GBA Logo horizontal Facebook LinkedIn Email Pinterest Twitter Instagram YouTube Icon Navigation Search Icon Main Search Icon Video Play Icon Plus Icon Minus Icon Picture icon Hamburger Icon Close Icon Sorted

Community and Q&A

Basement framing around obstacles

| Posted in General Questions on

I’d like to frame around PVC pipe and ducting in my basement and I’m wondering if there is a way to achieve a stable/rigid structure similar to what I drew in the picture below and NOT have to put tapcons through the 2 inch polyiso into the concrete walls in sections C and C1. I’d like to frame this way to maximize the floor space below the pipe. Thanks.

GBA Prime

Join the leading community of building science experts

Become a GBA Prime member and get instant access to the latest developments in green building, research, and reports from the field.


  1. marks77 | | #1

    Here is the picture

    1. Expert Member
      MALCOLM TAYLOR | | #2


      Framing the way you have shown with the 2"x4"s above on edge saves you 2" of floor space. If the wall was framed with 2"x3"s the savings would only be 1". I'd just frame the wall conventionally floor to ceiling.

      If floor space is at a real premium you can frame the wall below flush with the side of the duct and just attach a 2"x4' top plate to the joists above, with no intermediate framing. You would need to tie the lower wall to the concrete with tapcons though.

  2. marks77 | | #3

    Malcolm, thanks for replying. You make a good point, I'm also not sure it is worth (it's actually 3-4 inches savings because the pipe is at increasing distance away from the wall). However, I'd like to learn what's involved in something like this because I have two other spots where the savings would be more than a foot because of ducting.

    I don't think I understood your suggestion, do you mean the bottom and top framing sections
    are completely separate? Thanks.

    1. Expert Member
      MALCOLM TAYLOR | | #4


      Yes. Whether you want to keep the whole wall in the same plane, or create a deeper bulkhead for the pipe and leave the stud wall against the foam, you minimize the width by framing them as two separate pieces.

      For a continuous wall plane you frame the wall so that the outer edge is just proud of the pipe, and fasten a 2"x4" plate to the joists above in the same plane. The shortened wall below will have to be fastened back through the foam for stability, but as long as the gap between the new wall and the plate above is 2 feet or less you can just bridge it with drywall.

      To frame a bulkhead you do much the same thing. Frame the wall below the pipe tight to the foam. Fasten a 2" x4" plate to the joists above just proud of the pipe, sheath down to below the pipe with 1/2" plywood., then run framing horizontally back to the new stud wall.

  3. creativedestruction | | #5

    Paint the pipes and ducts, drywall behind them. Or take Malcolm's first approach with 2x3's (easiest). Only other way to go without fastening back to concrete would be 2x4 frame with every stud notched down to 1 1/2" where it will bypass the obstruction. What you have drawn would need to be fastened through to concrete.

  4. Expert Member
    NICK KEENAN | | #6

    I like steel studs for non-structural applications like this. You can cut them closer to obstacles.

Log in or create an account to post an answer.


Recent Questions and Replies

  • |
  • |
  • |
  • |