How to build a stud wall on concrete

Updated February 21, 2017

Stud walls are the basic structural unit for any home or building. Simple to make with little but 2-by-4 boards and nails, you can frame a complete room in a day's work. With a new stud wall, you can convert a garage into car space with an attached play room, or create a bedroom or bathroom in the basement. Even attaching your stud wall to the concrete is not as hard as it sounds.

Mark the distance from an existing wall, on both the ceiling and the floor, at both ends of your desired stud wall. Hang a plumb bob from the ceiling to verify that the mark on the floor is level with the ceiling (where the plumb bob points is exact centre to where it is held.) Hold a chalk line up to both marks, ceiling first and floor last, to snap the line and mark exactly where the wall will be erected.

Measure diagonally, from the existing wall to your anticipated wall in the opposite corner. Repeat with the other corner, and compare figures; if they are the same, your wall will prove square. Adjust your chalk line as necessary to achieve square.

Locate your ceiling joists or structural support, if the wall does not run directly underneath a solid wood surface. Mark each joist on either side of the chalk line, so you will know where to nail the stud wall in.

Lay a treated 2-by-4 (called a "stud") on the floor, on edge with the thin side up and the wider side facing you--this will be your bottom plate, which will attach to your concrete floor. Use a tape measure, starting at the beginning of the bottom plate, and mark the thin edge every 16 inches; you can also place studs every 24 inches, but 16 is preferable for strength.

Place the non-treated 2-by-4 at each mark, with the end of the studs against the wide edge of the bottom and the thin side facing up.

Nail non-treated 2-by-4s to the bottom plate, nailing through the bottom plate and into the end of the stud. Move to the exposed end of the studs and place a non-treated 2-by-4 similarly against the stud ends. Nail through the plate and into the stud ends again.

Repeat process for each stud wall you want. Attach two stud walls, if wall needs to be longer than 8 feet, by nailing the end studs together.

Spread construction adhesive on the bottom of the bottom plate, where it will contact the cement, and along the top plate if desired. Erect your new stud wall, getting help as needed to raise and hold in place. Line the stud wall up with both the floor and ceiling marks.

Nail the stud wall bottom plate to the concrete, using a hammer and masonry nails or preferably a powder actuated nail gun, which drives nails through the concrete with ease. Place nails every 12 inches, two at a time.

Secure the top plate of your stud wall at every point indicated on the ceiling. Drive nails into ceiling structural support, two at each point nailed.

Attach your new stud wall to the side wall where it connects. Nail to existing wall every 12 inches, two nails at a time, again.


Consult your local building authority to make sure if you need a building permit, and to ensure that any building codes are followed. In some instances, you may need to have your finished construction inspected as well.

Things You'll Need

  • Treated 2-by-4 studs
  • Untreated 2-by-4 studs
  • Tape measure
  • Pencil
  • Plumb bob
  • Chalk line
  • Hammer
  • Nails
  • Powder actuated nail gun
  • Construction adhesive
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About the Author

Karie Fay earned a Bachelor of Science in psychology with a minor in law from the University of Arkansas at Monticello. After growing up in construction and with more than 30 years in the field, she believes a girl can swing a hammer with the best of them. She enjoys "green" or innovative solutions and unusual construction.