Have you ever wondered how to frame a basement? Remodeling basements is a great way to increase the usable space in your house and increase your home’s value. Once you have figured out any plumbing and wiring issues (we recommend a professional have a look), you are ready to move on to choosing a final design plan for the wall placement. What are you planning on doing in your basement? Want to build a family room down the stairs or a home theater? New home office space? Different uses will dictate a preferable layout when you begin framing the basement. Framing walls basement construction doesn’t have to be difficult, and planning in advance can help you achieve the layout you want and get the great space you desire.
A good place to start is by doing some research. I found a great article on http://www.doityourself-tips.com which outlines thing to be mindful of when planning on framing in a basement. They offer these helpful hints:
First, if you are planning to have a warm and comfortable basement, perimeter basement walls should be framed using 2″x4″ construction, just like the interior walls. By using 2″x4″ studs on the perimeter basement walls insulation can be installed to ensure a warmer room. If warmth is not a priority, and the installation of drywall is still required on the perimeter basement walls, then furring strips can be attached to the perimeter walls instead. Furring strips usually consist of 2″x2″s that are glued and nailed to the concrete basement walls.
FThe internal walls can be built on the ground and then simply raised in place, however due to inevitable variations in basement floor heights the walls should be built slightly shorter and then shimmed into place. If this is not done, you may have some difficulty raising the wall as it may get wedged between the floor of the basement and the ceiling/floor joists. Also, if the home is built on clay soil the basement floor may move slightly up and down based on the water content in the ground. If the home is built on clay soil, then you should use L-Shaped steel framing clips to attach to the walls and the first-floor floor joists. These clips will enable the walls to breath (move up and down), but give the support necessary to ensure the wall remains vertical.
When building basement walls there are typically many obstructions (pipes, duct work) that you need to build around. Thus, it is sometimes easier to stick build walls around these types of obstructions.
To stick build walls, first nail a top plate perpendicular to the floor joists. Next, secure a bottom plate to the concrete floor using concrete nails and an adhesive such as Liquid Nails. Make sure you use pressure treated lumber on the bottom plate as it is in contact with the concrete and will wick moisture over time. The top and bottom plates should be parallel to each other. Use a plumb line to ensure they are parallel. Finally install 2′x4″ studs every 16″ along the plates. Make sure you measure for each stud prior to cutting, as the floor to ceiling distances will vary.
Soffits may need to be built if duct work needs to be boxed in or if planning to install interior lighting. Soffits are not structural and thus can be framed using 2″x2″s. Similar to any wall framing, use two parallel 2″x2″ plates and connect them using vertical stud members. Secure a 2″x2″ top plate to the floor joists and then stick nail in a 2″x2″ stud on both ends of the top plate. Next nail the bottom plate to the two studs to create the basic wall. Finally, install on 16″ centers, 2″x2″ studs along the entire length of the plates. Pending the situation you may need to build the same framing structure on the other side of the duct work. Once you have completed the second soffit wall simply install 2″ x 2″ cross member stud pieces (lookouts) between the two soffit wall sections. You will want to make sure you use a chalk line and a level during this task to ensure the soffit walls remain straight. Again, as the soffit is being stick built, measure every stud prior to cutting.
If drywall is to be installed on the ceiling then you may need to add effectively a horizontal wall. Basically the same process is done as with building soffits, however 2″x4″s are used for providing clearance for pipes hanging below the floor joists. If there are no pipes or wiring hanging below the floor joists, then 1′x3″ strapping may be able to be used. Simply nail them perpendicular to the floor joists on 16″ centers.
Helpful stuff to remember when developing your framing basement plan. Also remember while you are constructing the exterior walls you will want to insulate before putting up the dry wall. This will keep you toasty on even the coldest day depending on what type of insulation you install, and ensure your family is comfortable in the space. In most regions of North America an R Value of 11 is sufficient in a basement. Types of insulation materials (with R value) to consider are:
|Blown Pink or Yellow Fiberglass||2.2|
|Blown White Fiberglass
|Polyurethane (skin faced)||7.1|
|Polyisocyanurate (skin faced)||7.1|
|Loose Fill Vermiculite||2.4|
|Loose Fill Perlite||2.8|
I also found this great video explaining the framing in a basement process. It shows you exactly how it is done. It is really helpful to see somebody else framing a basement and will let you know you are doing right. These guys make framing basements look easy. Good luck with your project and happy framing.