partition wall

How To Build A Partition Wall

When we moved into our four-bedroomed house, not only was it a wreck, but the previous owner had taken down a partition wall between two bedrooms. This created one long room, with unnecessary large areas of storage.

As we had three kids, it was imperative that we had a four-bedroomed home. A stud wall was quickly and easily erected, and a bedroom door situated. My son breathed a sigh of relief because, as the middle child, he feared to move into an old house and share a room with his little sister.

Do you desperately need an extra bedroom, a small office, a utility room, or music studio? If so read on, and learn how to build a partition wall.

Materials needed:

  • Headplate (sawn timber for the ceiling)
  • Soleplate (sawn timber for the floor)
  • Studs (sawn timber)
  • Noggins (to support the studs)
  • Screws for the head and sole plates
  • Nails for the studs and noggins
  • Plasterboard
  • Scrim tape
  • Corner beads

Tools needed:

  • Spirit level
  • Builder’s chalk or a pencil
  • Screwdriver
  • Jigsaw
  • Hammer
  • Measuring tape
  • Stanley knife or sharp cutting knife
  • Cutting edge/metal ruler

Important tasks to complete before building your partition wall

  • Plan where the doorway will be
  • Check with your local authority, as you may need a visit from building regulations to confirm that your work is in keeping with the strict guidelines.
  • You will need windows for ventilation
  • You will definitely need to work out lighting and heat. Remember that these jobs will most likely require professionals that can sign off the work with a certificate.

Extra Pro Tip: Attach a bedsheet at the position in which you wish to build the partition wall. Check that there is enough space for storage and that your bed or wardrobe will fit. This also gives you the option of drawing the imprint (on the floor) of any large piece of furniture you plan to place in the room. Check before you build!

Safety tips before you start work

According to DIY giant, B&Q, if you have an electronic detector, check for the following before doing any work. If you don’t have one, you can rent one from a tool rental in your area (or even ask friends on social media). It’s important that you find potential trouble before work commences.

You want to check for: pipes, water cables, and joists. 

Pro Tip: Your stud wall will probably use about 12 cm from your existing room, so cater for this.

1. Making Your Frame

For your frame, get these materials and tools ready:

  • Headplate (sawn timber for the ceiling)
  • Soleplate (sawn timber for the floor)
  • Studs
  • Saw
  • Measuring tape
  • Noggins (to support the studs)
  • Screws for the head and sole plates
  • Nails for the studs and noggins

​Once you’ve decided where the partition wall will go, use a spirit level or a long ruler to draw lines (from the top to the bottom) on the walls in your chosen position. 

Secondly, screw the sole plate – a piece of sawn timber (100mm by 50mm is ideal) to the floor between the two lines you’ve just drawn. Before completely securing, make sure this line is straight by using your spirit level.

The screws with which you fix the timber to the floor should be about 500mm apart.

If you’re putting a door in, it helps to lay the door and the completed door frame on the floor, then mark and cut the soleplate accordingly.

The head plate. Attach another piece of sawn timber – of the same size – on the ceiling joists. Remember to measure correctly. Double-check straightness and position by using a spirit level, as you want to measure twice and cut once. 

Don’t worry about the position of your ceiling joists. If they run opposite to your partition wall, attach the head plate to each of them with screws. If they run in line with your partition wall, simply fix noggins between them before attaching your head plate. (See below for the description of noggins).

After these two items are secure. Measure and cut more sawn timber for the studs.

Pro Tip: You want to cut the studs about 1mm longer than what you need, then hammer them into place. This ensures that your wall is secure and strong.

Fix the studs between the sole and head plates. You can use nails for this. The first and last studs are fixed snugly against the walls on both sides. All other studs can be placed between 400mm and 500mm apart. Nails are easier to use for this. All nails can be placed diagonally. 

Pro Tip: Fix all studs in place before nailing any of them. This way, if you have to move them around for more equal spacing, you can do this easily.

Once the studs are in place, cut your noggins to size. They go horizontally between the studs. Remember again to cut about 1mm longer than you need and hammer into place. This produces a better, more sturdy wall.

Nail the noggins across the studs. Again, fix them all in before you begin nailing. To make it easy on yourself, the Ultimate Handyman says you should fix noggins in staggered positions so that they can be nailed in more easily.

2. Adding The Plasterboard

For this section get these tools and materials ready:

  • Plasterboard
  • Stanley knife or sharp cutting knife
  • Nails
  • Tape
  • Cutting edge or metal ruler

The first thing to do before adding your plasterboard is to mark on the floor the positions of the studs. This makes such a difference when it comes to nailing the plasterboards into place. 

There are several types of plasterboard available. Choose what suits you best when it comes to factors like sound-proofing, insulation, energy efficiency, easy-to-cut varieties. There are also smaller, handier-sized sheets available. 

Pro Tip: Your craft knife will get pretty dull after cutting through plasterboard. You will need several new ones or one with replaceable blades.

Cut on the ivory side of the plasterboard, using your knife and a sharp metal-edged ruler. Once the line has been cut through the full length of the board, turn it over and fold along the cut line. It should snap quite easily. You can then use your knife to separate (cut) the paper backing. 

Once you have measured and cut the plasterboards, and have nailed them into one side, a good practice is to insulate your wall before finally fixing plasterboard to the other side of the stud wall. 

3. Finish Off Your Stud Partition Wall

For this section get these tools and materials ready:

  • Scrim tape
  • Corner beads
  • Nails

To finish off your work nicely, just nail in corner beads (for square corners when you plaster the wall). Then add scrim tape to the areas where the plasterboards have been joined. This is important because it prevents cracks when the wall is plastered.

Final Thoughts

If you need a demonstration of how this is all done, here’s a very straight-forward DIY video, that shows you step-by-step, how to build your own partition wall. 

How to build a stud wall

For our family, having good-sized bedrooms instead of a massive one enabled our kids to have their own safe space, with their personal items around them. This was very important for their emotional well-being when – for the first few months after moving – we lived in a dusty, old, wretched house.

What could a partition wall mean for you? Would it enable you to have your own separate office away from the family? A new bedroom? An art studio?

We hope this article has answered any questions you had about building partition walls. If you’ve benefited from it, please share it on your social networking sites.

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