I want to make a half wall beside a staircase (on the edge of the upper floor). One end will be attached to a concrete column, but the other will be (so far) unsuported. Something like the picture below: enter image description here

What is the best way to ensure that It stays put and strong? If nothing else I will make a square tubing post (100x100mm, 1.5mm thick) from floor to ceiling and attach the drywall to it.

Any other ideas?

EDIT: No wood studs in Brazil, actually it is very hard to get good construction lumber around (most aren't dry, and pressure treated is rare and expensive as hell).

  • Forenote: I realize this will sound naive and possibly xenophobic, however it comes from a good place. -- Are there truly enforced residential building codes in Brazil? If so, it's possible there is a standard or prescribed method somewhere in the code for a situation like this. Oct 20 '15 at 19:59
  • Do you have plywood?
    – Edwin
    Oct 20 '15 at 20:05

Residential steel studs aren't rigid on their own. They get rigidity from the surfaces they are connected to along with the drywall that is attached.

For a wall like that, I'd want to treat it like a newel post on the end and have it be a 4x4 blocked and bolted to the joist below it for rigidity.

Otherwise, your idea to just make it a full column would work too.

  • I edited the post to inform it, there are not wood studs around here. Also no joist, since this is a concrete slab with screed on top. Oct 20 '15 at 19:28
  • @LuizBorges for concrete, you can add a wood post using a bracket like this: howtospecialist.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/…
    – DA01
    Oct 20 '15 at 19:32
  • How I said in the edited question, there are no good quality construction lumber around. I honestly don't trust the lumber we have for any more than form work. I could make a post like that out of square tubing, but if I begin the square tubing route I will probably go up to the ceiling to have a something that is assured to work and that could also provide a function (a hollow metal tube to pass electrical cable if need). Oct 20 '15 at 19:38
  • @LuizBorges crap. Brazil has run out of lumber!? This isn't good! :) That said, your metal tube idea sounds good.
    – DA01
    Oct 20 '15 at 20:09
  • it is not a matter of available lumber, but how it is used. Here we have fine wood that is used for furniture (which is expensive as it must be everywhere) and construction lumber. The latter is mostly boards and of "Pinus" (think about the cheapest kind of wood, this is worse) and dripping wet... Oct 20 '15 at 20:32

I agree with the other suggestions to use wood for this case.

However, if you're dead set on using metal studs, look up "box beams". Box beams are very sturdy even with residential grade steel studs and you make them by using two pieces of steel stud (with the hollow portions of the framing members facing inward toward each other) and then two pieces of track (one on the top and another piece of track on the bottom). That said, I'm not sure if they're to code for this application.

Here is a rough drawing as viewed from looking at one end of the beam:

Rough image box beam using steel studs

The red pieces are the studs and the blue lines are the track

Another design to throw in, though I don't think they would be sturdy enough for a half wall are I-beams made using steel studs: I-beams look like a traditional I-beam and are made by screwing two studs back to back. It adds significant rigidity, though not as much as a box beam. Though the I-beams nearly doubled the cost of framing the stud walls my basement, I liked having the added rigidity for hanging things:

Rough image of I-beam using steel studs

  • I don't think I would use it in this case, but I really like the "box beam" design and I'll keep it for reference. Oct 20 '15 at 19:30
  • This is a good tip!
    – DA01
    Oct 20 '15 at 19:32
  • A pop-rivet gun and pop-rivets might really go a long way towards making this truly rigid. I've worked in sheet metal for other non-construction projects. There must be some functional equivalent to a lumber 4x4 in steel studs, if not this seems most reasonable to me. Oct 20 '15 at 20:06
  • On the same note, how strong are residential steel studs in a half wall considering top load (read: people leaning/sitting on it)?? Oct 21 '15 at 10:20

I'd go with wood studs for a wall like that, and use a doubled up stud at the end. Use good sized lag bolts to attach the sole plate through the subfloor, and into the joist below.

If the wall is too long, you could add blocking and/or cross bracing to add rigidity. The wallboard will also add a surprising amount of rigidity.

  • No wood studs here, The slab is concrete screed on top (ready for tile instalation), the screed doesn't offer any strenght in this case, and the screed is around 7 cm deep (yes, in brazil good work is rare and to level a slab you need that much screed). Oct 20 '15 at 19:29
  • 1
    @LuizBorges Sorry, none of that information was in the original post.
    – Tester101
    Oct 20 '15 at 19:40

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