Floating Wall Systems – Basements

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During a recent home inspection in Parker Colorado, I was reminded that it is important to make sure that non weight bearing walls in finished basements in the front range area of Colorado, be constructed using this type of construction. This is known as a floating wall. The sill plate (the portion of the wall attached to the concrete floor) is nailed or screwed to the floor. Normally a 2 inch gap is left between the sill plate and the bottom plate on the wall, as pictured. The top of the wall is attached to the floor main level floor joists above, suspending the wall framing, and a spike is nailed between the bottom wall and sill plate. This allows the walls to move vertically, in the event the concrete floor moves or heaves upward. This is a necessity in our area as many homes are built on lots with expansive soils. These soils may exert pressure on the slab causing it to move upward, and if the walls are attached to the floor without a gap, it can cause severe damage to the home. This was covered in more detail in earlier blogs you can review on our website.
Some counties in Colorado, including Douglas County, now require the gap between the wall and the sill plate to be 3 inches. If you are planning to finish a basement in your home, we suggest you check wit h you local county building department regarding he appropriate means to install the floating wall in your jurisdiction.