Assembling a Wall Frame
The preferred procedure for assembling a wall is to lay out and assemble the wall on the floor with the inside of the wall facing down.
Click on each button to find out the step-by-step procedure for assembling a wall:
Start by laying the soleplate near the edge of the floor. Then, place the top plate about a regular stud-length away from the soleplate. Be sure to use treated lumber if the soleplate is in contact with a masonry floor.
Assemble the corners and partition Ts using the straightest pieces to ensure that the corners are plumb. Also, save some of the straightest studs for placement in the wall where countertops or fixtures will hit the centers of studs (such as in kitchens, bathrooms, and laundry rooms).
Lay a regular stud at each X mark with the crown up. If a stud is bowed, replace it and use it to make cripples.
Assemble the window and door headers and put them in place with the crowns up.
Lay out and assemble the rough openings, making sure that each opening is the correct size and that it is square.
Nail the framework together. For 2 X 4 framing, use two 16d nails through the plate into end of each stud. For 2 X6 framing, use three nails. The use of a nail gun is recommended for this purpose; however, do not use this tool if you have not received proper training.
Firestops are short pieces of 2 X 4 blocking (or 2 X 6 pieces if the wall is framed with 2 X 6 lumber) that are nailed between studs.
Without firestops, the space between the studs will act like a flue in a chimney. Any holes drilled through the soleplate and top plate create a draft, and air will rush through the space. In case there is a fire, air, smoke, gases, and flames can race through the chimney-like space.
The installation of firestops has two purposes.
Slows the Flow of Air
It slows the flow of air, which feeds a fire through the cavity.
Blocks the Flames
It can actually block flames (temporarily, at least) from travelling up through the cavity.
Erecting a Wall
There are four primary steps in erecting a wall:
If the sheathing was installed with the wall lying down, or if the wall is very long, it will probably be too heavy to be lifted into place by the framing crew. In that case, use a crane or lifting jacks made for the purpose. Use cleats to prevent the wall from sliding.
Raise the wall section and nail it in place using 16d nails on every other floor joist. On a concrete slab, use preset anchor bolts or power-actuated pins. (Do not use these tools if you have not received proper training and certification.)
Plumb the corners and apply temporary exterior bracing. Then erect, plumb, and brace the remaining walls. The bracing helps keep the structure square and will prevent the walls from being blown over by the wind. Generally, the braces remain in place until the roof is complete.
As the walls are erected, straighten the walls and nail temporary interior bracing in place.
Plumbing and Aligning Walls
Accurate plumbing of the corners is possible only after all the walls are up. Always use a straightedge along with a hand level. The straightedge can be a piece of 2 X 4 lumber.
Blocks ¾” thick are nailed to each end of the 2 X 4. The blocks make it possible to accurately plumb the wall from the bottom plate to the top plate.
Bracing and Sheathing
Permanent bracing is important in the construction of exterior walls. Many local building codes will require bracing when certain types of sheathing are used.
In some areas where height winds are a factor, lateral bracing is a requirement even when ½” plywood is used as the sheathing.
Several methods of bracing have been used since the early days of construction.
One method is to cut a notch or let-in for a 1 X 4 or 1 X 6 at a 45 degree angle on each corner of the exterior walls. Second method is to cut 2 X 4 braces at a 45 degree angle for each corner. Third type of bracing used (where permitted by the local codes) is metal wall bracing. This product is made of galvanized steel.
Sheathing is the material used to close in the walls.