How To Frame Curved Walls With Less Time And Labor

February 10, 2012

As much as some framers may yearn for the good old days of straight, plumb and square walls, designers know that curves grab our attention and are also comforting and soothing. So we really can’t blame architects for adding that special architectural touch to their projects. Since someone is going to build that job for them, you might as well figure out a way to frame it quickly and easily and end up with a finished product you can be proud of—regardless of whether you’re a framing novice or an Überframer.

The first thing you need for a radius wall is an accurate, properly built layout. If the radius is too large to pull a tape and swing around to mark, say over 20’, there are other ways you can get your radius. We have a formula whereby you can snap a straight chalk line and then mark points every 6” or so perpendicular along the line to layout large radii say 25’ to 400’ radiuses.

Another tool is a full-scale template we can print and mail to you, at a minimal charge. It comes on a 3’x10’ roll of paper and is great for large radii.

Now that you have an accurate layout you need to match your track precisely to that curve. The full line of Flex-C Trac widths and gauges allow workers to match their curvy layouts easily by hand. Once the Flex-C Trac is shaped in the curve you want, just take a hammer and smash the new little feature called the Hammer-Lock tabs, to lock it in place quickly.

Make a mirror image for the top track (plate), secure them both in position and you’re ready to install studs.

Be sure not to skimp on the studs in curved framing. Just a few extra studs are needed to make a closer stud layout and helps prevent flat spots and cracking in your gyp board as you cover it up.

For gentle curves you can use typical gyp board, wet the back and wait a few minutes and force it over the curve as you install wall screws. However, on many of the more dramatic and small radius curves used nowadays, I opt for two layers of the ¼” versions sold by the major drywall manufacturers. It is more expensive, but so is labor. On these smaller curves it is so much quicker and easier to get good, smooth results that I don’t groan so loudly at the extra material expense. Be sure to stagger the joints of the two layers of ¼” gyp board, both on the ends and on the sides.

The more uniformly you can build your wall, the less magic the taper/finisher will have to do to try and make it look good.

We will go into more specifics in other posts but these tips will help you go the short way around building curves.



siaosi said -

I would like to know how they framed my house. I have a home that has a roof that is curved. I am impressed by this algorithm to be able to know how to do this. I am excited to see how to deal with this.

July 21, 2016 at 7:46 am • Reply

Nelson Hidalgo said -

Can you please send me a link to purchase the flex trac and the template?

April 27, 2018 at 6:05 pm • Reply

Kerry P. Gagne said -

Do you have any guidelines on man hours to frame curved wall per LF or SF?

Thanks, Kerry

February 2, 2019 at 10:08 am • Reply

Leave a Comment

Let us know what you think by leaving a comment below. Fields with a * are required.

Newsletter Signup

Sign up for our newsletter to get helpful industry tips.