Until recently, many individuals did not know that floating basement walls existed, much less how to install them in their home. Floating basement walls are typically used when there is a possibility of the floor of the basement moving or shifting because these types of walls are able to withstand the damage that can be caused by the shifting of the floor.
Floating basement walls are not difficult to install if the homeowner has some basic knowledge of carpentry and knows how to use some common household tools.
The trick to creating floating basement walls is anchoring the walls in such a way that the wall is anchored to the basement floor but not attached to the floor joists of the floor above. This is so that the walls can move up and down slightly without damaging the walls where they are anchored to the basement floor or the ceiling above.
Walls that are anchored to a floor that moves and a ceiling that doesn’t will develop cracks and other damage that may require expensive repairs or the replacement of the entire wall
Important Information About Floating Basement Walls
Many individuals are leery of using the floating wall method in their basements because they believe that the walls would not be strong enough or will fall if anything rests up against it or falls into it. The truth is that if the floating walls are anchored properly, they will be just as strong and sturdy as any other wall in the home.
For additional peace of mind, a line can be attached from the bottom of the basement ceiling to the top of the wall so that if the anchors at the bottom of the wall fail (which is extremely rare), the wall will still remain upright.
The space that is left between the top of the wall and the bottom of the basement ceiling can be as little as three-quarters of an inch or as much as an inch and a half, depending on the personal preference of the homeowner.
The amount of space that is left between the bottom of the ceiling and the top of the wall will have to be significant enough so that any movement of the floor of the basement will not drive the wall up into the ceiling, causing damage that will need to be repaired.
Once the wall has reached the ceiling and begins to press against it, the pressure from beneath will cause the wall to bow and buckle and eventually crack or break which will be expensive to fix or replace.
Anchoring Floating Basement Walls
The floating basement wall should be anchored to the floor of the basement using L-shaped steel framing clips, which are used by many professional builders to anchor both basement walls and the trusses of the roof.
There are special nails that should be used with the L-shaped steel framing clips to ensure the structural integrity of the wall which are generally made by the same manufacturer of the steel framing clips.
Other types of nails, such as roofing nails, are generally the right size but are not as strong as the nails that are specifically made for use with the steel framing clips.
Each L-shaped steel framing clip will have a long slit on the long side of the L which should be placed against the floor. The nails chosen for the project will be driven through this slit, securing the floating basement wall to the floor while still allowing the wall to move up and down with the movement of the basement floor. Once the walls have been securely anchored to the floor of the basement, the homeowner can finish the walls to match their décor ideas for their basement area.