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If you’re interested in learning how to frame, this simple partition wall is a great place to start. Consisting of a single top plate, a bottom plate, and full-length studs, it stops mid-room, meeting an existing finished ceiling and one existing finished wall. Here’s what you’ll need for this project, which you’ll be able to start and finish in a single day:
TOOLS & MATERIALS
- Electronic Stud Finder
- 4-foot Level
- Tape Measure
- Chalk Line
- Framing Square
- Speed or Combination Square
- Impact Driver
- Framing Nailer or Hammer
- 2 x 4 Lumber
- 16d Common Nails
- 3″ Deck Screws
- Oscillating Multi-Tool with Flush-Cutting Blade
- Hammer (if needed)
- Pry Bar (if needed)
- Utility Knife (if needed)
When taking on this DIY task be sure to equip yourself with the proper safety gear.
- Eye Protection
- Ear Protection
Find existing framing. Your new wall will need to be attached to the frame behind your existing drywall. Start by determining which way the joists run with an electronic stud finder. If your partition wall runs parallel to the joists, you’ll attach it under one joist. If this is the case, mark the location of one side of the joist where the ceiling meets the existing wall. Since the end of each joist will always land over studs in your existing wall, you can be certain you’ll have a solid foundation for your new wall’s end studs. If your wall needs to run across joists, use the stud finder to locate one side of the stud nearest to where you want your wall to be located.
Lay out adjoining side. Use a four-foot level to draw a straight line along the full height of the existing wall, including the baseboard where you’ve marked your stud.
Layout wall. Using a framing square, draw a line on the ceiling that meets the wall line. Have a helper hold the end of a tape measure at the wall while you mark the new wall length. Once measured, snap a chalk line.
Mark joist locations. If your new wall will be perpendicular a ceiling joist, use the stud finder to identify where the top plate will cross under each joist. Once located, mark each spot so the top plate won’t cover them.
Cut out baseboard. Place a two-by-four against the baseboard to mark the width you’ll need to remove. The easiest way to remove the piece is with an oscillating multi-tool equipped with a flush-cutting blade, but you can also do the job with a small hand saw.
Cut plates. Use a miter or a circular saw to cut two two-by-fours fours length.
Lay out studs. Stack the top and bottom plates together with their narrow faces up and ends flush and clamp them together at both ends. You’ll be positioning the studs 16″ on center, meaning the center of each stud will be 16″ away from the center of neighboring studs. Measure 15‑¼” from the end of the plates to your left, then strike a line indicating the left side of the first stud with a combination square. Mark an ‘X’ to the right of the line on both plates to ensure you set the studs on the correct side of the line. Continue marking the left side of each stud for the full length of the plates.
Extend lay out lines. Separate the plates, and using a square, extend your layout lines across one wide face of each. Once you’ve made your lines, mark the correct side of each with an ‘X’.
Measure for stud length. Measure between the ceiling layout line, the floor at both ends, and the middle. Cut your studs 3‑½” less than the smallest measurement. This provides three inches for each plate, plus half an inch to raise the wall and accommodate any irregularities in the ceiling or floor.
Assemble wall. Arrange plates and studs on the floor. Set one stud into place along its layout line on one of the plates. If you’re right-handed, use your left foot to hold the stud and plate down on the floor while driving two 16d common nails through the plate into the stud. If you’re left-handed, hold the plate and stud with your right foot. Fasten all studs to the plates the same way.
Raise wall. Pick up the top plate and tilt the wall into place, aligning the outside stud, the top plate, and the bottom plate to the layout lines. Depending on the length of your wall, you may need a helper for this step. If needed, shim the wall snug after you raise it.
Secure wall. Use a four-foot level to ensure the end stud is plump, then secure it to the existing wall with 3″ deck screws every 16 inches. Secure the top plate next. If it’s parallel to a joist, drive one 3″ deck screw through the plate into the joist centered between studs. If the wall goes under joist, drive one screw into each. To secure the bottom plate, check that the new wall is plumb, then secure with 3″ deck screws, each centered between studs. As you work, check for level, and use shims if needed.
Your project is complete. Step back and admire your newly-framed wall.