A large open area or unfinished basement may offer substantial space but it may also have a cold, impersonal feeling. Make the area feel more welcoming and visually appealing by using a non load-bearing wall to divide it. This project is usually part of a larger remodel and is therefore designed for someone with intermediate level construction skills. A helper will come in handy during different phases of the job.
You will need:
• 2×4 lumber
• 8d nails
• 2 ½-inch wood screws or 16 d nails
• Reciprocating saw
• Circular saw
• Combination square
• Framing square
• Drill or driver and bits
• Tape measure
• Dust mask
Step 1: Determine where the wall will be located and lay this out on the ceiling and floor. Identify whether the wall will run perpendicular to or parallel with the ceiling joists. For a perpendicular wall, the top plate may be nailed directly to existing joists. For a parallel wall that is not directly under any joist, Steps 2 through 5 should be followed.
Step 2: If the ceiling is finished in the area, you must remove some of the ceiling material between the joists located on both sides of the wall. Remove material to a point that equals one-half the width of a joist. If there is no finished ceiling, move on to Step 6.
Step 3: Use the circular saw to cut 2×4 blockings so they fit snugly between exposed joists.
Step 4: Toenail one length of this blocking between joists located at one end of the existing wall, using the 8d nails. Make sure that the bottoms of the wall joists are level with the bottom of the blocking.
Step 5: Install blocking every 12 inches until the end of the wall is reached. Install a blocking board directly on the far end of the existing wall.
Step 6: Cut two 2×4 pieces to the length of the new wall. Lay one above the other to form the bottom and top plates.
Step 7: Begin at the left end of one plate and use the pencil to mark at 1 ½ inches. Make an X to the left of this mark. Continue measuring, working from left to right, making a new mark with the pencil every 24 inches until reaching the end of this plate. Allow room for a stud at the far right end of the existing wall.
Step 8: Align the bottom and top plates. With the combination square and pencil, draw a line across the full face of each plate at the marked locations. Place an X to the left of each line on both plates. This X indicates the stud locations on the new wall.
Step 9: Cut the 2x4s to the proper length for wall studs. Measure the distance between the ceiling and the floor. Subtract 3 inches as allowance for the upper and lower plates. Subtract an additional ¼-inch allowance for raising the wall.
Step 10: Align each wall stud so it is flush with the lines made on the bottom and top plates, covering each X. Nail through your plates into the stud ends, using 16d nails.