How To Build a Dry Partition Wall

To build a dry partition wall, begin by measuring the length of the wall run, cut a bottom 2" x 4" plate and attach it to the bare subfloor.

Carpet will have to be pulled back to expose the subfloor. A bottom plate can be installed directly on top of ceramic tile, resilient floor tile, hardwood flooring or concrete.

To attach the wood plate to ceramic tile or concrete, drill 3/8" holes through the plate with a wood bit, then change to a concrete/masonry bit, set the plate in place and using the holes as a guide, drill 2" deep into the subfloor. Remove the wood plate and install metal or plastic expanders onto the subfloor. Now, set the bottom plate in place and use 3" x 3/8" lag bots with washers to attach the plate to the sub floor.

Nails may be used to attach the plate to a plywood subfloor or hardwood flooring.

With the bottom plate in place, strike a plumb line on the vertical, from floor to ceiling at each end of the wall and attach a full height 2" x 4" end stud, at each end.

These may be attached into drywall or plaster with 3" wood screws or, if the existing wall surface is wood, with nails.

With the bottom plate and end studs in place, strike a chalk line on the ceiling from end to end. This will be a guide for the top plate of the wall.

Cut a top plate to fit from end to and attach to the ceiling above with nails or screws. Align this top plate with the chalk line as you go.

Make layout marks at the edge of the top and bottom plates at 16" apart, starting at one end and working across to the other. Measure and cut the intermediate framing studs and attach these, at the marks, at top and bottom plates with screws or nails. Nails can be driven at an angle, through the face of the stud, upward into the top plate, and of course, the reverse at the bottom.

If the wall height exceeds 8', install a course of flat blocking at the mid span, from end to end, between the studs, staggering to allow for end nailing through a stud.

At this point, any electrical or cable may be pulled into the wall area and outlet boxes set.

Place 1/2" or 5/8" drywall at one side of the wall from floor to ceiling, securing with 1-5/8" drywall screws at 8" apart on the vertical and 6" apart on the top and bottom plates. Repeat the process on the opposite side of the wall and finish the surfaces with drywall compound.

Use at least 3 coats of drywall compound and ensure that all screw voids are filled flush.

Sand the entire surface after each application.

Once the drywall is finished, apply one coat of primer to the surfaces and paint with 2 coats of the desired color.


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