Building a new wall while finishing your basement is a relatively simple task that even a homeowner can tackle with a few pointers. The first step is to verify with your local building department to see if you will need a building permit. Most all codes require a means of egress from the basement when their is habitable space. If you are building a new home, most codes require means of egress from a basement, regardless of having any habitable space. This can be accomplished with an egress window, that has minimum size and height requirements. The key here is to ask your local jurisdiction first.
Once you have the green light to start construction, start by determining the materials you will need to complete the wall framing. Layout the walls on the floor by measuring and snapping chalk lines where the bottom plate of the walls will rest. Be sure to check the chalk lines for square. It is easier to re-snap a chalk line then to move a wall. Measure all the areas where the walls will rest on the floor to determine the linear footage of plate your project requires. Don't forget to add in the top plates of the wall. It will take the same amount of linear footage for the top as the bottom unless the walls are load bearing.
- If the bottom plate rest on concrete, it must be treated or a certain species in order to be in contact with the concrete.
- If your walls are non-load bearing a single top plate is all that is required. If they are load bearing a double top plate is required.
- When framing in 16" centers, a good rule of thumb when figuring material, is one wall stud per foot of bottom plate. This will usually give you the extra studs needs for corners and door openings. If you want to get closer here is a site with a wall construction calculator.
Measure and cut the plates accordingly based on the chalk lines snapped. Layout all the wall studs on the top and bottom plates prior to nailing them in place. If you have enough room, build your wall laying down on the floor, this will allow you to face nail all the wall studs in place. Don't forget, you will need space to stand the wall up also. If you don't have room, nail the bottom and top plates in place first, then toenail the wall studs into place. You may also want to see our tips on properly framing a door rough opening.