Installing 2x4s on concrete walls

Old 10-27-05, 07:08 PM
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Question Installing 2x4s on concrete walls

How do you go about attaching 2x4s on concrete walls in a basement? I need detailed instructions please.

Thak you for your help.
Old 10-27-05, 08:12 PM
Doug Aleshire's Avatar
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Attaching 2x's to basement walls is not permissable in allot of municipalities, if not all. You should contact your Building officials as to what is allowed and not. I've seen the quick-and-dirty approaches from gluing 1x3 furring strips to the walls, installing foam insulation between the strips, and applying drywall on that. It's not adequate nor does it accommodate all the electrical needs one wants.

1. If the wall is block, any attachement to them with a mechanical fastener Ramset nails or Tap-Con screws can cause fractures and create water infiltration.

2. All wood attached to the block/concrete wall would have to be wood treated. This cost could be significant and placing a vapor barrier behind it and using untreated lumber is not going to work. The lumber will act as a wick and penetrate through all the holes you just made in attaching it to the wall.

3. The other main drawback to furring is that if your block/concrete wall is out of plumb, you are stuck with bad looking walls. Trying to shim this all out to be plumb is a real pain and personally a bad choice.

4. If you intend to install outlets, wall switches, you will need depth and the boxes required will not work. Shallow boxes may not be workable depending on the circuits involved.

5. If you applied any type of waterproofing coating, any penetration has just wasted all the time and money in doing such.

6. Insulation can be another issue. If you plan on rigid, you need to ensure that this is totally covered with drywall - this includes ceilings - any cavity that is not enclosed to envelope the rigid would be a Fire Code violation - when this catches fire, people can die from the toxic fumes.

You could try screwing the furring strips to the wall leaving a space of approximately inch from the bottom of the strip to the floor in case water seeps in. Make sure the strips are plumb (use your handy-dandy level) and drill holes about 16 inches apart into the wall (use a masonry bit). Drive in hardened concrete screws with your even-handier-dandy drill. Again, I do not recommend this for the above reasons as well as City requirements.

I always recommend traditional wall framing. I guess this is the best and most economical way to construct walls that would be placed on the exterior. I prefer to see 2x4 but as mentioned by others they can get 2x3's. You still need that W/T BOTTOM PLATE. The best way is to attach WOOD TREATED BOTTOM PLATE to the concrete is to use either...

Concrete nails - Sometimes this is hard and time consuming!
Tapcon Screws - Relatively easy but again time consuming!
Hilti Gun with ramset nails - Rent the gun, buy nails and charges - Very fast and holds great! - No adhesive is needed.

Doing the wall framing 16" O.C. provides a solid base for your 1/2" drywall. If using traditional framing method, frame your new wall 1" from the vertical block/masonry surface if using R-13. The reason to keep the wood out from the walls is the moisture that could damage them. If using insulation like R-19 and only 2x4 studs, the insulation would touch the walls. I have stated before that if a homeowner did put thicker insulation in, and the wall was only 1" from the masonry surface, I have recommended hanging a vapor barrier between the back of the wall and masonry surface. This doesn't allow for the insulation to touch the wall and air movement is not restricted but at least you won't create damage to the insulation or wood.

Vapor barrier should be placed directly under the drywall. The warm inside air containing water vapor can get past the wall finish and insulation and condense inside the colder wall cavity. If enough of this happens, and the water cannot escape, wood rot, mold, and other moisture-related problems are likely to occur. For this reason, building codes often require installing a vapor diffusion retarder on the warmest side of the wall cavity.

What you are doing requires a Building Permit. Doing so without one is a big mistake.

Hope this helps!

Last edited by Doug Aleshire; 10-27-05 at 08:30 PM.
Old 11-02-05, 06:12 AM
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F.Y.I. --

I don't know what it costs to rent a ramset, but at most big box home improvement stores, they only cost about $25.00. Best money I EVER spent!

Old 11-03-05, 08:38 AM
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I agree that you should check with the permit office

I recently finished a new basement addition and faced a similar situation. I have concrete walls in my basement, and the new wall that ran parallel to the ceiling joists proved impossible to attach to the joists due to HVAC ductwork.

I ended up attaching 2 X 4 blocking (laid flat) to the concrete wall with my new $25.00 Remington "shooter" (hilti type gun) from a big box store. I then attached the new wall to the blocking for stability along the top of the wall. My inspector noted the attachments specifically, asking what size nails I used (2 1/2inch)... and approved the construction with no problems.....

This might not "fly" in your locale... but it's worth checking out.

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