Building A Partition Wall

Building A Stud Partition Wall

Stud walls are built in two main stages, and the following four pages explaining each step. For any work can begin, however, you must read establish the direction of the ceiling and floor joists-this will determine whether the head and sole plates are to run parallel or at right angles to them. Use our proprietory joist detector for this task. These simple tools contain sensor pads which trigger a light every time they pass over a joist.

When the wall runs parallel to the joists, it is best to position the soul plate directly above a joist and the head plate below a joist. On first floors, a further joist below floor level should be used to provide extra strength. When the wall is to run at right angles to the joists there is greater flexibility because fixing will be made on subsequent joists across the span of the room. So be prepared to find a compromise between your desired position for the wall and the most practical location for fixing

Making The Frame

Tools for the job

Studs may be either 10cm x 5cm or 7.5cm x 5cm in dimension, and are generally made from a sawn softwood. Traditionalists choose study, thicker studs whereas most modern buildings will contain the smaller ones. The distance between the studs is vital – if you’re covering the frame with drywall that is 9.5 mm thick, the studs must be a maximum of 40 cm apart. However if you are using 12.5mm drywall, the studs should be no more than 60cm apart.



  1. Use a joist detector to trace position of joists and any cables or pipes above the ceiling surface.
  2. Having decided on the wall position, knock a nail into the ceiling close to the wall junction, at what will be the centre of the head plate position. Do the same at the opposite ceiling/wall junction.
  3. Attach a chalk line between the two nails and snap a guideline onto the ceiling surface. This line will help to provide the exact position for the head plate.
  4. Use a spirit level and pencil to continue the scaling down both walls at each end of the ceiling guideline continue the lanes down to floor level.
  5. Hold a stud section at skirting board level, and direct the wall pencil guideline so that it bisects the centre of the span. Make a pencil guideline on either side of the stud, thus marking the skirting board. Remove the stud and cut out this section of skirting board in order to accommodate the sole plate. Repeat this process on the opposite wall. The guidelines should know indicate the position of the head plate, soleplate and wall plates.
  6. Cut a timber stud to the exact length between the opposing walls. Position it, allowing the cut skirting board section to accommodate each end of the timber length. Mark on this piece of timber(the sole plate), the exact position of any doors that may be required. Remember to allow for the door lining and the door frame.
  7. Screw the sole plate into the floor at 40 cm intervals. For concrete floors drill and plug the holes before the screw insertion.
  8. Cut timber stud to the exact length between the opposing walls at ceiling level, and make a pencil mark bisecting the centre of the stud at each end. Align this mark with the wall guideline, before fixing the stud on head plate in position.
  9. Cut two studs to the exact length between the head and ceiling plate on each wall and fix them into position.
  10. Mark off along the soleplate at 40 cm intervals to indicate the position for the vertical studs. If a door position has been marked, work away from each side of the door frame guidelines until you reach each wall.
  11. Cut small blocks of timber and nail them in position at the side of each stud guideline. This is not essential, but it will help to make fixing the vertical studs in place much easier. The frame is now complete and ready to be filled for the next stage.

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