We've just started installing pressure treated 2x4s as sole plates in our 5 year old basement. We drove 3 nails into each 8' plate, one at each end (around 3 or 4 inches in) and one somewhere at the center.

For smaller lengths, we may use two, or in the case or plates next to doors that in turn abut walls, there probably won't be room for more than one.

I can't find a reference that specifies how many such fasteners are needed per unbroken length, or a recommended / required distance between such fasteners.

Are we doing right with this many fasteners to a plate?

If it helps, we're in East-Central Minnesota. And I'm using 22-caliber powder-actuated 2.5" nails, if that makes a difference to the recommendation.

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    Are you putting anything between the sole plate and the concrete? Wood in direct contact with concrete is not a good idea, even if the wood is pressure treated. They make foam gaskets (I believe they are called "sill plate gaskets"), that can be put between the bottom plate and the concrete. – Tester101 May 12 '14 at 10:40
  • @Tester101, nope, haven't used gaskets for the first 3 plates we installed. Still have many more to go; I'll make sure this is done. Thanks! – alt May 12 '14 at 11:52
  • FWIW, in MN, I'd use steel studs (and have). That said to answer the question...it doesn't sound like these are load bearing walls, so given that, I think it's likely 'whatever keeps the wall in place' will suffice. – DA01 May 12 '14 at 23:10
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    @DA01, yep. I originally figured we would use metal studs (per your excellent answer to one of my previous questions). But then, there's something satisfying about cutting down wood - the smell, the sawdust, slamming nails into the material, the actual honest-to-goodness feeling of having done something "substantial"... that just about feels right :) – alt May 12 '14 at 23:30
  • @alt I'd agree...just don't smell the treated stuff that much...not good for you. :) – DA01 May 12 '14 at 23:34

I'm assuming none of these are structural shear walls since shot pins are inappropriate for such use. There is some arbitrary lateral load that interior partitions are supposed to resist, it's only 5 or 10 psf from memory, I can't find the reference at the moment. I'm not sure what the shot pins are rated for either. So without any more specific data, I would judge that a 4 foot spacing should be about right. There's really no need for doubled fasteners at the ends, as long as there's at least one good shot at the ends. You do not want to place shots too close together, the second shot weakens the first.

There is some minimum spacing determined by the shot pin manufacturer to achieve a certain rated strength. This is usually outlined in so called "ICBO Reports" or similar. I would guess a 5-6" minimum spacing would be safe. The only reason to place shots this close is if the first one spalled out the concrete.

  • thanks! I've got one shot at each end of the 8' plate, and I don't think I'll put two fasteners closer than a foot at least to each other. I've edited my original question to correct the mistaken "two shots at each end" text. And these aren't structural, just interior non-load-bearing walls. – alt May 12 '14 at 23:31

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