Wall Framing: How to Frame a Wall


One way to frame a wall is to install the top and bottom plates, then toenail the studs to the plates. But if you have enough space, it's easier to put the pieces together on the floor. This method allows you to nail through the bottom and top plates directly into the bottom and top of the studs, which is much easier than toenailing, especially toenailing over your head. Then you can tip the wall up and move it into position.

To build on the floor, begin by measuring and cutting all the studs to length. Then put the bottom and top plates against each other to mark them for the positions of the studs. Last put the studs between the plates and nail the assembly together.

Prestart Checklist

About 1 hour for an 8x8-foot wall

Tape measure, layout square, circular saw, hammer, chalk line, plumb bob

Measuring and marking, crosscutting, driving nails

Install top plate first

2x4s (four for the first 4 feet of wall, three for every 4 feet thereafter, plus top and bottom plates), 16d nails

Step 1

Measure from the underside of the ceiling plate to the floor to determine the wall height. Check in several places and use the smallest dimension as the height.

Step 2

Cut the plates and the studs to length. The length of the studs should be 3 inches less than the wall height you just determined. This allows for the thickness of two 2x4 plates (1-1/2 inches each).

Step 3

Hold the plates side by side to mark the spacing for the studs. The first stud will be offset by 3/4 inch; then make a mark every 16 inches to indicate the centers of the studs. Measure 3/4 inch on both sides of each mark and draw lines to show where the sides of the studs will be.

Step 4

Place the studs on edge in between the plates. If any studs are not perfectly flat, turn them so that any slight gap is at the bottom. Hold them in position one by one and nail them in place through the plates. Make sure the edges of the studs are flush with the edges of the plates.

Step 5

Blocking may be added to the wall to provide a solid nailing surface for moldings or cabinets. If needed, nail blocking between the studs. Position the blocking with the wide face out. Toenail one side of each block. Here the pieces are positioned to support a chair-rail molding.

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