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How to Frame a Wall the Right Way

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How to frame a wall? You’ve just finished your shed foundation and floor and now it’s time to build the shed walls. Framing shed walls isn’t that difficult…And to help you get your shed walls up and make them strong to give a good support for the roof I have put together this helpful guide.

In the article on how to frame a wall I’m going to go over “how to frame the walls”, “how to frame a wall corner”, “how to frame a wall with a window”, “how to frame a wall with a door”and “installing the wall sheeting”.

Framing Shed Walls [How to Frame a Wall]

I will be using the same example shed of 8’-0” x 12’-0” for the guide. Here’s a list of the materials you will need for the sheds walls. I always use double top plates, so the corners are locked together, as well I use ½ inch plywood wall sheeting which really strengthens the shed.




Materials

6 – 2x4s 12 feet long. [plates].

6 – 2x4s 8 feet long. [plates].

38 – 2×4 studs.

10 – 4×8 sheets of ½ inch plywood.

3 ¼ inch common nails for wall framing.

2 inch or 2 ¼ inch common nails for nailing sheeting.

NOTE

Depending on the size of any windows and doors you’ll need a few extra 2x4s and enough 2x8s to build the header.

I haven’t given you a quantity for the nails, you can get enough for the complete shed build and depending if you’re going to nailing by hand or using an air nailing gun will determine how many nails you’ll need and the type. You can also use screws if you prefer them.

I’m not going to be giving you a tool list, by this stage you have already done the foundation and floor so you likely have the tools needed to frame a wall.

How to Frame a Wall

I’m going to go over how to frame the 2 long walls and the 2 short walls in detail. Just follow the steps.

Step 1] Wall Height… You need to determine the height of the walls, and depending on what type of shed your building you will use the stud length required to give you the finished ceiling height you want. The standard height is 8’-1”. To find the cutting length for the studs, subtract 4 ½ inches [3 plates] from 8’-1” which gives you a stud length of 92 ½ inches.

Ryans Shed Plans

You can buy your studs pre-cut which are normally cut to 92 5/8 inch which allows for the dry walled ceiling and flooring material so the ceiling will finish at 8 feet. Depending on the wall finish you’ll be using you’ll want to have enough height so the material will fit without having to cut. Nearly all interior finishes [drywall, paneling] are 4 feet in width so having a finished ceiling of 8 foot 1 inch allows for the thickness of the ceiling finish.

Step 2] Layout For Plates… The first thing to do is snap some lines on the inside on the floor, if your using 2x4s and ½ inch plywood you would snap lines 4 inches in from the outside of the base. If 3/8 plywood or OSB is cheaper in your area you would snap lines 3 7/8 inch back.

You’ll find these lines very helpful especially if you sheeted the walls before standing them up. Now you just follow the line without having to go to the outside to flush up the wall with the floor base. Just be sure the outside of the wall is flush with sheeting line.

Now it’s time to cut the plates, you need to determine if you’re going to run the plates full length and let the sheeting overhang the floor. This will mean you’ll have to sheet the box joist of the floor to match the wall. Or you can cut the plates back the thickness of the sheeting.

If you’re going to cut the plates back [this is the way I do it] then you’ll cut 4 of the 6 – 12 foot 2x4s less the thickness of the sheeting. If you’re using ½ inch sheeting you would cut the 4 – 12 plates down to 11’-11”. If you’re using a different thickness of sheeting then cut twice off of the sheeting thickness.




You can cut the 8 foot 2×4 plates to fit in between the 2 – 12 foot walls, remember to only cut 4 of the 6 plates to this length. Once the walls are up and braced you can install the top plate, begin by cutting the 2 – 8 foot plates so they will overlap on both sides of the 12 foot wall ends and then cut the other 2 – 12 foot 2x4s to fit between, now the walls are locked together. You can also nail the top double plate to the long walls before standing the walls if you want.

If you have some plans you can follow the layout for the type and size of shed your building, if you don’t have a good shed plan then I recommend you check out “Ryan’s Shed Plans” for lots of good plans and designs. You can see them here.

Step 3] Mark the Plates Long Walls… Now you’ll need to lay the plates on the deck and flush up the ends, beginning from right to left [or left to right depending on what’s best for you] hold your tape on the end and make a mark at 15 ¼ inch and put an x on the side that the stud will be. Put an elongated x to show the location of the corner 2×4.

Now measure over 16” and make marks and xs as you go, or if you have a framing square you can layout the plates using the 16 inch side. Proceed to the end and mark the location of the other corner. Do this layout for both of the longer walls. I have added a diagram so you can see the layout for the wall.

How to frame a wall long plates

Step 4] Mark the Plates Short Walls… Now you can mark the plates and layout the studs for the 2 shorter walls. I have added a diagram so you can follow along.

How to Frame a Wall CornerHow to Frame a Wall Corner

The simplest and most effective way to frame a wall corner is to make an “L” shaped corner using two of the wall studs. This is the way I have shown it in the above drawing of the long 12 foot wall framing.

This method provides support and backing for the interior finish and exterior finish to attach too. It also is perfect if you need to run electrical or other wires around a framed corner. Another advantage is there is room to add insulation right tight to the framing so you don’t have any dead air spaces that can’t be insulated.

How to Frame a Wall With a Window

It likely that you’re going to have a window or two in the building; in this section I’m going to go over how to frame a wall with a window in it. Industry standard for regular sized windows is to frame the opening the same size as the window. Most windows are made a bit smaller than the actual size given.

An example would be a 3’ x 2’ window… This would mean the window is 3 feet wide and 2 feet height, the width of the window is usually given first followed by the height. For a 3’ x 2’ sized window you would frame the opening 3’ x 2’ and the actual window size would be 35 ½ inches by 23 ½ inches.

Be sure to double check the size of the window, especially if you’re using used windows of custom made windows. You are able to have a window made to any size, but the cost will be more than choosing a standard sized window.

Download Shed Plan

When framing an opening in a wall, either a window or door you’re going to need a header, a header is a built up beam made with 2 – 2x6s, 2 – 2x8s or 2 – 2x10s that is placed above the opening to take the weight of the roof and transfer it via the header and cripple studs to the floor and to the foundation.

The industry stand is 2 – 2x10s or 3 – 2x10s depending on your wall thickness, if you’re building a home or other structural building the header requirements will be stated in the plan. But for the purpose of this article it will be for a storage shed. In the example shed of 8×12, I will be using 2x8s for the window and door header.

I’ve added a drawing showing the layout for a window, I’ll be using the example of a 3’ x 2’ window. I’m not going show on which wall the windows going as yours may be in a different location. I’m going to be using the standard height of 7 feet to the top; however you can change yours to suit your needs.

Below the drawing are the steps for framing a wall with a window:

How to Frame a Wall With a Window

The Steps For Laying Out a Wall With a Window

I will be adding a window to the 12 foot wall in the example shed, I also have centered it in the wall. You can put your window anywhere you want and in any wall you want, just follow your plan. If you don’t have a plan you can check out Ryan’s Shed Plans Here.

Step 1] Plates… Begin by choosing which wall you’re going to be putting your window and cut the plates to length. Next lay the plates on edge and flush up the ends.

Step 2] Layout… Mark the ends and location of the corners first, next mark out the center of the window and then measure half of the window size to the left and to the right. Next draw a line across the plates and mark a “C” for the cripple location and then mark a stud on side of cripple with a “X” see window wall with window drawing above.




Step 3] Cut Cripples… I have chosen 7 feet for my window height, less the 2×4 filler. You may want a different window height so to determine the cripple cutting length measure from the floor to 7 feet and remember to shorten the 2 cripples the thickness of the bottom plate [1 ½ inches].

Cripple and Header Nailing
***Cripple and Header Nailing***

Step 4] Cut Studs… If you haven’t already cut your wall studs to length you can do it now.

Step 5] Attach Cripples to Studs… Now nail the 2 cripples to 2 studs, make sure the bottoms are flush and the edges are lined up. Using 3 inch nails put 2 nails every 16 inches apart and 3 inches in from the top and bottom, keep the nails about 1 inch in from the outside edge to avoid splitting.

Step 6] Cut Header and Install… You want to cut the header so it sits on the cripples, in the example of the 3 foot wide window the header will be cut 3’- 3” that’s 3 foot for the required opening plus 3 inches so it will sit on top of the cripples. Nail the header with 3 – 3” nails 2 inches in from the end and approx. every 16 inches. Install the header and nail in place with 3 inch nails thru the stud into the header. Use 6 – 3 inch nails on both stud ends.

NOTE

You can cut a piece of ½ inch plywood to fit in between the header so it will make the header 3 ½ inches thick to match the wall thickness.

Step 7] Install 2×4 Filler… Now cut and nail into place the 2×4 filler. Next measure down the windows width of 2 feet and make the top of the bottom window plate.

Step 8] Cut and Install Window Cripples… Cut the required number of lower window cripples, in this example there are 4. You can nail the top and bottom plates into the window framing studs to secure the unit into place. And then nail the bottom window plate [3’] into place.

Step 9] Cut and Install Short Upper Studs… I only use 2 to provide backing for the sheeting and interior finishing. Nail thru from the top place and toe nail into the header.

Step 10] Complete Wall… Now you nail the rest of the studs into place and install the top double plate.

How to Frame a Wall With a Door Opening

You have a few options with framing a door depending on the purpose and what you’re going to be using the shed for.

Number 1] Interior Door… This will be the least expensive choice, however it is very limited with providing security and you’ll need to add a strip of wood to the bottom to keep the critters out. It also doesn’t provide much insulating value.

Number 2] Exterior Door… These come pre-hung with the sill, frame, weather-stripping and you can have them double drilled so you can add a deadbolt lock for added security. These types of doors are insulated and you can get them with windows in them if you want some extra light. They are the most expensive choice, but are very easy to install providing you have framed the door opening in the wall correctly.

Ryans Shed Plans

Number 3] Homemade Door… This is a great option if you need a wider opening for storing yard equipment or even your prized motorcycle. Making a door from ¾ inch plywood will give you the flexibility to custom the size to suit your needs. You can even make it thicker to allow the installation of insulation.

Number 4] Overhead Door… While not a common choice with a shed, depending on your situation and needs it may be a good option.

For the purpose of this article I’m going to go over how to frame a wall with a pre-hung exterior grade door as it’s the most common choice.

Below is the framing layout drawing followed by the steps to frame:

How to Frame a Wall With a Door

The Steps For Laying Out a Wall With a Door

I’m going to be using a pre-hung 3’- 0” x 6’- 8” metal insulated door. Using a pre hung door will require a ruff opening of 3’- 2” x 7’- 0” for the door to fit into. The rule of thumb is to frame your opening 7 feet height and 2 inches bigger than the door size. If you’re using a good set of plans than the door opening size will be shown on your plan.

If you need some plans to build your shed, I’m going to recommend your take a look at “Ryan’s Shed Plans” which have tons of different plans to choose from you can see them here.

Step 1] Plates… You’ll need to decide where the door is going; I have used the same wall as my example. Cut the wall plates and lay them on the deck and even the ends so there ready to mark.

Step 2] Layout The Plates…Begin with the end corners, next mark out the center to where you want to locate your door. Than measure over have the ruff opening size to the left and to the right. I’m using a 36 inch door so I will measure over 19 inches on each side of the center line. Mark the plates and draw a line across them and pot a “C” to show where the cripple will go. Right beside the cripple mark an “X” which is the stud.

Step 3] Cutting the Cripples… The ruff opening for a pre-hung door is 7 feet, you’ll need to cut 2 cripples 7 feet plus the 1 ½ thickness of the 2×4 filler. There’s no floor plate in a door opening.

Step 4] Cutting the Studs… You can cut the studs now.

Step 5] Attach Cripples to Studs… Now nail the 2 cripples to 2 studs, make sure the bottoms are flush and the edges are lined up. Using 3 inch nails put 2 nails every 16 inches apart and 3 inches in from the top and bottom, keep the nails about 1 inch in from the outside edge to avoid splitting.

Step 6] Cut Header and Install… You want to cut the header so it sits on the cripples, in the example of the 3 foot door the header will be cut 3’- 5” that’s 3’- 2” for the required opening plus 3 inches so it will sit on top of the cripples. Nail the header with 3 – 3” nails 2 inches in from the end and approx. every 16 inches. Install the header and nail in place with 3 inch nails thru the stud into the header. Use 6 – 3 inch nails on both stud ends.

NOTE

You can cut a piece of ½ inch plywood to fit in between the header so it will make the header 3 ½ inches thick to match the wall thickness.

Step 7] Install 2×4 Filler… Now cut and nail into place the 2×4 filler.

Step 8] Cut and Install Short Upper Studs… I only use 2 to provide backing for the sheeting and interior finishing. Nail thru from the top place and toe nail into the header.

Step 10] Complete Wall… Now you nail the rest of the studs into place and install the top double plate.

How to Install Wall Sheeting

There are 2 options for installing wall sheeting and you can use either method or combine the methods depending on your situation and if you have a helper to lift the walls into place. If you’re not sure what type of plywood you should sheet the walls with, read my article “What Are The Best Types of Plywood For a Shed?you can read it here.

Option 1] Sheet the Before Raising… This is a great option if you have a helper with the construction and for lifting the walls into place. Once you have framed the wall be sure to square it up and follow the wall layout to ensure the plywood will fit on the stud centers, this will save you time and money on having to cut full sheets to fit on the studs.

You can also use the full 4×8 sheets to square up the walls. Line up the bottom of the plywood with the bottom of the wall plate and then line up the outside of the wall so it’s flush with the plywood. This method works well on short walls up to 12 feet long.

Note

Be sure to use a 3 inch nail as a spacer between the bottom and top sheets, you need this space to allow for any shrinkage that will take place over time.

Don’t install the sheeting vertically, always install the sheeting length ways. This is the strongest way that gives the structure lateral support.

Option 2] Sheet the Walls After… If you’re working alone this option will allow you to put the walls up without the sheeting and then you can sheet the walls later.

How to Frame a Wall [The Easiest Way]

Framing a wall supportsFollow these steps and you won’t have any problems with your built.

Step 1] Build the rear long wall first, you can sheet it before lifting or after. Have a couple 2x4s ready for bracing the wall in place. Brace it on the outside to the floor base. Nail a couple of short blocks of 2x4s to the base as support for the wall as your raising it.

Step 2] Next build the shorter end walls and don’t sheet them before standing them up. Nail the short walls into place. Add a temporary brace inside and then remove the brace from the outside. Now sheet the short walls and let the sheeting stick past the thickness of the front wall.

Step 3] The font wall will be nailed together in place. Begin by nailing the bottom plate into place and then install the 2 outside corners into place. Now install the top plate and nail the ends into place, now you can add the remaining studs and nail them in. Next add the top double tops and then sheet all the walls in.

Conclusion

Knowing how to frame a wall isn’t that difficult; if you follow the steps and drawings in this article you should be able to frame your walls without any problems. If you have any questions feel free to leave a comment and I will do my best to answer your questions. If you found this article helpful, give it a share. Thanks.

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