How to Build a Knee Wall Partition Part 1

Lead Image
  • 4-20 hours
  • Intermediate
  • 300-2,000
What You'll Need
No. 16 framing Nails
2 x 4 lumber
Chalk Line
Pry bar
Anchor bolts
Plumb line
Pencil or marking pen
Measuring tape
Stud finder

A knee wall partition is a great way to create a sense of division in a large space or area in your home. You can create a knee wall to give the impression of a doorway or entrance, or you can create a waist-high knee wall to simply break up the open living space a little. In this series of articles, you will learn everything you need to know to build a knee wall partition.

Choose Location for Knee Wall

First, you'll need to choose a location for your knee wall. When choosing a location for the partition, try to line up the partition so that it will be supported by a stud in an adjoining wall. You can use a stud finder to find the exact location of a stud and use the location to help determine the best placement for the partition.

Mark the Partition Location on Wall

Make a mark on the adjoining wall with your pencil or marking pen to indicate where the wall stud is. This will be used for the vertical framing support that will be nailed into the stud behind the drywall.

Mark the Partition Layout on the Floor

Next, take your measuring tape and measure the distance outward from the wall from where the partition wall will be extended. Then, measure and cut a piece of 2 x 4 lumber to that exact length. Place the 2 x 4 piece of lumber on the floor, and use the chalk line or pencil to draw an outline of the piece of lumber. This rectangular outline will be where the bottom plate of the new partition will be installed.

Create Bottom Plate

Take the piece of 2 x 4 lumber that you used to create the outline and secure it to the floor in order to create the bottom plate. If your home's flooring is made of plywood and joists over a crawlspace, you can probably get away with nailing the bottom plate. However, if the flooring beneath the bottom plate is made of concrete, you will need to drill and use anchor bolts, or concrete nails.

Make Vertical Framing Supports

Measure two pieces of 2 x 4 lumber to the desired height of the knee wall, minus 3 inches, that is the thickness of two top plates to be installed later on. Then, nail one of the pieces up against the adjoining wall while making sure that it is straight and level. Be sure to nail into the stud behind the drywall. Then, use a toenail method to stand up the other piece of 2 x 4 lumber vertically at the other end of the bottom plate.

Install the Framing Top Plate

Cut a piece of 2 x 4 lumber to the same length as the bottom plate. Then nail it to the top of the two vertical braces that you just installed.

Add Vertical Studs

Measure the height distance between the top of the bottom plate and the bottom of the top plate. Then, cut enough 2 x 4 pieces of lumber so that you can now nail them vertically every 16 inches or so between the two vertical framing support pieces. Nail them to the top and bottom plates.

Add Second Top Plate

Cut yet another piece of lumber the same length as the bottom plate, and then align and set it on the top plate. Finally, nail the two top plate pieces together.