'The true Soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because He loves what is behind him.' -G. K. Chesterton

15 February 2013

Remodel Update - Interior Walls

Framing is finally done. All the walls as well as the roof/ceiling repairs have been completed. The doors and windows are in as well. On these walls I built the framing in place as opposed to building the wall on the floor and then lifting it into place. Again, I am not a professional framer or building contractor. I'm just a guy who has some handyman skills and who's too cheap to hire this stuff out. Take anything I say or do for what it's worth. YMMV. If you're unsure consult a professional or hire the work out. Here's how we did it.

Ok. We started by cutting and laying out the sill plate for the first wall.

Once that was done we measured over from the West wall on both ends and in the middle to make the room square(ish). The sill plate is then fastened to the floor with the Ramset. Two things to be aware of here. First. I decided to make the sill plate one piece and then cut out for the door. It's easier and simpler than trying to do the sill plate in two pieces. Second. If do it that way and you're going to add a door make sure you don't fasten the sill plate to the floor in the area where the door will go. You can add in additional Ramset nails in critical locations once the door hanging/final framing has been done.

From there I dropped a plumb bob down from ceiling joists on each end of the wall as well as the middle.

When it was even with the edge of the sill plate I made a mark on the joist to locate the top plate.

We nailed the top plate to the ceiling joists using our marks as a guide. Because this is a non load bearing wall a single top plate is sufficient. As you'll see later I did a double top plate in the other wall.

When both plates were in we put in the two end studs along each outer wall. One of those walls was block construction so the Ramset was used again. When you're adding interior walls over masonry or concrete the Ramset is an indispensable tool.

Ok. At this point I have the top and sill plates installed and the two end studs in place. I decided it was the perfect time to put in the door. We decided where the door should go and then I marked a center point on the sill plate. The door is 32 inches and with the frame (it's pre-hung) it measures out to 33 1/2 inches wide. I need some room for shimming and fitting so the opening was set at 34 inches. I made a mark 17 inches on either side of the center mark for the cutout. From there we had to allow for the jack and king studs, 3 inches on each side of the cutout. I made a second mark on the sill plate for those two studs.

Then it was time to cut out the sill plate for the door opening.

I put in the king and jack studs and the door header as I talked about in the last post and installed the new door. It went in just like the exterior door did.

Once that was done we measured out and marked the sill and top plates for 16 inch on center common studs. Some people go ahead and take the time to outline the 1 1/2 inches for the studs but I've found a simple centering line is faster and works just as well for me.

Remember to check for plumb and square.

I then toe nailed in the new studs top and bottom. A pneumatic framing nailer is the most massively useful tool you can have when doing this kind of work. Hand nailing this many studs frankly sucks. I figure we put in about 3000 nails during this framing remodel. We also added about 65 new framing studs. When you add in the 2x6 ceiling joists and all the supports and bracing the lumber bill was considerable.

I made a mark about halfway up the studs and put in the cross braces. I off set every other brace just above and just below my center marks. There's at least a thousand ways to do this. My way is easy, simple and strong but do it the way that seems best to you and is code compliant in your area.

One wall down, one to go.

The second wall went in just like the first with one exception. I mentioned before that the first wall was non load bearing so didn't need a doubled top plate. The second wall is also non load bearing but runs directly under a header. That concerned me enough that I decided to bite the bullet and do a double top plate. It's just two 2x4s sandwiched together as opposed to a single board. In this picture you can see the header running to the block wall and the double top plate running under it. It's just added security in case the header settles or fails. That wall is strong enough to take the weight of the roof without the entire structure failing and falling down.

The second wall completed with double top plate and door installed.

Here's a view of the corner where the two walls meet from the kitchen. the Boy's room is straight ahead and The Girl's to the right.

And a view from the same location (looking left from the kitchen) of the hallway leading to the back door on the East wall and the covered porch. The door corner is just to the right in the picture. Quite a difference from what we started with.

A reminder. This is rough carpentry. It's moderately difficult but well within the ability of anyone who has basic carpentry and handyman skill sets but do your homework. Acquire the needed skills and knowledge. Take it slow. Have a plan but be ready to modify that plan as you go. You will goof up. You will find out that you can't do what you wanted to on occasion. You will change your mind. Stuff will break or won't fit. The inspector will inform you that it's all wrong and has to be redone. Be prepared for any and everything. If you get to a point where you're uncertain or just plain out of your depth stop and get some assistance or advice. Comply with all local building codes and regulations/rules.
I recommend the following tools at a minimum:
-Chop saw
-Circular saw
-Framing square
-Drills (Cord or cordless. I have and use both) with bits and drivers
-Hammers both framing and finish
-Chalk line
-Pneumatic nailer capable of driving 16 penny nails and a compressor able to run it continuously
-Pneumatic brad nailer 
-2, 3 and 4 foot spirit levels. 4 foot is required, the rest is just massively useful
-More than one good 30 foot tape measures because you will misplace them constantly. having a spare rocks
-A good carpenters tool belt. Mine is the Tim Taylor model :)
-Marking tools from felt tipped to ink pens to carpenter's pencils
-Various small hand tools like hand saws, screwdrivers, nail pullers, pry bars, pliers, vice grips, etc. You never know what you'll need so more is better
-Lots and lots of fasteners. Nails, brads, screws of various sizes and gauges

All in all I am most pleased with what we've accomplished so far. The kid's rooms look like actual rooms now. It's been a lot of very hard work but the final result will be well worth the effort. The grandkids will have their very own rooms at our house. Joy! Plus the space is now solid and well supported. The issues have all been addressed and I'm no longer concerned about the whole thing suddenly falling down. My insurance agent will be so happy.

Next up will be wiring the rooms. I need two constant hot outlets, one switched outlet, one switched accessory box (for a ceiling fan) and one double throw wall switch per room. I've got the Romex but we need to run down to the big box home improvement store for the rest. I think we'll take the weekend off and since Angus sees the surgeon on Monday no more work until next week.



Rev. Paul said...

For a guy with "moderate handy-man skills", you're doing very well. :)

Paladin said...

Awesome work!

Re: Nailers. Growing up, I framed several entire houses, cabins, barns, workshops, etc. with my Dad. He taught me pretty much everything I know about building stuff. All that time we used regular old hammers. I have no idea how many millions and millions of nails I've driven in my lifetime.

Once I moved away from home and started my own family - Dad immediately went out and bought nailers. Oddly enough, he did the same thing when it came to manual post hole digger vs. PTO driven post hole augers for the tractor :)

And I agree - Nailers Rule !

Keads said...

I continue to be humbled Six. Looks great!

Six said...

Thanks Rev. At least I passed inspection!

Thanks Paladin. I'm sorry but I love that story. I can just picture your Dad chuckling :)

Thank you Keads. We'll see how the drywall goes!

RabidAlien said...

Awesome!!! After having lost a few sheets of drywall from the garage ceiling (those SUCK to hang solo), I've become a very big fan of sheetrock screws for pretty much every job imaginable. Wish I had the time/money/hardware/tools/mentorship to undertake larger projects like this, though.