How to Build a Basement Closet – Part 2

The basement closet 2×4 wall sole plates, starter studs and ceiling joist ledgers are installed in this installment of How To Build a Basement Closet.

Closet Walls and Finished Door Layout

After fastening the short 2×4 sole plate on the right, I carefully measured for a 48 inch (4 feet) wide finished door including the two 11/16 inch thick door jambs (not shown), jack stud, king stud and 2×4 drywall nailer at corner. I rechecked the sole plates were square and evenly aligned, then marked the wall positions on the concrete floor.

Building a Basement Closet: Walls and Door Layout

Building a Basement Closet: Walls and Door Layout

Closet Corner Wall Framing Layout

This photo annotates the closet wall framing elements on the concrete floor. The scrap 2×4 blocks represent the width of the wall, wall corner and door studs. The 11/16 inch door jamb width is also marked for the finished door opening dimension.

Basement Closet Framing: Wall Layout

Basement Closet Framing: Wall Layout

Closet Wall Sole Plate Installation

The final position of the left closet wall was moved about an inch to the right from my initial measurements to fit the 4 foot wide finished door size. The right side of the 2×4 sole plate will be positioned on the line to build the closet wall.

Basement Closet Framing: Final Wall Position

Basement Closet Framing: Final Wall Position

A hammer drill and masonry bit is used to drill holes in the 2×4 sole plate and concrete floor for the 4 inch by 1/4 inch Tapcon® masonry anchor hex-head screws. After drilling a hole, the Tapcon is set slightly into the concrete floor to hold the sole plate in alignment before drilling the next hole. Take care to set the Tapcons in the spaces between where the 2×4 wall studs on 16 inch centers will be set later.

Basement Closet Construction: Drilling Holes for Tapcon Anchors

Basement Closet Construction: Drilling Holes for Tapcon Anchors

The sole plate is removed after drilling the three pilot holes such that the holes can be drilled about 5 inches deep with the hammer drill:

Basement Closet 2x4 Framing: Holes Drilled for Tapcon Anchors

Basement Closet 2×4 Framing: Holes Drilled for Tapcon Anchors

A cordless/drill driver with a 1/4 inch socket can speed up the Tapcon anchor installation in the concrete floor, followed by socket wrench to fully tighten the Tapcons:

Driving in Tapcon Masonry Achors with a Cordless Drill/Driver

Driving in Tapcon Masonry Achors with a Cordless Drill/Driver

Basement Closet Initial Framing Steps

The next closet framing steps are:

  • Frame the closet starting at the sole plates and work your way up the walls.
  • Measure, cut and fasten the 2×4 studs one-at-a-time.
    • Measuring, cutting and building one-board-at-a-time allows you to check your work on-the-go to verify that all heights are the same and level. If anything needs adjusting, you’ll only have to cut one new board instead of wasting several pre-cut boards.
  • Install all sole plates first.
  • Install the lower 2×4 starter studs on the concrete foundation walls with Tapcon anchors.
    • Take care to stay well clear of the wall outlet electrical wiring when setting the Tapcons. My stud finder has an AC electrical scan setting, however the scan results were ambiguous so I set the Tapcons high & low in the concrete foundation wall on that lower-left starter stud to avoid the electrical wiring.
  • Draw a level line with your 4 foot spirit level on the exterior wall for top edge of the ledger boards.
    The closet ceiling joists will be fastened to the ledger boards.

    • The level line is set 1.5 inches higher than the starter studs such that the ledger board is even with the top plate.
      See the green box in the photo below.
  • Locate and mark the exterior wall studs with the stud finder. The ledger board is fastened with 3 inch wood screws to the wall studs for a load bearing connection.
Basement Closet Framing: Sole Plate, Starter Studs and Joist Ledgers

Basement Closet Framing: Sole Plate, Starter Studs and Joist Ledgers

Load Bearing 2×4 Framing Connections

Take care that all 2×4 framing members are fastened to the concrete floor or foundation walls with 4 inch long Tapcon masonry anchors; or to the exterior wall studs with 3 inch wood screws for strong load bearing connections. Screws set only in drywall are not load bearing!

The closet corner post, wall studs, top plates and door rough opening are framed in How to Finish a Basement Closet – Part 3.

Thanks for reading,

Bob Jackson

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