How to Frame a Closet in a Basement


Framing the walls for a basement closet requires that you create a full room with the appropriate wall studs necessary to hang a drywall covering. The process is little different than creating a frame for any other floor of the home, except for the difficulty of attaching the closet floor to the concrete slab of the basement floor, and the need to frame the basement wall before you even begin creating the frame for the closet.

Things You'll Need

  • Chalk
  • Straightedge
  • Carpenter's square
  • Measuring tape
  • 2 by 4 studs
  • Circular saw
  • Framing nailer
  • 16d nails
  • Pencil
  • Drill with masonry bit
  • Shop vac
  • 2-1/2 inch hard-cut masonry nails
  • Hammer
  • Mark the basement floor with a piece of chalk, outlining the area where you wish to place the closet. Set the closet walls in line with the basement's wood studs. Use a straightedge to keep the wall markings along the floor straight, with a carpenter’s square placed at the corners to make certain that each is at a 90-degree angle. Measure the height of the room with a tape measure, extending the tape from the floor of the basement to the base of the joists along the ceiling. Measure the length of each wall segment using the tape, then write all of the measurements down for use in making your cuts.

  • Create each wall for the closet separately. Cut the top and bottom 2-by-4 planks for the walls to the measured length using a table saw. These two pieces will make up the horizontal top plate and bottom base of your wall frame. Make certain each bottom plank is made of pressure treated wood to protect it from moisture on the basement's slab. Cut another pair of 2-by-4 planks to serve as vertical end pieces for the wall frame. Use the measured height of the room and subtract 3 inches before cutting the end pieces to fit.

  • Place all four cut planks on the floor, on their 2-inch widths. Arrange the end pieces that form the vertical edges of the wall frame between the two top and bottom boards that form the horizontal edges of the frame. Make certain that the edges of the vertical boards are flush with the ends of the horizontal boards while remaining sandwiched between the horizontal boards. Confirm that all joints form 90-degree angles, using the carpenter’s square. Nail the boards together at the joints with a framing nailer and 16d nails through the horizontal top and bottom planks into the vertical edge planks.

  • Extend the tape measure along the bottom board. Place a mark onto the board every 16 inches, starting from the center of one of the end pieces, to mark the placement of the wall studs. Cut wall studs the same height as the end pieces, then nail them between the top and bottom boards at the marked points, also setting the studs on the floor on their 2-inch sides.

  • Use the same process as with the first wall to create the remaining walls, except for the wall with the door.

  • Cut two king studs from 2-by-4 planks to use in the framing of the closet door, cutting them to the same height as the wall studs. Measure the height of the door casing, then cut two jack studs to that measured height.

  • Mark the location of the door onto the bottom plank of your wood frame before you make the stud markings. Use the width of the door casing plus 6 inches to determine the space between the door markings on the bottom plank. After marking the door position, place marks for wall studs 16 inches apart.

  • Cut the wall studs for the door wall and nail them into place. Position the king studs between the bottom and top planks at the marked door width on both edges of the doorway, then place the jack studs against the king studs inside the marked width. Nail the king studs into place, then nail the jack studs to the king studs and to the bottom plank. There will be a space left between the jack studs and the top plank. Measure the width of this space, the distance between king studs, then cut a 2-by-4-inch plank to fit the width. This will be the header plank over your door.

  • Place the header plank between the king studs, laying across the jack studs as a door header. Nail the header into place, driving nails into the header edges through the king studs and through the header into the top of the jack studs. Create extra support for the header by measuring the space between the header and the top plank, then cutting three cripple planks from a 2-by-4 to fit the space. Nail the planks between the header and top plank using an equal spacing between the king studs.

  • Raise one of the closet wall pieces for placement. Position the wall piece against the wood stud, following the chalk wall line on the floor. Drill pilot holes into the floor through the plank on the bottom of the frame using a hammer drill with a masonry bit attached. Space the holes every 6 inches and drive them 1 inch into the concrete floor. Vacuum out any concrete dust from the pilot holes with a shop vac, then drive concrete nails through the frame and into the concrete with a hammer. Secure the end of the frame to the wall using the framing nailer through the edge piece and into the wall stud. Repeat the process with the other closet wall.

  • Raise the front closet piece and set it against the two wall pieces. Nail the wall into the basement floor, then into the two wall pieces.

  • Create a continual wood surface on the ceiling joists by measuring the space between each joist, then cutting pieces of 2-by-4 to fit. Nail the wood planks between the joists in a line above the wall edges. Nail the top plank to the ceiling joists with the framing nailer using 16d nails and spacing each nail out every 6 inches.

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