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tigereye 04-13-2009 02:58 PM

Best way to cover over brick wall in basement?

I'm looking to make my downstairs family room into a theatre/media room/hangout area for the kids. At one end of the room is a brick fireplace that covers the whole wall. I'm looking at using this wall as my screen wall in a front projection setup. Wondering if I can get some opinions on the best way to build a false wall to cover/hide/deal with the fireplace without doing any permanent damage to it (in case the next owners want it for whatever reason).

The room is 19x12 give or take an inch. The hearth currently extends 10" into the room. The wall is about 50/50 above and below grade, as this is in the lower level of the house.

The two options I had thought of are:

  1. Build the false wall up against the fireplace, following the general contour of the hearth. This would allow me to extend the hearth section out a bit and add a seat there if needed for additional capacity. I'd fasten the wall to the floor, ceiling and side walls in order to protect the brick.
  2. Build the wall out in front of the fireplace completely and just screen it off.

If I chose option 1, would I need any vapor barrier or insulation between the brick and the wall?

Pic of the wall is below.



bjbatlanta 04-14-2009 03:54 PM

I'd frame a wall in front of the fireplace if it were mine and I was thinking of being able to disassemble. Use metal studs. Easy to take apart later if desired, a couple of track pins shot into the floor (you could go on top of the carpet) and a few screws into the ceiling joists. Some base on the bottom, hang tight to the ceiling and caulk the top. It would take a bit more than a foot out of the room space though. I don't see why a vapor barrier would be necessary. Make sure the damper is closed on the chimney and maybe block the front of the firebox with some sort of rigid foam?? Make sure your chimney cap and flashing is in good shape. You won't notice any leaks until the damage is done. I'm sure there will be other input....

Gary in WA 04-14-2009 05:23 PM

Yep, I agree with bjb, and maybe close the ceiling heat supply almost shut, leave a little. Maybe put 2x4's, every 3', on the carpet from wall to bricks, attach wall bottom plate to 2x4's not floor. Don't mess with carpet, no holes. Line wall up on a ceiling joist, drive wedges between bottom plate and carpet, not disturb ceiling except long screws every 24" into joist. Put layers of sill sealer under and over wall top/bottom, and on ends wall/wall. When you remove, caulk holes in ceiling, done. Be safe, GBAR

tigereye 04-14-2009 06:49 PM

Thanks GBAR & bjb for the advice. I hadn't even thought about metal studs, but I can see how that would make it easy. Seems a lot simpler to just build the wall in front of the fireplace rather than messing with the brick. Sounds good to me.

Had one question about this:


Originally Posted by GBAR in WA (Post 259880)
Maybe put 2x4's, every 3', on the carpet from wall to bricks, attach wall bottom plate to 2x4's not floor.

For this, would I just be laying the boards on the carpet and then fastening the wall into them, but not fastening the boards to anything, correct? Just want to make sure I'm envisioning properly.

Thanks again,


Gary in WA 04-14-2009 10:24 PM

Yes, I had 4 boys. Hard for someone to pull the wall, easier to push, this stops that. Just gives a little more side support. Nothing through the carpet, 5 or so screws into ceiling joist, easy fix later. Use J - trim on the sheetrock, top and sides, T - trim on the joints, paint a mural on the wall to hide the screws! Be safe, GBAR

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