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BACKGROUND: Decided to extend an already existing opening in this non-load bearing wall. With all the electrical and plumbing it's just not worth removing completely. Besides, wife likes the idea of having a family computer desk in the corner, etc.

QUESTION: What is the best way to stabilize this half-wall? I still need to frame out the opening and I'm guessing the drywall will add some rigidity, but I want to make this thing is pretty much rock solid before finishing. Currently it wobbles a little if I shake it hard enough.

(The partial horizontal 2x4s you see in the picture are just temporary supports I put in for cutting out studs and drywall)

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  • Mostly your issue right now is that it's not even framed out to standard spec. Do that and add doublers to the king studs and sill and it'll be fairly stout. – isherwood Jun 17 '16 at 19:43
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First, you'll want to place double studs on either side of your opening (currently you have some on the left but not right, as viewed from the kitchen). Then add horizontal members at the top and bottom of the opening, fastened into those studs. This will add a lot of rigidity by preventing the knee-wall studs from swinging left/right/out. Finally, add some screws through your drywall to the new structural members.

If you're keeping the plumbing/electrical chase in the center, the framing of that will offer some more stability.

Because one side of this wall is in a kitchen, there's also the possibility you'll attach cabinets or other built-ins to this wall. If so, those will add some further rigidity by essentially bracing the wall against the floor.

If those aren't enough, you could add horizontal or diagonal bracing to the wall, or even expand it into a double-stud (wider) wall. Those would be more extreme measures, and I doubt you'll need them.

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