I'm going to frame a knee wall in the kitchen.
Do I need to remove the flooring and attach the plate to the subfloor?
Do I need to remove the lathe and plaster on the adjacent wall and attach
the new wall directly to the studs?
What's the best practice? I am assuming that it's okay to leave the
flooring and drywall in place, but it's probably better practice to remove
The existing flooring is just a quarter inch of masonite with vinyl tiles
Any insight is appreciated. Thanks.
For a non-structural knee wall, you are fine going through the
finished flooring. I would also leave the plaster in place. If it is
wood lath, you could probably screw the new wall into it (or if you
are lucky, you will catch a stud). If there is no wood lath, then you
could even use construction adhesive to attach the wall. In any case,
you really will save a lot of work if you don't start demoing
plaster. I'd use screws in this case, just because you will have a
better sense of whether you have hit something solid.
I neglected to mention that I do have part of the plaster wall open, and
I will be able to install a cross member between the studs for the new
wall to attach to. I plan on patching the hole with drywall, so that led
me to wonder if I should attach the new wall directly, or through the
drywall. The implication is that if I do it directly, I have to remove
more plaster and lathe. Otherwise, I just throw the patch up and connect
the new wall.
Since it is a non-supporting half wall, I'll take the easy way out and
install it over the patch.
If it were me, I'd make every effort to make it as secure as possible. You
don't give much info on what is on each side of the wall, but just saying
"kitchen" means an area of pretty high use.
For the adjacent wall, if you have it open to the point you can get a good
nailer in between two studs, I'd go for it. I assume since you say adjacent
'wall' and not 'walls' the other end of your new wall will be an opening of
walkway, meaning it will be free standing at that end. That means the end
against the adjacent wall will be the only firmly attached point above the
As for the floor - as long as you can get thru the finished flooring to get
the bottom plate firmly attached, you'll probably be ok. But thinking down
the road, will you ever want to pull this old floor and masonite? If so,
you will need to figure a way to cut it at the new wall. Might be better to
do a little more work now and save a lot later. Mark the area where the
bottom plate will be and use a circular saw with the blade set to the
thickness of the part you want to remove and cut the strip of flooring out.
Is one end going to be free-standing? It's sometimes difficult to get a
good solid wall just nailing or screwing into the subflooring. If you are
only going to be sitting on the floor, you might want to use something more
than nails to attach the studs to the bottom plate to ensure they are firmly
attached. Even with finished drywall on the knee-wall, someone leaning or
bumping into the wall could make it begin to wobble eventually.
Not knowing what is below you floor, it's hard to offer much advice, but if
it is an unfinished basement, you could cut a whole large enough for the
double studs at that end of the wall to extend below the subfloor where you
could bolt them to the floor joist or nailers fastened between two joists.
Bottom line, the better you attach everything, the better your wall will be,
the longer it will last, and the happier you will be!
This was the conclusion I eventually came to...I'm going to attach it to
the studs because I have to install the nailers anyway.
I'm planning on selling pretty soon anyway, but I don't want to screw the
future owner. You're right, I'll cut a strip out and put it on the
It's a "penninsula" wall, L-shaped, so I figured it would not be subject
to wobbling because of the shape. Going through to the joists underneath
would be trivial because it's an open basement, so perhaps I'll do that
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