Monday, February 27, 2012

Basements (8 of 9): Floating Walls

Floating Wall Detail
“Floating walls” are not like “Sky-hooks”.  It is not an imaginary term used in jest to explain how a building will stand.  Floating walls are real and very necessary for basement finishing.  This simply means that the wall does not extend fully from floor to ceiling.  Don’t fret.  That doesn’t mean they are not solid or that they don’t provide separation from one room to the next.  There are two ways to construct a floating wall.  The most common and preferred method is to hang the wall from the ceiling, leaving a gap at the base to allow room for the concrete floor to heave if necessary.  As discussed in the previous post, treated wood is secured to the floor and a gap of about 1”-2” is provided above this.  The “floating wall” suspended from the ceiling is then secured laterally by tie rods into the base plate penetrating the floating base through a slip hole.  (See the detail for better clarification.)  This is preferred over another method of providing the gap at the top of the wall.  If the gap is at the top than any floor movement will result in cracks in the wall finish because floors do not heave evenly.  So remember, “floating walls = good”, “sky-hooks = bad”.

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