Reinforcing A Half Wall

By Robert Robillard on Bathrooms, Decks And Porches

Best Way to Reinforce A Half Wall

Whether you call it a half wall, knee wall or Pony wall the issue is the same.  What is the best way to go about reinforcing a half wall?   No one likes a wobbly wall or the cracked plaster and tile that result from it.

We typically see half walls separating stair opening and replacing railings and balusters at stairs.  We also see them a lot in bathrooms; separating a toilet /sink or at a shower that has 1/2 glass partitions. [photo right]

Stiffening a Half Wall:

Reinforcing a half wall can be accomplished many different ways.  I’ve done many different things over the years from adding 1/2″ plywood to a half wall to inserting threaded rods down into the framing below.

Using Threaded Rod to Stiffen the Half Wall:

The threaded rod method works great when reinforcing a half wall, but is hard to do and super time consuming.  It requires using 1/2″ to 5/8″ threaded rod  from the top wall plate down to blocking in the structural floor below.   The use of upside down joist hangers is reommended to add tensioning strength to the blocking.

Securing the Half Wall Old School:

One method that works extremely well, if the floor joists and half wall line up to install 1/2″ plywood over the wall and down past the subfloor and onto the floor joist.

Another method is to run the half wall 4×4 outer post down into the framing and to bolt it to a joist or similar blocking and use (2) 1/2″ through bolts to attach 4×4 wood posts to the floor system.  Similar to a newel post.

The reality is that we dont have all day to futzs with this but we need a strong wall.

Using Simpson DDT2 connectors:  An easier way

I treat my half walls similar to deck  rail posts attachments but use two Simpson DTT2 Tension Tie connectors to do it.    The DTT2 is a safe, cost-effective way to attach half walls to the floor framing below with either bolts [if applicable] or most likely using threaded rod.  [note – this is the same system I use on deck framing see short video]

In order for this system to work you need to be able to get into the floor below.  In the case of a bathroom remodel you should plan on building your half wall before the subfloor goes in or at least plan on leaving that section of the floor open.

Floor joists never line up for me so adding structural blocking is most likely going to be a reality.  I use the DDT2 ties to connect the outer most 4×4 wall studs to the framing below.

Photo right:  is an elevated dog shower where I used deck connectors as well as 1/2″ plywood overlapping the lower frame to strengthen the half wall.]

 Video On Reinforcing A Half Wall With Threaded Rod:

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About the author

Robert Robillard

Carpenter / Remodeler / Editor

Rob Robillard is “The Concord Carpenter” Rob is a builder, general contractor, carpenter, woodworker, and editor of Concord Carpenter and ToolBoxBuzz As a General Contractor and carpenter, Rob owns and operates Concord Carpenter LLC. A full-service remodeling and construction company. Rob is a recognized leader in home building best practices and a source for how-to information for building professionals. On this website, Rob covers all aspects of home construction, building science, home improvement, woodworking, remodeling, and some of the best product and tool reviews. Rob is in charge of our Tool and Product Review series - Concord Carpenter Videos where we post all of our tool reviews and video tutorials. Rob approaches remodeling and building construction with a pragmatic and problem-solving approach. He enjoys using his knowledge and experience to help and educate building professionals as well as DIYers on best practices in the construction and remodeling industry. He's a strong advocate for "raising the bar" in the construction trades and promoting the trades to youth. #BeAMentor #Green2Great Craftsmanship, quality, and pride guide his journey on this channel The Concord Carpenter's motto: "Well done is better than well said!" : Read more about Rob

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