Framing basement walls requires anchoring them to the concrete foundation, as well as to the wooden framework of the house overhead. Inside basement corners must be sturdy and resistant to movement and wear, since they'll likely not be altered for long periods of time. Basement walls are constructed with a 2-by-4 inch lumber framework that can be pre-assembled then moved into position and anchored in place. The corners are then reinforced with additional framing elements before the wall covering is applied. The process of framing an inside basement corner requires some specialized tools and a bit of know-how.
Things You'll Need
- 2-by-4 inch lumber
- Tape measure
- Circular saw
- Power hammer drill
- Wood bit
- Masonry bit
- 3 1/2-inch masonry nails
- 3 1/2-inch drywall screws
- Rigid foam board insulation
- Construction adhesive
- Work gloves
- Eye goggles
Build two wall frames out of 2-by-4 inch lumber on your basement floor. Measure the lengths of the walls that will meet at the corner in question. Subtract 3 1/2 inches from the length of one of the walls, since it will abut against the framework of the other. Cut lengths of 2-by-4-inch lumber to the length of the wall to serve as the top and bottom plates.
Measure the distance between the basement floor and one of the ceiling joists above. The joists hang below the support beams and flooring surface of the level upstairs, so they'll serve as your top plate anchor points. Subtract 3 inches from your measurement to make up for the thickness of the top and bottom plates, then use your circular saw to cut 2-by-4s to serve as the vertical studs. Place one 2-by-4 at each end of the top and bottom plates, and one every 16 inches throughout the wall. Use your hammer and nails to fasten the framework together.
Stand the wall frames up and position them so they meet at a right angle in the corner of the basement. Use your power hammer drill and wood bit to make pilot holes through the bottom plate every 16 inches or so. Switch to a masonry bit and continue the pilot holes into the concrete floor below. Use your hammer to drive 3 1/2-inch concrete nails through the bottom plate and into the floor. With the bottom plate secured, move to the top plate.
Make pilot holes through the top plate with your power drill, then drive 3 1/2-inch drywall screws through the holes and into the joists above. Install one screw every 16 inches or so. The walls are now anchored firmly along the top and bottom, and attention can be turned to framing the corner.
Measure the distance between the underside of the top plate and the surface of the bottom plate. Cut a pair of 2-by-4s to this length. Place one of the cut 2-by-4s flush against the stud that's standing closest to the corner. Use your hammer and nails to fasten it in place. Place the remaining cut 2-by-4 against the first one, and fasten it in place.
Nail the end stud from the second wall frame into the sides of the group of three consecutive studs you have just installed in the corner. This fourth stud should be standing perpendicular to the others. The two walls are now tied in together and will provide a stable corner anchor onto which drywall can be hung. Frame out the remaining basement corners in the same manner.
Tips & Warnings
- Install rigid foam board insulation to your concrete basement walls before beginning the framing process. Apply a bead of construction adhesive to the back side of the boards and press them in place on the wall. Your wall framework will make sure they remain in place for the life of the installation. (Reference 5, 1)
- Use caution when working with dangerous tools such as saws, hammers and nails. Serious injury can occur. Always wear work gloves and goggles for protection.
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