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Old 02-18-2008, 11:44 AM   #1
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How do I cut a wall in half the right way?


I want to divide a partition wall horizontally so that only about 2/5ths of the bottom half remains intact. The wall currently divides a stairwell from living space. The stairs lead up from a first story foyer to the second floor of a duplex. I want the remaining portion of the wall to act as some sort of railing. I'm certain it's a no-load bearing wall because the studs are thin metal.

What is the best way to do this with the least amount of demolition? I'm thinking of first removing the drywall to expose the metal studs, then snipping away at the studs to the required height, then capping the studs w/a new track before finishing. Does that seem like I'm asking for trouble down the road? Is it better to simply tear down the entire wall and build from scratch?

Thanks in advance!

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Old 02-18-2008, 01:13 PM   #2
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How do I cut a wall in half the right way?


your plan sounds good to me, but lookout for the unknown, elec, plumbing, telephone ... that may or may not be hidden behind the drywall, I would also double check and then check again to be sure that the wall is not load bearing thats a can of worms you may not want to open good luck and post before and after pics so we all can check it out

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Old 02-18-2008, 01:22 PM   #3
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How do I cut a wall in half the right way?


Everything roklyr stated is dead-on....
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Old 02-18-2008, 03:16 PM   #4
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How do I cut a wall in half the right way?


Thanks for your responses, Rocklyr and AtlanticWBConst.

According to the floorplan, the partition wall is non-load bearing. I'll be sure to double check, though. I'll also see about any hidden surprises.

I'm a total newbie at this. Is this something I can handle myself? I'm pretty capable with tools and have at least half a brain
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Old 02-18-2008, 03:29 PM   #5
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How do I cut a wall in half the right way?


I would take the wall down and start new. A short wall with only metal studs may not be as strong as you would like for a stairwell railing. If you have the space I would frame the wall, apply 1/2" plywood to one side(glued and screwed), and then drywall it.
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Old 02-18-2008, 03:39 PM   #6
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How do I cut a wall in half the right way?


jerryh3, do you mean frame it with wooden (rather than metal) studs?
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Old 02-18-2008, 03:46 PM   #7
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How do I cut a wall in half the right way?


Keep in mind that whatever you do, depends on what load is on that wall.
If that is a stairwell wall, chances are that a portion, if not all, of the stairs stringers and platforms could be attached to it.
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Old 02-18-2008, 04:23 PM   #8
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How do I cut a wall in half the right way?


Any photos?
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Old 02-18-2008, 04:38 PM   #9
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How do I cut a wall in half the right way?


Quote:
Originally Posted by sonnycrockett View Post
jerryh3, do you mean frame it with wooden (rather than metal) studs?
Yes. Photos would really help.
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Old 02-18-2008, 04:45 PM   #10
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How do I cut a wall in half the right way?


AtlanticWBConst, I don't think I'll have a problem with load. The residence is a small duplex in a converted factory in Brooklyn NY. The stairs seem to have been in place while the building was still a factory, before it was converted into apartments, and are free standing (i.e. the stairs have their own steel and concrete frame). The partition wall was put up during the conversion. I want to knock the wall (partially) down because there are two windows in the stairwell that would really brighten up the living space once it is opened up. I'm not sure why a wall was put there in the first place... seems like a case of poor design.

redline, I don't have any photos (yet), but I can post schematics. I'll do that soon.
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Old 02-18-2008, 06:04 PM   #11
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How do I cut a wall in half the right way?


Hi all,

Attached is the floor plan of the residence in question. As you'll see, the first floor (bottom of diagram) is really nothing but an entrance (with closet space) with two flights of stairs that lead up to the second floor. Also note the two windows in the stairwell (one window on each floor). I want to remove the upper portion of the partition wall next to the second flight of stairs (as indicated by the none-solid line in the diagram... the load bearing walls are solid black) so that the living room gets more light. Ideally, I want to leave the bottom portion of the wall to act as a railing.

I'm wondering now, would it be easier (and maybe better aesthetically) to remove the partition wall entirely and install some sort of modern railing--maybe glass and metal--to give the place a more modern look?
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