How to Put Up Interior Walls

Written by  //  November 8, 2013  //  Walls and Ceiling  //  Comments Off on How to Put Up Interior Walls

While many homeowners are tearing down walls in an effort to achieve an open concept, occasionally, you may find it necessary to incorporate additional walls into your home design. Building another wall or two in your home can keep your house from feeling empty, as well as create an additional level of privacy.
The wall-building process is not complicated, but you will need a little bit of carpentry know-how, and a lot of patience if it’s your first time.

Measure and Space Out the Studs

Straight and accurate measurements might be time consuming at first, but the time you spend getting it right will be nothing compared to the time you spend starting over because of bad measurements. Using the right tools and techniques will help you stay consistent in your measuring, and save you loads on time, resources, and energy:

  • Chalkline:Use a chalkline to create a guide for where you want to install the wall. This tool will make a straight, visible, and easy to clean line on your walls and ceiling.
  • Plates: Your top and bottom plates are the horizontal components of your wall’s framework. When measuring the spacing for your studs (the vertical supports of your wall), align your plates side-by-side so that you can draw one continuous line across both plates. Use a square or other straightedge to ensure that you have no crooked lines. Having two reference points like this is the best way to make sure your studs are perfectly straight. Studs should be spaced out exactly 16 inches apart.

Set Up the Framework

Creating a sturdy framework is key to your walls’ durability. When setting up the frame, make sure your top and bottom plates are flush with the existing walls. Before you secure anything, note whether corresponding stud measurement on either plate are lined up properly. You can easily use another 2 x 4 for this job. Once everything is lined up, you’re ready to install the framework:

  • Bottom Plate: Secure the bottom plate in place with either 16d nails or 4-inch screws.
  • Top Plate: Brace the top plate against the line on the ceiling, and nail/screw it through the ceiling’s finish and into the joists above. This may require an additional pair of hands, or some extra 2 x 4 supports.
  • Outer Wall Studs: After you’ve measured the appropriate length of stud—you’re going for a very tight fit between the plates—fasten the end studs to the existing walls.

Fasten the Studs and Blocking

By this point, installing the remaining studs should be relatively easy. The next step will be to fasten and secure your wall’s blocking. Blocking is composed of the horizontal supports that go in between the vertical studs. A good rule of thumb is to install the blocking about halfway up your wall, as this will give your drywall something to hold on to.

You can easily fasten the first block, as well as the rest of your blocking, by using the toenailing technique:

  • First, hold the first block firmly against the outer wall stud.
  • Next, insert a nail or screw diagonally, beginning at the top of the block (facing up), and ending beneath the block and into the stud.
  • Insert a corresponding nail or screw from the downward side of the block. The two fasteners should intersect.
  • The last step is to nail or screw into the opposite end of the block straight through the next stud over, securing the block at either ends.

Attach Drywall

Depending on your preference, you can attach drywall either vertically (starting at one end of the wall) or horizontally (using multiple rows of drywall). Each method has its advantages. The vertical method requires less cutting and piecing together, however, it also requires more up and down movement, and can be more physically taxing. And even though the horizontal method may require more piecing together, it also allows for more convenient access when you’re taping the seams in the drywall, because the seams are at waist-level.

Regardless of what method you choose, remember to always start nailing at the center of the sheet. This will keep your sheet flat against the studs and prevent warping. When nailing, use 1¼- or 1½-inch nails, and space them out no more than 12 inches apart. 

Install Insulation (optional)

Depending on where your new wall is located, you may find it necessary to install insulation. Insulation can serve a number of purposes. It helps to maintain a consistent temperature in a room, and it also possesses sound-dampening qualities.

Fiberglass blanket insulation is a popular choice among home builders because it’s very easy to work with. Again, you’re looking for a very tight fit, so make sure your insulation is wide enough to fit snugly between studs.

  • Cut the insulation about 2 inches wider than the stud bay.
  • Remove 1 inch of facing from either end of the sheet, and staple the exposed insulation to the inside of the corresponding studs (make sure the insulation facing is directed towards you).
  • Fill in any gaps with un-faced insulation.
  • Staple a plastic vapor barrier across the entire wall. This will keep out any excess moisture.
  • Cover with drywall.

After you’ve successfully hung the drywall, you’ll likely want to apply some type of mud or sealant to keep your wall protected. Spackle, stucco, paint, and plaster are all effective choices. You might also consider installing some type of trim or molding to add a bit of style to your new wall.

In any case, remember to take your time with this home improvement project. If you get stuck, consult with a professional. From Miami contractors to Utah home builders, you’ll be sure to get the right help for all your wall-building needs.

Michael David is a freelance journalist and blogger living in New York City. Michael loves writing about DIY projects, home improvement, and garden-related topics.

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