How to Build Temporary Walls

Rogue Parrish

Temporary walls are generally used as braces while you enlarge a door or remove a wall. They can also serve as a room divider or to screen off household equipment, such as your furnace, when you want to save on the expense or trouble of a permanent wall.

A nail gun makes any wall work go more quickly.

The process for either starts with the similar basic framing -- the brace wall consists of a frame only, while you need additional drywall finishing for a room divider.

Brace Walls

  1. Measure, mark and cut a two-by-ten top plate and two-by-four bottom plate to the length needed for the brace wall. Alternatively, you can purchase your top plate and bottom plate in the final length. Most lumberyards should have dimensional lumber in ready-cut lengths of 8, 10, 12, 14 and 16 feet.

  2. Clamp the plates together. Mark the sides every 16 inches to denote stud locations. Bring your side marks around to the face of the two-by-10 with a quick square. Mark the location of the center stud with a “C.” Unclamp the plates, and set them, one on top of the other, in the location you plan to place the temporary wall.

  3. Measure from the stacked plates to the ceiling above to get the stud height. Round up very slightly from your measurement -- you want the studs to fit snugly so they don't need nails to stay in place. Nail removal would make more work later on disassembly, and would mar your floor and ceiling. Cut the two-by-four studs to length using a chop saw.

  4. Stand on a ladder with the center stud and a hammer close by and easily reached. With the help of an assistant, lift the top plate into place. Place the bottom of the center stud on the bottom plate according to its mark. Tap the top of the center stud under the top plate, under its center-stud mark, with a hammer. If the stud won’t go into place, lower the top plate briefly to trim the center stud slightly and reset the stud. Check the stud for plumb with a spirit level.

  5. Place the end studs in place and work your way toward the center stud, tapping each into place until snug and checking each for plumb.

Room Dividers

  1. Measure, mark and cut your top and bottom plates as you would for brace walls, with the exception of making the top plate a regular two-by-four.

  2. Roll self-adhesive sill seal on the bottom of the bottom plate. Continue as you would for a brace wall to place the bottom plate in place, to cut the studs and tap into place the center stud, the end studs and the additional studs against the top plate. Hammer or screw the studs into place. Screw the top plate into the ceiling joist.

  3. Install 1/2-inch drywall on one side of the framework, held by screws to permit easier disassembly. Roll in batt fiberglass insulation. Install 5/8-inch drywall on the other side to eliminate sympathetic noise vibrations, recommends Tim Carter on “Ask the Builder.” Tape and add joint compound between the new drywall panels, but avoid taping where the drywall joins the ceiling or existing walls. Attach molding here instead.


Use appropriate safety precautions when working with a saw.