7th Dec 2022 -

Building a stud wall primarily involves constructing a frame from pieces of timber or metal, which you fit together and secure to the floor and ceiling before attaching your plasterboard.

What Tools You Will Need For Framing a Wall

The first thing to do is to make sure that you have the right tools and materials you need to complete the project. You will need the following before you start:

  • Drill
  • Hammer
  • Nails
  • Plumb bob, which people also call a plumb line 
  • Screwdriver
  • Spirit level
  • String
  • Stud timber or metal stud
  • Tape measure
  • Timber saw, only if you are using a timber frame
  • Tin snips, only if you are using a metal frame

There are also several other general tools you may need, such as protective goggles and a safety mask when cutting your timber or metal stud materials. You will also need a helper to assist you when you lift and manoeuvre the wall frame.

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How to Measure and Cut a Frame for a Stud Wall

You will need to measure and cut your timber or metal to build the following structural components of your partition wall frame:

  • The ceiling plate also called the top plate
  • The floor plate also called the soleplate
  • Studs
  • Braces also called noggins

The four pieces are all integral to the structure of the frame and will require careful and accurate cutting and filling in for the wall to be structurally viable.

How to Build a Stud Wall Ceiling Plate

The ceiling plate is the long frame piece that runs across the top. Follow these simple steps, which will let you build a ceiling plate that is the perfect size: 

  1. Use a pencil to make a line on your skirting board or wall
  2. Attach some string at the mark, we need this to determine how long the plates will be
  3. Take the string to the ceiling, drawing a straight line along the entire length
  4. At the top of this line gently hammer a nail into the ceiling close to the wall - check for ceiling joists first - and attach the string
  5. Draw a line to the opposite ceiling using a string.
  6. Measure the distance between the two points
  7. Use this measurement to cut your timber or metal to size

You should use a spirit level when marking the lines with string to ensure that it is perfectly straight. Also, wear goggles and a mask while cutting.

How to Build a Stud Wall Floor Plate

The floor plate is the long piece of the frame that runs across the bottom. Follow these steps to build your stud wall floor plate:

  1. Measure the distance from the exterior wall, or the point where you want the stud wall to start, to the point where you want the wall to stop
  2. Cut one or more pieces of timber or metal to size using this measurement
  3. Check that the timber or metal is perfectly straight
  4. Place your timber along the length of the floor plate
  5. Check that there are no gaps between the wall and floor plate or between the individual pieces of timber or metal 

You will measure between the two walls but the skirting boards need to be factored in if you have them, so make sure that you get a precise measurement.

How to Build a Stud Wall’s Vertical Studs 

Follow these steps to build your vertical studs:

  1. Measure between your floor and ceiling plate, use your earlier line and a tape measure
  2. Cut your vertical studs to size using this measurement

The studs for the sides of the frame are sometimes called the stud plates.

How to Fill a Stud Wall Frame

You will build the frame using your pre-measured timber or metal materials flat on the floor - and you will need the assistance of a helper to get it into position later on in the process. 

Now that you have all four parts of your timber or metal frame, we can begin to fill it in by using the following steps: 

  1. Make a mark every 400 mm to 600 mm, which is 16 inches or 24 inches, along the length of the floor plate - this will show you where to place the studs
  2. With door frames, leave a gap between the marks for the studs
  3. Place your studs within the wall frame and secure them into the floor plate using your fixings, typically screws or nails
  4. Remember, precise measurements should mean the studs fit tightly within the frame before securing - otherwise, the stud is the wrong length
  5. Measure the distance between the secured studs at the ceiling plate - and cut braces of this length
  6. Place your braces between the studs and secure them in the frame with screws or nails

Once the frame is filled it will feel very sturdy, particularly after the braces are installed - as although they are a small part they help provide a lot of support.

Timber stud walls in new build home

How to Secure the Stud Wall

Now is the time to lift the wall into its upright position. The top and bottom plates need to be fixed to the ceiling joists and the floor. You can use the following steps: 

  1. Drill holes into the ceiling, floor and through the frame where the fixings will go - typically the corners of the frame
  2. With your helper, gently lift the frame from the floor into a standing position
  3. Holding the frame by the studs you can gently kick the bottom of the frame if it needs slight repositioning once it is upright
  4. Use a plumb bob to make sure the ceiling plate is perfectly positioned above the soleplate
  5. Secure each fixing in the pre-drilled holes of the floor and also the ceiling plate - this will allow you to complete your wall frame, which is now ready for plasterboard 

For extra sturdiness, you could use wood glue in the frame and add extra fixings on the side of the frame to the exterior walls - such as a bracket or screw.

Where to Build a Stud Wall

There are many potential locations for a stud wall because they do not support any structural weight. You generally do not have to seek planning permission for a stud wall unless it deviates from Building Regulations for things like fire safety.

To find the right location for your stud wall you should consider the following when assessing the space:

  • Is it safe to drill into the floor or ceiling?
  • Is it safe to drill into the external wall?
  • Is it safe to hammer the area where the stud wall is going?

Potential hazards include cables and pipework. You can buy pipe and cable detectors to assist you in finding them if you are unsure. You can also use a stud finder to detect the location of your ceiling joists when securing the frame.

How to Get the Best Stud Wall Materials

Sometimes a supplier does not call back when they say they will or has limited, low-quality stock. To get the best stud wall materials you should select reputable merchants - look for providers that offer trade accounts, fast delivery and wide stock selections, as this indicates high-quality service and professional standards. 

Quality Stud Wall Supplies Delivered to You

Learning how to build a stud wall is a relatively simple but multi-stage process, whether you are using a timber or metal frame. After you measure and cut each part of the frame you fill in the frame system piece by piece on the floor, before erecting it into its final position. You then secure the stud wall into the floor and ceiling, before adding your plasterboard.

Through our website, we offer a huge range of stud wall products for sale. For professionals, our trade accounts will save you time, money, and effort. You'll be paired with a dedicated account manager, who will source everything you need at the best price, delivering it to you across the UK. Sign up for a trade account today, or tell us what you need through the form below.

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