laying out the partition
Photos by: David Carmack

Step 1: Lay out the partition

Mark the ceiling 3 inches from one wall where the partition will abut it. From that mark, drop a plumb bob and mark the floor. Repeat at the partition's other end.

Measure the distance from each floor mark to its abutting wall. If it's not 3 inches, then that abutting wall is not plumb. Record the difference between the top and bottom measurements at each end for Step 2.

Using the marks as a guide, snap a chalk line on the floor and the ceiling. Measure the chalk lines to determine the lengths of the sole and top plates. Cut the plates.

If a doorway is planned, add 2 inches to the door's width and height to determine the dimensions of its rough opening.

Cut two jack studs 1 1/2 inches shorter than the rough opening height. Cut two header pieces 3 inches longer than the opening's width.

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    Tools List

    • four-foot level
      for checking whether studs are plumb
    • sledge hammer
      for nudging the sole plate into position
    • framing square
      Framing square,
      for marking cut and layout lines
    • 16-foot tape measure
      Tape measure
    • hammer
      20-oz. framing hammer
    • chalk line
      Chalk line,
      for marking location of wall on floor and ceiling
    • plumb bob
      Plumb bob,
      for aligning layout marks between ceiling and floor
    • speed square
      Speed Square,
      for marking plates, headers, and studs, and as a saw guide
    • circular saw
      Circular saw

    Shopping List

    1. 2x4s