Am I the only one that just puts up walls where I want? I’ve put up a few in the last couple of years when the layout of the house just wasn’t working for me, and I was asked by a friend to write a post on building a wall. It may seem like a daunting task, but it’s actually quite easy!! I’ll show you!
At the ski chalet, the fireplace sits right in the middle of the room… I’m not sure why, that’s how I found it! I decided to put a wall behind the fireplace for three reasons.
- To transform the fireplace into its own masterpiece
- To separate the entryway from the living room and create two separate spaces
- For safety reasons, so nobody will accidentally touch the back of the wood stove
In this post, I’m just going to talk about adding a wall. If you want to move a wall, it can be more complicated as you have to worry about support beams and any plumbing or electrical that may be in the wall. It is still possible so don’t rule it out. It just may take a little more effort and resources.
Deciding where the wall goes…
I want to build a wall that is as wide as my hearth and that goes from floor to ceiling. So, the first step is to measure from floor to ceiling and the width of the hearth. I recommend measuring both ends of the wall from floor to ceiling. If you have an older house, chances are that is has settled and the ceiling or floor may not be completely level. For example, one side of my wall is 106 1/8 inches and the other is 106 5/8 inches.
Making a plan and cutting
In order to plan for you lumber purchase, you need to make a plan. I usually draw myself a picture to help with my math. 🙂
This is what my sketch looks like. Nothing fancy. Just enough for me to plan what materials I need. I need a 2×4 long enough to the be top and bottom of the walls, and then enough studs to be no more than 16 inches apart across my wall.
My ceiling height was 106 5/8 inches. 2x4s are 1 1/2 inches thick (not 2 inches), so the height of my vertical studs need to be 103 5/8 inches.
I needed one 8 foot 2×4 (4 feet for the top and 4 feet for the bottom) and four 10 feet 2x4s.
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- When you buy your lumber, make sure you are finding the straightest pieces possible. This will make life easier as you build. I usually end up going through several pieces to find the one I want. (I’m sure Lowes and Home Depot LOVE me! :))
- Screws 2 1/2 inches. I like the torx screws with the star shaped top. They don’t strip as easily.
- A saw for cutting lumber. I used my miter saw to make things really easy. I love this saw and use it for so many things. The stand is sold separately, but is really handy.
- A drill or screw gun. I have this Ryobi drill set and love it!
- A level
- A rubber mallet or hammer
- Tape measure
- Stud finder-this one is my favorite!! It has a digital display that points to the center of the stud!
Putting the wall together
There are a couple different ways to build a wall. I prefer to build mine on the ground and stand it up. I start by cutting all of my lumber to length.
Then I measure out and mark where I am going to secure the studs. For interior walls, the studs can’t be more than 16 inches apart. This will keep your wall structurally strong.
I like to start my screws so that I can focus on holding my boards in the right place. This is personal preference, not a requirement.
I line up and secure my boards on one end
And then the other
Standing up the wall
Once the you have your wall all put together, it’s time to stand it up in place!
I lined up the top and the bottom as closely as I could and then used the rubber mallet to gently tap the wall into place. Then, using the level and the mallet, I tapped the wall until it was perfectly plumb (level up and down-my dad should be proud that I used the right word!! 🙂 )
Once the wall is plumb in both directions, forward, backwards, right, left… it’s time to secure it!
If you don’t have wood ceilings like I do, use your stud finder to find your ceiling joists to secure the wall to. Screw the wall to the ceiling joists and to the floor.
The last step is to put some blocking in between the studs for support. This is just 2x4s placed between the studs.
These can be vertical or horizontal. I placed mine at the height that I planned to put up shelves on the fireplace side and hooks on the back side of the wall. This gives me more solid area to hang things!
All that’s left is covering up your wall!! Whether you do drywall or shiplap siding or whatever, just make sure that it is securely attached to the studs.
I chose to do shiplap on the back side of the walls. It’s handy that it is in style right now, but it also goes with the old ship lap in the house.
Voila! New wall!