Type of wood for framing basement


Old 09-12-11, 11:12 PM
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Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: USA
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Type of wood for framing basement

Hi all - I'm a new homeowner (read: still learning a lot) planning to start framing my basement, and have been shopping around local lumberyards for wood for studs and plates. I don't know a whole lot about the best type of wood to use, but after a few days googling, I still don't have a solid answer, and I'd appreciate any thoughts you have.

Most of the places around here sell douglas fir or hem fir, but one of our lumberyards is selling white fir, and the guy I spoke to claimed that white fir is "top of the line, premium, not likely to bow, etc".

My research seems to indicate that white fir is strong enough for most residential framing, but I'm wondering if there is anything I should be concerned about if I go with this type of wood.

Here's some info that might be helpful:
Location is Denver, Colorado area
Project is an unfinished basement framing, single family home
Framing for bedroom, 3/4 bath, and family room.
Home is only a few years old, foundation walls already have blanket insulation attached
Required height is 8' 8.5" (floor to ceiling joists)
Cost of white fir is comparable to douglas/hem at other local lumberyards, so this isn't a concern

As I said, I'm still trying to learn as I go, so any thoughts you have would be greatly appreciated.

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Old 09-13-11, 03:47 AM
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Welcome to the forums!! Pressure treated lumber would be used for the bottom plate, that's a given. However, in Denver, you have to install floating walls, meaning you have to create an air gap so the wall won't heave when the slab does. This is done by laying out your bottom plate and fastening it to the concrete using powder actuated pins or tapcons. On top of that lay down 2x4 spacers on their side at intervals that won't interfere with the next step. Don't fasten them. Install another bottom plate across your spacers and fasten it by driving 6" spikes through that plate, and the bottom plate, stopping at the concrete. The spikes will probably stick up above this plate a few inches, but that's cool. Now finish building your wall. When you are through, and just before you install your wall covering, knock out the spacers.
To your questions, yes, fir is a fine wood for construction.
We had a thread several years ago on this that may make for good reading. http://www.doityourself.com/forum/ba...-basement.html
Old 09-13-11, 06:45 AM
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Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: USA
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Thanks chandler --

Thankfully, I spent some time talking to my city's building dept, and we found paperwork that shows my home was built with a structural floor (which, as I understand it, means there's a 6" or so gap below my foundation floor before the dirt starts), so I thankfully shouldn't have to go through the trouble of constructing floating walls. This is going to be a big enough diy project as it is for someone with my lack of experience .

Sounds like no compelling reasons to go with hem or douglas over the white fir. Thanks for the feedback!

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