How to Partition a Stud Wall

Written by amanda flanders
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How to Partition a Stud Wall
Partition walls are interior walls that separate rooms. (hall construction image by jimcox40 from

Framing partition walls is not a hard job. It takes a little planning before the installation. One wrong measurement can cause hour of frustration, having to rip the wall apart. Miscalculating the amount of materials needed will mean another trip to the lumber store.

Most partition walls are framed, using "2x4 wall studs". Framing plumbing walls, use "2x6 wall studs". A partition wall has a "top plate", which is the top of the wall running horizontal to the framing, a "bottom plate", which is the bottom of the wall running horizontal to the framing and the wall studs, which run vertically to the top and bottom plates. The wall studs are typically spaced sixteen inches on centre or two feet on centre. These measurements correspond with the "4x8 sheets" of drywall or plywood.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • 2x4 wall studs or 2x6 wall studs
  • Chalk-line
  • Rafter angle square
  • Pencil
  • Measuring tape
  • 3-inch nails
  • Hammer

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  1. 1

    Mark out the location of the wall. Using a chalk line, snap a line on the floor and ceiling to mark the location of the top and bottom of the wall.

  2. 2

    Using two wall studs, measure and mark with a pencil the length of the wall on the studs. Using a rafter angle square, which is a triangle-shaped tool to draw straight lines, draw a line on the mark. Cut the studs to the length with a saw. These are the top and bottom plates of the wall.

  3. 3

    Lay the top and bottom plates on the floor parallel to each other in the location where the wall will be placed. Mark on the top and bottom plates every 16 inches. Use the rafter square to draw a straight line on the marks. The marks on both studs should line up. The lines are the location where the wall framing studs will go. There will be a starter stud on the end and the other end will have a stud finishing the wall framing, the measurement may be less than 16 inches.

  4. 4

    Measure every 16 inches from the ceiling to the floor in the location where the wall will be installed. If the measurements are the same, cut all the wall studs needed at the same measurement. If the measurements from the ceiling to the floor are not the same, cut each wall stud at the appropriate length. Lay out each wall stud on the floor. Line up each wall stud to the centre of the marks on the top and bottom plates. Using 3-inch nails, hammer each stud into place on the top and bottom plate.

  5. 5

    Screw two 12-inch blocks of wood, one on each end, on the outside of the chalk-line. Push the bottom plate of the wall up to the 12-inch blocks. The blocks will prevent the wall from sliding as you lift it into place. If the wall is long, find someone to help. Lift the top plate up to stand the wall into place. Line the wall up to the chalk-line. Nail the wall into place. The partition wall is now ready to drywall.

Tips and warnings

  • Use construction adhesive to fasten the bottom plate when installing a wall on concrete floors and use a powder-actuated nail gun. A power-actuated nail gun shoots nails like bullets into the concrete.
  • Nails or screws can be used to fasten the wall together and in place.
  • Install blocking between the ceiling rafters if the wall is to be installed parallel with the rafters, it will create a nailing surface for the wall or line the wall up with a rafter, if possible.
  • Rough wire or install plumbing pipes before finishing the wall with drywall.
  • Check if the wall is load-bearing. A load-bearing wall should not be removed. If you do tear the wall out, use temporary bracing.
  • Wear safety goggles when using the saw.

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