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Old 02-24-2007, 08:30 PM   #1
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Looking for a step by step for framing basement walls/2x4's wrong direction/stairs???


Hey guys. I'm looking at starting the much dreaded basement finishing. My plan is to frame it myself, and hire out for the drywall and electrical. So...

Where can I find a step by step, treat me like I'm 5 years old, guide to framing the perimeter walls?

A friend of mine said that I should build to walls for a tight fit, even hammering them in for a snug fit. But I've read that by doing that, it won't allow the walls to move as required from seasonal changes and that they should be shimmed in place instead?

The 2x4's running down the stairs are running what looks like the wrong way. When and where so I turn the the correct way?

Again, I need a detailed walk through for this.

What are my options for the stairs? I'd like to do wood, but is there anything to go over them versus tearing them out?

Much thanks in advance!
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Old 02-24-2007, 08:57 PM   #2
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Looking for a step by step for framing basement walls/2x4's wrong direction/stairs???


I have no advice for you, but I wish you luck with your framing.

I am presently in the process of framing my basement perimeter walls also.

I have even done the basic electrical myself.
And I plan to do the drywall myself also when I am finished the framing.

(There is no way that someone else is going to finish it and get the credit when I have put in the hard work in framing. )


I am sure you will get great advice here. I have never done anything like this before, and I am doing pretty well, if I do say so myself.

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Old 02-25-2007, 06:33 PM   #3
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Looking for a step by step for framing basement walls/2x4's wrong direction/stairs???


Anyone?
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Old 02-25-2007, 08:33 PM   #4
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Looking for a step by step for framing basement walls/2x4's wrong direction/stairs???


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Anyone?
Sorry no one has gotten back to yet, don't fret....I will review your post and get a response to you tomorrow... unless someone else beats me to it...
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Old 02-26-2007, 09:40 AM   #5
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Looking for a step by step for framing basement walls/2x4's wrong direction/stairs???


OK, you asked for it, grab your 'visine':

Quote:
Originally Posted by xray328 View Post
Hey guys. I'm looking at starting the much dreaded basement finishing. My plan is to frame it myself, and hire out for the drywall and electrical. So...
First off, this sounds like a good plan; to sub out the most difficult parts…
Quote:
Originally Posted by xray328 View Post
Where can I find a step by step, treat me like I'm 5 years old, guide to framing the perimeter walls?
I have posted this before in regards to basement framing. This is some of the info:
Tools:
Plans, Framing square, speed square, 6’ level, 2‘ level, chalk line, nail guns, nails, compressor, air hoses, powder actuated nail gun with 22 cal. Caps and ceramic coated nails, mason’s line, skill saw, sawz-all, cordless drill and 2 “ screws, pry-bar, tool belt, pencils, Saw horses, 6’ ladders, radio and beer…
Design:
Do a layout of your basement on paper with the actual measurements of what you want to do with your basement area in relation to walls, closets, rooms, doors, etc. Note door swing directions, allow for at least a 4” return on each side of doors (Casing)…
Materials:
Use this layout/plan that you have made and a calculator to determine the amount of lumber and other materials you will need for your project.
(Remember to get long straight lengths of 2x4 for you top and bottom plates (12’ to 16’)
Don’t figure exact numbers, always ‘over-estimate’ by 10% to 20%.
2x4’s KD for studs
2x4’s KD for top plates
2x4’s PT for bottom plates
Strapping - if you are doing a sheetrock ceiling
A few 2x3’s - just in case…
Nails -3” to 3 “ and 2” - 2 ”, some 2 “ drywall screws.
Ceilings:
If you are going to put a Sheetrock ceiling up, then it is best to start at your ceiling first and install strapping every 16” OC. This will also give you something to attach any walls that you build, which may run parallel to your floor joists, but not sit directly under your floor joists. The strapping also helps to give you a consistent surface for attaching your sheetrock to that will not be wavy (Attaching directly to floor joists will come out inconsistent and wavy because, floor joists are NOT all the same level on their underside…)
Framing:
On your perimeter walls: Leave a space of approximately 2” Between your new wall and your freeze wall for air circulation. This allows any damp air to move and exit away from your new wall materials. You will want to use pressure treated 2’x4's for the bottom plates (PT on anything that you will attach to concrete). Use a 'powder actuated 22 caliber fastening gun'. Use coated 2 “ nails or longer (ceramic ‘coated’ nails have a grey color to them. You need coated nails because the current pressure treated process used for wood contains heavy amounts of copper. This reacts with regular ’bright’ nails and causes rust) Get various levels of power for the firing caps. I suggest using firing caps rated as #3 & #4. Get plenty and return the boxes you don't use. I will get into where to put these nails later…
Use regular KD grade 2x4 Lumber for the top plates and the studs. Placed 16" OC (On Center). This means what is sounds like. The literal center of each stud (Half of the 1 1/2" will be exactly 16" away from each other). Make sure that you pick out nice, straight pieces of lumber.
If you are unsure of using/renting a nail gun, you can use screws to attach your framing members. If you use screws, get at least 2 “ or longer. I suggest using DECK screws (also for the areas where you attach studs to the bottom PT plate for the same reason as stated above) That length is sufficient, since you are not supporting anything structurally. You are just building ‘partitions’ walls, not load bearing walls.
Walls:
How to build your walls is determined on the age of your home. You see, if you have an older home, then the heights between your concrete floor and your floor joists above will be inconsistent. Additionally, there really are no poured-concrete basement floors that are truly level all the way through…(end to end of a basement).
For stick framing: Layout your walls on your floors first by cutting and laying your PT 2x4’s on the floor. Using a speed square, mark where your studs will go FIRST on your bottom plate based on your layout needs. Then fasten your bottom plate to the concrete floor. Fire-in your concrete fasteners between each stud. That way, if a nail does not go in all the way, it will not effect your stud placement (which you were smart enough to mark out before -You can also use concrete expandable fasteners for this, like “Red Heads“. Tho this takes A LOT more time)
How to level the bottom and top of walls:
Cut a STRAIGHT piece of 2x4 to just over the length of your floor to ceiling height. You will use this as a straight edge to place your level against to mark up where your top plate will be on the ceiling. Just hold the straight 2x4 against one side of the bottom plate. Place a 4’ level or longer level’ against it. (we prefer to use a 6’ level for this) Then line it up to the ceiling and make a mark on the joist or strapping for the matching edge of your top plate.
Do this at one end, of the length of the bottom plate. And then at the other end of the bottom plate. Laying out this way for each length of wall.
Pre building walls:
If you have a newer home: Go through and take random measurements to see how consistent your floor to joist heights area .Even if they are off a little, you can still pre-frame walls and stand them up, using shims to get a tighter fit in any ‘openings’ between the top plate and the joist/ or the bottom plate and the concrete….
If you plan on pre building wall panels, always subtract at least 1/8” to ” in actual height to allow for a smooth fit. As stated earlier, you can use shims. The last thing you want is to build a wall and find out it’s just too big and then you have to rip it apart and start over. (this will cause you to say words that you don’t want your family to hear and will also increase your beer consumption, …. and the rest is down hill from there…)
Marking out the studs for the top plate:
Take, a KD piece of lumber that you will use to make the top plate that will match that bottom plate and place it along side of the now installed PT bottom plate.
Transfer the marked stud lines onto the top plate using a speed square (triangle). Much quicker and accurate this way. It’s how we frame entire houses.
Studs:
Take the measurement for each of your studs. Cut them exact, to a 16th of an inch to get the stud to fit tight, but not so tight that it bends or bows. If you shortcut a stud, you can shove a shim into the space to tighten it.
About 99% of all lumber has what is called a crown (slight curve) When framing the studs in your walls, have these all facing outward (if the piece of lumber you are using has a noticeable crown). The main reason for this, is, if you have 3 studs placed 16” apart and the one In the middle has it’s slight crown facing in the opposite direction of the other 2, you will have issues with popped screws, when the sheetrock is attached…
Door openings:
Assuming you have a newer model home (built in the last 20 years), when building any doorways, it is unnecessary to install an actual ‘header’ on top of the door, since your new walls are only partition walls (non load bearing).
On all doorways that will have either a door or some kind of casing: Make sure that you 'double' the studs going all around the opening. This gives you about 2 1/2" beyond the door jam to be able to nail your standard 2 1/2 " casing to.
Last:
As you go along, you can check your walls and studs periodically for alignment using your levels, framing square, eyeball, tape measure and even a string stretched tight to make sure a wall is straight.

Quote:
Originally Posted by xray328 View Post
A friend of mine said that I should build to walls for a tight fit, even hammering them in for a snug fit. But I've read that by doing that, it won't allow the walls to move as required from seasonal changes and that they should be shimmed in place instead?
As stated above, Don’t worry about a tight fit. If you try to get a tight fit - 99% of the time, you will be fighting to get that wall in and may have to remove it and start all over. Just get it within ” and …. shim way. What you do is: plumb it, get it where you want it, and then ‘tack’ the top plate in a couple of places, then go back and insert your shims and nail the whole plate off…
Quote:
Originally Posted by xray328 View Post
The 2x4's running down the stairs are running what looks like the wrong way. When and where so I turn the correct way?
I am not sure I understand what you mean by this….a specific pic. would help to answer…If it's what Iam thinking, that the 2x4's area running on the 'flat' (1 1/2" against/near the wall, vs. 3 1/2") ...then I would bring the wall out to match to an areas of about 3', then turn the studs back to normal - especially for R-13 insulation depth requirements)...
Quote:
Originally Posted by xray328 View Post
Again, I need a detailed walk through for this.
What are my options for the stairs? I'd like to do wood, but is there anything to go over them versus tearing them out? ….
If you want wood, just tear the old treads out and re-do them in some nice wood/stiin, etc. Honestly, that would be about a day project for a DIYer….
If this is not what you are asking, let me know….

This is a start....just let me know, and I will try and 'walk you thru'... the rest...

Good Luck!

Last edited by AtlanticWBConst.; 02-26-2007 at 09:44 AM.
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Old 02-26-2007, 04:29 PM   #6
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Looking for a step by step for framing basement walls/2x4's wrong direction/stairs???


Thanks for all the info, now few questions...

The home is only 4 year old so I want to pre build the walls.

I'm basically building boxes here with 16" studs correct?

How long should the top and bottom plates be?

Do I lay the top/bottom plates down and drill up into the studs?

Do the outside studs lay on top of or next to the top/bottom plates?

In regards to the 2x4's running the wrong way, yes, the 3 1/2" part is flat against the wall as you can see in the picture. I can't really build it out because it's against the stairs.

And in regards to the stairs, you're saying I'd have to tear the stairs out and start over??? I've never installed stairs, but it sounds like a real chore. Thanks again!

Last edited by xray328; 02-26-2007 at 04:32 PM.
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Old 02-26-2007, 06:12 PM   #7
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Looking for a step by step for framing basement walls/2x4's wrong direction/stairs???


Quote:
Originally Posted by xray328 View Post
Thanks for all the info, now few questions...
The home is only 4 year old so I want to pre build the walls.
I'm basically building boxes here with 16" studs correct?
Look at it this way, you are going to be building wall ‘panels’ first. Then you tie these ‘panels’ together to form rooms (boxes). So, you would first go through and layout and mark your walls on the concrete floor using chalk lines, marker, framing square and the 3-4-5 corner rule.
Then you would construct your wall panel sections. Erect these, plumb them and attach to concrete and joists…ALWAYS, ALWAYS do this:
When you set your wall into place- only “TACK” the bottom plate in and only ‘tack’ the top plate in. This means only using about 2 nails on the top plate = one on each end of the wall…same with the bottom plate- one on each end of the wall. Then go back and check again for plumb. Walls can mover when you are nailing them off.
Once you go over the wall again (make it a habit to always double check your plumb) - and when it looks ‘dead-on‘, then nail it in solid. Obviously the reason you tack it in first, in case you have to move it slightly one way or the other, you don’t want to be ripping out 30 nails to do it….
Quote:
Originally Posted by xray328 View Post
How long should the top and bottom plates be?
Make them as long as the wall of your room layout. If it is longer, too difficult to set up, or there are only 2 of you, then do it in 12’ segments, tying each segment together as you go along….
When building these longer wall segments (12’ - 16‘):
You don’t want to make the walls too long, or they will ‘rack’ when you go to set them up. One way to avoid this is to temporarily attach a diagonal brace (2x4) from the top plate - diagonally down to the bottom plate. Attaching to the studs as well,.. This keeps the wall section square and true…You may need to do two of these across a 12’ or 16’ wall. I would not go longer than this…
Quote:
Originally Posted by xray328 View Post
Do I lay the top/bottom plates down and drill up into the studs?
Yes, that is fine. You might want to use 3“ screws for this. (Though I obviously prefer to use nail guns when framing)
Quote:
Originally Posted by xray328 View Post
Do the outside studs lay on top of or next to the top/bottom plates?
?? - They lie on top of the bottom plate and under the top plate - perpendicular to the bottom and tops…
Quote:
Originally Posted by xray328 View Post
In regards to the 2x4's running the wrong way, yes, the 3 1/2" part is flat against the wall as you can see in the picture. I can't really build it out because it's against the stairs.
I don’t like the sounds of that, as you will have far too much flexing on free-standing 2x4’s on the flat….You may have to attach directly to the freeze wall (to eliminate any flexing) if you are going to bring that stair wall out to the 3’ mark before making the transition back to normal 2x4 framing at the 3 “ depth. If you do this, use rigid foam board for the insulation on the 1 “ depth areas and place a vapor barrier over it facing the warm side…
Quote:
Originally Posted by xray328 View Post
And in regards to the stairs, you're saying I'd have to tear the stairs out and start over??? I've never installed stairs, but it sounds like a real chore. Thanks again!
No----leave the stairs and avoid the head-ache.
What I mean is that you may want to come out from the bottom step approximately 3' before you start framing your wall normally, as opposed to 'on the flat'. This way your transition will be away from the stairs as oppose to being at the bottom of the stairs....

You originally mentioned that you wanted wood treads, do you mean like a nice stained and varnished wood tread and riser look?

Last edited by AtlanticWBConst.; 02-26-2007 at 06:19 PM.
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Old 02-26-2007, 10:04 PM   #8
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Looking for a step by step for framing basement walls/2x4's wrong direction/stairs???


Get the book "Remodeling a basement" by Roger German. It has a lot of great advise and great pics.
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Old 02-26-2007, 10:17 PM   #9
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Looking for a step by step for framing basement walls/2x4's wrong direction/stairs???


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Get the book "Remodeling a basement" by Roger German. It has a lot of great advise and great pics.
I am all for the above advice; I agree with the idea of getting an illustrated book to help in understanding and 'seeing' how it all works. A picture is worth a thousand words....
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Old 02-26-2007, 10:38 PM   #10
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Looking for a step by step for framing basement walls/2x4's wrong direction/stairs???


I totally agree with Atlantic and handyflyer.

I am using the exact same book, and it is really a great reference with great pictures and simple to understand instructions.

I highly recommend it.
(And I have NEVER done any of this before)

Good luck.
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Old 02-27-2007, 12:10 AM   #11
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Thanks guys. Books on the way.
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Old 03-02-2007, 04:29 PM   #12
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Looking for a step by step for framing basement walls/2x4's wrong direction/stairs???


Since the walls won't be structural, I would (and did) use metal studs. 2 x 4 for where there was plumbing, and 2 x 3 and 1 5/8 where there was none. The stuff works easy, and is A LOT cheaper than wood. It's always straight, too. For walls w/o a lot of room, you can use something called firring channel which is only 7/8" thick, and it attaches right to the cement or block walls with teco's or a power nailer.

The electrical and plumbing subs will like it because it is pre drilled for mechanicals!

As far as the ceiling is concerned, if you have electrical junction boxes up there, you can't Sheetrock them in. They must be accessible. I did a suspended tile ceiling with a grid that attaches right to the joists. That was a great height saver, as my basement was only about 6 1/2' from concrete to joist!
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Old 03-02-2007, 06:37 PM   #13
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Looking for a step by step for framing basement walls/2x4's wrong direction/stairs???


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Since the walls won't be structural, I would (and did) use metal studs. 2 x 4 for where there was plumbing, and 2 x 3 and 1 5/8 where there was none. The stuff works easy, and is A LOT cheaper than wood. It's always straight, too. For walls w/o a lot of room, you can use something called firring channel which is only 7/8" thick, and it attaches right to the cement or block walls with teco's or a power nailer.

The electrical and plumbing subs will like it because it is pre drilled for mechanicals!

As far as the ceiling is concerned, if you have electrical junction boxes up there, you can't Sheetrock them in. They must be accessible. I did a suspended tile ceiling with a grid that attaches right to the joists. That was a great height saver, as my basement was only about 6 1/2' from concrete to joist!
FWIW - We have beeen using all kinds of steel framing since the early 80's for commercial and industrial construction. Steel framing is designed to be primarily used with a thicker sheet rock (5/8") to give it's rigidity and strength. Additionally, when using steelframing, you are supposed leave 3/4" gaps between the corner studs to slide the sheetrock sheets thru and then attach the steel framing to the sheets themselves. This is important for corners, other wise they will flex and crack the drywall.
Electrical lines are supposed to be run using flexible metal conduit lines. Steel framing reguires a different width insulation than the standard R-13 used in residential construction. All finish trim work requires the use of trim-head screws to attach to the walls, rather than simply nailing.
I could go on and on about the various intricacies of steel framing. These are just some of the reasons why I am against advising DIYers to use steel framing as a method to finish a basement area.
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Old 06-23-2008, 03:38 PM   #14
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Looking for a step by step for framing basement walls/2x4's wrong direction/stairs???


Greetings . . .

I'm brand new to this forum, and I joined specifically because of this thread. I'm looking into finishing my basement myself (I also have no experience with doing this), and I'm reading these posts with great interest.

I do have a few questions.

1) I intend to use DRIcore (http://www.dricore.com) subfloor tiles. Does anyone have any experience with them? From what I read, the manufacturer recommends building the frame directly onto their subfloor. Are there any reasons why I should or should not do it this way?

2) My basement wall includes a wastewater pipe (i.e. the pipe is attached to the wall). How do I frame around it?

3) I already have insulation on the walls. Do I need to take it down before I frame (and insulate around my frame), or is it okay to leave it as is, and build the frame over it?

Thanks in advance!
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Old 06-23-2008, 07:45 PM   #15
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Atlantic....

I wish you worked in my neck of NY, CT or NJ so I could refer you to my clients. I am very impressed with your ability to communicate your ideas. Anyone who can communicate this well, isn't faking and generally won't shortcut, unless asked.

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