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.
How to Build or "Frame" a wall on the basement floor and raise it into place.
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
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.
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 won´t be affected by any moisture that could leech up through the concrete floor. The rest of the wall (the upright 2X4´s and the top plate) are standard lumber.
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
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.
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
- Framing walls in place.
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.
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.
- Framing walls in place.
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 won´t be affected by any moisture that could leech
up through the concrete floor. The rest of the wall (the upright 2X4´s and the
top plate) are standard kiln dried dimension lumber.
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