if you’re about finishing your basement, then you need to know how to build a wall with it’s every little detail (trust me it’s very easy and simple then you imagin don’t panic at all).
Now I know what you’re saying: how it is done? and today I and two of my friends will share with you our Guaranteed experience and deep research by answering like these questions: How do you attach studs to the bottom plate? When building a wall how far apart are the studs? and many more related questions. so, keep reading and focus.
Frame a Wall in Basement (Basic)
When building a wall how far apart are the studs?
Most commonly, walls are framed with wood or metal 2x4s, though smaller- or larger-dimensioned studs and plates can be used. Studs are most commonly spaced 16 in. “on center,” meaning that the center of one stud is 16 in. away from the center of the next stud. The resulting space between studs is 141⁄2 in. If planned correctly.
Why are studs spaced 16 on center?
This spacing ensures that the end of a full sheet of drywall—which is most often 96 in. long— will fall in the center of a stud,
so no extra framing is required. When you reach the end of a wall, the last stud is almost always spaced less than 16 in. on center.
Sometimes studs are spaced 24 in. on center, to save on material costs. However, this is not recommended: It creates a wall that is less sturdy, and it really saves very little money.
What material is used for basement walls?
Often builders use a combination of wood and metal studs. When building with wood, it’s common to use pressure-treated lumber for the bottom plate and standard non-treated boards for the studs and the top plate.
When building with wood, it’s best to build with 2x4s, but if space is tight you may choose to go with 2x3s. Metal framing comes in various widths, with 21⁄2-in. and 31⁄2-in. widths being the most common.
How Far Away From The Wall?
Building wall framing an inch or so away from the wall surface will leave ample room for adding R-13 insulation between the studs. However, if you need to add more insulation, consider moving the framing farther away.
If, for instance, you place the framing 21⁄2 in. away from the wall, you will have enough space for R-19 insulation. Your building official can provide details on which insulation is required.
Basement wall Framing Options
Framing and finishing walls is done the same way in the basement as it is elsewhere in the house. However, it’s a good idea to use pressure-treated lumber for sole plates that will rest on the concrete. I
f you’re covering your basement walls with drywall, choose a mold-resistant product. Some of these are paperless, eliminating the primary source of food for mold and mildew. Greenboard is standard drywall that has a moisture-resistant vinyl coating rather than paper and is often used in shower and tub surrounds.
Other types of drywall contain mold-inhibiting additives. Avoid moisture collecting finish surfaces such as wallpapers and paneling. No matter how you clad your basement walls, you’ll frame them in two basic ways. Walls built against masonry foundation walls are typically framed with furring strips.
This type of wall can be tricky, and you should read the section on insulation for an important discussion on the intricacies of building against a foundation wall.
Partition walls divide large spaces and are framed with standard construction grade 2 x 4s, or with metal studs. You can also frame walls along foundation walls in this manner (again, consult the section insulation).
LAYING OUT ON THE PLATES
-Whether you build a frame on the floor or piece in the studs one at a time, start by laying out the positions of the studs on the bottom and top plates. Position the plates according to your plan for framing a corner as shown in the drawing.
-Draw V-shaped marks with their points indicating every 16 in., minus 3⁄4 in. (151⁄4 in., 311⁄4 in., and so on). Then use a square to draw a line through the V points and across both plates, and draw an X next to the lines indicating which side of the line the studs will fall on.
BLOCKING WHERE NEEDED
Where joists run parallel to the wall you will not be able to attach to joists at the top of the wall. So cut pieces of blocking—any 2-by lumber will do—and install them every 16 in. or so.
TRADE SECRET: For an extra measure of protection against water damage to your framing, put a layer of composite or vinyl decking material under the bottom plate. Be sure to use better-quality decking; cheap composite decking can swell with moisture. Rip-cut the decking to a width of 31⁄2 in. and fasten it to the bottom of the bottom plate. Of course, be sure to take the decking’s 1-in. thickness into account when you cut studs.
1-BUILDING A WOOD WALL FRAME ON THE FLOOR
If you have plenty of floor space and your joists are at a fairly consistent height, building a wall on the floor and raising it into position can be the fastest and most efficient way to build.
- Determine the length of the studs. Stack two 2×4 scraps on top of each other, to represent the bottom and top plates and measure from the top of the stack to the underside of the joists that the wall will attach to at the top. Measure at every joist, because the distance can vary.
- Take the shortest of the heights and subtract 1⁄4 in. or 3⁄8 in. Cut the studs to this dimension. (If the height gradually lengthens or shortens as you move along the length of the wall, you can cut the studs to gradually longer or shorter lengths; just be sure to number the studs and install them in order as you build the wall.) Cut the studs to length. You can use a circular saw, perhaps with a speed square as a guide. If you have a power miter saw (also called a chop saw), that is better. Set up a work surface on a table, on horses, or on the floor so you can easily position boards for cutting. Measure and mark with a straight line and an X indicating the waste side, and make the cut.
- Often, studs are not straight; they usually have a “crown”—a slight curve along their length. For a straight-looking wall, all the studs’ crowns should face the same way. Sight down along each stud, and draw an arrow indicating the direction of the crown.
- Arrange the plates and studs on the floor; the studs should have their crowns facing up. To fasten each stud, place its end to cover the X mark and align its side with the square line. Hold the stud so its edge is flush with the edge of the plate and drive two fasteners through the plate and into the stud.
- Raise the stud wall into position.
- Place 1-in. spacers between the bottom plate and the wall and check every few studs for plumb.
- If the wall is loose, tap in shims at the bottom or top to snug it up. The wall should be at least 1 in. away from the insulation at all points. If needed, you may have to move the bottom plate out a bit farther.
- Once the wall is snug and plumb, attach the bottom plate to the concrete floor. You can drill holes and drive masonry screws, but a faster way is to use an inexpensive powder-actuated nailer. Buy 2-in. or 21⁄4-in. nails and powder charges of two or more power levels. To use the model shown, load a nail, insert a powder charge (which has actual gunpowder), press the tip against the wood, and tap with the butt of your hand on top of the tool.
- Drive screws or nails every 16 in. or so. If the nail does not sink all the way in, or if it goes in too far, use a charge of different power. Fasten the top plate to joists with nails or screws.
WHAT CAN GO WRONG: Few of life’s tragedies match the heartbreak of building and raising a just-too-tall wall, trying to knock it into position, then having to give up and take the thing apart so you can cut the studs a wee bit shorter. Don’t try to be precise or tight-fitting. Build a wall that is 1⁄4 in. or 3⁄8 in. shorter than you think is needed.
2-PIECING IN WOOD FRAMING
Because basement floors and the framing above can be uneven, many builders prefer to install the bottom and top plates, and then piece in the studs one at a time.
On a long wall, this is more time-consuming than building on a floor (especially if you are hand nailing), but it makes large mistakes less likely. On smaller walls, or where there are obstructions, piecing in is the only reasonable approach.
Start by attaching the top and bottom plates, which must be away from the wall the desired distance and plumb with each other. To mark for the positions of the plates, it helps to make this odd layout tool:
- Cut spacers to the desired distance that you want the framing to be away from the wall, and attach them to one edge of a 2×4 that is a bit longer than the wall height. Then tape a level to the other edge of the 2×4. Hold this tool against the wall, and adjust its position until the level reads plumb; you may need to pull it away from the wall a bit. Draw a pencil mark where the front edge of the 2×4 rests on the floor.
- Holding the 2×4 in position against the floor mark, also draw a mark on the framing above.
- Test for plumb and mark the top and bottom in the same way every 3 ft. or 4 ft. along the length of the wall. Choose marks that are the closest to the wall near each end, and snap chalk lines between them, to mark the positions of the top and bottom plate.
- Cut and mark the top and bottom plates as shown.
- Attach the plates to the floor and to the framing above.
- At each stud location, measure between the plates for each board and cut.
- Ideally, each stud should fit fairly snugly, such that you need to tap it into place but don’t have to pound, that would lead to a curved stud.
- Attach the studs with four angle-driven fasteners, also called toenails. They are usually driven two on each side, but you can also drive one in the front edge. Toenailing is easily done with a power nailer. If you are hand nailing, use 8-penny nails (often labeled “8d”). Or drive 2-in. or 21⁄2-in. screws; two screws per board should be strong enough.
BEWARE OF FRAMING WITH 2X2S: Many basements have been framed with 2x2s (or flat-laid 2x4s) nailed directly to the concrete wall. Sometimes the 2x2s are attached with powder-actuated nails, but that is a poor approach since those nails are really designed just to keep boards from moving from side to side, not to attach boards structurally.
Framing attached with powder nails is notorious for coming loose. Attaching with masonry screws is a far more secure approach. But even if you use masonry screws, there is no guarantee that the boards will not become water damaged; mold is not uncommon inside walls built this way.
Also, the mere 11⁄2-in. thickness of the framing means there is precious little room for insulation. And framing this way can be more difficult than you expect, since concrete walls are often uneven, a lot of shimming and testing for straightness is needed if you want to end up with walls that are fairly straight.
For those reasons, this type of basement framing is less common today than it used to be. Still, if you are quite certain that your walls will stay dry, don’t need insulation, and are not bothered by walls that wave a bit, this can be an economical approach.