How to Build a Wall Off the Ground

by on February 20th, 2011
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A carpenter frames a wall by assembling the lumber on the ground, standing it and nailing it in place. Once a house is completed, adding a wall becomes a bit complicated, since there is not enough room to build a frame on the ground. In this situation you must build a standing wall. To build a wall off the ground, you must determine the path of the wall and mark it on the floor before you begin. Once your floor is marked, you can begin framing.

2-by-4 boards, 12 feet long
Circular saw
16d framing nails
Tape measure
Speed square
2-by-4 boards, 8 feet long
Engineered house plans
Work gloves
Safety glasses

Step 1
Lay a line of 12-foot boards along the intended path of your wall. Cut boards with your circular saw as necessary to fit the layout. Drive two of your 16d nails with your hammer to attach the boards to the subfloor. Lay another layer of 12-foot boards on top of the first to complete the bottom plate.

Step 2
Stretch your tape measure along the top of your bottom plate. Make a mark with your pencil every 16 inches along the bottom plate. Lay your speed square across the board at each mark. Draw a dark line across the board at every mark. Place an “X” on the same side of each line so you know where to place your studs.

Step 3
Lay a stack of 12-foot boards beside the bottom plate. Stagger the breaks between the boards on the bottom of the stack with those on the top of the stack. Nail the stack boards in the stack together to build a top plate. Transfer your marks from the bottom plate onto the top plate so that everything matches perfectly.

Step 4
Stack three of your 8-foot boards on top of each other. Line up the edges of the boards evenly on all sides. Nail down through the stack to connect the top board with the one in the middle. Flip the stack, line up the boards so they are even, and nail through the top board to complete the corner stud. Make another corner stud to match the first.

Step 5
Stand one of the corner studs on one end of the bottom plate. Drive nails at an downward angle through the corner stud to attach it to the bottom plate. Have an assistant hold the board in place while you repeat the process on the other end of the bottom plate. Place a second assistant at the second corner stud to hold it in place while you continue building the wall.

Step 6
Lay your top plate on top of the corner studs. Dive nails at an upward angle through each corner stud to attach the top plate. Place single studs at every mark on the bottom plate. Nail each stud to the bottom plate, tap it with your hammer until it lines up with the corresponding mark on the top plate, and nail it in place.

Step 7
Hold a level against each corner. Push or pull the assembly to get the corner perfectly plumb. Nail the corner piece to the adjoining wall. Plumb the middle of the wall. Nail the top plate to the ceiling.

Refer to your engineered house plans to find the location of windows, doors, and other structures that must be framed into the wall. Learn to build each of these structures by referring to your local building code.

Work gloves and safety glasses are required when using hand and power tools.

Carpentry-Pro-Framer: The Basics of Wall Framing

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