How to Build a Stub Half Wall

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Stub half walls do not extend all of the way from floor to ceiling, and often they don't completely divide a room between two walls. The purpose of the wall is to create a partition in a room without completely closing the room into sections. Building the half wall requires many of the same building processes as building a full-sized partition wall that is not load-bearing. The main difference between a half wall and a full partition wall is that the half wall attaches to only two surfaces, the floor and and existing adjoining wall.

Things You'll Need

  • Chalk
  • Tape measure
  • 2-by-4-inch planks
  • Treated 2-by-4-inch plank
  • Speed square
  • Pneumatic framing gun
  • Carpenter’s level
  • Wooden shims
  • Drill
  • Hammer drill
  • Wood screws
  • Concrete fasteners
  • Screw bits
  • 1/2-inch drywall
  • Utility knife
  • Joint compound
  • Drywall knife
  • Drywall tape
  • 18-gauge finish nailer
  • Sandpaper
  • Interior acrylic paint
  • Paintbrush
  • Mark the location on your floor where you’d like to place the half wall using a piece of chalk. Make a second mark on the wall that you’re connecting the half wall to at the proposed height of the half wall. Select a position that will allow you to set the frame into a wall stud. Measure the planned length and height of the wall with a tape measure, and then subtract 3/4 inch from each to provide room for the placement of an outer cap board after building the frame.

  • Cut two two-by-fours to the adjusted length of the wall with a circular saw. These pieces will serve as the top and bottom plates of your half wall. Use a treated two-by-four if you’re attaching the bottom plank to a concrete floor. The treated wood will resist any moisture seeping from the floor.

  • Place the planks on the floor parallel to one another on the 4-inch edges. Place marks on the planks every 16-inches with a pencil to show the center point for each stud in the wall. Use a speed square placed with one leg of the square against the side of the plank and the other overlapping the plank to make certain that your drawn lines across the planks for the studs are straight. Move the square 3/4 inch away from the centerline and place a second line across the plates to indicate the positions of the edges of the wall studs. Place an "X" across the centerline so that you won’t confuse the two adjacent lines.

  • Subtract another 3 inches from the adjusted height measurement and cut a wall stud for each of the centerline wall stud marks, with an additional two studs cut for the edge pieces of the frame.

  • Set the top and bottom planks onto their 2-inch sides, and then place the studs between them on their 2-inch sides. Set each stud so that the edge of the stud is against an edge line and the center of the stud over one of the marked centerlines. Set the two edge studs so that they’re between the top and bottom plates and flush with the plate edges.

  • Nail the studs into position using a pneumatic framing gun. Drive the nails through the top and bottom plates into the ends of the studs, using two nails per stud to hold it securely in place.

  • Lift the completed frame and set it against the wall in the position where you wished it placed. Make certain that the wall is level using a carpenter’s level across the top. Place wood shims beneath the frame if needed, to level it out.

  • Drill pilot holes through the bottom plate into the floor. Use a hammer drill if you're installing the frame to a concrete floor. Space the holes every 10 inches along the length of the plate, staggering the hole placement to avoid creating a straight line of holes down the board. Screw the frame to the floor using the pilot holes as a guide and a screw set in your drill. Use wood screws to secure the frame to a wooden subfloor or concrete fasteners to secure the frame to a concrete floor. Secure the frame to the wall in the same fashion.

  • Cut two pieces of 1/2-inch drywall to the adjusted dimensions of your wall using a utility knife to score a cutting line and then snapping the board along the line. Secure the drywall to the frame on both sides using 1 1/2-inch drywall screws placed every 10 inches along the studs and along the top and bottom plates. If multiple drywall panels are necessary, spread joint compound over the seams with a drywall knife, placing drywall tape over the compound. Place another layer of compound over the tape to conceal the edges of the tape. Feather the compound out along the edges, overlapping the edges onto the drywall about 2 inches.

  • Cut pieces of 1-by-6-inch planks to the original length and the modified height of the wall. Nail the height board to the frame with an 18-gauge finish nailer so that the edges are flush with the two drywall panels on both sides of the wall and the top plate. Set the length board across the top of the wall so that it’s flush on the edges with the drywall panel surface and flush on the front with the surface of the height piece of 1-by-6 planking. Nail the top plank in place with the nailer.

  • Allow the joint compound on the drywall seams to dry overnight. Then sand the compound smooth against the drywall to conceal the edges.

  • Paint the wall whatever color desired using acrylic interior paint and a paintbrush to complete the wall’s construction.

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