One excellent way to add some pizzazz to any finished basement project is by adding the element of built-in’s to your basement walls! Nothing says “custom job” like the presence of built-ins. Built-in’s come is a variety of configurations most notably the built-in bookcase, built-in “art niche”, built-in Entertainment Wall complete with built-in TV, stereo component rack, and speakers. These are but a few styles of built-in’s that will “upgrade” your basement project. Build-in’s Rule Man!

The built-in project always begins with the wall framing. Most built-ins are added to the finished wall after drywall is completed, but the hole or the “penetration” into the wall is made during the framing stage of the basement project. Then , only after drywall is completed, and usually before painting your basement, the actual built-in finished cabinet is installed into the hole or penetration into the wall itself.

Framing built-in’s into stud walls is done after the farmed wall is completed and set in it’s final position and fastened in place. It’s after the wall is done being framed that we “cut into” the framed wall to make our built-in hole or penetration into the wall.

I frame my walls as though there is no built-in present in the basement wall. Yep that’s right! I first fully frame each wall as if I wasn’t even installing a built-in, and then I go back and “cut-out” each built-in penetration after the fact. Now some people may ask “why don’t you just frame-in the built-in at the same time your framing the wall? Well, I got a reason for why I frame basement built-in’s this way, and ONLY basement built-in’s this way…

The reason is, Basement floors are not level and walls in the basement tend to run up and downhill right in front of the built-in’s location. But, the built-in’s we are installing can’t be running up and downhill. If I frame my built-ins into the wall before I “set” my wall in position to be fastened,the built-in’s framing would then run up and downhill along with the floor causing my built-in framing to be out-of-square!

By cutting my built-ins out after-the-fact, I can now use my levels to mark my cut-out’s making sure that my built-in framing is perfectly level and plumb. This may sound a little confusing at first, but trust me it’s the BEST way to approach framing built-ins…and, it’s simple to do.

The tools needed to frame basement built-in’s include the:

  • Circular saw
  • Reciprocating saw
  • 2′ and 6′ levels
  • Carpenter Pencil
  • “Speed Square (small Rafter square)
  • Air-Framer Gun
  • Power Miter Box

Knowing where to cut into your framed wall for this framing procedure is critical to your built-in framing success. The video above will give you a good education for framing built-ins in your basement. Make sure you wear your eye and ear protection when performing this operation in your basement.

Remember to always “Measure twice and cut once” just to be sure, it saves you both time and money!

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