The Type Of Framing Used In Most One-Story Construction Is Reverse Floating Walls in Basement Construction

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Reverse Floating Walls in Basement Construction

When you are working with expansive soils such as clay and other soils that expand with moisture, you need to take special care to avoid structural damage to the foundation and basement walls. One of these caveats is floating walls. A floating wall is not connected at the top and bottom like most walls. Floating walls allow it to move with the room and prevent cracks in your floor, foundation, and walls as soil moisture changes.

Floating basement walls are usually attached to the floor joists for the first floor and then spiked into the floor so that there is a space under the wall. This space is covered by the baseboard and cannot be seen.

A reverse floating wall is attached to the floor. You put the floor on the base plate on the floor and you spike it at the top so that the wall is stable but only attached at the bottom. This is done on wet walls to keep the plumbing stable. The open space is at the top of the wall and covered by moldings. You can cover the entire wall with sheetrock but you have to take care to keep the top open for movement. This means that you can’t attach drywall to the wall at the top or it will crack as the wall moves with moisture changes in the soil.

For reverse floating walls follow the basic instructions for floating a wall but instead of hanging the wall from the floor joists, you will attach the floor to the base plate and spike to the top plate. Make sure your walls are plumb. There will be problems if your walls are not exactly square. 4 ½ inches of space is required at the top of the wall. The wall needs to be spiked in the same way as a normal floating wall, at the top instead of the bottom. See Floating Wall Instructions for more information.

You can use molding to cover the open space at the top of the wall. Many people don’t like the look of mold around their roof. If you want an alternative, you can look at a drop ceiling that can be moved through the walls and floor. You need to attach the ceiling framing to the wall framing. When the house breathes your whole room will move and you won’t even notice it.

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