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Stud work is a very common partition in modern homes. It is often easier to assemble than a solid brick or block wall and offers several other advantages. Some of these include:
- Its less messy than building a wall with bricks or blocks.
- It can be easy to fix things too, such as plasterboard, radiators, shelves, etc. This is because you can screw straight into the timber.
- It’s easier to insulate. Insulation can be added between the studs, making your house more energy efficient.
- You can run pipes and wires inside the wall. Again, this is easier because you won’t need to chase out brickwork, or fit ugly boxing to hide plumbing and electrics.
Building a stud wall can be quite a big project. However, it could be achieved by someone who is a competent, keen DIY’er, but only if they do their research and follow best practices.
There are common questions that an amateur may have when considering this kind of project. One of the most common is the type and size of fixings they should use to build and fix the stud wall.
A stud wall can be built and fixed with either nails or screws. The most common size that will be used is 4 inch (100mm). The exception to this rule, would be using a nail gun, as the framing nails are more commonly 90mm.
For attaching plasterboard to the studwork, you will need a completely different type of fixing. This will be a dry wall screw. 25-35mm screws will be sufficient depending on the plasterboard thickness.
Another important question with stud walls is the correct stud spacing. You can lean more about correct stud spacing by clicking here
Fixings to use when building the studwork
When building a stud wall, you have two main options for the way you do it. The first option is to build the wall in-situ, the second is to build a frame on the floor and stand it up into the space as a complete wall.
There is no right or wrong way to do this, it will depend on the specific circumstances and the joiners own personal preference.
Regardless of the way you build your wall, the easiest way to fix it all together is to use a nail gun and 90mm framing nails. If this is not an option, then you can choose from either standard 100mm nails or screws.
Many professional joiners will opt for nails, as this can be quicker. However, a professional joiner will have a certain degree of skill and will be able to hammer nails quickly and efficiently.
A skilled joiner will be able to completely drive a 4-inch nail into timber with 3-4 blows of a hammer, which will make it faster than screwing. This will not be the case for most amateurs. As a result, the DIY’er may find it faster to screw the frame together.
Nailing a frame in situ can be even more difficult, this is because you will need to spike the nails through the studs into the base and head of the frame. For an unskilled worker this could prove more challenging, and most would be much quicker using a cordless screwdriver.
Generally, you would use the same fixings for your noggins as the rest of the frame. However, if your running short on larger fixings you could opt for slightly smaller, as long as you are getting a good fixing either side.
Fixing your stud wall to other surfaces
To complete your studwork, it will need to be plumbed up and fixed in place, so it is in the exact position you want it. To do this, you will need to use a spirit level and then fix into the surrounding surfaces.
The simplest scenario is a timber joist floor and ceiling with stud walls at the sides. This makes fixing very easy, as you can use an identical fixing method as building the frame, because you are still fixing into timber.
Obviously, a framing nail gun would be the easiest option, and by far the quickest way to do this. However not everyone will have access to this type of tool. Therefore, nails or screws would be the remaining option.
Again, this can boil down to speed or personal preference. However, screwing is usually the best option, as it will allow you to adjust if there are any errors. Nails on the other hand are far more difficult to remove. Once a nail is hammered in, it will usually be staying there.
If your wall is not plumb and you nailed it, good luck removing all the nails to adjust the position of your wall.
Fixing to concrete, blocks, and brickwork
In many cases you won’t be fixing into timber, and you may need to attach your stud wall to a solid surface. This could be something like a concrete floor or a brick wall. If this is the case, you will need to use plugs and screws.
For a standard 100mm screw with a 5-6mm diameter, your best option will be a brown plug and you will need to drill holes with a 7mm drill bit.
You have several options when it comes to fixings for your studwork. With that said you should always opt for a screw or nail that is between 90-100mm. This will ensure that you create a strong and sturdy frame.
The choice between screws and nails is a debate that will probably carry on forever. However, the truth is it will usually just boil down to the personal preference of the person carrying out the job.
In my personal opinion, the best combination would be using a nail gun to build the frame, and screws to fix it in place.