Framing a Wall in Place aka Build a Wall in Place

How to Frame a Wall in Place or Build a Wall in Place.

If building a wall on the floor and raising it into position is not practical in your situation, You can build a wall in place in your basement. Begin by cutting the top and bottom plates, and marking them for studs. Transfer the marks to the faces of the plates, making sure the marks are clear so you can see them easily to align the studs while toenailing.

Install top and bottom plates. Nail the top plate to the joists. Use a level and a straight board to mark the location of the bottom plate or use a chalk line case as a plumb bob. Mark the floor in two places and make an X to indicate on which side of the mark the plate should be positioned. Use masonry nails or a power hammer to fasten the bottom plate to the floor.

Framing or Building Walls in Place

Cut and install the studs. With top and bottom plates installed, measure the required length of each stud individually. Add 1/16 inch for a snug fit and cut. Tap each stud into place. If you really have to whack it to get it into place, it is too long. Don't risk splitting the stud; take it down and trim it a little. Toenail the studs. To secure the studs, drive 8-penny nails at an angle through the side of studs and into the plate; this is called toenailing. Tap the nail once or twice while holding it parallel to the floor or ceiling. When the nail tip bites into the wood, change the angle to 45 degrees. Drive four to six nails into each joint, two on each side, with an optional one at the front and back. The first nail may move the stud, but the second nail, driven from the other side, will move it back.

If you have difficulty toenailing, drill pilot holes for the nails, using a 3/32-inch bit. Or, place a 14-1/2-inch board between studs to serve as a temporary nailing brace. Framing at corners. When framing corners, make sure there is a nailing surface for every piece of drywall or paneling that will be installed. This means adding nonstructural nailers.

Video - How to Frame Walls for a Basement Room

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.

This page "How to Frame or Build a Wall in place" is part of the website. More detailed information on how to finish a basement can be found at

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Common Framing terms and their Definitions:
Bottom Plate: The lower horizontal member of a wood-frame wall nailed to the bottom of the wall studs and to the floor. The bottom plate sets on the floor or subfloor