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Wall Q's & A's

Building/Installing | Removing | Paneling/Wainscoting | Plaster | Special Features | Other
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How to Install New Wall

I would like to install the wall between dining room and living room. The width would be 11 feet and height is 8.5 feet. I'll appreciate the instructions on how to do this.

Just a wall, no doorway? Will you cover it with sheetrock?
For an ordinary wall, use 2x4's. To make it simple, I will assume you can get two 12 foot 2x4's for the sill plate and the top plate. That would be the boards that run along the floor and the ceiling.
Oh, let me ask, what is on the floor?? (Don't say tile) Some floors you could build the wall right on top of, like a hardwood floor, or even vinyl. But for carpet or tile, you should remove it where the wall will go.
Ask me more about this if you have tile or carpet flooring.
Have you ever built a wall?
I am getting side tracked, but now I am not sure what sort of directions you will need.

But you should build a wall with a single top plate nailed to the joist(s) above and a sill plate nailed to the floor below, with studs every 16 inches.
Make sure one is nailed to the wall and two are at the end of the wall.

Hiding Seams in Manufactured Home

I have a manufactured home and would like to do something to the walls. They are made of a sheetrock material that is covered with a wallpaper. I have been told I could paint or texture them, my question is what do I do where the seams of the sheets meet so you can't see it.

You should be able to apply joint compound to the seams, just as you would ordinary sheetrocked walls.

I know that sometimes things don't stick to those walls, so try it in an out of the way place first.
Smooth some spackle compound in, and sand it flat. After it is painted or papered, it should look just like any sheetrocked wall.

Building a Half Wall

I would like to build a "half" wall between the living room and dinning room. It would be 38" high
and 4' feet long. I will cover it with sheetrock which I will paint. I would also like to cover the
top with ceramic tile. I will need to remove a small portion of rug and vinyl flooring. Any hints or troubles I should expect ?
troubles? no way!.. Lets see.. hints. Well do you know how to build a wall? Build it conventionally, with a stud every 16 inches on center. Where it ties into your present wall, you will want to tie it into a stud. This is pretty critical to give it some lateral support. If there is no stud right where you are adding it... you should open that wall up and put one in there. While the wall is open, consider having electric run in it.. adding an outlet to either side.. You may want one there someday, (just a thought). You can build the wall on top of the vinyl, (not the carpet of course). Anything else?? don't hesitate to post another question.

Building Cork Wall

I want to take a wall in my daughter's playroom and make it one big corkwall to hang all her artwork
on, but I do not want to use any kind of stick-on product (like cork tiles), as we have 'knock-down'
textured walls and if we wanted to take this cork down at some point, don't want it to ruin the wall
when we do....

The only thing you can do it make a fake wall and only attach it to the real wall in a few places only.
You will have to build a wall....best to do it on the floor right in the room...build a wall using 1x2 strapping with uprights and cross braces. Unsure if a vapor barrier is necessary but if yes, then staple some 6 mil plastic to the back. Once this is done lift into place onto your real wall....maybe add a few "L" brackets to hold the fake wall in place. Now go ahead and use the stick on tiles or buy full sheets of cork. You can purchase cork in rolls that they use on bulletin boards. Making sure you place the studs in the right places to join the full width of the roll of cork over the braces and just staple in place.
The other way instead of cork is to purchase ceiling tiles which are great and are white...or I believe you can get the full sheets of a similar stuff in 4x8 sheets which would even be better. I can not remember what it is called but look in the sheeting goods at the home building centers,I am sure you will find it.

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Wiggling New Half Wall

I just put into place a new "half wall" 38" high and 48" long. It is securely nailed into a stud in the wall and is nailed securely into the floor. There is "movement" at the end of the wall. It "wiggles" when you shake it. I haven't put the sheet rock on yet. What can I do to get rid of the wiggle?

Well if you have it SECURELY nailed to the floor and wall; you can do nothing else unless you run a post to the ceiling. HOWEVER, the wall WILL stiffen quite a bit when the sheetrock is install on both sides.

Support Beams

I am remodeling my house and I want to take out the main support wall between the living room and the kitchen. Can I use a lamenate beam or do I have to use a steel I beam? The distance between the two walls is about 22 feet. What size lamenate or steel beam should I use??

Yes you can use a laminate beam. And generally that is preferred to a steel beam. Believe it or not, wood does far better in a house fire than the steel. When the steel heats up it will bend, bow and collapse much sooner than the wood beam will.

As for size, I can not tell you. It will depend on your particlar case. But I have found that where you buy the beam, they will be able to recommend the size you need.

Cutting an Opening in Drywall

I want to cut an interior window opening in the wall between two rooms. It would be about 3' high by 4' wide. The purpose is to make two rooms, kitchen and dining room, a little more open. However, the left side of the window would butt right up against the current doorway. In other words, it would have three sides, the fourth side being the door. I will need to drywall/ tape/mud etc. the three sides, and the fourth edge is the door. My problem is how to line up the top of this window with the top of the doorframe. It seems the top of the doorway itself is not perfectly horizontal, and I think this would be a monster trying to perfectly match up the top of this window with the top of the frame, and have a smooth surface right across. I really don't want to have a pillar between my new window opening and the doorframe, but can't think of any other ideas or tricks to make it easier. I think I have to make a new header piece across the whole window and door?

Whether or not that wall is load bearing has a lot of bearing on how you go about this. If it is load bearing then, YES you will need a header across the whole opening. If it is not, then you can get away with just the short wall up there hanging from the ceiling and attached to the two sides. You are also right that it may be easiest to line up the two openings by just running a header all the way across regardless of the load bearing issue. (IF it is load-bearing MAKE SURE, you are supporting the ceiling properly before removing any part of the wall) Actually, as I think about it... you should go the whole way with a new header. The door's present header will be unsupported after you open the wall, leading to nothing but trouble. Moreover, this way you can square up the whole length. Remember to be certain about whether or not it is load bearing first!

Thanks for the reply. It is not a load-bearing wall. I think the best solution is to replace or make a new header all the way across the door opening and across my new 'window' opening, so they look even, straight, tied together as one, etc. The dilemma is that I would have to remove the current header on the door, if I added one below the current, the door height would be lower and I would hit my head. How do I feather in the finishing plaster/mud onto the painted surface above the doorway, do I sand away the paint first?

Not sure, what you mean about adding one below. You are right that you are best off removing the existing header and put in a whole new long one that goes the distance. You may need to open the wall all the way to the ceiling to remove the small studs above the old header or to shorten them. In any case, for feathering in, no need to sand the paint away first. Rough it up a little if it is at all glossy though.

Opening up a Load-Bearing Wall

I'd like to open-up a load-bearing wall that separates the living room and kitchen, and add columns (probably 2) to hold the load from the studs that I remove. (The wall is about 8 feet long). Is there any way to figure out if the two columns will suffice in maintaining the integrity of the wall, or should I just assume that they will do the job?

The simplest solution is to span the opening with a header made out of 2 2x10s and a 1/2 ply or OSB sandwich which in most instances is more than sufficient to carry the weight of at least One story above. You would not need any structural support columns unless you wanted them for looks...

You still need the advice of a professional on this one however.

Tearing Down a Wall

I want to tear down a wall that separates two bedrooms in order to make a large master bedroom. One of the bedrooms is an add-on, so I know the wall is not there for support.

Before you go for the saw, find out if the wall is load bearing. Load bearing walls can be replaced but you need to transfer the load from the wall to a header and cripple to the foundation or suitable support.

An add- on can be a supporting wall. You are best to find out. You will need to install a header to support the ceiling or roof and you need to know the spanning requirements to do this right. To find out what size header you need. Find some books on basic construction .

Problems after Removing Fake Wood Paneling

After removing all the fake wood paneling in my house I have major problems. Whoever put this stuff up used glue, nails, etc. After all the dust settled I now have big brown X's on white back-grounds where the glue ripped the sheetrock covering off all the way down to the card board. Some areas the glue was left on the wall.
Now after buying a belt sander and a 5 gallon tub of joint compound to smooth things out I have to say THERE HAS TO BE A BETTER WAY!!!

There was paneling in every room. I have a test wall that I spent a whole day on and after 4 coats of wall primer it still looks bad. I don't want to wall paper unless there is something that is made specifically for this purpose and you can paint it.

It certainly is a lot of work, but what happened on your test wall? Why do you think painting it will not work. You should have been able to patch any gouges and rough areas with the joint compound.

There of course is the option of just ripping the stuff off and re-drywalling the rooms. It may be less work that trying to salvage the present drywall, or at least the worst walls could be redone this way.


My wife and I took down some paneling in our entry we had the same problem with the glue ripping up the sheetrock so we tore out all the old wall and started from scratch with new drywall it wasn't that hard and now it looks like new.

More on Removing Paneling

I want to remove paneling on a wall that has drywall under it. I removed one section and found that it was glued on, with lots of glue. How do I get the glue off without ruining the drywall. I would like to paint the walls after I remove the paneling.

That glue is nasty stuff to remove. Best I have found is to scrape it off..(this will invariably gouge the drywall somewhat) Then you will need to spackle the rough areas where the glue came off.

Removing Panel Sheets

We are buying a average 3 bedroom 1952 Henry West split in NJ. The den is "fake" paneled. (with the panel sheets). We want to remove the paneling. Do we need to re-sheetrock? Is there anything else we will need to do?

If you're careful removing the paneling the sheetrock it should be okay - except for some nail holes. I would question, however, if there is any sheetrock under the paneling.

Removing Paneling Adhesive

We just removed wood paneling from a plaster wall and are left with long black streaks of paneling adhesive. Any suggestions how to remove this without damaging the wall? We've tried sanding and scraping without much luck.

Did you try heating it with a hair dryer and then scraping it while it is still hot? Heat usually does wonders on adhesives!

Removing Wood Panels

I just wanted to know how I can remove wall panels. If you can tell me the steps, it is wooden panels. I would appreciate it.

Well.. you will need to pry them off.. they may be glued..they may be nailed they may be both. Recognize that studs are every 16 inches.. and you will need to pry the panels off of those. Start at a corner.. tap in a prybar, large screw driver.. or claw of you hammer.. and go to town!

Covering Wainscoting

I've got a wainscoted wall that I'd like to wallpaper. What's the best way to remove the grooves? Is there a filler compound or should I cover it with some sort of thin paneling?

Use 'liner paper' available from the wallpaper supplier.

Paneling and Wainscoting

I heard there was an HGTV special on inexpensive updates to "fake" paneling. I believe they put chair rail around the room, filled in the grooves above the rail and left the paneling below to achieve a wainscoting look. I would like to try this over some very dark paneling and wondered how to prepare the top and if bleaching the lower portion will allow me to restain with a lighter color or if it will require painting too.

Well... you can't bleach the paneling unless it is real genuine wood. Even still, that would be a big job..
As for the top, if you fill in the grooves with joint compound and apply a skim coat to smooth out the whole surface, it can be painted as you would a drywall wall.

Applying Wainscoting

I am putting 3 5/8" tongue and grove wainscoting on sheet rocked walls. Is gluing the best method? What type of glue should I use? If I put any type of firing strips vertically to nail it on, then the wall material will stick out beyond the door casing. Any help would be appreciated.

I have found in your situation, that gluing with liquid nails works best to glue them on. Horizontal furring strips will work, but you are right about the added thickness. Mark the studs and when the edges do line up, nail those boards in. (on the tongue, angles in toward the wood so it doesn't split the tongue)

Wainscoat Paneling Kit

Several months ago I saw a kit for Wainscoat paneling on a cable TV show but couldn't get the name of the vendor. These are ready made oak panels . Can you help me?

They are premade 3'tall and about 4' wide or so.
Try a homebuilding store, like Home Depot or Lowe's.

Redoing Existing Plaster Wall

The house that I'm purchasing has pretty sturdy plaster walls, but one of the walls is only about 1/8" thick and i accidentally poked a hole in it. I don't own the house yet so I can't really investigate to see what type of material it is, but I can see that there's a small gap between the wall that I punched the hole in and the original wall. I was wondering what options I have for tearing the damaged wall out and rebuilding a new one. there's a door in the wall that I would like to keep flush with my new finished wall, but that's the only obstacle to work around. can I just put some thin studs in and hang drywall without it being too conspicuous due to the plaster on the other walls?

Sure you can tear the old out and put up a new one. You can cover the plaster wall directly with drywall, or you can use thin strips to get the right thickness you are looking for.

As for matching the plaster.. you can finish the drywall any way you want to make it match..

Type of Nails to Use with Plaster Walls

We have extremely thick plaster walls. What type of nails should we use to attach crown molding?

Use a quality construction adhesive, sparingly, then attach with a 2 1/2 in pneumatic pin nailer. The nails will hold the moulding in place until the adhesive dries.

Removing Plaster over Brick Wall

I want to remove the plaster from the wall to make it exposed brick. Any easy way?

I'm doing the same thing. So far, I have not found an easy way to do it. I'm using pure manpower for this job. With a chisel in one and a drill hammer in the other I'm accomplishing this task. I estimate it is going to take about fifteen hours to complete.

How to Enclose Door/Match Plaster Thickness

I need to close off a door to a bathroom. The problem I have is that my walls are plaster. I would prefer to use drywall once I put up new studs, will I run into issues matching the thickness of the new drywall to the old plaster? I'd like to know before ripping the house apart).

No doubt about it, you will have a matching issue but it will probably be because the old wall is thicker than half-inch drywall. Remove the existing door trim to get an idea of how thick the shimming will have to be to bring the new surface(s) even with the old. (Shims are just thin strips of wood that you can tack and glue to the 2 by 4 studs you will install).

Support Shelf for Built-in Fish Tank in Wall

I want to build a fish tank into the wall that divides our living room and front entrance hall. I want it to be seen from both sides. The tank is 40 gallons and will hang over on the living room side and flush on the hall. I want to build a shelf that as part of the wall (attached to the studs)to support the weight of the tank. I was thinking of welding a metal bracket that runs from the floor to the ceiling, on the inside of the studs and anchor them in, top and bottom. Then weld a rectangle that would go on the inside of wood frame shelf that is attached to the wall and metal supports. Would this be strong enough to support this kind of weight. Or do you have any suggestions as to how I can do this. I forgot one thing, I don't want any support legs on the front of the shelf. It should be able to support the weight just from where it is attached to the wall. The wall was put there just for looks before we got the house. That's why I would like anchor to the ceiling and floor. I don't know how well it is attached. I guess the weight to be around 500 lbs. Please give me some suggestion on how to make this work.

From the sounds of things you have well over designed. (Not a bad thing)
The studs in the wall, 2x4 spaced every 16 inches would support that kind of weight. (It is after all what is most likely holding up the rest of the house.) If the wall is built that way it should be fine. The steel you are adding won't hurt and may give you peace of mind.
As for the overhang of the shelf. If 2/3 of the tank is supported, you will have no trouble. How wide is the tank?? Wider than that, huh. If the shelf needs to be quite a bit wider than the wall, and you can build the wall out in steps up to the shelf so that it is resting on something. Know what I mean?

Remodeling Arch in Wall

I am going to remodel a wall in our living room. It is a non-bearing wall, frame & drywall, both sides are interior. I have 2 basic questions.
1) What is the best method of forming the inside curve to form the arch? I have some 'bender board' and was considering using it to form the curved from, then use 1/4" bendable drywall over it. Any suggestions?
2) When I cut the arch in the current drywall, I will be installing a header across the opening (I assume this is needed). How can I cut the small studs from the ceiling to the header without removing all of the drywall? I am trying to keep the drywall removal to a minimum to avoid as much mess and re-drywalling (with taping and texturing) as possible. Any ideas or suggestions?

First just to be on the safe side.. (better safe than sorry) the wall doesn't have to be an outside wall to be load bearing. If it provides the end support for the joists above (as opposed to running parallel to them) it is load bearing as well. In that case, you can still put in the arch.. But the header would need to be sized to support the upper weight. If the wall is truly not a load bearing wall a small enough header to attach the studs in that upper section is all that is needed.
You may end up taking the drywall out up to the ceiling and it may just be easier to do so. But a circular saw cutting first from one side and then the other should get them cut. Or a sawzall will do the trick.

Shelves on Concrete Walls

I am trying to put up shelving in my kitchen and am having trouble drilling into the walls. They are concrete and I cannot drill past half an inch. I am using a masonry drill. Are there any alternative to attaching these shelves to the walls??

Well, a hammer drill will make short work of your drilling job if you can rent or borrow one. Besides turning the chuck moves in and out rapidly and is the thing for drilling in concrete. Other ideas ... can you build a wooden frame to stand behind the shelves which is attached to ceiling and floor??

Cutting Button Board

My walls, contrary to what I had initially thought, are not lath and wood plaster. It's like a layer of mud sandwiched between two layers of fine, white plaster. Is that what people called sheetrock, or is that another name for drywall?

My question is....how do I cut it correctly. Thinking it was plaster, I used a cold chisel and destroyed it. A jigsaw and cordless reciprocating saw had problems because there is some p gravel, which ate the blades, in the middle layer. What's the best way to cut?

It sound like your wall covering is button board lath and plaster. The board itself is similar to gypsum board "sheetrock a.k.a. drywall", with the exception that it is about 2' wide sometime with holes in it.The button board is or was (a)hung horizontally, (b) A first coat of plaster or mortar "browncoat" which is (sand, cement and lime), (c)and a final coat of plaster. The best method to cut this depending on tools available (JIGSAW or a SAWZALL) Abrasive coated blade or a good tough "wood w/nails" cutting capably (Circular Saw) Masonry Abrasive or Diamond.

Repairing Bulging Wall Corner

I'm about to move into a 60 year old cottage and am painting, but in one corner, the wall is bulging out, so I poked it and discovered that I'm not dealing with drywall. there seems to be a skin layer and then underneath is something kind of squishy - insulation perhaps? So I don't know what I should do to repair the skin layer and get it to stay in the corner. Any ideas?

I don't know what you have there but here's what I would do
Screw in a corner bead into that corner use 1 1/2" to 2" screws. Then use joint compound to patch the bead so it doesn't show. Sand it down with a screen or 150 - 220 grit sand paper. Repeat the patching and sanding process until it looks smooth. Then put a couple of extra coats of paint on it because the first coat will be absorbed by the joint compound. Or, if you want you can prime it first.

Matching Texture

In remodeling the 1/2 bath, I removed the chair rail molding and also had to patch many holes.
I am having difficulty getting the patches to match the existing texture. Can I just put a light coat of wall mud over the existing texture and at the same time over the new patches in order to achieve a uniform texture? Or is there a better way?

I don't know of a better way. Experiment. But I think you are on the right track.

Starting Tongue & Groove

Can anyone tell me how to start t&g horizontal in a room with angled walls and vaulted ceilings?
Should I start on bottom or top?
With tongue down or up?

Tongue up.
Where you start is what ever you like... I would start with a long piece I can get a good 45 degree angle on, and go up and down. But when get to the corners, you may have to cut off part of the tongue to get the piece in.

Drywall and Trim around a Door

I am finishing a room in by basement. I have already installed the drywall, walls, etc. but I can no longer avoid the door! I have the door already but I need to know what I should do with the drywall around the opening.... How close to the opening should I extend it and are there any useful tips on installing it?

Drywall is normally applied right up to or completely over door and window openings then cut out with a Sawzall, rotary cutter, etc...Therefore, the answer to your question is that the drywall should be flush with the rough-opening framework.

Is it a Load Bearing Wall?

I am buying a house and want to open up a couple of rooms. How do I determine whether the wall I want to take out or open up is a load bearing wall or not? I am actually just taking out some doorways and make those just wider openings without the doors.

In general, bearing walls run perpendicular to rafters and floor joists; parallel to ridge and basement support beams. If you have a ranch home with roof trusses instead of rafter, then the only bearing walls are exterior walls.

Consult a professional if you have any questions.

Hanging Heavy Objects on Drywall

I've got somewhat of a dilemma...I need to hang a clock over my mantle (approx. weight 25-30 lbs.) and the actual center of the wall does not have a stud behind...what options do I have?

You can buy heavy -duty picture hangers that can hold up to about 70 lbs. without going into studs. They come with the braided metal wire and two hooks. I used them for a heavy mirror with no problems.

Load Bearing Wall?

How do I determine if a wall is a load-bearing wall as I want to remove a wall in my living room?

A load bearing partition 'generally' runs parallel to the ridge beam of your roof and perpendicular to joists and rafters.

Exterior walls should all be considered 'load bearing' in most cases...

In older homes, all bets are off.

Painting Sixties Paneling

I'd like to know what is the name of the patterned paneling used back in the sixties ? We just purchased a cottage and they used it in the shower and bathtub areas. Also - is there any way I can paint this and if so how?

NO can not be painted in water borne areas but if not in water areas YES it can be painted. May be best to cover with shower/tub surround or NEW tile board glued on top instead.

Another answer: Yes, tile board can be painted even in water borne areas, but you will need to use epoxy paint.

Click here for our Building A Retaining Wall Article
Click here for our Three Guidelines To Help You Decorate Your Wall Article
Click here for our Drywall Tips Article

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