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I'm considering several options for building out a wall in a basement. Unfortunately, due to the way that the stairs leading to the basement are positioned in my house and the spacing I have to build a 30" door (there's going to be another 36" door elsewhere), I don't have much room to put up the typical 2 x 4 stud wall. At most, I have just under 4" to work with and 2 of those inches are already taken up by XPS foam board insulation. To add to the complexity, this wall would likely have to support a large TV (65" or greater).

I've looked at two options and both are worrisome. The first is using metal studs. Unless I misunderstood the measurements, I believe they can come in a 1 5/8" square size. They also provide holes to run wiring through. My concern with this approach is that I'm uncertain of how much weight such studs can hold. I've seen people use 3/4" plywood fasted to the studs with the TV mount fastened to the plywood but I would venture to guess they were much thicker.

Alternatively, I though of using 2x4s but with the wider side facing the wall and running a 1.5" pressure treated beam across the floor. I haven't found much information on such a design, being atypical that it is, and it doesn't provide an easy means of running wire. I'd have to cut out some foam board behind the stud and in some spray foam once the wires are run. I'm also concerned that such an approach would cause the studs to bow out when significant weight has been added to them. Maybe fasten them through the foam board and to the concrete (though I'd hate making unnecessary holes in my foundation)?

Finally, there is the option to cut out slots in the foam board and go with the typical 2x4 framing but with pressure treated wood. My concern with this is that the foam board provides a good vapor barrier and I'd risk not sealing things properly when I go back and spray foam all the holes.

EDIT: I've added a picture for reference purposes:

Basement spacing reference

  • Some photos or diagrams of the space might be helpful. – Tester101 Feb 4 '15 at 17:41
  • A 30 inch door will restrict moving large furniture through like home theatre chairs. I don't understand why you can't use a 34 inch door. – wallyk Feb 4 '15 at 19:01
  • I already mentioned that I'm going to have a 36" door elsewhere in the room. This door in particular would be restricted due to how close the end of the stairs are to the concrete wall. – vlozko Feb 4 '15 at 19:15
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With steel sheetmetal studs fastened to sheetrock or plywood, the wall is plenty strong enough to securely support 200+ pounds—provided the load is attached and distributed properly. Either one alone (plywood or studs) can hold that weight, but in combination they are much stronger than the sum of their capacities.

Note that the floor will carry most of the load with the framing conducting the load downward depending mostly on the non-compressible aspect of the materials. If you are skeptical, visit a metal stud store, place one of the studs upright on the floor and stress it by pushing downward into the floor. The only way you can cause deformation is with a very large force (800+ pounds) or flexing it laterally.

I looked for specifications, but they are surprisingly difficult to apply to this use. If there is any doubt, you can always reduce the stud spacing to like 8 or 12 inches—They aren't so expensive that it would discourage a little overkill.

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