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Old 02-05-2009, 09:24 PM   #1
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Can't secure top plate...options?


I have a couple of areas in the basement I am trying to finish where I can't secure my top plate for my stud wall to the ceiling joists due to duct work, conduit and PVC piping (I'll have to build soffits around these).

I am not sure how to build a solid stud wall with a secure top plate. I have 9' ceilings (soffits will be at 8').

Any help would be appreciated.

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Old 02-05-2009, 09:29 PM   #2
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Can't secure top plate...options?


how about a picture? are you saying there's nowhere to nail the plate into the joists above? sounds like you'll have stick frame in place and nail wherever possible.

picturue would help a lot.

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Old 02-05-2009, 09:46 PM   #3
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Can't secure top plate...options?


Unfortunately our digicam broke the other night...no pics available at the moment.

I actually do not have any space to attach a top plate whatsoever in these areas. I thought about adhering a ledger to the poured concrete walls, but I have 3/4 extruded poly on all the walls already.

Can I stil adhere a ledger through the poly?
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Old 02-05-2009, 09:58 PM   #4
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Can't secure top plate...options?


Remembered I had a digital camera with my fishing gear (just in case I catch one worth photographing).

Anyway, here's my trouble area.
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Can't secure top plate...options?-ductwork001.jpg   Can't secure top plate...options?-ductwork002.jpg   Can't secure top plate...options?-ductwork003.jpg  
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Old 02-05-2009, 11:31 PM   #5
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Can't secure top plate...options?


Hmm, thankns for the pics.
So, the wall framing is strictly for attaching drywall and maybe electrical receptacles?

What's behind the foam board? A concrete poured wall? If so you should be able to fasten right through it.

Maybe 2X4s on the flat nailed with a hilti gun? predrill and use tapcons?
Shouldn't even need a top plate at all in this case where you have the ducts. Just need something solid to attach your sheetgoods to, right?

NOt sure on this bud. Should be others chiming in soon.

Good luck.

edit: in the last pic, it looks like there's enough room for a plate along most of one wall. but again, no reason for it, i think.

Last edited by wombosi; 02-05-2009 at 11:34 PM.
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Old 02-06-2009, 12:11 AM   #6
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Can't secure top plate...options?


Totally do-able. If you frame the wall so the top plate doesn't reach the floor joists you have to add rigidity somewhere, somehow. One way I can think of is to affix a few 2x blocks directly to the foundation wall. Cut back the foam enough to get access. Then you can add horizontal blocking between the wall studs to facilitate fastening the wall to the foundation blocks. One drawback to doing this is that if your foundation wall ever moves a little, your wall also moves with it.

The first thing I'd try is the following....

Leave the wall against the foundation generally unsecured at the top. Fasten the bottom plate to the floor. I'd sheet the vertical face of the furdown with OSB to give it some stiffness once framed. Then nail each furdown ceiling joist directly to a stud, checking the wall for plumb as you go. See how stiff it ends up. Remeber that your sheetrock will give the wall plenty of rack resistance, so if it wiggles side to side that's no big deal. If it wiggles back and forth (perpindicular to the foundation), you'll need the aforementioned blocks to secure it.

Don't even try to use 2x2's for the furdown. This would have to be 2x4's to get enough stiffness in the joints.
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Old 02-06-2009, 01:25 AM   #7
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Can't secure top plate...options?


@thekctermite: Thanks for the info -- this looks like it might work. Your illustration really helped! To nail the fur down framing, are you sure the joist flange is sufficient to support the weight? That stuff seems like it can be a bit brittle. And are 2 3/8 (round head) framing nails from my gun sufficient fasteners?

I did some closer looking, and I think I can sneak a top plate nailed to the joists for about 2/3 of the wall run, so that will help too. I need to look at it as two parts to the wall. And I think the 1/3 that I can't get a top plate too will be rigid enough between the soffit and connecting it to a solid joining wall at the corner that I'll be in good shape.

The soffit width will be about 5 1/2 ft. Will 2x4's spaced at 16" OC be sufficient enough to support the weight of 1/2" rock? Seems like it should, but I don't want any sagging.
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Old 02-06-2009, 08:40 AM   #8
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Can't secure top plate...options?


I should have shown the vertical front of the furdown higher...I'd attach to the top and bottom flange of the I-joist, which will make it a heck of a lot more rigid.

Yes, you can nail to the flanges, just don't go crazy with too many nails. Like I said, nothing bigger than a 10d...Ever! The nails you described would be fine. Also, a glob of construction adhesive at each point of connection to the joists will help guarantee that it won't ever squeak when you walk over it.

As for the flanges supporting the weight...Not a problem.

2x4's should span the 5-1/2' with no problem. It often helps to stiffback the joists with an on-edge 2x4 (perhaps between the ducts). That stiffback might be able to be attached to the joist here an there, which will basically eliminate deflection.
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Old 02-08-2009, 08:52 PM   #9
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Can't secure top plate...options?


So I figured out a way to get the top plate secured and the walls tied together enough that the walls themselves are rock solid.

Now, need to figure out the best and easiest way to do the soffits. Only part I'm worried about is the soffit with the 5 1/2 foot horizontal span. I would have done kctermite's suggestion, but neglected to line my wall studs up with the joists, so I can't square the bottom of the soffits.

Last edited by ThunderCAT; 02-08-2009 at 08:55 PM.
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Old 02-09-2009, 12:51 AM   #10
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Can't secure top plate...options?


Glad to hear a solution has been found. I was going to suggest two sections of 2x4 nailed (or better yet drilled/screwed) to the bottom of the joists. Under that would be some 2x4 spacers (to give 7" total clearance for pipes), followed by a single 2x4 to tie that section together and give it rigidity.
Sometimes it's easier to move pipes than walls.
(Note..I'm thinking only about vertical loading only for the drywall weight. Not a structural-engineer, and I don't play one on tv.)

The pics show long spans of engineered I-beams joists made of OSB:
- I-beams are good for vertical loading but vulnerable to twisting in their centers. Some method to tie them together and/or support them there might help.
- OSB tends to absorb water and decompose quickly. Personally I hate the stuff. Some sort of coating or oil spray might help with that.

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Last edited by Stillwerkin; 02-09-2009 at 12:54 AM.
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