How to Make a Closet

Video Transcript

Video Transcript

RON HAZELTON:
And now I'm headed to Chappaqua, New York to visit Yuki Saegusa.  Hi, Yuki.
YUKI:
Hi, how are you.
RON HAZELTON:
Good morning.
YUKI:
Nice to see you.
RON HAZELTON:
Oh, nice to see you. What a beautiful fall day this is, huh?
YUKI:
Oh, yeah, it's just gorgeous.
[BOTH SPEAK AT ONCE]
Colors just popping out all over.
YUKI:
Yeah. We actually moved in during the summer. And that's one of the reasons why I called you. We discovered a little bit of a problem. We park the car in the garage and we want to keep all the mud and the dirt in the garage before we enter the house.
RON HAZELTON:
Sure.

Once we're inside, it becomes pretty clear that what Yuki needs is a closet.

So you've got, you've got three walls already here. And we just put a short wall in here in the front and some doors and you'll have your closet.

Because we don't want to build our new wall on top of the carpet, Yuki and I measure the area needed for the closet and then transfer that measurement to the floor. Once the depth of the closet has been measured on both sides, I'll lay a piece of masking tape between the lines, stretch a chalk line over it, snap it and then use the utility knife to cut through the carpet.

Yuki pulls up the carpet and then moves on to remove the molding. Well, the baseboards are off and we're ready to build our walls.
YUKI:
That's easy.
RON HAZELTON:
We begin by putting down this bottom plate, this is going on to concrete down here so what we'll have to do, first of all, is drill some holes into that concrete and that means using a masonry bit.

I drill a clearance hole through the wood block or bottom plate which also starts the hole in the concrete. To prevent drilling too deeply, we'll wrap a piece of black tape around the drill bit. When the bottom edge of this tape reaches the concrete, we'll know it's time to stop drilling.

I slip a lag screw through the 2 x 4 and into the lag shield, then snug it tight with a socket wrench. We'll do the same thing on the ceiling, screwing the top plate to the header. Next, we'll measure the distance between the top and bottom plates and then head out to the garage to cut our first wall stud.
YUKI:
Right, good.
RON HAZELTON:
You bet.
YUKI:
That will be a good one.
RON HAZELTON:
We'll slide our wall stud up against the existing wall between the top and bottom plates. Then use a drill to countersink a pilot hole and attach our wall studs with a couple of drywall screws.

They're going right into those pre-drilled holes that we did earlier.

Next, Yuki does the same thing to the other stud. For rigidity, we'll add a small piece of 2 x 4 to the center of a new wall. Now with the framing in place, it's time to measure for the wall board — 14 wide. Okay, let's go out to the garage and cut this out.
YUKI:
Okay.
RON HAZELTON:
Now there's really no big trick to cutting wall board. We simply mark our dimensions on one side with a pencil. And using a straight edge and a very sharp utility knife, we'll score along that line, turn the board over —and fold it back along the score we just made.

Use that utility knife again, cut down the fold, put it back down and it snaps right off. There you go. Okay, let's just carry this in.
YUKI:
Okay.
RON HAZELTON:
Just drop it in.

We secure the wall board with dry wall screws, making sure the heads are below the surface but not tearing the paper. Yuki's out in the garage cutting the door jambbs that we're going to trim out this opening with and I checked to be sure that everything on the sides here was plumber vertical and it is, but the top up here is not level. It's low on this end and we'll have to take that into consideration when we put this jamb up.

Well, here she is. How did it turn out?
YUKI:
Good, I think.
RON HAZELTON:
Okay. Let's go ahead and fit this in. Okay, good — oh, it's great for length, all right?

We'll insert some shims along the door jambbs to level it. Using two shims, one inserted from each side of the door jamb, we're able to adjust the slope of the jamb until it's level. Once level, we'll nail the jamb through the shims, score the shims with a utility knife and snap them off.

Next, we measure the door thickness and transfer that measurement to the jamb, using a combination square. This is how we create the doorstop, a piece of molding that keeps the doors from swinging into the closet. We'll want to seal the joints between our old wall and our new wall.

So I use some self-stick perforated joint tape and press it into the corners. Next, I'll load up my putty knife with some joint compound. It's a spackle-like material that when dry, can be sanded smooth. Pressure on the side of the putty knife blade pushes the compound into the holes, creating a seamless surface.

To conceal the gap or space between the edge of the wall board and the door jamb, Yuki cuts a special piece of molding called door casing. Once the casing is cut to length, I'll back it off about an eighth of an inch to the edge of the jamb, then Yuki nails it in place.

Well, there's your new doors. They're louver doors, they match the other doors here in the room. And I want to hang these using a non-mortise hinge. It's just easier to install. So we lay this on here and measure down about 7 inches for the top here.

I'm going to take self-centering drill bits. It's got sort of a shaft here and a bit on the inside.

After drilling the pilot holes, we'll drive in screws to secure the hinge in place.

Okay?
YUKI:
And this one?
RON HAZELTON:
Mm-hmm [AFFIRMATIVE]. Once the hinges are on the doors, it's just a matter of putting the doors into position and screwing the hinges into the jamb. Well, in just one day, we've transformed this empty space into a really terrific closet.

So what do you think?
YUKI:
Wow, that's great. It's perfect. It's just what we wanted.
RON HAZELTON:
A couple things you'll need to do to finish it up. When the joint compound dries tomorrow, give it a light sanding, then prime and paint everything and then pick out some really nice knobs or pulls here. Did you enjoy it?
YUKI:
Yes, I did. It was great fun. Thank you so much for your help.
RON HAZELTON:
You're very welcome. You know, you used about every power tool in my mobile shop. So any time you want to borrow my tool belt —
YUKI:
Cool. Okay, thank you very much.
RON HAZELTON:
You're welcome.

Build a Closet into the Space of an Existing Alcove by Adding Simple Framing and Doors

Transform a three-walled alcove into a built-in closet for extra storage space. In a finished house, remove the baseboard molding from the alcove and lift any carpet to expose the floor. Modify the surrounding walls by adding bottom plates and top plates, wall studs and a jamb as the structural components to extend the sheetrock and hold new doors.

Remove Carpet and Baseboard Molding from the Alcove
Step 1

Remove Carpet and Baseboard Molding from the Alcove

Cut and remove carpet with a utility knife to expose the full closet floor. Loosen and remove the molding with a wide putty knife and a small pry bar. Salvage these pieces to replace them after completing the closet.

Cut Bottom and Top Plates to Measure and Secure Them
Step 2

Cut Bottom and Top Plates to Measure and Secure Them

Cut bottom and top plates from a two-by-four. Use a masonry bit to pre-drill the concrete closet floor and insert lag shields before securing the bottom plate with lag bolts. Screw the top plate to the header with wood screws.

Cut Two-by-fours to Fit between the Top and Bottom Plates
Step 3

Cut Two-by-fours to Fit between the Top and Bottom Plates

Use a tape measure to determine the precise distance between the top and bottom plates and cut wall studs from two-by-four lumber. Use a chop saw to make straight cuts on each end.

Secure the Walls Studs between the Top and Bottom Plates
Step 4

Secure the Walls Studs between the Top and Bottom Plates

Secure studs between the top and bottom plates, against the existing wall and at the opposite end of the plates. Pre-drill countersunk pilot holes to secure them with drywall screws. Add a horizontal brace between the studs to add rigidity.

Measure Framing and Cut Wallboard to Fit
Step 5

Measure Framing and Cut Wallboard to Fit

Transfer framing measurements to sheetrock with a pencil and score along the mark with a sharp utility knife. Turn the wallboard over and break along the cut. Cut through the backing along the fold.

Measure Framing and Cut Wallboard to Fit
Step 6

Measure Framing and Cut Wallboard to Fit

Place the sheetrock against the outside of the framing, butting one edge against the existing wall. Drive the screws into the sheetrock far enough that the heads are below the surface but do not tear the paper.

Install the Door Jambs after Leveling Them with Shims
Step 7

Install the Door Jambs after Leveling Them with Shims

Ensure the closet stub walls are vertical and the header is level. Use shims to level the door jambs, if necessary, and nail through the jambs and shims into the door frame. Score the shims and break off the excess.

Measure and Add Molding for a Door Stop
Step 8

Measure and Add Molding for a Door Stop

Measure the closet door thickness and transfer the measurement to the door jambs with a pencil and combination square. Use a pneumatic nail gun to nail narrow strips of molding along the marks to prevent the doors from opening inward.

Dress the Joints between the Walls and Door Frame
Step 9

Dress the Joints between the Walls and Door Frame

Seal joints between old and new walls with self-sticking perforated joint tape. Apply joint compound with a putty knife to form a seamless surface. Cut and install mitered door casing to cover the gap between the wall and door frame.

Use a Self-centering Drill Bit to Drill for Non-mortised Hinges
Step 10

Use a Self-centering Drill Bit to Drill for Non-mortised Hinges

Position non-mortised hinges on the closet doors and use a self-centering bit to pre-drill for the screws. Secure the hinges to each door and then drive additional screws through the hinges and into the door jambs.