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attaching stud wall under steel I-beam ?

Posted by blueberrier1 (My Page) on
Tue, Jul 3, 07 at 21:27

Want to partition lower level space and want to place 25 foot wall under the existing I-beam. What is the simplest, strongest and easiest way to do this?

I recall reading long ago, that one should avoid drilling into the I-beam. Is there a connector made for this?

Wall will be 2x4 with drywall. Plan to use treated 2x4 as base plate. Floor (concrete) has 2" blue dow and 3 mil
2 ply vapor barrier underneath. No moisture issues. Walk out lower level.

cella jane


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: attaching stud wall under steel I-beam ?

If you have access to a powder actuated nailer you can use that. If not drill 1/4" or 5/16" holes 16" on-center and through bolt it. Use some construction adhesive too.

Just as a thought if the flange of the beam is wider than 3.5" you might want to use 2x6 construction for that wall. That way you can run your drywall up along the side of the beam to make for a nice, neat appearance.


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RE: attaching stud wall under steel I-beam ?

You left out wall insulation. Avoid fibreglass and vapour barriers.

My engineer approved making holes in flanges on many homes; I used the holes to anchor a 2x6 that served as a plate for the floor joists, that were then toenailed into it.

Here is a link that might be useful: Understanding basements


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RE: attaching stud wall under steel I-beam ?

I used 2x6 studs w/ top and bottom plate. Mark along the beam where the studs will be, then measure from beam to floor, subtract 3 1/4" for plates and wiggle room. Frame up your wall section, nail some 16d's about 1/2way in to both sides of top plate every 2' or so. tilt up straight and slide under the beam. Plumb you wall pretty close, and then shim each end to keep it in place. Then shim above (but off to the side a little), every nail nice and snug, then bend the nails over the edge of the beam. You can then screw in some metal screws through the top plate if you wish, but that wall wall ain't going nowhere. A little trick I picked up nailing bottom plates in concrete is to predrill a hole through the plate and in the concrete, the whole depth of a standard bit. Using a galv. 10d box nail and a bare piece of 12g wire, with the wire being 1/2" shorter than the nail, or depth of the hole. Drop the wire into the hole, then hammer the nail as far into the plate as you can. I have tried to pull up a bottom plate that I put in this way, and the 2x6 got shredded, leaving the nails in the concrete. You really only nead lateral strength at the bottom plate anyway. I cannot remember the size of the drill bit I used. Put the nail and wire together and compare with bits, and use a slightly smaller bit to get that snug fit. This is a lot cheaper than tapcons, you don't mess with the beam's integrity at all, and is farily simple and fast. I hope you were able to follow along. If you have any questions, I'll try to answer them for you.


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RE: attaching stud wall under steel I-beam ?

I install the top plate first,,,,,the day before. I liberally apply liquid nails (I get the gallon container of liquid nails and a cheap metal trowel and trowel it on but you get also get the big caulk tube size) to a 2 x6 and stick it to the bottom flange of the steel I Beam. I then wedge 2x4 from the floor up to the 2 x6 to hold it up there snugly until the liquid nails sets.
The next day, you remove the wedged in 2x4 and you are ready to frame the wall under it. The liquid nails holds extremely well. You can later drill through the 2x 6 in a few locations and through the steel beam flange and put in a few self-tapping metal screws, but in most cases, you won't need to do that, especially if you compressed the 2x6 tightly against the steel and had a nice coat of liquid nails in between.

I have a technique in mind for saving some time framing exterior basement walls. I am working on refining that and even creating some hardware to accomplish that task before I start the basement in my house.


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RE: attaching stud wall under steel I-beam ?

Thanks to all of you for all the info and opinions. DH like the adhesive for attaching the top plate to the underside of the I Beam as the starter. Will also try wire with the nails for the base plate. Project is on the back burner until November. Will report on results.
cella jane


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RE: attaching stud wall under steel I-beam ?

Why bother with the Liquid Nails if you're mechanically attaching it to the I-beam later anyway? I've found Liquid Nails to be inadequate for anything other than trim.


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RE: attaching stud wall under steel I-beam ?

I seldom drill into I Beams to attach framing. That is overkill, especially for framing that will only hold drywall. A good adhesive, either liquid nails or a polyurethane construction adhesive, will securely bold a 2x6 or 2 x 8 to the bottom flange of the H Beam in your basement.
The trick is to spread the adhesive thoroughly and to compress the 2 x 6 or 2 x 8 as I mentioned, by wedging a few 2x4 to hold it up there overnight. Obviously, make sure it is lined up straight. When it drys, you would be surprised how strong it is. Use 2" drywall screws to attach vertical framing to that top plate by "toe-nailing"
the screws from either side of the 2 x 4.


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RE: attaching stud wall under steel I-beam ?

You should not use regular drywall screws for framing. They don't have the necessary sheer strength. If you are using screws alone, use them only for non bearing walls, and use #8 Gold screws of the appropriate length. I usually pre-drill them, so that the studs will pull into the plate tighter.


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RE: attaching stud wall under steel I-beam ?

April 2010...and the 28' wall/partition is finally in place and ready for drywall! Thanks for all your advice. DH decided he liked the drilled 1/4" hole in the side of the steel I Beam (6.75" base width). He used two in an 8' run. All is fitted snugly with 2"X4" studding. He used 2"x6" studs on either side of one 4" square lolly column. so I could bring an electric line to planned outlets. We found an interior paned door with sidelights at a garage sale that will help light the north side (no exterior windows), storage/game room. Space has HRV and AC/heat already.

Hope not all of your projects take as long as this! DH and I appreciated the ease in construction with the air-framing nailer.


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