Putting a Doorway in stud partitions

Filed Under: Do it yourself, Home repair, Remodeling    by: ITC

To put a doorway in a stud partition, first expose the framework below the skin of the partition. Find the stud positions on each side of the proposed opening by tapping the surface and probing with a bradawl. Draw in the stud positions on the surface and another line between them to mark the height of the door frame plus an allowance for the wood lintel.

Cut along this outline with a keyhole saw continuing the cut through the skin across the top of any studs or bracing you come across. Lever off the skin to expose the framework and the back of the other skin. Remove the latter in the same way.

Cut out all the framework within the opening and then make up two short “trimmer” studs to support the lintel. Nail the trimmer studs to the original studs on each side of the opening and the lintel to the tops of the trimmer studs. Nail through the lintel into the base of any cut stud.

If the door frame is narrower than the distance between the trimmer studs, fit an intermediate between the lintel and sole plate, linking it with short braces to one of the trimmer studs.

Cut out the section of sole plate across the bottom of the opening and fit the door frame. Finish the partition by nailing on gypsum- board and applying a skim coat of plaster over the top.

A hatchway between a kitchen and dining room can be extremely useful, and you may wish to consider installing one should you have to block off a redundant doorway, or to suit other remodeling plans. Plan its position carefully so that it coincides with a work surface in the kitchen and something like a worktop or small table in the dining room so that there will be somewhere to place dishes and plates, for example.

The method for making a pass-through is basically the same as that for making a doorway, except that the opening is not continued to the floor. In a wood framed partition, a wood sill piece is needed between the studs on each side of the opening.

The pass-through can be left open with plastered edges and a wood sill, screwed across the bottom or a wooden lining frame can be fitted to take hinged or sliding doors, or some form of roller blind to give the maximum amount of privacy, and also to prevent cooking smells, for example, from drifting through.

Fitting Services in a Partition Wall

Filed Under: Do it yourself, Electrical, Home repair, Plumbing, Remodeling    by: ITC

Careful planning is essential when arranging a partition — this extends to working out cable and pipe runs and installing them as you build.

The time to put either cables or pipes into a stud partition is when the framework is finished.

Whenever installing cables or pipes in any kind of wall, remember that they must always run vertically or horizontally directly to or from each fitting.

To run cable through the framework of a stud partition, bore a 3/4in hole through either the head plate or sole plate into the ceiling or floor void as appropriate and, depending on the direction from which the cable is to come, drill similar holes through the centers of any bracing that cross the cable route.

Feed in the cable. leaving plenty of excess. Cut a hole in the drywall for the fitting and feed the end of the cable through this as you fit the drywall in place.

Working in the same way. make sure the holes you drill through the framework are larger than the diameter of the pipe. This will make maneuvering them into place easier and allow them to expand and contract as the temperature fluctuates. Keep the number of joints inside the partition to the bare minimum and make sure you test any plumbing system before you finish the cladding; if there is a leaking joint you will be able to rectify it. If the pipes are to drop down from the ceiling you could remove a floorboard in the room above and feed them down through the partition from there.

Alternatively, pipes can be clipped into notches cut in the edges of the bracing and studs. Using a back saw and bevel- edge chisel, cut notches wide enough to accept a pipe clip of the right size and deep enough so that the pipe does not touch the drywall cladding.

Electrical cables can be run across the surface of the blocks in pipes and held in place with clips.

For pipes, use a hammer and bricklayer’s chisel to cut out a channel across the face of the blocks, making it wide enough to accept the appropriate size of pipe clip and deep enough so that the pipe will be flush with the surface.

Should you want to bury a hot water pipe, it is best to run it through another pipe of the next size up, which will act as a sleeve and allow for expansion.

Building a Stud Partition

Filed Under: Do it yourself, Home repair, Remodeling    by: ITC

The easiest form of partition to build is the wood frame variety — it is ideal for dividing one bedroom into two, making an extra powder room or bathroom, or splitting a dining area from a kitchen or living room. The wood frame is simply nailed together and faced with drywall on each side; it is easily adapted for doorways, pass through or windows. Being essentially hollow, it can also be used to conceal electrical wiring and water pipes.

The framework comprises a number of uprights called “studs” fitted between lengths of wood spanning the width of the ceiling and floor. These are called the “head plate” and “sole plate” respectively. Short horizontal lengths of wood are fixed between the uprights to brace them and support the cladding. In most cases 2 x 3in rough sawn softwood is ideal for the studs and bracing, with 11/2 x 3in for the head and sole plates. If the partition is to carry a lot of weight such as shelves or cupboards, a larger size should be used, say 2 x 4in.

Planning the partition

Deciding where to put the partition is the first thing to do so that you end up with two usable rooms. If possible arrange things so that each new room gets the benefit of a window, but do not be tempted to set the partition so that it divides a window in two. Not only does this look dreadful, but in some cases it is also illegal. If you cannot provide a window for each room, glaze the upper portion of the partition so that you can “borrow” some natural light from the room with the window. Similarly, if you cannot provide an opening window for each new room, you will be required to install a form of mechanical ventilation.

Important considerations are the layouts of floor and ceiling joists since the head and sole plates will be attached to these. Ideally, the partition should run at right angles to the joists so that its weight is spread across them. If this is not possible, it must be directly above a joist. With a solid floor, there is no problem.

If the head plate does not span the ceiling joists and does not come below a single joist because the ceiling joists do not line up with the floor joists, you should nail lengths of 2in sq blocking between the ceiling joists and attach the head plate to these.

Before you begin work, check under the floor and above the ceiling for any cables or pipes that might be damaged by nails or screws. It is also a good idea to check with your local Building Code before carrying out any structural work.

Erecting the framework by cutting the head and sole plates to length; whenever possible buy wood long enough so that you can span the room with one piece. Nail the sole plate to the joists through the floorboards using 4in long common nails or fix it to a concrete floor with 4in long No.10 woodscrews and wall plugs or with masonry anchors or masonry nails. Screw the head plate to the ceiling joists.

Cut the studs for each end of the partition, leaving them a fraction over-length so that they will be a tight fit between the head and sole plates, and screw them to the wall. Use 4in long No.10 screw and wall plugs.

Then mark off the positions of the other studs along the sole plate, making sure their centers are 16in or no more than 24in apart. They should be positioned so that the edges of the cladding material will meet along their center lines (standard sheets of drywall are 4ft wide). If the partition is to have a door in it, the stud positions on each side of the opening must be adjusted to allow for the door width and the thickness of the lining.

Measure and cut each stud individually as there is no guarantee that head and sole plates will be parallel.

Set each stud in place, making sure it is vertical with a spirit level, and fix it by driving 3 or 4in common nails at an angle through the side of the stud into the head and sole plate (known as toe-nails).

Bracing the Stud of a Stud Partition

Filed Under: Do it yourself, Home repair, Remodeling    by: ITC

With all the studs of your stud partition in place, now fit the bracing. If you intend cladding the partition with standard aft sheets of gypsum board, place the bracing in a row 4ft from the floor. If the partition is taller than 8ft, a second row of bracing should be fitted to support the upper edges of the drywall panels and the lower edges of the panels above them.

For strength, stagger the bracing above and below each other — this makes fitting easier, too — but if they are to support the edges of two sheets of drywall they must all be in line. In this case, the center line of each brace must coincide with the edges of the panels. Mark the brace positions on the studs with a pencil and level to make sure they are all horizontal.

Cut the bracing so that it is a close fit between the studs but not over-length, otherwise it will push the studs out of true.

Begin fitting the bracing at the wall end of the partition and work in towards the center. A block of wood nailed to the wall stud will support the end of the first brace while you nail through the second stud into the other end of the brace. Use two nails. Then toe-nail the inner end of the brace to the wall stud. If the bracing is to be lined up, repeat this procedure for each one; if it is to be staggered, simply drive nails through the studs into the ends of the brace.

The ends of the bracing (“header”) over a doorway must be fitted in 1 1/2in deep slots cut in the sides of the adjacent studs. Cut down the side of each slot with a back saw and remove the waste with a lin bevel-edged chisel, working in from each end, or use a double stud at the header ends to support it.

Having completed the framework, you can remove the section of sole plate from the threshold of the doorway. Simply saw through each end level with the studs on each side. Then clad the framework with gypsum board, trimming the panels round the doorway flush with the studs and header.

The door opening should be trimmed with lengths of 4 x in planed softwood that fit flush with the faces of the gypsum board panels on each side. Cut a length to fit snugly between the studs at the top and screw this to the header. Then screw two longer pieces to the studs on each side of the door opening.

Finally, cut pieces of molding to fit round the door opening, mitering their corners at 45°. Nail the molding to the edges of the trimming pieces with in finishing nails, driving their heads below the surface.

Fixing new skirting

Filed Under: Do it yourself, Home repair, Remodeling    by: ITC

For a tight fit, you should only measure and cut a skirting board after fixing the adjacent one in position. What’s more, neatness dictates that the ends have to be cut in the right way.

External corners are always mitred. You can use either a deep mitre or box, or a circular saw which should be set to a 45° bevel, and drive light nails through the completed joint. Where walls meet at odd angles (eg, round bay windows) you’ll have to gauge each angle with a sliding bevel, and measure it with a protractor. Then re-set the bevel to half the angle, and mark the pieces accordingly.

On internal corners, however, a mitre will tend to separate and show a gap because, when you fix the second board against the wall, it will tend to move away slightly from the first board. The answer is to scribe the profile of the molding onto the second board — see opposite. Cut it out so that its end fits snugly into position over the first board. Then cut it to length at the other end. (Plain boards, of course; can just be butt-jointed.)

The fixing itself depends largely on what’s behind the old skirting. If it’s fairly recent, the plaster will probably run right down to the floor, the skirting being simply nailed on top of it. Nail the new piece on in the same way, using masonry nails long enough to pass through both layers of plaster and into the brickwork — say 63mm (2 1/2in).

For a hollow timber-framed stud partition, use ordinary oval or lost-head nails, making sure they pass through the cladding and into the timber sole plate (into the studs. too, in the case of wide skirtings). Ordinary nails will also do for solid walls of soft blocks.


Filed Under: Do it yourself, Home repair, Remodeling    by: ITC

The idea of an architrave is to hide the join between a door or window frame or lining and the surrounding plaster

A loose architrave can be nailed back in place to the door frame, or even screwed to the surrounding masonry if you drill right through it with a masonry bit and insert wall- plugs to take the screws. But removal and fixing are both easier than for skirting, so replacement is usually the sensible alternative to major repairs. You just lever the existing architrave off, and nail the new one on.

On a brick or block wall, you usually nail through the molding’s inner edge and into the doorframe, lining or ‘wrought grounds’ with 25 mm (1 in) oval nails; lost-head nails or panel pins can also be used. But if necessary you can nail through the middle of the molding and into the wall itself, using cut nails for medium-hard blocks if you like, and masonry nails for bricks and hard blocks. If you find that there are rough (concealed) grounds between the plaster and the frame or lining, then nail into those. On a stud wall, nail into the studs.

At the bottom, the upright pieces butt against the floor and the ends of the skirting. At the_ top the corners are mitred. A good idea is to start by cutting off three pieces of molding which are manageable but still slightly too long. Then you can mark off the heights of the two upright ones (which may of course differ a bit, depending on whether the floor is flat or level), mitre their top ends and fix them loosely to the wall.

This makes it easy to mark off the exact length of the top piece. Mitre its ends, position it, and make any adjustments – by moving the uprights slightly, and even shaving the mitred ends with a sharp chisel or block plane if necessary. Then nail all three pieces finally in place, and pin the mitres from the top as for skirting boards.

When mitring, always make quite sure you’re cutting the right way round. That sounds silly, but you’ll find it’s all too easy to waste whole pieces by mistake

Failing that, a hacksaw should do the job.

In certain places — eg, the backs of alcoves — the skirting board is held in position by the two pieces at right angles to it. So, unless you remove at least one of those first, sawing the board out is your only option. A flooring saw may work. Otherwise drill a series of holes in line dOwn the face of the skirting, and use a chisel to chop out the waste between the holes so you can prise out the two ends of the board. Pipework and other obstacles sometimes force the same solution.

If a length of skirting refuses to come away completely, you may still be able to make sawing easier by levering enough of it out to push timber wedges behind it. In all cases, it’s best to saw at an angle of 45° across the thickness. If you’re just removing a section, cut the new piece to the same angle when you come to fix that in place.

Always use 45° cuts, rather than butt joins, if you have to make up a long piece from two shorter ones. They’ll be less conspicuous, especially if you site the join near an out-of- the-way corner.

Home Repair Tips – Improving The Appearance of Your Home

Filed Under: Do it yourself, Home repair, Redecorating    by: ITC

There are many ways to improve the appearance and value of a home. With the widespread use of drywall two of the most common improvements are:

• Wall trim

• Paneling

Wall trim includes molding and baseboards. Molding comes in various styles and covers the places where wall and floor and where wall and ceiling meet. It is used to cover the rough edges at the ceiling and floor when walls are paneled_ Molding may also cover joints or nails where paneling meets.

Baseboards are high moldings that run along the wall at floor level are often damaged by vacuum cleaners, shoes, toys, and similar objects. Baseboards are usually nailed down lightly so they can be easily removed or replaced.

Paneling comes in 4′ x 8′ sheets and is made of wood, plastic, rock, cork, or some other material. Several years ago paneling was nailed in place. Today much of the new paneling is glued.

Sometimes a panel will come loose. If the loose part is over a stud or joist, it can be nailed down with a colored finishing nail. When the loose section is not over a stud or joist, panel cement can be forced behind the loose panel. Pound the area with a mallet and padded block while the glue is drying to push it tightly against the wall.

The best way to repair a damaged panel is to replace the entire panel. This may be difficult to do if the panel has been glued and nailed. First carefully remove the molding and baseboard. Then use a thin chisel to pry a corner of the panel loose in order to break the panel free from the glue.

Use the old piece as a pattern for cutting the new piece. Remove old glue from the studs or drywall. Apply new panel cement and press the new panel into place. Pound the panel with a mallet and padded block. Drive several small nails into the panel to hold it down while the glue dries. Afterwards, set the nails with a nail set and cover the holes with a putty stick. Large pieces of old paneling may be kept for patchwork.

Baseboards are a type of molding that run along the bottom of a wall next to the floor. They protect the walls and are not difficult to remove or replace.

Adhesives for gluing panels come in tubes and are applied with a calking gun. Move a cloth-covered block over the face of the panel while striking the block with a mallet. This spreads the glue.

Wood trim is used around the ceiling and around the floor especially where wall paneling has been installed.

Modern buildings need continual upkeep and repair. Roofs must withstand harsh weather and keep the inside of the house dry. Doors and windows are subject to frequent use, and they wear out or break. If not kept in good repair, these things can become a nuisance or a more serious problem.