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Old 10-02-2008, 05:06 PM   #1
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Building a soffit around a drainage pipe along the wall


I am trying to build a wall around a drainage pipe that goes along half the length of a wall close to the ceiling. I would not like to waste all the space by moving the wall in by 6 or 7 inches to avoid the pipe. I am attaching a picture of the pipe in my basement to describe my situation.

I was trying to figure out how I could work around it without having to lose much space. Should I move the pipe into the room to build a soffit around it or should I attach a treated 2x4 to the concrete wall and then use that to attach one side of the soffit and then build the wall underneath the pipe touching the bottom of the soffit?

Is that allowable from a New jersey code perspective? Does attaching a 2x4 to the concrete wall pose any structural disadvantages that I need to consider? Are there other options?
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Old 10-04-2008, 06:05 AM   #2
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Building a soffit around a drainage pipe along the wall


I dont know what NJ code is but I dont belive their is anything that would not allow you to do this as long as your attaching PT 2x4 and I would use some construction adhesive and tapcons to attach it.I was looking at the pics and trying to think of a way to move it right up to the rafters but with that conection I dont see how so building a sofit seames the way to go but would build it the whole way around so it look as though it was part of the room to start with

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Old 10-04-2008, 06:49 AM   #3
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Building a soffit around a drainage pipe along the wall


Can't raise the pipe up to the joists anyway....... it has to have the correct amount of "fall" for proper drainage. As clasact stated, building a soffit all the way around will give the trey ceiling effect.
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Old 10-04-2008, 07:00 AM   #4
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Building a soffit around a drainage pipe along the wall


You can't mess with the pipe. I has to have a 1/4 inch drop per foot for proper drainage.

Building a soffit will work but here is a problem.

With the slope of the pipe are you going to build the soffit level on the bottom in which case you have to start at the lowest level and build to that. Or you could build the soffit to follow the contour of the pipe which would look a little weird from where I sit.

You could make it interesting by building storage space in the soffit for double duty. It would both cover the pipes and allow some storage.

I would wrap the water pipes if you live in a freeze area since one you build the soffit you will signifiantly reduce the air flow around the pipes and could casue them to freeze (depending on where you live of course).
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Old 10-04-2008, 07:53 AM   #5
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Building a soffit around a drainage pipe along the wall


It pretty much goes without saying that the bottom of the soffit will have to be level with the lowest point of the pipe to look right. Storage is kind of a novel idea. I don't know exactly what you'd store in the small space you'd have.....
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Old 10-04-2008, 08:49 AM   #6
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Building a soffit around a drainage pipe along the wall


I think I will pick the lowest point in the pipe and build the soffit along that so that it looks uniform. Do I have to leave some space below the lowest point (like a couple of inches) or can I build it right below the pipe? I never thought of the effect of closing it in....thanks for the idea of wrapping it up. Would suck if it froze. I live near Princeton. So I may not have that but I would rather not take a chance since the basement is usually colder than the rest of the house at all times.
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Old 10-04-2008, 09:42 AM   #7
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Building a soffit around a drainage pipe along the wall


If you're finishing the basement, the last thing you should do is attach the framing to the concrete basement walls. If and when the concrete moves, cracks, settles, or shifts, your walls will go with it. It is best to conventionally frame walls around the basement leaving about an inch between the back of the studs and the face of the concrete wall.

Once the wall is framed, the soffit is easily attached to it. In order to be compliant with code, soffits must be firestopped as well. If you're finishing the basement walls, just let us know and I'll walk you through the firestopping requirement.
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Old 10-04-2008, 10:00 AM   #8
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Building a soffit around a drainage pipe along the wall


thekctermite ,
I am building the frame an inch from the wall but in this case, since the drainage pipe is 2 inches from the wall and is about 4-5 inches thick, I did not want to lose that additional space. Unfortunately, since my frame is not attached to the wall, and it will land up below the pipe, I have no way to directly attach the frame to the ceiling joists. Hence I am looking for a way to build a soffit so that I can attach the top plate to the bottom of the soffit and then attach the studs to it. The options I thought about were
1. to connect the bottom of the soffit to side of the top plate of the wall frame (frame not attached to the wall) but I thought this would not be as strong since it is supported onmy on the soffit strength.
2. To attach a 2x4 on to the concrete wall and connect the bottom of soffit to that 2x4. Then attach the top plate to the bottom of the soffit and then attach the studs to it

Seems like 2 would be stronger and an acceptable way to build it.
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Old 10-04-2008, 11:27 AM   #9
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Building a soffit around a drainage pipe along the wall


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Originally Posted by ssudha17 View Post
I think I will pick the lowest point in the pipe and build the soffit along that so that it looks uniform. Do I have to leave some space below the lowest point (like a couple of inches) or can I build it right below the pipe? I never thought of the effect of closing it in....thanks for the idea of wrapping it up. Would suck if it froze. I live near Princeton. So I may not have that but I would rather not take a chance since the basement is usually colder than the rest of the house at all times.
Sewer lines are not prone to condensation so you could build right up to it. A little gap would not be bad just as an precaution.
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Old 10-04-2008, 11:30 AM   #10
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Building a soffit around a drainage pipe along the wall


Just another idea. Put some recessed low voltage lights in the soffit.

I am always thinking of ways to use space. It is my life as my wife says.
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Old 10-04-2008, 01:10 PM   #11
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Building a soffit around a drainage pipe along the wall


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Just another idea. Put some recessed low voltage lights in the soffit.

I am always thinking of ways to use space. It is my life as my wife says.
In order to make use of the space in a soffit, do you create multiple doors along the length of the soffit? Do you make those access doors with drywall with hinges?
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Old 10-04-2008, 03:00 PM   #12
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Building a soffit around a drainage pipe along the wall


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In order to make use of the space in a soffit, do you create multiple doors along the length of the soffit? Do you make those access doors with drywall with hinges?
Since it isn't a large structure just frame it in with 2x2's. Sheet rock the whole thing and then put nice doors on the outside. You could make them out of finished plywood. While there is not a lot of space in there, there is still space. And space is getting more and more of a premium these days.

I just helped my neighbor who bought a brand new house beef up his attic so he could store seasonal stuff. There was over 300 sq ft of space that was not being used. Granted we had to put in some large joists to support the weight since they were trusses but it was worth the time and trouble.

You could use that space to store stuff like baord games, cards, Christmas lights, secret hide away for your guns, extra blankets for guests and so on.

I like the light idea. I am building a soffit around some 10 in ducting and think I will put some lights in that. They would aim down and light up the wall.
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Old 10-04-2008, 03:18 PM   #13
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Building a soffit around a drainage pipe along the wall


Here's how you can build it under the pipe without ever touching the concrete wall. Should be plenty stable.

I mentioned firestopping. To meet code, you must isolate vertical spaces (studs) from horizontal spaces (floor framing and soffits). This helps slow the progression of fire, smoke, and air that fire needs to exist. If a fire starts in the wall, you need to keep it from getting to the floor system, and vice-versa. Firestops can actually cause a fire to choke out due to lack of air before they can get anywhere else, and if they do keep burning, it slows the progression down. This is done with 2x4 blocking in the wall beneath the line of the soffit. The area between the firestop block and the concrete wall can be sealed with tightly packed unfaced fiberglass batt insulation (most cities allow this, but it doesn't hurt to check...some require fire sealant or firestopping foam).
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