Building a non-load-bearing interior wall is a great way to divide a large room into two smaller rooms, add a closet to a bedroom, or add a pantry to a kitchen.
What is a Non-Load-Bearing Wall?
For this how-to video, we’ll show you how to build a non-load-bearing wall. But first, what is a non-load-bearing wall?
This type of wall does not support the structure of the house. You can tell if a wall is non-load-bearing if it runs parallel to the floor joists above it.
Here’s how to go about it.
Lay Out Location and Remove Interfering Trim
The first step in adding a non-load-bearing wall to a home involves laying out its location. Use a chalk line to mark the location for the wall on the floor.
Remove the trim from existing walls that will interfere with the new one. In this case, we are simply cutting out small pieces of base and crown molding rather than removing entire pieces.
If you use this technique, be sure to add the thickness of the drywall on either side of the stud to your measurement. Here, that’s four and a half inches total.
Remove Adjacent Drywall and Corner bead
One end of our wall will tie into a corner to extend the existing wall so we’re removing the metal drywall corner bead to allow a smoother transition between old drywall and new.
Lay Out Stud Locations
Before we start framing our non-load-bearing wall, we lay out the stud locations on the two-by-four bottom plate and top plates.
Studs should be centered every 16 inches.
Install Base and Top Plates
The first piece of the new wall to go in is the bottom plate and it’s attached to the floor with construction adhesive and screws.
Next, attach the first top plate to the adjacent walls and ceiling with nails, directly above the bottom plate. Use a level or plumb bob to find the location of the wall on the ceiling and mark it with a chalk line.
Stack a second top plate on the first to stiffen it and provide a nailing surface for crown molding later.
Position and Plumb Studs
The first studs go in where the new wall meets the existing walls and these pieces are nailed to the existing wall and to the new bottom and top plate.
Next, we begin filling in the studs in the middle based on the marks we made earlier. Even though the locations are marked top and bottom. We’re using a level to ensure each stud is perfectly plumb.
Nailing at an angle like this is called “toe-nailing” and it’s the most effective way to join studs to a plate that’s already in place.
If your wall includes a door, you’ll need a stud on either side that only goes up to the height of the door opening and two shorter studs on the inside to support the door header beam.
Install the header beam over the doorway, and cut out the bottom plate where the door is located.
Install Drywall and Door
Once you finish installing the remaining studs on their marks, the wall is ready to install drywall. Learn how to install drywall here. Finish the drywall with drywall tape and joint compound.
Lastly, install any door units in the new non-load-bearing wall as well as any moldings. Then prime and paint the new wall door and moldings.
Watch this video to learn more.
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