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Old 07-11-2009, 08:48 AM   #1
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Basement Stairs


I'd like to close in the open space along my basement stairs. Here are a few pics.

I want to close the open side in. I am thinking I could install some drywall or add a railing. Any tips/advice you can provide is apprciated greatly. I am a novice DIYer, but I am motivated and willing to take my time to complete the job well. Thanks!















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Old 07-12-2009, 08:53 AM   #2
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Build a wall as high as you want.
Ron

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Old 07-14-2009, 07:53 PM   #3
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As I mentioned in a previous post, my current project involves adding a wall along my open basement stairs, more for child safety than anything else. At this point, I have no plans of finishing this space, ceillings are really low and we get water in the back. I am also interested in learning how to frame a wall.

Lack of space and an uneven floor caused me to try to stick frame.

First, I snapped a string line and laid the bottom plate, inserting with a hammer drill and tapcon screws. I used a plumb bob to try to find where I should place the top plate.







In the picture above, only the first stud on the left is nailed, and only at the bottom. I toenailed it and am thinking I might use a drill for the other studs since I struggled keeping the stud in place when hammering.

Although I used the 4' level repeatedly to finish my last project, a small garden wall, I didn't feel confident when using it to check for plumb. I did manage to get the level bubble in the middle, it seemed like this could have just been due to my hand moving a bit, a problem I didn't face with the wall since I would just sit the level down and check it. Do I just hold the level up against the wood, like I did in the photo? I thought about tying it to the stud with a belt to remove my shakey hand.



Also, I think I read you should check for plumb on two adjacent sides of the stud. Is that correct?

And finally, I noticed that even when the level said the studs were plumb, when I checked the distance between two studs it varied as I moved toward the ceiling. Does this mean the wood I selected isn't that straight?

Thanks for all of your help!
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Old 07-14-2009, 09:05 PM   #4
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As far as holding the level goes. It sounds to me like you may have cut the studs a little too short and they were wobbling around a bit. I don't know for sure that this is what happened to you; but in the future cut your studs tight. This way you can stick them close to where they need to be and then use a hammer to tap them into their final resting place.
You should be able to hold the stud and level tight together in one hand, that's what the holes down the level are for, to stick your fingers through!
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Old 07-14-2009, 09:30 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Justin08 View Post
As far as holding the level goes. It sounds to me like you may have cut the studs a little too short and they were wobbling around a bit. I don't know for sure that this is what happened to you; but in the future cut your studs tight. This way you can stick them close to where they need to be and then use a hammer to tap them into their final resting place.
You should be able to hold the stud and level tight together in one hand, that's what the holes down the level are for, to stick your fingers through!

thanks for the reply...I actually have the studs in there pretty snug. I know it sounds silly, but think I am just not used to using a level to measure for plumb.
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Old 07-14-2009, 09:43 PM   #6
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I am no specialist but I would seriously get that water you mentioned have a look at. It could mean foundation issues or weeping tiles not working properly.
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Old 07-14-2009, 10:28 PM   #7
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Red,

I will. I recently made a post about the water.
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Old 07-14-2009, 11:23 PM   #8
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Also, as far as the studs being plumb, I think you may be worrying about plumb in the "wrong direction" so to speak. In other words, you want to hold that level along the "side" of those studs; resting on the 1-1/2 inch side. Not on the inside or 3-1/2 inch side. This seems so obvious and maybe you are doing it correctly, but I just thought I may as well bring it up just in case!
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Old 07-14-2009, 11:35 PM   #9
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Justin,

I actually was checking on the 1.5" side and on the 3.5" of the stud. I wasn't sure if I had to do both.

Last edited by joetab24; 07-14-2009 at 11:37 PM.
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Old 07-14-2009, 11:51 PM   #10
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Looks like you have a few things to consider first:

You can extend the existing partial wall all the way down to the floor but you are going to have to build around the steel column.

Also, the treads overhang the stringers on the open side. You will need to cut them off so the new wall installs flush with the existing wall. How easy are the treads to remove? You may even want to consider ripping them off and replacing them.... if your cat will move

If you are going to put up wallboard, you will need to build the wall leaving a consistent 1/2" space along the stairway to slide the wallboard in. A suggestion might be to put the wallboard in place first, then install your framing. Afterward you can screw your wallboard to the framing.

You will want to either purchase some concrete screws (Tapcons work well) or get a powder actuated nailer to anchor the bottom plate (pressure treated BTW) to the concrete floor.
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Old 07-15-2009, 11:31 AM   #11
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When you are framing the wall in place as opposed to building then standing it is a little more challenging. As long as you laid the top and bottom plate along side one another when you did your layout; and as long as your aligned the top of the stud and the bottom of the stud with those marks when you were nailing them in, you should be fine. If it is out of plumb on the 1.5 inch side you need to correct it.
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Old 07-15-2009, 11:43 PM   #12
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I always put blocks in between the studs, this helps keep the studs from bowing in and out and makes for a straighter wall. If 16" on center block will be 14 1/2" nailed in between studs at the center or roughly the center of the wall. This ties everything together well. You can offset blocks a couple inches so are easier to nail every other one.
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Old 07-17-2009, 03:28 PM   #13
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Alright, I am struggling in my first attempt to frame, stick framing in my basement. SO far here is what I've done, step by step.

Secured bottom plate to floor.
Hung plumb bob from ceiling to determine location of top plate.
Secured top plate.
Put in first two studs, 16" on center.

The problem is my level, which is in working order, is telling me the studs are plumb, when I place the level on the front of the stud, the 1.5" side. (Do I also check for plumb on the side, the 3.5" side.) But when I check the distance between the two studs I am finding that the distance between them increases. Does this mean the studs are not level? Or might this mean the lumber is not striaght, although it looked fine to me? Thanks for taking a look!
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Old 07-17-2009, 04:02 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joetab24 View Post
Alright, I am struggling in my first attempt to frame, stick framing in my basement. SO far here is what I've done, step by step.

Secured bottom plate to floor.
Hung plumb bob from ceiling to determine location of top plate.
Secured top plate.
Put in first two studs, 16" on center.

The problem is my level, which is in working order, is telling me the studs are plumb, when I place the level on the front of the stud, the 1.5" side. (Do I also check for plumb on the side, the 3.5" side.) But when I check the distance between the two studs I am finding that the distance between them increases. Does this mean the studs are not level? Or might this mean the lumber is not striaght, although it looked fine to me? Thanks for taking a look!
O.k. Make sure you lay out your plates together at the same time. Next fasten your top plate(s) first and leave your sole plate floating for now. Install your studs securing into both plates. You want the studs to be snug but not so tight you have to beat the heck out of them to get them in. Once you have the studs secure install your blocking. On a 8' wall I like to put it in at 6'. Now use your hammer or a sledge hammer to adjust the bottom plate so the wall is plumb. Secure the bottom plate to the floor by nailing next to the studs 16" o.c. staggered.

I wouldn't worry to much if the studs vary slightly between the valleys. As long as they fall on center for the most part your fine. If your off an 1/8" to 1/4" let it go. If your off more than that the studs where installed to tight or your layout is off.
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Old 07-18-2009, 07:02 AM   #15
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Is the third picture in your original post showing how you are checking for plumb? I shouldn't be able to see the stud behind the level like that. It looks like you are trying to eyeball the edge of the level along the edge of the stud. If so, it would be more accurate to hold the smaller, flat edge of the level against the stud to check for plumb. Or maybe your level isn't accurate? Unlikely to be the problem - but possible.

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Last edited by kirkpala; 07-18-2009 at 07:08 AM.
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