How your Los Angeles contractor will frame a wall

How your Los Angeles contractor will frame a wall

You’ve probably watched Bob Vila do it a thousand times, but what does it really take to frame a wall?

It actually may not be as easy as it looks. And in this case, it’s especially important to do as the experts advise: Measure twice and cut once, because one wrong cut may mean you need to disassemble all your hard work.

Because framing a wall involves a lot of precision and skill, you might want to consider hiring a Los Angeles contractor if you feel it is above your own skill level.

A professional will have the right training and tools to efficiently and safely frame the walls needed for your project. Sign in to Angie’s List to see which contractors have been highly rated by members in your area.

If you’re adventurous and decide to tackle the project on your own, you first need to decide the nature of the wall. Are you adding a wall, or are you finishing a previously unfinished area like a basement?

Is it a solid wall, or is there a door or window that needs to be taken into consideration? Is it an interior or exterior wall?

Experts recommend you first plot out the wall on graph paper. This will ensure that you are taking all measurements into account and that you will buy the correct amount of supplies, including two 10d (3-inch) nails for each place you expect to attach wood to wood.

Remember when buying supplies, it’s best to buy a little more than you actually need. This will account for lost pieces or damaged products.

If you are working in an interior room, you will need to remove any moldings, using a hammer and/or a pry bar. If you intend to reuse the molding, remove with caution so you don’t damage it in the process.

The actual wall is made up of a “top plate,” made of a 2x4 that runs along the top and a “sole plate,” made of a 2x4 that runs along the bottom, with 2x4 studs spaced at 16-inch intervals in-between. The nails run through the top and sole plates into the top of the studs.

If possible, you will want to place the studs “on center,” meaning the center of one stud to the center of the other. This allows for easy placement of drywall, which usually comes in 4-foot by 8-foot sheets. However, the first 16 inches starts from the outer edge of the end stud or plate of the frame.

For ease of movement, you may want to make several frames that are eventually nailed together. For instance, your wall may be 12 feet wide, but it may be easier for you to move two 6-foot frames. Just remember if you do this, you need to measure starting at the outer edge of each frame; otherwise your total frame may be too long.

Depending on the nature of the wall you want to build, you may need to include more support to your structure by adding “braces” or pieces of 2x4 wood cut to fit between the studs. Hammer a 10d nail through the brace and into the stud at a 45- to 60-degree angle. Experts recommend first drilling a hole slightly smaller than the nail.

Nail the top plate into the ceiling and the sole plate into the floor – if it is wood – with 10d nails. For sole plates secured to concrete, you should predrill a hole and use anchor screws.

Be careful when cutting into the existing walls. First locate the studs with a stud-finder and try to avoid any electrical wiring.

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It's not always easy to spot studs in your drywall. (Photo courtesy of
It's not always easy to spot studs in your drywall. (Photo courtesy of

We’ve all been there, right? “Oh, I just need to find a stud to hang this picture” and fifteen holes later you’re convinced the wall is held up by pixie dust and a wish, because apparently there’s no wood behind it.

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