Build a straight wall

Construct a straight wall

Building a straight wall is critical

 Maybe you have never even considered this.

All the different species of lumber is grown and milled so quickly in this Century that the tendency to bow, twist and warp is high. Fact is, depending on the quality of the lumber from “kind of warped” to the “super straight” framing material you pay accordingly.

In addition another thing that is the biggest reason lumber will warp, bow and twist…the weather. Wood laying in direct sunlight will begin to loose moisture and the ability to build a straight wall decreases as the material warps and bows and twists. Rain can be just as bad in that it makes the wood a bit more difficult to handle. But if left in the sun, it too will soon take a different shape. For this reason and this reason alone, sun and rain and all that weather brings, protect it by covering with a substantial water proof plastic.

This effects you as a construction diy builder. Bowed studs create a wall that is not likely to allow proper plumbing (vertical placement accuracy), can make ripples and create cracks in other materials that mate up to this crooked wall.

How to deal with this issue[warped and bowed studs/walls] can help you to develop a more accurately tuned sound environment. The essential “tool” to make a straight wall is your eyes. Surprised? You shouldn’t be.

Taking the time to watch your materials, how they look and what can you do to make them fit together better is a primary difference between a hacked up build and a Professional looking framing job. Watch the video, get the tip, and build a better, straighter and more accurate wall!

Always first is to layout your floor area that the framed walls will rest on. After determining the proper locations for the walls, you should be able to measure the area that the wall will be. Measure the location, mark the slab at the opposite ends for where the wall will rest. Then get your help to hold one end of the chalk box string and with your hand on the other you both head to the marks just made on the concrete slab. Draw the string slowly tight so as to ensure the straightest wall lines you can get.

 Tools needed to build a straight wall that is plumb and level:

  • Chalk box
  • 4 foot level
  • string

Chalkline:To make a straight line to secure the bottom plate of the wall to.

4 foot level:Using the 4 foot level you plumb up either end of the wall assembly and then secure the wall temporarily so as to keep the studs vertical.

String:On longer walls the string will be used to straighten the top of the stud frame. Typical procedure is to use 2 X 4 blocks at the ends and another block to guage the distance with.

 straight wall string line

If you have really crooked studs you can run a circular saw perpendicular thru the stud at the highest part of the bow creating a small gap. Then you can push the stud against the direction of the bow to relieve the bow. You can hold it in place with a 24 inch 2X4 block nailed to the stud, centered on the saw kerf.

Doors openings and window framing

Often a place of question in a home theater or recording studio is the doorways and window framed areas. It proves to be simple but requires some information from the builder to do it right the first time.

This video gives a quick and easy demonstration that covers everything you need to know for cutting framing material and installation of an opening.

The video does use the words “always frame the opening 2 inches bigger”, but doe not completely explain why. That reason is the jambs of a typical door are made from 3/4 inch stock. This is equal to (2 X 3/4″) 1-1/2″. Take 2 inches and subtract the known 1 1/2 inches and you are left with 1/2 of an inch. That gives you 1/4 of an inch on either side of the door jamb to plumb the frame up. The 1/2 inch is also your wiggle room to move the jamb left or right in order to get an exact plumb on the door opening in the event of an out-of-plumb rough framing job.

If you were constructing a sound proof or well isolated wall, like for a home theater or audio recording room, you would use different jamb thickness material. It is not uncommon to see a full 2X being used as a door jamb! Reason being is that solid core doors are used for sound isolation and these are heavy, heavy doors that can put so much pressure on a framing member that it warps or pulls the door loose from the hinge side, over time.

So this would require that a different number other then 2 inches be used for your framed opening. Taking a 2X we can measure and see that it is actually 1-1/2 inches. This, plus another 1-1/2 inch board yields a 3 inch measurement. Add the 1/2 inch wiggle room and your opening is now 3-1/2 inches. So plan it out, make sure you take the measurements and write them down so you are more confident when framing this door opening.