
Behind most finished residential walls lies a rather simple construction. Vertical members, called studs, butt at the top and bottom against horizontal members, called plates. Although it looks straightforward, building a wall takes thoughtful planning. When you cover the framing with sheets of drywall or paneling, the seams between sheets must fall in the center of studs. There must be a nailing surface for the sheets at all the corners and, all framing members must be aligned along a flat plane.

When you finish your concrete basement, be sure to use the right kind of lumber for the plates. The sole plate (the bottom 2X4 that sits on the floor) should be treated lumber. That way, it wont be affected by any moisture that could leech up through the concrete floor. The rest of the wall (the upright 2X4s and the top plate) are standard kiln dried dimension lumber.

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