Framing Soffits Chases

Your unfinished basement or attic is sure to have beams, pipes, posts, ductwork, and other elements that are vital to your house but become big obstacles to finishing the space. When you can't conceal the obstructions within walls, and you've determined it's too costly to move them, hide them inside a framed soffit or chase. This can also provide a place to run smaller mechanicals, like wiring and water supply lines

Soffits and chases are easy to build. A soffit is usually constructed with 2x2 lumber, which is easy to work with and inexpensive. You can use 1 x 3s to keep the frame as small as possible and 2 x 4s for large soffits that will house other elements, such as recessed lighting fixtures Chases should be framed with 2 x 4s.

This section shows you some basic techniques for building soffits and chases, but the design of your framing is up to you. For example, you may want to shape your soffits for a decorative effect. or build an oversized chase that hoids bookshelves- Just make sure the framing conforms to local building codes

There may be code restrictions about the types of mechanicals that can be grouped together, as well as minimum clearances between the framing and what it encloses. And most codes specify that soffits, chases, and other framed structures have f deblocking every 10 ft and at the intersections between soffits and neighboring walls. Remember, too. that drain cleanouts and shutoff valves must be accessible, so you'll need to install access panels at these locations.

Variations for Building Soffits

Obstructions perpendicular to joists. Build two ladde'-itke frames for the soffit sides, using standard 2 x 2s. Install 2x2 braces <or "rungs") every 16 or 24* to provide nailing support for the seams of the wallboard or other finish materia'. Attach the side frames to the |0ists on either side of the obstruction, using nasls <x screws Then, install cross pieces beneath the obstacle, tying the two sides together Cover the soffit with wallboard. plywood, o* other finish matenal

Obstructions parallel to joists.

Build side frames as with perpen-dicular obstructions, but size them to fit in between two joists. This provides nailing surfaces for both the soffit and ceiling f«n;sh materials. Attach the frames to the joists with screws, then install cross pieces. Note: If you are enclosing a drain pipe, wrap the pipe in un-faced fiberglass insulation to muffle the sound of dra<n»ng water

Maximize headroom. In rooms with low ceilings, and where an obstruction »s less than 12' wide and the finish material will be wallboard or plywood, build side frames (see above) so that the bottom edges are )C lower than the lowest point of the obstruction For soffits of this width, the bottom piece of wallboard or plywood stabilizes the structure, so cross pieces between side frames aren't necessary

Removable Panel Fixing System

2 2 side frame

Wallboard

Soffit Framing

Wallboard

Dropped Soffit House Duct Work

Fiberglass insulation

How to Frame a Chase

How to Make Access Panels

Build chases with 2 x 4s, which tend to be straighter than 2 x 2s and are strong enough to withstand household accidents. Use pressure-treated lumber for bottom piates on concrete floors, attaching them with construction adhesive and powder-actuated nailer fasteners (see page 124). Cut top plates from standard lumber and na»l or screw them in place Install studs to form the corners of the chase, and block in between them for stability To make the chase smaller, notch the top and bottom plates around the obstruction, and install the studs flat. If you're framing around a vertical dram pipe, leave room around the pipe for soundproofing insulation. Plastic pipes can be especially noisy

Plywood backer

After your soffits and chases are framed note the locations of all access points before you install the wallboard Make the access panels after the wallboard is installed

In a hortionlaJ surface (top photo), cut out a square p<ece of wallboard at the access location Push the cutout through the open-ng and slide it to one side so il rests on the ins«de of the soffit Glue mitered trim around the opening so it over laps the opening by approximately on all sides Position the panel so it rests on the trim and can be moved when necessary. In a vertical surface (bottom photo), cut an opening in the same fashion, and gkie mitered trim to the edges of the cutout. Install plywood backer strips to the back of the wallboard at two sides of the opening Position the finished panel over the opening so it resss aganst the strips Drill pilot ho*es through the trim, and secure the panel to the backer sthps with oecorative scrcws

Installing wallboard is often the first step in finishing walls and ceilings Some products, such as suspended ceilings and tongue-and-groove boards, can be installed directly over studs and joists, but check first with your local buiidmg department The building code in your area may require the use of waif board m some areas as a fire retardant

Installing wallboard is often the first step in finishing walls and ceilings Some products, such as suspended ceilings and tongue-and-groove boards, can be installed directly over studs and joists, but check first with your local buiidmg department The building code in your area may require the use of waif board m some areas as a fire retardant

Wood Working 101

Wood Working 101

Have you ever wanted to begin woodworking at home? Woodworking can be a fun, yet dangerous experience if not performed properly. In The Art of Woodworking Beginners Guide, we will show you how to choose everything from saws to hand tools and how to use them properly to avoid ending up in the ER.

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Responses

  • Ronald
    How to build long soffit in basement?
    3 years ago
  • matti
    How to construct a ceiling with 2/2 and plywood?
    2 years ago
  • Sara
    How wide to make a soffit?
    10 months ago
  • janne
    How to build a chase to hide plumbing pipes?
    8 months ago
  • raniero ferrari
    How to build a chase wall?
    6 months ago
  • Steven
    How to frame horizantal pipe chase?
    5 months ago
  • Carol
    How to build a soffit running parallel to joists?
    5 months ago
  • mehari
    How to frame in a chase wall?
    4 months ago
  • kiros
    How to properply frame a chase?
    1 month ago

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