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How do I frame out basement walls?

Answered by Brett Kulina ~ October 14, 2012 ~ No Comments » | Respond to this question

What's the proper way to stud out a wall in a basement that has cinder block walls? What materials will I need? What is the process step by step?

Brett Kulina

If you are going to finish your home's basement, I would use treated lumber for the wall framing, which consists of the top and bottom horizontal plates as well as the vertical wall studs. Treated lumber can withstand any moisture that may find its way into your basement, either through the floor slab or the mortar joints in the concrete block walls. Of course in a perfect world, you will have already remedied any moisture problems in your home's basement prior to beginning your remodeling project.

A typical basement wall can be built out of treated 2-by-4s, with studs centered every 24 inches along the bottom and top plate. In most cases the load bearing walls in a home's basement are the foundation walls themselves, so a double top plate is not necessary. In fact, the main purpose of the wall that you want to construct is to create a wall cavity in which to install some insulation and run your electrical wires and plumbing pipes. Of course the finished wall covering, whether it be sheet rock or wood T & G paneling, will also get attached to the wall framing.

When attaching the wall studs to the top and bottom plates, make sure to use fasteners that are approved for use in treated lumber. You will also need to purchase some Tapcon masonry screws, or some brand of concrete sleeve anchor, which will be used to attach the framed wall to the concrete floor. You will also need to securely attach the top plate of the wall to the wood joists that are located above the newly built wall. If the top and bottom plates of your wall are securely positioned, then there is no need to also attach the wall studs to the concrete block wall.

If you plan on adding any bedrooms to your finished basement, remember that the IRC and most local building codes require proper ingress and egress windows for all lower level bedrooms. If this is the case for your project, then you will need to create some wall framing around each window opening, making sure to meet the specific codes of your local area. Good luck with your project and enjoy your new basement.

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