The Self Build Self Help Site retaining wall
photo of a truss on a wall plate

A regular topic of enquiry concerns putting in a wall plate prior to installing roof trusses or a cut timber roof. Although a key task in establishing a sound base for the roof in a new build, it is not rocket science. And, although it does seem to be one of those jobs that is an irritant before getting onto the main task in hand, the outcome can be very satisfying if done well - a solid looking wall plate, straight and level, and firmly tied down.

Two key activites before setting the wall plate are:

  1. get the blocks / bricks to the right height in order to achieve the desired ceiling height
  2. get wood that is straight and free from major imperfections

Once the cavity wall is approaching wall plate height, you will need to measure the height from the joists and, taking into account the thickness of the flooring to go down (usually 18 or 22mm particle board), work out how to get the top of the wall plate to the desired height (usually a little over 2.4m - to get the plasterboard sheets in if you are dry lining). In our last build, we achieved this by using slates to close the cavity, then a course of bricks on top, and then a 3" deep wall plate.

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The following photos cover the process of getting to the correct height and then bedding the wall plate.

click on the photos for a larger view

photo of retaining wall in preparation

The wall (here on a garage) is ready to have the cavity closed using slate, the thickness of which will help get the wall plate to the desired height.

photo of retaining wall in preparation

The slates are bedded on cement.
The cavity is closed in order to prevent any fire from spreading up to the roof.