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I am looking to close off a stairwell with a new drywall wall. The area it will be installed is already finished with carpet stretched over the concrete floor and a popcorn drywall ceiling.

What are my choices for dealing with the existing carpet and ceiling?

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Hi. One of the first questions is, will the new wall be parallel to the ceiling joists or perpendicular to them? – mike Jul 4 '13 at 17:55
Well, do not put the new wall section on top of the existing carpet and carpet pad. Cut the carpet back to the edge of the new wall so that the base plate of the stud wall can be fixed directly to the concrete floor. After construction is completed you decide if you keep the existing carpet or replace with new. If keeping the old you will need to get a carpet installer in to put in new tack strip along the wall and the re-stretch the carpet onto the new tack strips. – Michael Karas Jul 5 '13 at 1:21
For the ceiling you should cut the existing drywall (with its popcorn coating junk) back to where the edge of the new wall will be and afix the new top plates to the existing framing. This will be easy if the joists above are perpendicular to the run of the new wall. If you are parallel with the joists then you will have to add in some blocking between two joists to which you can then attach the upper plates of the wall section. – Michael Karas Jul 5 '13 at 16:13
@MichaelKaras looks like 2 parts of a good answer... – HerrBag Jul 10 '13 at 20:10
possible duplicate of diy.stackexchange.com/questions/46573/… (for the bottom) and diy.stackexchange.com/questions/40126/… for the top/sides. – Ecnerwal Dec 13 '14 at 14:23

Michael has a good answer in the comments.

You need to cut your carpet where your wall would be. Roll back your carpet a few feet so it is not damaged, install wall (this should be its own question if you have a specific problem), retack next to wall for carpet, stretch carpet out, and place carpet on tack strips.

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