Top 10 Tips for Wall Framing Layout on a New Subfloor

Wall Framing Layout

The top 10 tips for wall framing layout on a new subfloor that will save you time and money.

“We start plating first of all we got a layout these walls. And we can chalk line walls and use a chalk line something like this to snap lines on, on uh, where we’re going to run our wall plates.”

Wall Framing Layout

“First of all and you know all of this, is that will snap this outside line the long
wall and then we’ll get this wall which is a party wall because this is a unit, this is a unit, this is a unit, and will get this party wall parallel with this in this case it’s 14 foot 10. So we’ll mark over here to the outside and get that mark
and then we’ll get all these interior walls off of these long walls. So first, one of the first things about the kind of wall framing layout that I know is that you do everything completely before you do anything else. So the first thing we’re going to do is we’re going to mark the location of as many walls as we can and then we’ll snap the lines.”


“So sound good?”

“Sounds good.”

“Yeah, we’re going to mark corners next. The way I do it is with a piece of 2×6. Again you’ve got a choice. You can pull out your tape and you can measure in and mark at five and a half inches or you can leave your tape in the in your
pocket take a hunk of 2×6. These are 2×6 walls down through here. Lay it on the corner and mark it. They’re both outside walls and you’ll do the same with
the other corner.”

“This yeah, I think this stops here.”

“Yeah, I think that stops right there too.”

“That is the box, right? “And then do you like to… ”

“That’s, that’s it.”

“You like to snap these lines now and then pull them to the interiors? So let me see that super duper chalk line you have.  Now the problem I have you know like with the standard…”


“…is especially when it starts getting wet the more you use it the more it clogs up…”


“…does that have the same problem?”



“You got to drape it out and let it dry out.”

“The same problem is going to get wet. But this has a chalk. The chalk that I use in this here on the Oregon coast is this is black line chalk and it’s waterproof, scuff proof, windproof and it’s a damn good chalk because you can lay it down in any weather and the water basically isn’t going to wash it away I think it’s got iron oxide in it that leaves a permanent mark on the floor. You can take.. when your starting to snap a line… you can pull your hammer out if you want and you can drive a nail in where you’re going to hook your
chalk link too and you can hook your chalk line right over that nail and then you’re good to go. But the easier way to do it is to leave your hammer and your nail belt take an awl and hook your line over your awl put it on your mark and hit it once and you’re good to go. So we’re going to snap this outside wall line first. Take your awl right on the line take it in and take off down to the other end. Hold the line really tight. Then hold right on the wall line.”

“Since it’s such a long run. I’m going to hold the line in the middle and snap both ways and that way it just… it doesn’t allow the.. just such a long run… it doesn’t allow the line to wander and give you know either a double snap or somehow get lost. it ensures you’re going to have a straight line all the way through.”

“You snap all the way through just one snap frequently you don’t get a clear line. This way you get a good, strong clear line.”

“If you can’t find Larry’s waterproof chalk another way you could go if you need to protect your line from the elements is this clear marking coat and it’s just a clear coat you can spray over the top of your lines after you’ve got them down and it will help make them last through the project so you don’t lose them when you go to stand your walls.”

“Here we go on line number two. This is the outside wall and this wall is parallel with that wall that we just snapped. here we go all the way down.”

“Some of these bolts are sticking up above. You can either… you know… just something to pay attention to… you can either get a grinder and grind them off before you stand your walls or you can take your plate first and put them on top and, mark them, and grind out something.”

“You can set your plate on it and hit them with a sledgehammer too.”

“You could do that. It’s just something that you have to account for when your…”

“When it’s a little high like this one here. You cut some of them off already.”


“Like that one there.”

“Larry, do you worry about… like…here I don’t know…like…but sometimes you know you can get..going outside is not so bad and you can just cut it you know if it’s a little bit longer if the deck didn’t get cut straight.. you can cut it back and your fine…cause the plywood off the wall is going to overhang down and tie into your plate. But what about if you get indentations. Do you worry about that at all?”

“Absolutely, yeah. It depends upon your concrete work. Sometimes concrete work can be pretty lousy. This one here is fairly straight. It looks like they did a good job on it. You can have your concrete in and out and your plate… the wall is not flush with the outside of your concrete so then you will have to make some adjustments.”

“So now that we got our longest exterior wall snapped this can be what we call our control line. And from here we can pull off all of our parallel lines from this one since it is our longest line and make sure everything is parallel to this wall and this is straight then everything else will be straight. ”

“So now I am going to snap a few more lines here before we start plating. That’s it on our outside lines for this part of the building. The next thing we are going to do off of this outside wall we’re going to come in thirteen foot eight inches from the outside to the center of this wall. We’re going to snap this wall for this bathroom, the front wall, and this wall. This wall is a 2×6 because it has all of the plumbing in it. When it’s in the bathroom sometimes where you are running tile or in the kitchen where you are running tile, cabinets, and things its nice to have a spare wall. So it’s good to check to see if your bathrooms and kitchens are square. But a big living room if its a little bit out of square nobody’s ever going to see it”

“This is the mark where the wall is going to fall. Right there and we marked this X so when we come back to plate we know that it falls on this side of the line and not on this side of the line. And then on this one, it is seven foot five.”

“Center to center?”

“Yes, it is.”

“Seven-foot five. Can you put me on that mark?”

“Now here is a trick. Usually, the wall framing layout guy is working alone so he doesn’t have anybody to hold this end of the tape so what you can do you can use this awl again. You can set it right on this mark and then you can hook your tape right on that. Just like that.”

“We got seven foot five…”

“And this wall here is a plumbing wall so we mark that. It’s going to be a 2×6 so we mark that on the deck that it’s going to be a 2×6 wall so when we come to plate we’ll know that. That wall is a 2×4 so we won’t mark that. Now snap those lines.”

“The way Larry does it he only marks one side of each wall to save time and it does cause usually this is a 2×4 wall and I would snap both sides and it takes more time to do but if you do go through and just snap the outside of the wall as Larry is saying if it’s a 2×6 wall you just grab a piece of scrap.”

“Yeah, just like this just grab a piece of scrap, hold it on that line and mark here and you know where the end of this particular wall. Production framework never ever snap two lines. It just takes too much time and you don’t need it. If you needed it, it would be different but you don’t need it. One line is all you need. So to take the time to snap two lines well it’s costing somebody money. Simple as that.

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