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Manakilakila 11-25-2011 11:39 AM

Advice on building a half wall?
Hey Guys,

I'm a new DIY'er and working on a bathroom remodel. I have the whole room demo'd and have 80% of the plumbing in for the shower so far. I want to build a half wall in the outside space of the shower where I am going to enclose the last of 3 body sprays. (The other 2 already in, one in the inside wall and the other in the front wall) I have a space of 5 ft to work with and I'm thinking of making the wall 4 ft tall (my wife and I are short, 5'0" and 5'9") by 2ft 8 in. That would leave 2ft 4 inches for the doorway to get into the shower. I'm attaching this to a cement floor, so my main question is do I need a pressure treated 2x4 for only the bottom plate or should I make this whole wall out of pressure treated lumber? Also, how should I make the wall, do the typical 16" space between studs so only one stud in the middle of this 32" length? And what about the height of 4ft? Would you split the differance and have a 2x4 going across in the middle at 2ft? And last question :no:, should I use Tapcon screws to attach this to the cement floor?

Thanks Guys for any help or direction you can provide!

ddawg16 11-26-2011 01:40 AM

I think I have a good idea of what your doing....

The only thing that needs to be PT is the wood that attaches to the concrete.

Make sure you use stainless or galvanized fasteners for the PT wood.

And remember....prevention is the real key...Don't let the wood get wet....

iliketowork 11-26-2011 10:28 AM

First, build the half wall solid. If you slip in the shower you don't want any flex ir movement. If you are going to tile the more solid the better. Consider installing a safety bar, your wife will appreciate it. Also, make sure you construct top of this wall correctly so no moisture seeps in any seams.

coupe 11-26-2011 02:39 PM

Hi, I don't claim to be an expert. but had been a union carpenter's foreman for27 years before being forced into retirement due to an on the job injury that caused a massive stroke. we did mostly commercial work. if I understand correctly? you want to build a half wall, that is free standing only attached to the floor 32"X48"? this is how I would build it if for myself. I'd use metal studs, not the flimsy 25 guage stuff you get at home depot or Lowes. but I'd try to find at least 20 guage, if not 18. 20 guage you can still cut with good tin snips, metal is as strong as wood or stronger when built properly. I'm not a fan of pressure treated wood used indoors in any way, eventually, it will emit an odor from the chemicals used to make it. I'd fasten the metal track to the floor using 1/2" expansion bolts, 2 at each end and stagger bolts every 8" or so between the ends. positioning the bolts so the edge of the washers would be as close to the flanges of the track as possible maybe 3/4" center of bolts from flanges. you'll have to measure, if you want to use wood as studs? that is fine, but double screw the studs to the track. I'd put a 2X6 blocking at 36" center above floor for a handrail. I'd get some of the metal strap lumber yards use to bind limber when hauling, and run diagnally from corner to corner, both sides to keep wal from racking. if you're going to tile said wall? I'd use concrete board or Wonderboard to cover the wall. you'll have to cut it with a saw. I'd run a good heavy bead of silicone one entire perimiter, even the top piece. also run 3 good beads of silicone under the track on floor, 1 on each side and a heavier bead in the middle. keep all the surface as smooth as possible! as any lumps, can make it very easy for tile to crack with little pressure. you may need to pre drill the Wonderboard for screws? but regular drywall screws will go into the 20 gauge studs and track, 18 gauge? youll need self drilling screws. once the wall is mounted to the floor, it'll take a good hard push to push it over! unliely to get pushed over accidentlly!

good luck


Manakilakila 11-26-2011 02:57 PM

Awesome information! Thank you very much for your replies. I love the safety bar suggestion, I will definitely add that to the plan.

coupe - I love your idea. I'm at work right now and it is tough for me to really digest your plan on my phone, I can't wait to get home and really go through it.

Update on my wall - it will be attached to the front wall as well as the cement floor. The stud is currently exposed and ready for the wall to be attached. Also, the wall will be tiled as well. Does being attached to a wall eliminate the need for the binding with the metal straps, or would that still be a good idea?

Thanks everyone!

Manakilakila 11-29-2011 09:55 AM

Metal Studs?
So far it has been difficult locating some 20 gauge or better metal studs. As expected, Lowe's and Home Depot only carrying the 25 gauge.

Anyone have any ideas on who to contact for this type of stud? I'm in the las vegas area.

Thanks Guys!

Ironlight 11-29-2011 10:59 AM

I'm not going to comment on wood vs. metal. I think both are OK and I don't believe the off gassing from a single PT sole plate for the wall will be a health hazard.

Do yourself a favor and no matter what method you use, use 2x6s or even 2x8s. Your wall will be thicker but it will also be expoentially stiffer and stronger if only because it is braced/fastened across a wider area on the floor and where attached to the wall. Anyone who builds a knee wall out of 2x4s is asking for trouble down the road if it has two open sides (top and end) IMHO.

Manakilakila 12-02-2011 06:07 PM

Thank You Ironlight for the suggestion. I will definately do that. I got the idea for the half wall from a display shower at Bedrosians, and the wall measures 8" thick, so I guess there must be a 2X6 under there and with the tile on it bringing it out to 8 inches.

titanoman 12-02-2011 07:10 PM

If the wall you are attaching the pony wall to is already opened up, run the top plate of your knee wall into the wall, and use blocking or whatever to attach. This will add a great deal of stability.

havalife 12-02-2011 09:38 PM

You can get what you need at places like this.

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