How to Make One Room into Two

Building a partition to divide a large area into two smaller ones – to improve storage facilities, or simply because the house layout isn’t as you’d like it -is quite straightforward using a frame of timber studs. You can clad the wall and plaster it so the new addition looks an integral part of the design. Before you can go ahead, however, you may need to seek approval.

Complying with the Regulations

Before you build a partition wall, check with your local council beforehand in order that the space you are creating complies with the Regulations. These state that if a new room is to be ‘habitable’-a living room, dining room, bedroom (but not a WC, bathroom or kitchen)-it must meet requirements, relating to ventilation.

One Room into Two

The Regulations stipulate that an open space must be available on the outside of the window to provide sufficient ventilation to the room. The openable area of the windows to each room must be not less than a twentieth of the room’s floor area. To check this, divide the area of the floor by the area of the window’s sash or top vent. If the openable part is too small you may need to change the window.

Alternative and additional means of ventilation may be provided by a mechanical ventilator direct to the open air. It may be permissable for a fanlight to connect to a vented lobby.

If you plan to partition a large bedroom to make an en-suite shower or WC on an internal wall, natural light will not be required, but ventilation will. Consider the positioning of the new room in relation to the existing plumbing and the means of ventilation.

Should you plan to make a large bedroom into two smaller units, for example, bear in mind the size and shape of the rooms in relation to the furniture. Provide space around the bed to allow it to be made comfortably. You’ll also need a corridor to make the two rooms self-contained.

Constructing a stud partition

Timber-framed non-loadbearing walls can be built relatively easily. The frame is usually made from 100 x 50mm (4 x 2in) or 75 x 50mm (3 x 2in) sawn softwood. The partition comprises: a head or ceiling plate, which forms the top of the wall and is fixed to the ceiling joists; a matching length, nailed to the floor, which forms the sill, or sole plate; studs which fit between the plates, equally spaced – about 400mm (I ft 4in) apart-and fixed with nails; short noggings which are nailed between the studs to make the structure rigid. Noggings will be needed where horizontal joints occur in the panelling.

Positioning the partition

If the new partition is run at right-angles to the floor and ceiling joists, it can be fitted at any point. Each joist will share the load and provide a solid fixing.

If the wall is to run parallel with the joists, it must stand directly over one of them: this may mean altering the overall dimensions of your planned rooms. Locate the floor joist in question and check whether stiffening is required. If so, reinforce it as described, which will require considerable work.

Filed Under: Home & Maintenance


About the Author: Jason Prickett loves to write about home maintenance and stuff you can do yourself instead of hiring any professional. His step by step guides will assist you in completing your home maintenance tasks.

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