How to framing a basement wall?
Basements are often overlooked when it comes to home improvement projects, but there are many things that go into building one. One of those things is framing the walls. And while most people think of framing as just putting up drywall, it’s actually much more complicated than that. In fact, framing a wall requires some serious carpentry skills. So if you want to make sure you do it correctly, here’s what you need to know.
Framing a Basement Wall: Seal the Wall
The first thing you need to do before you start framing your wall is seal the area where you will be working. This includes any areas around windows and doors, which can lead to moisture problems in the future. To properly seal the wall, use a waterproof membrane like Tyvek or EPDM (ethylene propylene diene monomer).
Framing basement walls and ceilings is the core of any basement finishing project.
Framing a Basement Wall: Install Foam Board
After your waterproofing has dried out, apply 2-in.-thick extruded polystyrene foam board insulation to the walls. This type of insulation is specially formulated to resist moisture. You’ll find it under the label “XPS,” short for expanded polystyrene. Other types of foam board aren’t as moisture resistant. Use a construction adhesive that’s specific to foam boards. Apply the adhesive in vertical stripes in the middle of the room. Don’t apply it directly over the waterproofing material because it won’t adhere well. If some water gets behind the foam, applying adhesive horizontally could cause the water pool up and slow down drying.
You can gain a lot of square footage by finishing a basement, but below-grade concrete walls require special consideration before the space is habitable.
Framing a Basement Wall: Install Blocking Between Joists
When installing a foundation, it’s important to make sure there are no gaps between the floor joists. If you do find a gap, you’ll need to fill it with something. One way to do this is to use blocking.
It is easiest to frame around the windows first before the wall studs are in the way.
You can buy pre-cut pieces of wood or cut your own out of plywood. Either way, you’ll want to screw or nail one end into the joist and attach the other end to the sill plate. This creates a solid base for attaching the top plate later.
Snap Lines on the Floor
You can buy a readymade concrete form kit online, or you can make one yourself. If you decide to do it yourself, here’s how to build a simple concrete form.
1. Cut plywood strips to size. Use four 2x4s per foot for a 12-ft.-long wall. For longer walls, add additional pieces.
2. Attach the plywood strips to each other with screws driven every 16 inches or so. Make sure the screw heads protrude above the surface of the plywood.
3. Place the forms against the wall studs and nail the plywood strips to the studs.
4. Pour the concrete into the forms. Let the concrete set up overnight. Remove the forms the next day.
5. Smooth out the concrete around the edges of the forms with a trowel.
Assemble the Wall on the Ground
Once the concrete has cured, remove the forms from the wall. Then, install metal anchors and lag bolts through the concrete at regular intervals. The anchors should extend about 1/8 inch below the bottom edge of the concrete. Drill holes in the concrete and insert the lag bolts. Tighten them by hand until they’re snug.
If the basement walls are made of poured concrete, check for rust spots at the metal ties.
Now that you’ve installed the anchors, you can attach the top plate. First, drill pilot holes in the concrete. Then, drive a 3/16-inch lag bolt through the anchor hole and into the concrete. Repeat this process along the entire length of the wall.
Tip the Walls Up
To get an idea of what the finished wall looks like, stand on the opposite side of the wall and look straight down. Now, turn the wall upside down. It should look pretty much the same.
Build the Walls Short
If you don’t have enough space to lay out the full-length wall, you can still build it. Simply place the first row of blocks against the outside face of the wall. Continue building the wall using the remaining rows of blocks. Once you reach the last block, attach the top plate to the wall.
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