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>Home >Basement_construction >How to frame a wall

How to frame a wall

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framed wall sectionThere are two basic ways to frame a wall. You can either:         

  • Build each section on the floor, and raise/nail it into place OR
  • Nail the top and bottom plates, then nail studs in between

Many people prefer the latter method in basements due to the large number of obstacles (pipes, ducts, etc.) you'll encounter throughout the process. If there are no obstacles, it's much easier to build a section on the floor, and then raise it up.

moving wall frame into place

I like method 1 better. Try it both ways to see which works best for you. Here's a look at both methods.

Method 1: Build on the floor and raise into place

1. Start with two straight 2x4s, one for the top plate and one for the bottom plate. Be sure to use moisture resistant, pressure treated lumber for the bottom plate.

Mark your top and bottom plates 3/4 inches on either side of the stud markers on your tape measure. [Click to enlarge]2. Secure the boards together using quick clamps. Be sure the ends are even.

3. Beginning at the end, you'll mark the boards for studs every 16" O.C. (on center). Remember each 2x4 stud is 1 inches thick.

4. Using your tape measure, make a line " to each side of the stud makings on your measuring tape.

marking studs

5. Use a combination square to mark both boards at the same time, and draw an "X" between the lines to ensure you nail the stud in the right place.

6. To determine how long to cut your studs, measure from floor to ceiling. Subtract 3 inches (1 inches each for top and bottom plates, and an extra to allow you to tip the wall) to get your final length.

7. Cut 7 studs of this length, and nail them to the top and bottom plates (on the "Xs" that you marked earlier) using 2 12D nails on each end.

8. Snap a chalk line on the ceiling and floor along the entire length of the wall. Use a plumb bob to ensure the lines are even (so you know your wall will be vertically level).

9. Raise your wall into place along the top and bottom chalk lines.

10. Use 12D nails to secure the top of the wall to the joist (or blocking). Use shims as necessary to fill the gaps.

11. Secure the bottom plate to your concrete floor using a ramset or masonry screws. (Or you can use masonry nails and a big hammer!)

Your finished wall section should look like this:

Framing walls in place

Method 2: Build in place

1. Follow steps 1-5 under method 1 above.

2. Snap two chalk lines (step 8 above).

3. Secure the top and bottom plates (steps 10 and 11 above).

4. Measure the distance between top and bottom plates and cut 7 studs of the appropriate lengths. Measure and cut each stud individually to ensure a tighter fit.

To toenail a stud, hold the stud in place with your foot while you nail two nails into one side. Then, drive a nail thru the center of the other side. [Click to enlarge] 5. Using your foot to hold the stud in place, use a good claw hammer to toenail (nail at a 60 degree angle) the stud to the bottom plate using 8D nails. Use two nails on one side and one in the middle on the other side.

6. Repeat at the top plate. If you've cut the stud correctly, you should have a nice tight fit.


Construction Topics

Tools you'll need

The 3-4-5 rule

How to frame a wall

How to attach walls

How to install insulation

Drywall estimating

How to hang drywall: Step-by-step

How to cut drywall

How to cut around outlets and openings

Drywall installation tips

How to frame a door

How to trim a door to fit

How to finish a door

How to frame around poles

How to finish drywall

How to sand drywall

Tips for buying, finishing, & installing baseboard molding

How to fix squeaky floors

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