Building a Half Wall
A great way to divide a room space without closing
it in is by building a half wall, also called a
knee-wall. Building a half wall will provide you
with additional wall space for placing furniture
and some amount of privacy.
Half walls are easy to
construct using standard carpenter tools, building
material and hardware. Half walls are commonly
built on the main house floor or in the basement.
The instructions here are for building a basement
One of the difficulties in half
wall construction is getting them stable. They must
be firmly attached to an existing wall on one end,
secured to the floor, and preferably a short right
angle wall at the other end. In addition, I
recommend that any half wall design be with 2 x 6s
rather than 2 X 4s. The additional two inches will
provide much more contact surface for attaching it
to the wall and floor.
The wider wall will also give you a lot more
shelf width on top of the wall.
Instructions for Building a Half Wall:
Select the area where you want to build the
Insure there is a stud behind the wall board where
you plan to attach the wall so the half wall will
be tightly secured to the wall at the attach point.
Check that the floor is level. If it is not you
will have to use shims under the wall or adjust the
height of the studs on the half-wall to compensate.
Take notice of any obstacles such as pipes and
outlets in the wall or the floor.
Cut the bottom and top plates to the desired length
of the wall. Use a chalk line to snap a line on the
floor to indicate the location of the bottom plate.
plate should be pressure treated as it makes
contact with the cement floor.
top and bottom plates side by side and face down on
the floor. Draw a line across both plates every 16
inches as in standard wall framing. These lines
represent the center of your studs. From each of
those lines, measure over 3/4" (in the same
direction) and draw another line. This line
represents the edge of each stud. Draw some X's
over the center lines to help show the placement of
Cut the studs to the desired length. The studs
should be 3-3/4" shorter than the finished height
of the wall to compensate for the upper and bottom
plates and the finish cap.
Place the top and bottom plates on their edges on
the floor with the lines facing inward. Position
the studs between the plates and line them up with
the corresponding lines on each plate. Nail the
studs into the top and bottom plates. Two inch
screws is an option.
Place the completed half-wall frame on the line you
chalked on the floor. Make sure it is the
pressure-treated bottom plate that makes contact
with the concrete. Check to see that it’s set level
on the floor. Use shims to make any adjustments.
Pre-drill holes through the bottom plate and into
the concrete floor. Use Tapcon screws to fasten the
bottom plate to the concrete, spacing the screws
about 10 to 12 inches apart. It is also a good idea
to use construction glue between the floor and the
bottom plate to obtain more surface contact.
Secure the half-wall to the side wall using three
inch screws placed approximately every ten inches.
If you elect to use a stub wall at the end of the
half wall for more stability, attach it at a right
angle to the half-wall and secure it to the floor.
At this point run any electrical wire for outlets
or TV cable in the wall from the attached end.
wall should be firmly secured to the wall and the
floor at this point. Cut 1/2" drywall to size and
cover both sides of the half-wall. Use a screw gun
and 1-1/4" drywall screws to attach the drywall,
screwing it into the studs. Make sure the top edge
of the drywall is flush with the top of the top
plate. Install corner bead on the end of the wall.
Mud, tape and sand all joints.
a 1x6 clear pine cap on top of the wall. Using a
hard wood is an option. Nail it in place using the
18-gauge finish nails. Stain or paint the cap as
desired. Finish by priming and painting the drywall
and adding some base molding.
That is all there is to it.
Building a Floor On top Of Concrete
Building an In-Law Apartment
Framing a Finished Basement
Framing Walls | Wall Framing Layout