Step 6: Layout And Frame Your Garage Walls 16 Inch On Center

6.01 – Select stud size & length


The 2 options for stud size are:

  • 2×4
  • 2×6

2×4 Studs will meet all building codes. But if you want a stronger building or if you are planning on insulating it then you might consider 2×6 wall studs. There is not much additional cost but they make a more durable structure.

Of course your top and bottom plates must match the wall stud width. So if you decide on 2×6 studs then you will have to go through the materials list and make the substitution for the wall studs and top and bottom plates.

The wall stud length will depend on the length of the siding, the amount of bottom siding overhang, and the desired inside wall height.

Most siding comes in 4×8 ft sheets, making it 96 inches tall. Some manufacturers make siding in 9 or 10 ft length. But 8 ft is the most common.

You have 3 basic inside wall height options:

This is an example of a 10 ft  wall height.

This is an example of a 10 ft wall height.

  • Less than 97 inches, if building on a wood floor
  • 97 Inches, which is most common
  • Anything up to 144 inches

Less than 97 Inches, see Figure 6.01a, Table 2a Notes #1

If you want to build on a wood floor and have some bottom siding overhang to tie into the floor for strength.

97 Inches, see Figure 6.01b, Table 2a Notes #2

97 Inch inside wall height will let you install 1/2 inch drywall on the ceiling and use the full 96 inch sheets of drywall with little or no cutting. This is the most common wall height for building on a concrete slab.

Anything up to 144 inches, see Figure 6.01c, Table 2a Notes #3

You can build the walls up to 12 ft by splicing the siding. In reality you can build to a greater height but many building codes call for special engineering for walls over 12 ft.

You will notice there is a piece of blocking to nail into where the 8ft siding meets for the splice. Use the full sheet of siding on the lower wall, install a piece of “Z” flashing in the seam and cut the top piece to fit the wall height. You will probably want to go up in 2ft increments to minimize waste.

Overhead door height

You need 12 inches above the top of the door opening for the door track. Standard 8ft siding will give you room to install a 7ft tall overhead door.

So if you want an overhead opening more than 7ft you will need to build a wall taller than 8ft. You could install up to an 11ft overhead door in a 12 ft wall.

See Table 2a

Use Table2a in conjunction with Figures 6.01a,b,c to determine your stud length. The first number is the inside wall height, the second number is the maximum overhead door opening height, the third number is the bottom siding overhang (if any), and the fourth number is the stud length to use.

Cut a test stud

Measure twice, cut once… Cut a stud to the desired length and put two top plates and a bottom plate in place. Pull a tape to simulate the length of the siding to make sure everything is as expected. If it’s correct then you are safe to continue.

6.02 – Decide on sequence to build walls

You will build the first and second (outside) walls on opposite sides of the floor, raise them up and brace them, then build the other two walls inside of them.

See Figure 6.02

This is what I mean when I refer to a wall as an inside or an outside wall. Two walls are built the full size of the slab (Dimension “A”), and the other 2 walls are built shorter than the slab so they will fit inside the other 2 walls (Dimension “B”).

The two “outside” walls are built first then raised and braced out of the way, and the next two walls are built “inside” these first ones.

I like to build the smaller dimension walls first because it’s easier to brace them and safer because they have a smaller surface area against the wind. Then I start with the simplest of the two walls, with the fewest doors and windows.

So begin with the shortest and simplest wall.

6.03 – Build door and window frames

See Step 07 and build the door and window frames for the wall you are working on. This way they are ready to lay in place when you start nailing the wall together.

6.04 – Cut and drill bottom plates

Cut the pressure treated bottom plate to length, depending on if its an inside or an outside wall. If you are using several pieces then the joint should be where a stud will fall. Ideally it will also be near a j-bolt.

Mark the location of the anchor bolts by laying the bottom plate on top of them in the correct position and tap it with a hammer directly over each j-bolt. This will put a small dent in the wood to identify where you will drill a hole.

Use a spade bit and drill a 3/4 inch hole at each of the bolts where you dented the wood.

Place the drilled bottom plate on the j-bolts to check for fit. You might have to use a round file to adjust some of the holes.

6.05 – Layout/mark the top and bottom plates

“Laying out” a wall means to mark the top and bottom plates to indicate where the studs will be located. This includes normal studs, the door and window frame studs, and the short cripple studs.

See Figure 6.05a, b, c

Studs will be located every 16 inches along the length of the wall. The first stud will be located on the end of the plates, and the center of second stud will be 16 inches from the corner of the wall.

On the outside walls (Figure 6.05a) the end of the plate is at the corner of the wall.

On the inside walls (figure 6.05b) the end of the plates are not at the corner of the wall. They are the width of the plate inside the wall from the corner.

With 2×4 studs the difference is 3 1/2 inches. With 2×6 studs the difference is 5 1/2 inches (Figure 6.05c).

If you are using 2 pieces for the top or bottom plates the joint should fall at a stud. For the bottom plate the joint should be near a j-bolt if possible.

Lay the top and bottom plates on their edges and pull them together with the ends even. You might want to use a c-clamp to keep them in place. Now pull your tape measure from the end of the boards and start marking them every 16 inches.

But rather than marking the center of the studs, go 3/4 inch to the side and mark where the edge of the stud will be instead of the center. Put a small “x” on the side of the line where the stud will be located. It’s easier and more accurate to align the mark with the edge of the stud than with the center.

Do this for the length of the plates then come back and locate any door and window frames. First determine where the rough opening will fall and locate the door or window frame so that the opening is correct. Mark it in an obvious manner that you will understand.

6.06 – Frame wall

Position bottom plate about 2 inches from the j-bolts and with the holes lined up with the bolts.

Move the top plate up to its approximate position and be lay the door and window frames in place. Crown the studs to determine if they are curved and lay them in place with the curved side up. If necessary, notch any studs to fit around the j-bolts.

Nail the studs to the bottom plates using two 16d nails in each end for a 2×4 wall. Use three nails for a 2×6 wall. Now nail the lower top plate in place.

Nail the upper top plate to the lower top plate with a 16d nail every 12 inches, staggered from side to side. If there will be a splice make sure it is 48 inches or more away from any other splice on the lower top plate.

For outside walls you can nail the entire upper top plate in place because they will be shorter than the overall wall. But on the inside walls the upper top plates are longer than the lower top plates so you will have to leave off a 48 inch section on each end.

6.07 – Install siding

It’s easier to square the wall and install the siding laying flat on the floor than to raised the bare wall frame then install the siding. It takes more man power to lift the completed wall but this way makes for easier assembly and a better finished product.

If you prefer to install the sheeting after raising the wall then skip ahead to the next section.

For outside walls you can begin at either end. For inside walls you will need to leave the first and last piece of siding off because there isn’t room between the already raised outside walls. You will install them after you have raised and attached the wall.

Double check the position of the wall to the j-bolts and straighten the wall as much as possible. You might want to pull a chalk line along the top plate if it’s a long wall, and pull a tape from corner to corner to check the square.

But the final check will be the siding its self. If you install the siding square and even to each other and to the top plate and square the studs to the siding as you go along, you will have a square wall.

Line up the bottom edge of the siding with the lower edge of the bottom plate. Nail this edge in place. Then square the frame to the siding and nail the top plate and all the other studs.

6.08 – Raise wall

You will need 3 to 6 people to raise the walls, depending on how long they are. But the more hands the better.

If the floor is large enough you can build two walls opposite of each other. Then raise them at the same time which reduces the inconvenience to your helper volunteers.

Check wall position

Check the position of the wall to the j-bolts and move it into place if necessary. The bottom plate should be touching the j-bolts with the holes in line. If you are using 2×6 studs then place the wall within 1 inch of the j-bolts.

The idea is for the j-bolts to slid into the holes in the bottom plate as you raise the wall.

Tools nearby

Gather a few tools and place them nearby in case you need them to get the wall settled in place.

  • Long sturdy pry bar
  • 2 Pound sledge hammer
  • Claw hammer
  • A few short 2×4 blocks
  • 2-3 buckets or concrete blocks


Place a few 2×4 blocks under the top plates along the length of the wall to get it off the floor. This way everyone can get their fingers under and lift together.

Lift the wall in two stages. First lift it high enough to slide a few buckets or concrete blocks under, and set it down on them. This will give everyone an idea of the weight of the wall.

When everyone is ready then raise it up almost vertical. Have one person move to the each end to control the wall to make sure it doesn’t go beyond vertical.

If all goes well the j-bolts will slide into the holes and the wall will be resting on the floor. But more likely it will be sitting on top of the j-bolts. Use your foot, the 2 pound sledge and/or the long pry bar to get the wall in place. You might need to slide your claw hammer under the wall to adjust a j-bolt.

Outside walls

Brace the walls with a 2×4 at each end going in each direction. If it’s a long wall or you expect a lot of wind then you can add another brace or 2 in the middle.

Put the nuts and washers on the j-bolts and tighten them up.

Repeat for the second wall.

Now you can build the last two walls in between the first two.

Inside walls

Make sure the two standing walls are leaning slightly outward. This way they will not interfere when you raise the last 2 walls.

Cut the top plate pieces to length and have them handy. Remove any braces from the first walls that might interfere with this wall, and raise it up.

Pull the corners together and nail the corner studs. Then nail the top plate in place. Do the same for the other end. Then install the nuts and washers on the j-bolts.

Repeat for the final wall.

Now you can install the missing siding on the end of each inside wall. Or you can leave them off for awhile longer. This will give you a short cut through the wall which will save you a lot of steps.

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