Nailing a Sole Plate to the Floor

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Sole plates are typically two-by-four studs. They are used to secure walls, panels, island peninsula cabinets or anything that requires permanent attachment to the floor. When walls are framed for new homes, vertical studs are typically nailed to the sole plate before the frame is raised and attached. If the sole plate is nailed to the floor first, the studs are then nailed to the sole plate using a toenail angle. Other sole plate applications are for cabinets or built-in furniture, using the sole plate as an anchor to join the unit to the face or sides of the plate.

Things You'll Need

  • Miter saw
  • Chalk line
  • Hammer
  • 16d nails, 3 1/2-inch
  • Measure the floor where you wish to place the sole plate to determine the length. Cut the sole plate to length using a miter saw.

  • Stretch a chalk line along the floor indicating the length and position of the sole plate.

  • Mark each floor joist on the chalk line. Recognize the floor joists by parallel rows of nails in the subfloor running perpendicular under the chalk line. If the sole plate is to be positioned on top of a joist running parallel underneath the sole plate, you do not need to mark the floor joists. In this instance, mark the sole plate every 16 inches for nails.

  • Place the sole plate on the floor and align it with the chalk line. Use a hammer to drive two 16d nails (16 penny) vertically through the sole plate 3/4 inch from each side at each mark.

Tips & Warnings

  • Toenail vertical studs into the sole plate. Tip the nails at 30 degrees, place the tip of the nail 1 1/2 inch up from the bottom of the vertical stud and drive it through the bottom of the vertical stud, through the sole plate into the subfloor.
  • To install knee walls, pony walls or room dividers on an existing finished floor, it's not necessary to tap into floor joists, even though it's a good idea to do so. Screws penetrating through the sole plate, floor covering, overlay and subfloor are sufficient to hold the wall in place.
  • Wear safety glasses.

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  • Photo Credit Hemera Technologies/AbleStock.com/Getty Images
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