Q: "Do studs have to meet the ceiling on a non-load-bearing wall?"
In our four-year-old house, there is a wall along one side of the basement stairs that has studs that don't meet the ceiling. The builder said this isn't a problem because it's not a load-bearing wall. What do you think?
—Tom and Patti Brydon, Rockford, Ill
Tom Silva replies: Maybe he thought you'd appreciate some extra bounce and squeaks in the floor above. Seriously, there's no excuse for sloppy, gap-filled framing. Studs should always fit tightly against their plates, and plates should be tight against the subfloor or joists, whether or not it's a structural necessity.
Take the wall down and build it right. Then take this guy off the list of contractors you'll call when you need any other work done on your house.