Framing Basement Walls Cost Estimator
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Whether you want more living space, need to add an extra bedroom or are simply seeking an easy way to increase the value of your home, finishing your basement is a logical and affordable choice. The first step in any basement finishing project, however, is framing the walls. Whether you’re hiring a pro to finish your basement or undertaking the project yourself, the materials needed and their average costs are the same and, as a homeowner, it’s important for you to understand those costs before committing to a project or contractor.
Are you ready to finish your basement or, do you need help framing the walls before completing the project yourself? Use our free lead generator to get in contact with professional basement contractors in your area today.
Table of Contents
- Framing Basement Walls Cost
- Framing Basement Wall Cost Factors
- Types of Wood for Basement Framing
- DIY or Hire A Pro?
- How to Frame A Basement Wall
- Find A Pro
Framing Basement Walls Cost
The framing step of a basement finishing project includes measuring and setting up wood frames and wall studs to outline the walls and openings of any room or rooms you add to your basement. The main material cost is for the wood or timber for the frames along with hardware to secure it.
While the size and number of walls dictate the exact cost of any project, most homeowners report spending, on average, about $1 per square foot for materials for framing alone — this doesn’t include the cost of insulation or drywall, which takes place later on in the finishing process. Therefore, a 125sf basement would require approximately $125 worth of framing materials, whereas a 500sf room would cost around $500.
Framing Basement Wall Cost Factors
The most important factors influencing the cost of materials used to frame basement walls are the size and number of rooms you intend to create. More walls and longer walls need more wood to create a frame, which costs more money. Another important cost factor involves obstructions such as windows and electrical panels as well as ceiling inconsistencies due to the presence of pipes and ducts. Each type of obstruction requires special framing additions and techniques that allow you to use and/or access these critical elements after the walls are in place. Therefore, each uses more wood than if the wall was solid and square. Finally, uneven walls or ceilings may also call for additional materials, such as shims, and different methods of securing the frames to the concrete floor of a basement can also cost more depending on the tools and accessories the project needs.
Types of Wood for Basement Framing
The main expense when it comes to basement framing is the wood or timber that outlines the walls and makes up the studs. While, for the most part, regular wood 2x4s are acceptable, it’s important to check local building codes regarding the type of treatment (or lack thereof) required in basements specifically, which can be prone to moisture penetration. Whether treated wood is required or not, it’s a good idea to use pressure-treated wood boards on all surfaces that come into contact with concrete, namely the bottom plates along the floor. This helps reduce water damage to the wall should your basement floors get wet.
DIY or Hire A Pro?
The frames of the walls set the standard for the look and finish of your new basement, establishing the orientation of the walls and the safety of the completed job. Framing basement walls isn’t a job for the amateur DIYer, though it’s possible as a DIY project if you have framing experience and easy access to the many specialized tools needed to do a proper framing job. One of the hardest elements of framing basement walls is accounting for obstructions, a task that doesn’t exist when you’re raising walls on an addition, for example.
For that reason, even if you intend to DIY the remaining aspects of your basement remodel, hiring a professional contractor to frame the walls is the best way to ensure a safe, effective job is completed up to code and in a reasonable timeframe. Professional contractors can account for all possible obstructions to build even, level walls that you can then insulate and drywall yourself. You don't even need to wait to get started. Connect with basement remodeling pros in your area today using our free lead generator.
How to Frame A Basement Wall
The process used to frame basement walls is pretty simple, conceptually speaking, but it’s a bit more time consuming in execution. It all relies on a good blueprint and solid plan of attack. In fact, before beginning any step of your basement remodeling project, make sure you completely clean out and measure the area and acquire any building permits required by your city. This will generally involve taking precise measurements, outlining features such as doors and windows, accounting for factors such as insulation and dampness and even adding required elements like egress windows. Once you’ve accomplished this, follow these broad steps to complete your basement framing project:
Gather and Understand the Tools Needed for Framing
One of the largest learning curves when it comes to framing walls isn't the method or process needed to complete the project, but the tools and materials you need to use to do so. Heavy-handed power tools, including a framing nailer, powder gun and air compressor, all have very specific operations that you need to practice with before beginning the framing process. Otherwise, you not only risk ruining the finished look of your basement, but you also might injure yourself in the process.
- Caulk gun
- Chalk line
- Circular saw
- Cordless drill/driver
- Drill bit set
- Dust mask
- Hammer drill
- Hearing protection
- Safety glasses
- Speed square
- Tape measure
- Utility knife
- Caulk/construction adhesive
- 2-1/2 in. concrete screws
- 1-5/8 in. screws
- 3-in. screws
- 8d nails
- 16d nails
Secure the Bottom Plate
Begin the project by figuring out the positioning of the first wall. From there, secure the bottom plate of pressure-treated wood and a non-pressure-treated top plate to the floor along that line according to the following steps:
- Draw out the position of the wall by snapping a chalk line approximately 4 inches away from the exterior concrete wall or insulation.
- Cut your 2x4 pressure-treated stud to fit this line, and then cut two non-treated 2x4s of the same length. One is the top plate that sits on top of the pressure-treated piece, and the other is the top frame.
- Use the caulk gun to squiggle construction-grade adhesive from the line approximately 3 inches back towards the wall. Lay the pressure-treated wood on top of it, lifting once to distribute the adhesive.
- Use a powder-actuated nail gun fitted with concrete nails to secure the bottom plate in place into the basement floor.
Measure, Cut & Mark Studs
Clamp together the pre-cut non-treated 2x4s and measure and mark the studs for the wall at a rate of 16 inches on center, placing a line and an "X" on both the top and bottom frame board. To make sure this task is accurate, be sure to:
- Adjust each mark by ¾-inch to account for your first layout mark.
- Use a framing square to facilitate even layout marks.
- Keep a consistent 16-inch layout, even if you break the wall for a pipe or window.
- Be sure the plates (studs) you use are straight.
- Place studs on the proper side of the layout mark to maintain the even distribution of the load.
Build the Wall in Place
The easiest way to build a basement wall is to do so "in place" rather than to lay it out flat and raise it. The reason for this is that basements, by definition, are often uneven. By building the wall in place, you can better account for the varying heights. Build each stud using a level to the same length and then shim where needed for an even wall. Use the framing nail gun to secure the top and bottom plates to the ceiling, and then secure pressure-treated wood. Follow the outline created in the previous step to secure the studs in the proper place, being sure to measure that each is plumb (level) along the way.
For more information and a better picture of the work involved to frame basement walls on your own, please watch the video below.
Find A Pro
The help and expertise that professional basement contractors provide can be invaluable when it comes to the task of taking an idea for a finished basement and making it a reality. Whether you just want them to complete the framing or do the whole job, use our free lead generator to connect with qualified pros close to home to get your basement remodel project off to the right start.
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Last updated on Feb 2, 2017