How to Frame and Sheetrock a Wall

Lead Image
  • 4-8 hours
  • Advanced
  • 100-900
What You'll Need
2 x 4s
Drywall finishing materials and tools
Tape measure
Electric screwdriver or drill

To remodel a home or create a new room, you may need to frame walls. Whether you are doing several walls or only one, the process is the same. Framing and finishing walls are not difficult tasks, and if you can learn the process, it will help you in many construction projects.

Measure and Square

Before you begin any kind of construction, you will need to measure to determine the exact location of the wall and be sure it will create the size room you want.

Be certain that you use a measuring tape, a level, and a square to mark the location of your new wall so that you can ensure a square wall. You will find innumerable problems ensue from walls that are not square.

Mark for Construction

Use a chalk line along the floor or mark from a top rafter to guide your building. If you are using a top rafter of an unfinished room, it is an easy process. If it is in a finished room, use a stud finder to locate a rafter and mark along the rafter every 12 to 24 inches so that you can keep your wall lined up. Using a straight edge or chalk line, make a line along the ceiling to mark where the top plate will go.

Install the Top Plate

Cut the top plate out of 2x4 to the length of the wall. Install into ceiling rafter using 3-inch wood screws

Remove Moldings

Cut or chip away base moldings and any crown moldings that are in places where the new wall needs to attach. The new wall will be about 4½ inches thick if you use ½-inch drywall.

Mark Base Plate

Use a plumb line hanging down from either end of the top plate and mark the place on the floor where the base plate will be installed. Make a mark at either end and use a chalk line to draw a line between. Cut and install the base plate. As you cut the base plate, also cut a second top plate.

Mark Stud Placement

Put the base plate and top plate together and mark the places for the studs, starting in 1½ inches from the edge. Mark them every 16 inches. Put three studs at the corner, whether or not it is on a 16-inch measure.

Install Studs

Measure from the bottom of the nailed-up top plate and the floor to get the length of the studs, subtracting 1½ inches for the top plate and bottom plate. Cut studs. Nail studs into place using a nail gun or hammer.

Install Wall

Lift the frame from the floor and attach it to the top plate already secured to the ceiling with 3-inch screws.

Install Drywall

Use drywall screws to install pieces of drywall in as large a section as possible. Cut other pieces to finish, keeping a 1/8-inch or smaller space between sections.

Mud and Finish

Using a slightly thinned drywall compound and a 4-inch drywall knife, spread joint compound on the spaces between the drywall boards. Dip the drywall tape quickly in water to wet both sides, place over joint, then use a dampened drywall knife to smooth any excess joint compound and firmly attach the tape.

Allow it to dry, then reapply the compound several times. Sand with fine-grit sandpaper before priming and painting.