Half Walls, knee walls, or partition walls are basically the same, they are good for giving separation from other rooms without making the rooms too dark and still, keep it well ventilated.
Half walls are commonly seen in the kitchen as a partition from the dining room, it is also common in bathrooms as a separation between the toilet and the shower or tub.
And they all tend to have the same problem, and that is wobbling, and wobbling may be the least of their problems as other problems caused by wobbling show up, and I mean cracked tiles, cracked plaster, and then those plaster can crumble causing dust and powder.
The best way to solve wobbling walls is by preventing it from happening, and if you do need to fix an existing wobbling wall, then you can follow with these tips too.
Put Metal Reinforcement
Using a wooden frame with building a half wall is common and practical, but with no proper foundation and reinforcement, the half wall tends to wobble when it ages, this is due to the wood weakening and becoming flexible due to accumulated moisture as time passes.
Although, there are also half walls with frames made out of metal studs, and keeping it supported with just metal studs will not be enough to prevent it from wobbling as metal or steel has a low tensile and torsional strength which makes it flexible, but you can also reinforce it with a steel rod or two and it should be more rigid.
To reinforce your half wall you need a 1/2 inch threaded steel rod, a 5/8 inch rod would do well too, and then you would need washers and nuts to lock it up.
Now what you need to do is, drill a hole on the top part of the frame, then drill down on the floor joists, and make sure that the two holes will line up perfectly, with the holes drilled you can now put the threaded steel rod, and then put the washers and bolts on the steel rod, to finish, tighten the nuts of the steel rod until you can’t tighten it anymore.
Put Wood Reinforcement
In terms of raw tensile and torsional strength, wood beats metal, but then wood breaks under pressure, while metal will bend.
And when wood ages, it loses its strength and becomes flexible, thus causing wobbling, one way to prevent this is by putting plywood reinforcement on the frame of the half wall.
On the other hand, if you are reinforcing a half wall frame made out of wood studs, then this may be enough for you, as plywood can provide ample support for the wooden wall frame, as plywood can have the right balance between rigidity, and flexibility so much so that it won’t encourage the frame to move yet at the same time it can support the frame absorb external forces to prevent the mainframe from breaking.
To reinforce a half wall frame, may it be metal or wood studs, you need to do the same thing, first, you need to get the right size and thickness of plywood, you mainly need the plywood to be the same width as the profile of the wall frame.
But you need to have taller plywood so you can attach the plywood to the floor joists, and you should use a half-inch plywood for a good balance between strength and size, note that this method will work whether your floor joists are perpendicular or parallel to the wall.
And with all that all you need to do is attach the plywood to the wall frame with screws and glue for wooden frames, or nuts and bolts for metal frames, and then mount the plywood to the subfloor with screws and glue, and as a finishing touch make sure there are no significant gaps between the floor and the plywood to ensure wobbling prevention.
Anchoring to Full Walls
In terms of build design, full walls and half walls are the same, the only difference is the height of the half walls, and the full walls are commonly load-bearing giving it additional tension and pressure to keep it from wobbling.
And that load or tension is the one missing with half walls, thus the reason why they commonly wobble. So one common solution to prevent half walls from wobbling is anchoring them to existing full walls.
To do so you just need to anchor the frame of the half wall to the frame of the full wall. You just need to anchor it, and you can do so in three different ways:
- You can drill a hole on the half wall and the full wall, and then put a threaded steel rod then tighten it until it won’t budge.
- You can simply put glue and screws
- Or you can use nuts and bolts instead of glue and screws
And it is just that simple, and this method is proven to work every time. Although it will only support the one end of the half wall.
Did you like our How to Keep Half Walls From Wobbling article? Please check our other articles – How Long Does Drywall Mud Take to Dry could be interesting for you!