Framing New Walls in Your Finished Home Framing New Walls in Your Finished Home

What You'll Need
Framing hammer
Framing or measuring square
Chalk line
Circular saw
Measuring tape
#16 nails

Wall framing in a finished home requires the same framing methods used to erect the existing wood frame structure. Before any work commences on the project, inquire at the local municipalities, homeowner’s associations and review boards about the required permits and approvals, noise and time restrictions and about waste disposal. Home renovations often require some demolition work. Contact the appropriate government agencies or specialty firms if you think any hazardous material (asbestos, lead paint) may be encountered during the construction process.

Step 1: Lay out the Location of the New Wall

Begin by locating the top and bottom plates for  the new wall on the floor and ceiling and mark their locations with a chalk line. Connect the lines along the walls from ceiling to floor so that you have the location of the end studs (where the new wall meets the existing wall).

Step 2: Remove Material to Expose the Structural Frame

The new wall frame will be nailed directly into the existing framework, so you will have to remove the finished material (wood flooring, gypsum board) from between these lines. If the material below the finished flooring is concrete, you will nail the bottom plate of the new wall directly into the concrete slab. Repeat the procedure above so that you have chalk lines showing the exact location of the plates of new wall along the bottom edges of the exposed joists and on the plywood decking (or slab).

Step 3: Install the Plates

If you are working on a slab, you will need to use pressure-treated 2 by 4 lumber for the bottom plate. The bottom plate is fastened to the slab with concrete nails at every 3 feet along the entire length. If working on floor joists, determine if the joists are running perpendicular or parallel to the new wall. If perpendicular, no additional work needs to be done. Nail the plate into the floor so that the nails penetrate into the joists where they intersect with the plate. If parallel, remove the plywood decking and cut blocking to fit the joist cavity under the wall plate and install flush with the top edge and perpendicular to the joists at every 3 feet. Reinstall the decking and nail the bottom plate to the floor through the decking into each block. The same holds true for the ceiling joists; if parallel to the new wall, install blocking flush with the bottom edge of the joists and nail the top plate into the blocking.

Step 4: Make the Corner Connections to the Adjacent Walls

If the ends of the new wall meet the existing wall at a cavity, you will need to install a corner stud in the existing wall centered about the end stud. Use a level to make sure that the end studs are plumb and nail through the end stud into the corner stud.

Step 5: Install Studs and Blocking

Install the wall studs one at a time at 16 inches on center, using a level to plumb each stud. Using #16 nails, toe-nail each stud into the top and bottom plates. Cut blocking from 2 by 4 lumber and install staggered blocks between the studs, at a height of about 4 feet. The framing is now complete. All that remains is to install the gypsum board onto the new wall, and patch in the flooring and gypsum board that was removed.




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