Walls built from 2x2 boards are not common in today's building methods, but some homes built in the early 19th century had 2-inch-wide walls. These thinner walls saved precious square footage in cramped living spaces. A wall built from 2x2s is not strong enough to support any load-bearing weight but is perfect as a partition wall. To frame a 2x2 wall, connect a top and sole plate to the existing adjoining wall and add studs, spacers and fire blocking as you work from right to left.
Things You'll Need
- Chalk line
- Stud finder
- Measuring tape
- Drywall screws
- Plumb bob
- Rubber mallet
- Hammer or pneumatic hammer
- Ring shank nails
Mark the location of the new partition wall on the ceiling. Snap a chalk line across the location.
Use a stud finder to locate each ceiling joist along the chalk line. Mark the location of each joist with a pencil.
Measure the length of the wall and cut a 2x2 board to this measurement. Use drywall screws to attach the 2x2 to the ceiling, using the chalk line and joist locations as a guide. Attach the 2x2 with screws at each ceiling joist location. Do not screw the 2x2 into unsupported drywall -- always screw into the ceiling joist. The 2x2 attached to the ceiling is called a top plate.
Hang a plumb bob from the edge of the attached 2x2 on the ceiling in various locations. Lower the plumb bob weight to the floor and wait until the plumb bob stops moving. Have an assistant mark the location of the tip of the plumb bob on the floor at various locations. These marks will show the location of the bottom frame of the 2x2, or sole plate, of the wall.
Lay a 2x2 on the floor at the plumb bob marks. Screw the 2x2 into the floor with drywall screws.
Measure the distance between the top plate and the sole plate on the right side of the partition wall. Add 1/8-inch to this measurement and cut a 2x2 to this measurement. The extra 1/8-inch will ensure a snug fit between the two plates. Screw or nail this vertical 2x2 board, called a stud, to the adjoining existing wall. Toe-nail the stud to the top plate and the sole plate.
Determine the distance between the top plate and the sole plate on the left side of the partition wall. Add 1/8-inch to this measurement and cut a 2x2 to this measurement. Attach the stud to the adjoining existing wall and the two plates.
Cut two 16-inch sections of 2x2 lumber. These sections are called spacers. Go back to the right side of the partition wall. Nail or screw one 16-inch spacer to the top plate. Attach the other 16-inch spacer to the sole plate. These two 16-inch spacers between the studs will make the wall more secure and ease the later installation of the drywall boards to the 2x2s.
Measure the distance between the top plate and the sole plate next to the 16-inch sections. Again, add 1/8-inch to this measurement and cut a 2x2 to this measurement.
Place the stud between the top plate and sole plate and next to the 16-inch spacers. Use a rubber mallet to lightly tap the stud into place. Toe-nail the 2x2 framing member to the top plate and sole plate.
Cut two more 16-inch sections of 2x2 lumber. Attach these to the top and sole plates, next to the vertical stud you just installed.
Measure the distance between the top plate and the sole plate next to the 16-inch sections. Again, add 1/8-inch to this measurement. Cut the stud and toe-nail it to the top and sole plates. Continue this procedure until you reach the left side of the wall. The final set of spacers will most likely not measure 16 inches so measure between the two studs and cut according to size.
Go back to the right side of the partition wall. Measure the width between the first two studs approximately one-third and then two-thirds of the length down the wall. The measurements will most likely be 16 inches or an approximation. Cut two sections of 2x2 and toe-nail the sections in between the two studs at one-third and two-thirds down the wall. These sections of wood are called fire blocking and are required under some building codes. They also add stability to the wall.
Continue measuring and installing the fire blocking across the entire wall.
Tips & Warnings
- If you are installing the wall over a basement concrete wall, install rigid foam board insulation on top of the concrete walls before framing the wall with 2x2s. The foam board insulation serves as a vapor barrier between the cool concrete and warmer wood framing to prevent rot and mold from forming. Screw the foam boards directly to the concrete wall with concrete masonry screws. Screw the 2x2s through the foam board insulation and into the concrete wall with concrete masonry screws.
- Pre-drill small pilot holes into the 2x2 boards to prevent the boards from cracking and splitting as you screw or nail into them.
- The top of the 2x2 partition wall must be screwed into floor joists above the wall. For best results, the new partition wall should run perpendicular to the ceiling joists. If this is not possible and the partition wall must run parallel with the ceiling joists, locate the nearest parallel ceiling joist and attach the top of the partition wall to this portion of the ceiling. Do not screw the partition wall into unsupported drywall or the wall may eventually tear away.
- Building codes regulate the location of electrical receptacles and switches. According to the National Electric Code, electrical wiring must be a minimum of 1.25 inches back from the front of the wood framing studs. Since 2x2s are too narrow, you must encase any electrical wiring in metal or rigid plastic conduit.
- "New Complete Do-It-Yourself Manual"; Reader's Digest; 1991
- "Black & Decker: The Complete Photo Guide to Home Improvement"; Editors of Creative Publishing; 2010
- The Family Handyman: How to Finish a Foundation Wall
- Wickes: How to Build a Partition Wall
- U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development: Review of Structural Materials and Methods for Home Building in the United States 1900 to 2000
- Ask The Builder: Fire Stop Construction
- Photo Credit Polka Dot Images/Polka Dot/Getty Images