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Garage is no longer a space, just to park your cars. Most people put the additional space to a variety of uses. Storage and workshop come to mind immediately. But you can also create space for a home office, a garage gym, a yoga studio or a laundry room. So, how do you frame a partition wall in a garage?

The partition wall in a garage is framed using a base plate, a top plate and  several 2X4 vertical studs, spaced 16” OC.

Framing a partition wall is similar to framing an exterior garage wall and yet different. To make a partition wall within your garage you have to work within the space confines of the garage and conform to the existing garage construction.

Partition Wall in a Garage

Instead of making the entire frame and lifting it into place, you need to attach the individual components to the existing garage structure.

The base plate is anchored to the garage concrete floor. The top plate is anchored to one of the ceiling joists. The vertical studs then go in between. The sheathing material, such as drywall, is nailed to the partition wall frame. Water based acrylic primer & paint is used to finish the project.

Making a partition wall in your garage is a relatively simple & easy DIY project that you could undertake over the weekend. In this post I will give you the step by step guide of how to build the partition wall in your garage.

So let’s get started.

STEP 1: Estimate & Purchase Materials

Determine the length and height of the wall using a tape measure. Double check the height of the ceiling in 4 – 6 locations along the partition wall length. Decide the width and height of the door that will go in the partition wall.

Mark out the location of the partition wall on the garage floor. Try to locate it such that it aligns with a stud in the garage wall on either side. This is not particularly difficult as studs in the garage wall are evenly spaced, 16” on center (OC).

Lumber Calculation

For example, a partition wall with a dimensions of 24’(L)X8’(H), you will need the following number of 8’ long 2X4’s.

  • Base Plate : 3
  • Top Plate : 3+3
  • Vertical Studs: 19

NOTE 1: The calculation of 19 studs assumes that you will have the two end studs on the partition wall, which will get nailed to the stud in the garage wall. This will ensure you have a sturdy partition wall in your garage.

NOTE 2: All the 2X4 will not get used due to the rough opening for the door. The extra quantity can be used for the door header, cripple studs above the door and jack studs around the door opening.

NOTE 3: Always buy 10 – 15% more than your calculations to allow for wastage.

There are many material calculators online. Try Builder’s Calculator. It is quite simple to use.

Sheathing Calculation

Of course, you will need to buy the door with a frame and various hardware items, such as anchor bolts, nails or screws and clamps.

GMS Intro
GMS Intro

STEP 2: Assemble the Required Tools

You do not need too many tools to make a partition wall in your garage. If you are a DIY’er, you will already have these. But if you do not, you can order them from Amazon using the links or buy them from Home Depot.

And don’t forget personal protective equipment such as leather framer’s gloves and protective eyeglasses.

STEP 3: Mark the Base & Top Plates

The vertical studs need to be attached to the base plate and top plate such that they are spaced 16” on center (OC).

Sheathing boards such as drywall, plywood, OSB or MDF, typically come in 4’X8’ size. Stud spacing of 16” OC will ensure that the board edge falls exactly on the center of the stud.

To get the spacing absolutely right, lay the bottom plate and top plate side by side on the floor. Mark off 1 ½” from the left edge. This is where the first stud will go. 

Then put two marks, 15 ¼” and 16 ¾” from the first mark. This is the spot where the second stud will go. Repeat the process till you have marked off the spot for each stud.

NOTE: A 2X4 wood stud is not actually 2”X4” in dimension. The actual dimension is 1 ½”X3 ½”.

Mark out the rough door opening width on the base plate. To get this simply add 2” to the door width. Cut out that piece on your miter saw.

STEP 4: Anchor the Base Plate to Concrete Floor

You will need to anchor the base plate to the garage concrete floor. Place the base plate in the correct location and draw lines on both sides of the plate. This fixes the exact location.

Use a wedge anchor such as CONFAST 1/2″ x 4-1/4″ Wedge Anchor Zinc Plated. Drill a 1/2 inch hole through the base plate such that it is about 2 inches deep into the concrete floor. Insert the anchor, drive it into the hole in the concrete and tighten the nut.

STEP 5: Fix the Top Plate to a Ceiling Joist

If you are lucky, you will have a ceiling joist running exactly above where the bottom plate has been anchored to the garage floor. However, the chances of this happening are pretty slim!

So you will need to add blocking between two adjacent joists and fix the top plate to the blocking. For a partition wall a single top plate is sufficient as the wall is not load bearing.

However, you can use a top plate and a double top plate to make sure your partition wall is sturdy and can take a few knocks.

STEP 6: Attach the Studs to the 2 Plates

The studs on the two ends should be attached to the studs in the garage walls using long nails or #10X3″ wood screws. That will stabilize the partition wall in relation to the garage. 

The remaining vertical stud ends need to be attached to the bottom and top plates at the spots marked out earlier. There are two possible ways you can do this.


Toenailing is a framing technique where two nails are driven at a 45 degree angle into two pieces of wood that are at a 90 degree angle.  The nails are driven in from opposite sides such that they form a 90 degree angle between themselves.

You would need 4 8d nails, 2 on each side to make a secure joint between a stud and a base plate or a top plate. A toenail joint is surprisingly strong and ideal for a partition wall.

If you are not very comfortable with the idea of using nails for toenailing, you can use #10X3″ wood screws. It is a lot easier and less work. Check out the YouTube video below:

Stud Plate Tie

If you do not like the idea of toenailing studs to the plates, that’s OK. There is a neat alternative to toenailing. You can join studs to the bottom or top plate using a “stud plate tie”.

A Simpson Strong Tie RSP4 20-Gauge 2X Reversible Stud Plate Tie is galvanized 20 gauge steel as under:

NOTE: Before fixing the studs to the plate use the Box Beam Level to ensure that each stud is perfectly vertical and straight.

STEP 7: Framing the Door

The area on the partition wall where the door frame will go is the rough opening. To prepare the rough opening for fixing the pre-hung door with a frame, 5 doorway components need to be installed.

These are:

  1. King Studs – just like normal studs, except they are along the rough opening
  2. Jack Studs – installed against the king studs to frame the door opening
  3. Cripple Studs – short studs that connect the header to the top plate
  4. Header – is above the jack studs, just the width of the door to distribute load
  5. Top Plate – This is already in place

The drawing below explains the location of each doorway component.

Doorway Components

Once all the doorway components have been set-up, the pre-hung door can be installed in the doorway frame.

STEP 8: Nail the Sheathing to the Frame

Now that the partition wall framing has been completed and the door hung, you can start nailing the sheathing to the frame. There are several options when it comes to partition wall sheathing.

I would recommend using plywood, rather than drywall. Drywall is 50% heavier than plywood and will be difficult to handle within the space restrictions. Moreover, the IRC code permits plywood usage for partition walls.

A ⅝” sheet of Plywood (4’X8’) typically weighs around 48 pounds. Drywall of the same dimensions will weigh around 74 pounds. Of course for a partition wall, ⅝” thick plywood sheet is not necessary. ½” will be just fine.

Use your tape measure to re-check the final dimensions of the completed partition wall frame. Draw a rough sketch on a notepad and figure out the best lay out for the plywood sheathing.

Cut the boards as required. For 8’ standard garage ceiling height you will have less cutting to do. Nail the boards to the frame using your nail gun.

STEP 9: Finish the Partition Wall

Plywood has a fairly rough surface. Sanding plywood before priming and painting is essential. Sanding will not just give you a smoother finish, it will save primer and paint too!

Sand the plywood sheets even before you install them using a sheet sander. It will be a lot easier than sanding them while standing on a ladder or crouching on the floor. You will still need to fill the nail or screw holes with a wood filler and sand.

Mask off the edges that you don’t want primed and painted. This will give you clean, neat lines, once the job is done.

Priming is an important part of the painting process. Select the right primer/sealer for plywood such as Zinsser Bulls Eye 1-2-3 Water-Based Stain Blocking Primer/Sealer. The primer/sealer will seal the plywood and act as a bonding coat between the plywood and paint.

Apply one or two coats of the primer to ensure good coverage. Use a brush for the edges and a roller or spray for the main area.

Once the primer is dry, you can apply the first coat of a water based acrylic paint such as Valspar. You may like to add a bit of water for better flow, but only for the first coat.

Follow up the first coat with a second coat, preferably with a spray for a smooth even finish.

NOTE: Sand between coats for a smoother finish. Remove dust after sanding with a dry cloth or a vacuum.

Thank you very much for reading the post. I do hope you found it informative and useful.

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