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How to Build a New Interior Wall

Last modified: 2020-09-01 | Approximate reading time 5 mins

Amanda Harvey

If you’re living under a roof where privacy is a privilege, you might be thinking about how you can section off the rooms of your home to make them more intimate. Building a non-bearing interior wall can add an element of separation and independence to even the most open of spaces. This project requires basic carpentry skills, as well as tools to go along with them.

Building an interior wall will greatly depend on the existing structure, including the floors, walls, and ceiling. You may have to make a few minor adjustments to accommodate the new structure, but have no fear! If you’re interested in creating a new wall for whatever reason, read on to find our step by step guide for this project. 

Here's how to build an interior wall!

1- Measure and mark

measuring tools_renoquotes

source: Pixabay, jin3068

First off, determine where you want the wall to go, looking at the existing structure. You’ll need to remove anything obstructing where your new wall will be placed, including plasterboard, as this will allow you to see ceiling joists and wall studs. If these are not visible, you will require a stud finder to locate the studs and joists.

Once this has been completed, mark the centre line of the new wall you are going to build, using chalk to draw a line across the ceiling. Next, you must measure half the width of the wall and mark this in either direction. Plan to insert a stud at each end to hold the wall in place.

Following this, measure the placement of each wall stud onto the wall plates, laying both top and bottom plates side-by-side on the floor. Make sure to measure as carefully as possible, marking perpendicular lines across the plates. Use a combination square so that the studs will align correctly. 

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2- Insert the ceiling plate

Make sure that before you begin working with tools that you wear protective eyewear, as well as ear protection if you’re working with loud machinery. Be certain to ask for help lifting items if necessary. If the joists have not yet been located in the ceiling, now is the time to do so. If your new wall is going to be perpendicular to the ceiling joists, plan to attach the wall where the joists intersect.

However, if the wall is parallel, you have more than one choice. One option is to locate your new wall directly underneath one of the joists, and the other is to install nailing blocks every 16-inches between the placement of the joists. These blocks will act as a border for your new wall to be nailed directly into.

Once you’ve decided on your method of operation, hold the top ceiling plate in position along the guideline that you’ve marked. Once in place, nail through and into the ceiling, or the nailing blocks if you’ve chosen this style. Use 3 ½ inch nails, and work to fasten the plate neatly in place. 

3- Plumb bob and insert studs

interiorwall_renoquotes.com

source: Flickr

Now that the ceiling plate has been inserted, hang a plumb bob from either end of the plate. A plumb bob is a string with a weight resting at the end. Following this, mark the floor directly below the bobs to know where the bottom plate will be located. Use chalk to draw a line along the floor between the marks. Now, nail the floor plate in place, staggering nails in the same fashion as the ceiling.

Next, measure the height of the room, and subtract the combined thickness of the two plates. This will help you to determine the length of your studs. Now, if studs have not been precut, cut and place the studs between the top and bottom plates, attaching them with nails or screws. You can do this by lifting the stud into position and lining it up on its mark, making sure it is flush with the edges of both plates. You can check the plumb using a carpenter’s level. 

4- Form connections and insert the wall

Now, it’s time to lift the new wall into place. Line it up directly with the chalk line you made across the floor, but also make sure to line it up with the line on the ceiling. Again, use the level to make sure the wall is vertical. If gaps exist between the wall and ceiling, shim them. Nail or screw the wall into place in the ceiling joists. Further, if there is a wall on either side of the new wall, secure it in place there as well.

Steps to follow What you need to do
1) Measure and mark
  • determine where you want the wall to be located ;
  • find out what might stand in the way of your new wall (including plasterboard to find out where the joists and studs are located) ;
  • mark the center line of the new wall you'll build ;
  • measure half the width of the wall and mark it one way or the other ;
  • measure the position of each stud on the wall plates (one at each end of the wall) ;
  • determine the position of the studs on the wall plates by marking perpendicular lines across the plates.
2) Insert the ceiling plate
  • if this has not already been done, determine the location of the joists ;
  • if your new wall is to be perpendicular to the ceiling joists, you will need to attach the wall to the intersection of the joists ;
  • if the wall is parallel, you can place your new wall under one of the joists or install blocks every 16 inches between the joists ;
  • hold the top ceiling plate in position along the guideline and nail it through and into the ceiling or in the nailing blocks (with 3 1/2-inch nails) if you have chosen this type of installation.
3) Use the plumb wire and place the studs
  • hang a plumb wire at one end of the plate ;
  • mark the ground under the tip of the plumb wire to find out where the lower plate will be located ;
  • use a chalk to draw a line along the ground between the marks ;
  • nail the floor plate in place by shifting the nails in the same way as those on the ceiling.
4) Form contacts and insert the wall
  • measure the height of the room and subtract the combined thickness of the two plates ;
  • now, if the studs have not been pre-cut, cut them and place them between the top and bottom plates by fixing them with nails or screws ;
  • to do this, lift the stud and align it with its marker, making sure it is aligned with the edges of the two plates.

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