- Plumb, and
Well you don't actually make it 'a' square. Very seldom is a wall a perfect square!
What you need to do is make sure that the top and side studs are at a perfect 90 degrees. This is by applying a mathematics trick you learned way back in high school: a rectangle is perfectly 'square' when the distance from one corner to the another equals the distance on the opposing pair of corners. It takes a bit of effort making the wall square - usually done using a "persuader" ( a sledge hammer in our case) to drive a corner while holding the opposite corner in place. While blocks nailed temporarily into the floor can be used to secure the opposite corner - having a helper makes this process faster.
Once 'square' you will want to freeze the square by nailing in a temporary board to the wall. Here you can see we used a piece of plywood.
Step 2: Prepare
We used temporary blockers on the floor to backstop the wall as we slid it in to place and lifted it into place. Can you see them still in place?
Before we lifted the wall we first nailed a 12 foot 2 x 6 to support the wall. In this case on the left side of the wall, can you see it in place in the above picture? I secured it with one nail and had it lying so it was sticking past the top plate. This is so as we lifted the wall the brace would follow us dragging on the floor.
There are a few other things you need to get and have nearby:
- Air nailer with plenty of nails
- loose 3.5" nails and a hammer
- A level
- More bracing boards if you think you may need them
Lifting a wall, especially when the wall is large can't be done alone. Get help! This requires at lease two people. It is a good idea to first raise and prop the top plate with a scrap piece of lumber. This make it easy to get your hands under the wall in the "clean and jerk" action you are about to do... Yes! framing Olympics...
Step 4 & 5: Level and Brace
The action of leveling and bracing really happens at the same time. First you do some bracing, then some leveling, and then repeat the process.
Once the wall is in the right location, secure the sole plate to the floor. Make sure you are getting lots of lumber when you nail. Put your nails through the sole plate and into the joists in the floor. ASIDE: It helps to have marked their location before your lifted the wall.
I like to level the end of the wall with the prepared brace first. This requires at least two people - although a third is sure handy. One holds the wall, and uses the level to ensure that end of the wall is perfectly vertical. The second person takes the brace and nails the other end to the side of the floor. Both ends of the wall should be secured in this way.
For this wall we simply put the small wall (right side of the wall in the picture) in place, leveled both walls simultaneously and nailed them together.
In the above picture you can also see we had the next wall, to the left of this current wall ready to lift, level and brace.