How-To Guide for Constructing a Partition Wall

Unfinished basements are usually wide open with no individual rooms. While many families simply use this space as a recreational room or storage, others would prefer to make efficient use of this space by dividing it into several smaller rooms. Home-offices, guest bedrooms, laundry rooms, and bathrooms are several examples of why additional rooms are needed. This article will detail the steps involved in creating these extra rooms by establishing the foundation walls, also known as partitions.

A room dividing partition can be easily built by using a flat floor as the foundation. Before beginning this project, make certain that you have plenty of room to spread out your materials. The partition will consist of upright studs located between a horizontal top plate and sole plate. These studs and plates will all be made of 2 x 4 stock and each upright stud will be positioned every sixteen inches between these two horizontal plates. The partition’s length will vary according to your room plan so the final stud might need to be spaced slightly different from the others. Additionally, the height of the frame should be 1 1/2 inches shorter than the height of the ceiling so that the frame does not become jammed when it is stood up. The studs are attached together by nailing two 3 1/2 inch nails through the bottom plate up into the end of each stud. Do the same for the top plate by driving nails down into the end of each stud.

The framework is now assembled and it can be stood up. It is advisable to have someone help you with this task as the frame can be heavy and difficult to keep upright. Once propped up, place an extra 2 x 4 board under the bottom plate and lift it up so that the top of the frame is snug against the ceiling. Mark the floor position of the additional 2 x 4 board and then temporarily remove the frame. This additional board should then be either nailed or screwed down into the floor. Return the framework and nail the sole plate down into the bottom board that was just fastened to the floor.

Make certain that the dividing wall is square by using a level. If your partition is running perpendicular to the joists, nail up through the top plate into each joist. If your partition happens to be running parallel, it is best to make certain that it is located directly under one of the joists. This may require you to slightly rearrange your room plans but usually requires a relocation of no more than an inch or two.

If you desire a doorway in your plan, the procedure involved is just slightly more complicated. Framing a partition wall with a doorway involves all of the previous steps mentioned in addition to a few others. The base boards will need to be cut to the dimensions of the doorway, the sides of the opening will need to be doubled-up with studs, and a pair of 2 x 4 pieces will serve as the header.

After the dividing walls are in place, it is time to cover it with a paneling or wallboard of your choice. Before applying the covering, nail the end studs of your frame into the existing walls. Begin the paneling process by starting where the studs are evenly spaced sixteen inches apart. The final panels may need to be trimmed in order to fit properly. The final steps of mudding, sanding, painting and placing molding on the walls is completely up to you depending on how nice of a room you would like.

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