Details for Framing a Stud Wall

Teaches the fundamentals of laying out and building stud walls with these free do it yourself instructions. It details new construction and remodeling. It includes a diagram and explains in detail the exact purpose of each framing member. It covers door and other rough openings and how to adjust them. The inside walls determine the purpose for any building.

Layout for Wall Framing

It all starts with the layout. Use a carpenters pencil and a chalk line filled with red chalk. The dimensions for the sizes of the rooms are printed on the floor plans page of the blue prints. Lines must be popped for each side of every wall before then first wall is built.

Once the walls are popped off, then you must mark each rough opening. Most rough openings for inside walls will be for doors and cased openings. Treat them the same. Add two inches to the size for the rough opening (door size + 2” = rough opening). If a doors exact location is not pinpointed on the floor plan it is likely to be in the center of something, or simply three inches away from another wall. Any closer and we got problems! You are likely to have to make some adjustments when marking for the doors. They do not always fit according to the floor plans. If you can cut down on the door size, then that is the easiest remedy. Do not make bedroom, kitchen, living room, or laundry room door smaller than 2’ 8”. Things just will not fit through a smaller door (30” appliances will fit barely through a 2’ 6” door). Cutting down on door sizes is not the only solution you are most likely to have to use. You may have to adjust the position of some of the wall. Just remember that some things, like the size of a bath tub, are not adjustable and it is hard to add a double floor joist if it is not in the right location.

Starting with the longest wall, lay 2 x 4’s end to end from one end to the other. This is the top wall plate. Use straight lumber and turn the best side where it end up down. Lay the bottom plate, but do not cover the openings. The wall plates should be even on each end.

wall plates

Laying Out for Stud Wall Framing

The “T’s” in a wall connect two walls together at a perpendicular intersection. They also form the deadwood for the drywall (a place to nail the edges where joists are absent). With the wall plates on the floor, square up any point where a red line intersects. Square them across the top edges as well and mark a large “T” in the center on both plates. The solid side of the “T” will face the joining wall.

A “Corner” is used for deadwood. When forming a right angle, the “long” wall will get a corner on its end. Simply mark a “C” on both wall plates.

Cross section of a "T" and a "corner"

Make a double stud mark for the rough openings according to the bottom plates. Square across the top plate at the edge of the opening. Make two more marks; each one 1 ½” away from the opening. Mark a “C” on both plates on the inside cavity. Mark an “S” on both plates on the outside cavity for the location of the king stud. Write the header length inside the rough opening on both plates.

Lay the wall out for studs. Stock the wall with materials for the rough openings first and nail them together and to both ends of the wall. Next, fill in the “T’s”, “corners” and studs. Nail it all together.

Now run a 2 x 4 on the top of the wall in between each “T” (allow about ½”) and 3 ¾” back from each end.

Raise the wall and nail it to the floor. Make sure the nails go into framing members. Brace it off with studs about every 16’ apart.

Stud Wall Framing Detail

Parts of a wall