Framing your basement walls is the first phase of learning how to finish a basement. I do love the smell of lumber dust on a cool fall morning.
Don’t worry, it’s not as hard as it looks, but it’s one of the steeper learning curves. Once you get the basic concepts down it’s just rinse and repeat.
Some of the more intimidating steps are just leading up to the actual framing.
I had never used a framing gun, an air compressor, a chop saw or any of those tools before so most of my time spent initially was just learning how to set those up and use them properly. I’ve divided the posts for wall framing into two sections.
Section 1. Thinking about Framing Your Basement Walls
Start here, hopefully this has answers to all of your pre-framing wall framing questions. You don’t need any of the big boy tools to build one or two walls, you can start this weekend and be done the next.
One Small Wall – You just need a little wall and you don’t want to wait. No sweat, I get it. I needed one too. Here’s a basic, low cost way to start learning how to frame basement walls.
Permits and Inspections - Have you been holding off because of permit questions, maybe this article will put your mind at ease.
Buying Lumber – Not really sure how to buy wood? Weird right? But true, I didn’t know either. I wrote everything down and took some pics, check it out.
Existing Basement Wall Insulation – Keep it up or remove it before framing your basement? You can’t really start until you decide so might as well give this article a gander.
Design Your Finished Basement - All about planning your rooms – get out your crayons and your pencils or better yet, do it on a computer. It’s work, but it’s fun, you need to plan your basement walls. I walk you through it and show my exact basement design.
Section 2. Actually Framing Basement Walls
Taking the big plunge, getting a boat load of lumber delivered, having your permits, using some kick-ass tools, full-on basement framing nirvana!!
How to Build a Wall – Framing a wall on the ground and then lifting it into place seems to makes sense but ultimately it’s the slow and hard way to do it for a basement project. See why framing a wall in place is really the best way to do it.
Installing Wall Blocking – What is blocking and why you’ll definitely need some when you go to frame your basement walls. This seems simple now, but when I was just starting this blocking stuff was hard to grasp. Hopefully this post will help you understand the concept of blocking.
Concrete Guns – (aka masonry guns, aka KaBoom!) – Ummmm Scary? Not really, this article tell you why you need one. Securing a framed wall to the concrete floor has never been more fun.
How to Cover Basement Poles - Basement poles are unsightly but with a little forethought you can take advantage of this design challenge. Start with a good design and proper framing.
Framing Around Duct Work – Building a soffit (framing for your ductwork) is a bit more advanced than just putting up four walls and a door for a room. The precision is important if you want it to look good in the end. It took me about two weekends to get right, but the feedback I got was really great and I solved a noisy pipe problem along the way.
Framing for Basement Doors – At some point in your wall you’re going to want to have a door. Trust me, I tried busting through a wall like the Kool Aid guy once in college, it’s not as fun as it looks on t.v.
Framing Basement Windows – How do you frame around those short little basement windows? That’s what you’re wondering right? I was. I gotcha covered. It’s easier than you think but it is a pain if you frame them wrong.
Fire Blocking – What the heck is fire blocking? How do you fire block. These answers plus the I reveal the previously unknown 9th wonder of the world.
Register Extensions – Until you get to this part of framing your basement this will make almost no sense But… when you get there, come back here and read this. This took me 3 days to figure out, you can do it in one!
Once you’ve got framing about 25% complete you should stop and take some time to think about your electrical plan. You’ve probably got long extension cords all over the place by now, so you can watch TV or listen to the radio while you work. I had an extra fridge so I had it plugged in to keep my beers cold. The one little plug down there was really taking a beating.
Take a few weeks to learn and try out electrical wiring. The electrical phase won’t affect your framing design to much but it will give you a couple of ideas and answer a few questions. Check out the electrical section.
Framing can also affect your drywall phase, be sure to get a brief overview of installing drywall before you start.
Sorry this section isn’t completely “framed out” yet but I’ll have the remaining articles and videos up soon. In the mean-time if you have a question feel free to email me or leave a comment. I’m happy to answer it.
More Frame-Worthy Articles:
- What are the other phases to finish a basement?
- Not sure where to start? Check out the getting started page.
- Would you prefer HD videos on how to frame basement walls instead?