Building a Stud Partition

Stud partitions are lightweight, non-load bearing structures, usually faced with building board, which, are used to divide buildings into rooms or to subdivide existing rooms.

Door openings, hatches or borrowed lights — interior windows which pass light coming from a window on an exterior wall — can be inserted in stud partitions.

Before you actually begin erecting any kind of partition in your house, always consult the local authority to make sure that the result will comply with constructional and public health standards.

The principal components of a stud partition are the vertical members, called studs, and two horizontal members — the head, fixed to the ceiling, and the plate, fixed to the floor.


The basic frame is completed by short horizontal pieces of timber, called noggings, fixed between the studs.

The simplest form of stud partition comprises a framework of 75 x 50 mm (3 x 2 in) timber covered on each side with 18 mm (4 in) insulating board. The joints in the insulating board are covered with wooden fillets and a skirting is fixed to the bottom of the partition to protect the boards.

The head must be fixed to the ceiling, so before you build a stud partition, check on the positions of the joists.

If the line of the proposed partition runs across the joists, it can be fixed anywhere. If it runs parallel to the joists, move the partition to come under a joist, or else fit bridging pieces of timber between the joists on each side of the partition. Access to the joists can be gained by taking up floorboards in the room above.

With a bradawl, pierce the plaster along the line where you wish to build the partition until you find a joist. Pierce a few more holes to establish the centre of the joist, and mark its position. Then find the centre of the next joist, which will probably be 400 or 460 mm (16 or 18 in) away. Then mark the centre of every second joist.

If you are building the partition along a joist, mark the position of the head on the ceiling. Then, using a plumb-line or spirit level, mark the walls. Finally mark the position of the plate on the floor.

If you are building across the ceiling joists, you can mark the plate position first, then mark the walls and the ceiling.

Cut the plate to length and mark out the positions of the studs, starting at one end. The studs are spaced at centres 610 mm (2 ft) apart, to permit easy fixing of building boards, except at the ends of the partition, where an allowance has to be left for scribing the board to the wall.

Position the first stud at the end of the plate, the third with its centre 1210 mm (3 ft 11-1/2 in) along and the second centrally between them. This allows 10 mm (4 in) for scribing the board to the wall.

Position the rest of the studs at 610 mm (2 ft) centres. Make allowance for scribing the last board to the wall if necessary, but the last two stud centres will probably be less than 610 mm apart anyway.

Repeat the process for the head and then cut through-housings for the studs in the plate and the head.

Drill 6.5 mm (1/4 in) diameter clearance holes for No. 12 screws through the plate every 610 mm. Lay the plate in position and mark where the holes come on the floor.

Drill holes for plugs in concrete floors, pilot holes for screws in timber.

Use 89 mm (3-1/2 in) screws in a concrete floor, but 63 mm (2-1/2 in) in a timber floor, so that there is no danger to pipes or cables beneath the floorboards.

Drill the head for screwing to the ceiling; nailing will dislodge plaster.

Screw the head and plate in position, and measure the lengths between the housings, using two pieces of batten.

Cut the studs to length and fix them to the head and plate with skew-nails, taking care not to hit too hard. Alternatively, drill the studs and screw them to the horizontal members.

Skew-nail 75 x 38 mm (3 x 1-1/2 in) noggings to the studs, the centres 1220 mm (4 ft) and, if the room is over 2440 mm (8 ft) high, 2440 mm above the floor.

A door opening can be formed by housing a 75 x 50 mm (3 x 2 in) door head into two studs. Use a door lining wide enough to cover the edges of the insulating board, and join the vertical and horizontal members of the lining with groove and rebate joints.

When the door is hung, check that it will swing without catching the floor, as the floor may not be level.

Make borrowed lights in .the same way as door openings: house a 75 x 50 mm sill into the studs and house central rails into the top and bottom linings.

Secure the glass between two glazing beads. It must be set in putty or it will rattle.

A hatch, with hinged or sliding door, can also be inserted into a partition. Line the opening like a borrowed light aperture.

Nail the insulating board only where the heads will be covered by the timber fillets.

Cut the first board about 10 mm (1/2 in) less than the room height and tack it lightly in position, touching the wall where the first stud was set out on the plate.

Scribe the board to the wall, with the compasses set at 10 mm. Cut the board to the scribed line and fix it to the partition.

Fix all boards tightly against the ceiling, leaving a 10 mm gap at the bottom, where it will be covered by the skirting.

Fix the last board partition temporarily to the second last and scribe it 1220 mm (4 ft) from the wall, keeping the marking rule level. Remove the board, cut it to the scribed line and fix it to the partition.

Fix a skirting-board — matching those elsewhere in the room — to the studs or plate with 50 mm (2 in) oval nails, and punch their heads below the surface.

Cover the joints with 50 x 12 mm planed timber fillets. Fix fillets along the ceiling junction, then vertical fillets. Scribe the ceiling and wall fillets to the plaster.

Use 40 mm (1-1/2 in) oval nails and punch their heads below the surface.

27. June 2011 by admin
Categories: Wood Panelling, Woodworking | Tags: | Comments Off on Building a Stud Partition


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