Basement Framing Tips


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Old 04-29-05, 10:26 AM
R
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Basement Framing Tips

Hello!

I am currently in the process of converting a large portion of my basement from 'unfinished' to 'finished' status. I have read a couple of books on the subject of basement remodelling and also have searched for forums, this being the best so far.

Being that my basement slab has enough of a slope over the longest wall (21'), I decided to build the wall in-place and I am about 90% done with the overall framing. I am taking my time with the project, doing most of the work during the weekend, framing sections at a time using a PC framing nailer.

One, I've read comments by people who place the bottom plate first, then use a large straight-edge/level to mark the location on the ceiling joists to place the top plate. With my poured walls being less than ideal straight lines, I decided to use the house sill plates on top of the foundation to measure out for my top plate, snap a chalk line, then use a plumb bob to mark the location on the slab for the bottom plate. Is this a bad thing or really no different than the other way?

Two, when measuring the studs to put into place, a add a 16th inch (or two) extra for a snug fit. Sometimes this seems a little too snug since I have to give it some good whacks with a rubber mallet to get it level. The stud doesn't split or anything, but I worry that it could cause the stud to twist or bow. Is this a problem? Could I be causing any problems with the joists above? What are the best techniques for building a wall in place?

Three, I've noticed that studs I have placed earlier are starting to warp. This will potentially cause some problems when it comes to the drywall phase of the project. Is this common in wall framing? Are professional walls build with such speed that when the drywall goes up, the studs are all secured to a common plane and won't warp?

Four, in regards to these warped studs and drywall, just how much can the stud bow out or in before it causes problems like visible bump or the drywall screws break through the face of the drywall? I've read I can plane down the studs that stick out, but what about the ones depressed? If it was just one stud in 8 feet, could I opt not to screw the drywall into that stud?

These are more questions about technique that I haven't found in my research. This is also my first attempt at a significant home building activity, so I want to make sure I do a decent job so it doesn't look like crap afterwards.

Thanks for your time!
Ron
 
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Old 04-29-05, 12:30 PM
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Hi Ron, glad you like the forum. I also think it's great.

Regarding your method to plumb the walls, as long as you get them plumb, that's about all that matters. If all I had was a 4' level, I might select a stud that was as straight as an arrow and use it to find a plumb line on each end of where my wall would be, and then snap some chalk lines on the floor and ceiling, attach the sill and top plates, then frame as you've described. Adding 1/16" shouldn't be a problem- better to be a tad tight than a tad too loose.

When framing, some builder will sort through their pile of studs, setting aside the rejects (the ones that are significantly bowed, to cut up for short pieces later) and then make a pile of perfectly straight ones (to use around door openings, where you want everything to be absolutely straight) and then mark the ones that have a slight bow with a marker and then turn them all the same direction. (So that when you frame the wall, you don't have one stud bowing one way 1/4, and one bowing the other way 1/4 and having a 1/2" gap when you go to hang the drywall.

Unfortunately, framing lumber isn't what it used to be, so we have to just learn how to deal with it.
 
  #3  
Old 04-29-05, 01:02 PM
Tamarin
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Hi Ron,

I'm not a builder but I'll offer you my experience.

Like you I am finishing my basement. It was finished previously but the drywall had been damaged from a grow-op and I didn't like the over-all layout.

I'm not sure exactly what your basement looks like but mine is about 4' of concrete wall and about 4' of pony wall above that. I decided to frame 2x4 around the entire inside perimeter so that I could have wall recepticles at a normal height. It also allowed me to frame partitions for all the interior walls.

One thing I forgot to do was put vapour barrier between the interior wall and partition. It is normal to run a 2' strip between the wall and partition so you can tie in with the rest of the barrier when the time comes.

I just built my walls on the floor and then raised them in a standard method.
They always grow about 1/4" vertical so cut the studs a little short. Keep in mind that these walls are not structural and only need a single plate top and bottom.

Once your wall is standing you can take a level to it and make sure its plumb.

I also put sill gasket under the bottom plate and I will fasten the walls into the slab with a HILTI some 3 1/2" spikes and tie wire. To fasten the top of the wall just put some blocking in between your floor joists if the wall is running in the same direction as the joists.

I had the same problem with wood twisting and warping. Try to find a Lumber Yard where wood is stored indoors. Also, if you can get the finger-jointed studs these tend to stay true. They look hokie but have good vertical strength- not for plates.

Don't try and plane your studs after the fact. How are you going to plane the first foot or so of stud? It would probably be easier to take the wall down and start again. Depends on how picky you want to be with it. Try looking down any of the finished walls in your house. Unless your house was built by someone who knew what they were doing you should find irregularities in the wall. Most framers want to get the job done and close is good enough. The time you spend while the wall is being built on the floor making sure the studs are all flush with thte plates will pay off.

Good luck,

Andy
 
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Old 04-29-05, 07:23 PM
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Building Wall

rkundla:
Basically, your on the right track. Your plumb line method is ok. Not one I would use, but ok. As long as it gets the job done. Your questions #2 and #3 are tied together. You are putting your studs in too tight. I don't even own a rubber hammer. But if you put your studs in too tight, they will bend and warp as you have described in # 3. The problem in question #3 is the result of work done in question #2. If your studs are warped out as you suggest in #4, I would not even use the stud. If your studs bow a little from side to side that is not as bad, since you can always move the screw over.
Sounds like your doing a good job. Just do not make your studs so tight. Good Luck
 
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Old 05-02-05, 05:05 AM
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XSleeper, Tamarin and Jack the Contractor - Thanks for all the tips!

Since I been doing the project a little at a time, I have been purchasing my wood at Lowe's since they are the closest. I take my time, sorting though the stack of 2x4x96 to get the straightest studs I can find. Anything twisted even a little bit, I pass up. The wood seems to be better quality than the wood they used to frame the basement stairs - lots of wane and twists which will make drywalling that part a challenge. I do notice sometimes at Lowe's that a stud in the stack might weight more than another. I assume that is due to excess moisture? If I had a stud with excess moisture and then it dried in the basement, could that cause some of this twisting? I do admit that at one point I had my studs laying directly on the concrete slab and that could have caused some of the studs to warp slightly.

When I first started the wall, I would measure from the top of the bottom plate up to the bottom of the top plate and make a cut. Sometimes, the stud would be loose and I would have to take some shims to stabilize the stud as I used the framing nailer on it (toenail). I also think that my bottom plates (pressure treated lumber) could be secured to the slab which is tilted slightly, but enough to make a straight cut on the bottom of the stud not to sit flush. I sometimes get a stud that is partially snug and it swings almost like a door.

One book I read said to put an extra 1/16th of an inch to make it snug. I do that and the stud stays snug. If it is too long, what I notice is the stud will compress (very slightly) the top and bottom plates to stay secure. I take it back to the saw and take some more off. Typically when I set the bottom part of the stud on the mark, I have about four inches to tap the stud over to get it vertical.

I would then line up the face of the 2x4 with the top and bottom plates, then check the front face for plumb. What ends up happending then is I have straight up and down studs, just offset from each other slightly, yet enough to cause my 4-ft level to only touch one stud. From now on, I will try my best to get the rest of them on the same plane.

Both sides of the family were over this weekend to celebrate my son's baptism and took a look at my framing job so far. All seemed pretty impressed, but since none of them are carpenters, they wouldn't have spotted any of these fine details.

I appreciate the comments!
Ron
 
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Old 05-02-05, 05:23 AM
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Sounds like the hard way. Build the wall on the floor. Then put it up. Cut all studs the same . Then shim the top plate to the joist and nail it. All this warp you have . Now you dont need it in the wall for code . But put fire stops in between each stud 4 ' up. stagger them so you can nail them right in. Yes a 6 mil poly on the cement wall hang from the sill plate. R 13 paper to the room in the studs and a 4 mil poly over that then the drywall. Dont forget to put a block of R19 in each joist space up on the sill plate.

ED
 
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Old 05-02-05, 06:38 AM
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The method of installing a double vapor barrier, which Ed suggests, may work fine, but I've read that in some climates here in the US, creating a double vapor barrier (sandwich) can create high moisture problems and mold within the wall. Maybe Ed can tell us why that's the best thing to do in Florida basements. I assume it's because in the South, the block wall and the space within the wall is cooler than the conditioned air in the house year-round?
 
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Old 05-02-05, 06:52 AM
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Not down here Dont even think of a basment . You cant drain a inground pool till you pump the water out of the ground around it first. Then you have to let that pump run till you fill the pool.
No ,home base is Missouri And have been doing it that way there for over 30 years All homes are finished basements and have did full earth contact homes this way. Have been back to lots of them and no mold or moisture in any of them.

ED
 
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Old 05-02-05, 11:58 AM
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What? No basements in the everglades? I suppose not.

Well, if you've never had any trouble with it, it sounds like a good idea then! Maybe those basement wall cavities stay a contant temperature (both winter and summer) and those 2 barriers reduce condensation coming from either direction. Thanks for the explanation!
 
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Old 05-03-05, 11:19 AM
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I have poured foundation walls with the faux brick embossing so to compensate for irregularities in the wall surface I have my stud walls from 1" to 3" away fromt he wall. One wall is 4" to frame around a natural gas pipe that runs along the top of the wall from the entry point til it doglegs over to the furnace/water heater.

The walls are waterproofed on the exterior and insulated with some kind of green foam board. On the inside I put up some plastic to test for moisture and didn't get any, so I am opting out of the vapor barrier (live in NE Ohio) and just going to use insulation in the wall.

I'm going to try to get the framing finished this next weekend, then determine what needs to be touched up before I move onto insulation then drywall.

Thanks for all the tips!
Ron
 
 

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