How to Build a Temporary Wall in an Apartment

Whether you want to convert the corner alcove into a home office, cut off the lounge to create a private room, or divide the children’s room to avoid sibling rivalry, building a temporary wall in the apartment is the way to go about it.

Renters rely on temporary walls to change the apartment’s layout without making any permanent or costly changes.

Moreover, these walls are easily installed and removed without making a mess. Regardless, building a temporary wall in an apartment can be tricky.

Read on to learn everything you need to know about erecting a new temporary wall in your apartment.

How to Build a Temporary Wall in Your Apartment

So, you’ve made up your mind to build a temporary wall in your apartment? Great decision!

Here are step-by-step instructions on how to build a temporary wall.

Step 1 – Check the Lease

The first thing you need to do is to check your lease. Make sure you are allowed to build a temporary wall in your apartment.

Typically, the lease sets the rules that the landlord and tenants agree to follow, including the limitations on making repairs or alterations in the apartment.

Therefore, checking the lease is a good place to start. However, it is always a good idea to keep the landlord and building management in the loop, even if the lease allows you to build a temporary wall in your apartment.

Before you do anything else, contact your landlord and ask for permission to build a temporary wall in the apartment.

Make sure you get the permission letter over email or through mail to keep a record. The last thing you want is lease cancellation or cut off from the deposit money for building a temporary wall.

Step 2 – Check Local Building Code

Once the landlord and building management are on board, it’s time to check the local building code. This is especially important if you plan on taking on the temporary wall as a DIY project.

You can think of building codes as a bunch of rules and regulations regarding building and construction that are intended to ensure public safety.

Keep in mind that building codes vary based on states and even municipalities.

So, make sure you check out the right information to build a temporary wall that complies with the code specified for your area.

Building codes typically include restrictions regarding ceiling height, fenestration, electrical codes, plumbing codes, etc.

These codes come in handy when renovating the apartment or building a new property.

If clarification is required, do not hesitate to connect with your municipal building department for more information.

Plan ahead! If any paperwork or special permissions are required, get everything in order before moving on to the next step.

Step 3 – Choose the Kind of Temporary Wall You Want

The next step is to decide the kind of temporary wall you want to build. It is important to understand that not all temporary walls are the same.

From deciding the material and purpose to the cost of the wall and its installation, there are many factors that you need to consider to get the right temporary wall.

Here are some of the most common types of temporary walls that you can consider for your apartment.

Pressurized Walls

If you want to build a temporary wall that looks like a real wall, then pressurized walls are your best bet. These are the only temporary walls that go all the way to the ceiling and offer maximum privacy.

These walls are easy to install and dismantle at the end of the lease without as much as a scratch.

However, pressurized walls are often prohibited in apartments, so make sure you see through steps 1 and 2 before choosing the temporary wall you want.

Partial Walls

Partial walls are a great alternative to pressurized walls. These walls are extremely popular with renters looking for a temporary solution because many landlords prefer partial walls over-pressurized walls.

Unlike pressurized walls, these walls do not touch the ceiling. Instead, they generally fall short by 12 inches.

Moreover, partial walls are required to have a doorway opening, but not an actual door. While the no-door feature is not the best for privacy, the problem can be easily countered using a curtain.

Bookshelf Walls

Bookshelf walls are an artistic way to increase storage space and enhance the aesthetic appeal of your apartment.

It must be noticed that bookshelf walls are not exactly walls but shelf-kind units that are around 6 to 12 inches deep. Just like partial walls, they stop about 12 inches away from the ceiling.

These temporary walls are also great for creating a new look and add privacy to the apartment.

If lined with books, bookshelf walls can also help with insulation, keeping the apartment cool during summers and warm and cozy during the chilly winter months.

These are some of the most common types of temporary walls that are installed in apartments. Take the following factors into consideration to pick the right temporary wall.

Lease Terms: Pressurized walls are not allowed in many buildings. Opt for the kind of temporary walls that are permissible in your apartment/building. Talk to your landlord as well as building maintenance to make sure what kind of temporary walls you are allowed to build in your apartment.

Budget: The cost of buying and installing temporary walls ranges from a couple of hundred dollars to thousands of dollars depending on the type and quality of the walls you choose. So, make sure you keep your budget in mind. After all, the walls are only a temporary solution!

Your Space: Make sure that the temporary wall you pick is suitable for your apartment and works effectively to fulfill the intended purpose. For example, pressurized walls are an excellent option to divide a large room into two smaller rooms. On the other hand, partials walls are more suited for building a home office, while bookshelf walls are ideal for increasing storage space, and so on!

Step 4 – Consider Temporary Wall Installation Options

So, the landlord is on-board with the plan, you have checked the building codes, and chosen the temporary walls you want.

There’s only one thing left to do – build the wall! Now you have to make an important decision here.

Do you want to build the temporary wall yourself or hire professional help?

The answer depends on your budget, your carpentry skills, and your experience working with power tools. If you are well equipped to handle it – take it up as a fun DIY project!

DIY Temporary Wall

Here’s one way to build your own temporary wall at home.

It is one of the most basic methods of building a temporary wall and does not involve elements, such as doors, windows, shelves, etc.

Keep in mind that this method involves drilling, so proceed cautiously.

  1. Start by applying a sill seal to all the surfaces that will touch the temporary wall. It will help secure the temporary wall in place.
  2. Measure the distance from the apartment floor to the ceiling.
  3. Subtract a couple of inches to accommodate the horizontal support, and cut 2 x 4 pieces of wood.
  4. Now, cut and drill the horizontal plates into the ceiling.
  5. Drill the 2 x 4 vertical pieces every 2 feet using wood screws to prepare the frame of the wall.
  6. Now, drill pieces of corkboard into the studs.
  7. Your new temporary wall is complete!

You can enhance your temporary walls’ appearance by painting them, applying wallpaper, or hanging wall hangings and frames.

Hire Professionals

If building a temporary wall in your apartment sounds daunting or cumbersome, it is best to leave the job to the professionals.

There are several businesses that will not only build a temporary wall for you but also offer to dismantle it when required. The experts can also handle special requests, such as adding windows, doors, etc.

When planning to call in the professionals, you can also skip step 2, i.e., checking the local building code. The professional builders you hire will take care of everything.

They will also make sure that your new temporary wall complies with all rules and regulations. However, if you want to be super careful, you can check out the local building code yourself.

The Bottom Line

Temporary walls are the go-to option for renters.

They can add privacy, increase living space by dividing large rooms, revamp the apartment’s overall look, or change the layout of the apartment to make it more suitable for living.

It even opens up the potential to bring in more roommates!

In any case, the end result is higher comfort and better aesthetics.

Remember, there are numerous options for adding a temporary wall to an apartment.

So, before you build a wall, make sure you take the time to explore all the opportunities and build the temporary wall in the most suitable location.

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