Framing A Finished Basement
How to Build Basement Partitions
to the living space of a home by finishing the basement is a
favorite DIY project. Framing the walls can be a major
stumbling block because basement floors are not usually
level although they may appear to be from the naked eye. The
easiest way to build partition walls in the basement is by
installing the studs one at a time cut to exact length.
you build the frame on the floor and attempt to stand it up
you may find it will not fit between the floor and the floor
joist. Or it may fit in some places and be too tight in
others. Do not despair, anyone that has framed a finished
basement has experience this dilemma. There is an easy
the stud walls for framing a finished basement can be
approached in two ways. Each stud wall can be built short
(only from the floor to lowest ceiling joist) and use shims
between the top plate of the 2x4 wall and the joist after
you stand the walls up. Another approach is to build the
basement wall in place, meaning that once the floor sill and
upper plate is in place, install the studs one at a time,
cutting them to the distance between the floor sole plate
(the bottom 2x4) and the sealing plate that is attached to
the floor joist. This techniques works well and insure that
you have a rigged wall. The trick here is to insure that you
have the sole plate and the ceiling plate are exactly
aligned, one over the other. This can be done by using a
plumb bob or a 2 x 4 with a level attached to it and placed
against the sill and ceiling plate.
plate should be CCA treated lumber. That way, it won’t be
affected by any moisture that could leech up through the
concrete floor. The rest of the wall (the upright 2X4’s and
the top plate) are standard kiln dried dimension lumber.
Rather than using 2X4s to construct the stud wall 2 X 3s are
often used for basement walls as basement walls are not
usually structural walls (walls that carry a load on top).
The structural walls or support beams are already in place.
A 2x3 stud wall is cheaper to construct by about 20%.
plate is usually nailed to the joists above. This is no
problem where the wall is perpendicular to the joists, but
if the wall is parallel to the joists cut a 2X4 block to fit
between the joists above the wall location. Nail the blocks
between the joists every 24 inches. The top plate is nailed
to the blocks. Be sure to plumb the walls before nailing.
the sole plate to the concrete floor with construction
adhesive on the bottom before you stand the wall. Once the
wall is plumb, you can drive nails into the concrete with a
Ramset. You can rent one from your local rental yard for a
few dollars a day. Drive a nail at every other stud space
and as close as possible to every door stud.
basement ceiling can be attached directly to the floor joist
or you can install strapping to the joist to attach the
ceiling sheetrock. I prefer the strapping because it gives a
solid base for attaching the ceiling sheetrock and will be
more resistant to movement.
Finishing a basement is a straight forward task that is
within the capability of most DIY homeowners. A finished
basement can add a great deal of living space to any home.
Now that you have the stud walls up it’s time for the
electric, plumbing (if any) and insulation.
Building a Half Wall