How to Build a Laundry Room Wall to Hide Pipes
Though a laundry room is a working space, it still is more comfortable to have it clean and orderly. In many laundry rooms, there's usually no shortage of exposed drain pipes, wires, conduit, receptacles, and ducts. This is usually the case in older homes, but even with newer homes, builders sometimes leave laundry rooms or basements unfinished. Building a simple, non-load-bearing wall is one way to shield and hide exposed pipes.
The wall behind your washer and dryer likely will have large expanses that can be covered with full sections of an 8-foot tall framework. Even with a non-load-bearing wall, electrical boxes can be inserted in the new wall because it has plenty of studs. Except for stub-outs for hookups, plumbing pipes remain hidden behind the wall, too.
Check with your local permitting department to see if a permit is required for this type of wall. If you plan to move any plumbing pipes around in conjunction with the wall, it is likely that a permit will be required.
What You'll Need
Equipment / Tools
- Cordless drill
- Powder-actuated nailer and supplies (for concrete subfloor)
- Tape measure
- Eye and hearing protection
- Carpenter's pencil
- Electric miter saw
- Bubble level
- Drywall jab saw
- 6 pieces 2-by-4-inch lumber
- 2 pieces pressure-treated 2-by-4-inch lumber
- 2 sheets of drywall
- Drywall screws
- Interior acrylic-latex paint
- 16d nails (also for use on wood subfloor)
Plan the Wall
Determine the exact spot where you can erect a full framework that extends from the floor to the ceiling. Identify and measure the distance of any pipe that protrudes the farthest from the wall. Add another 2 inches to that distance so that the false wall does not touch any pipes.
Be precise with measurements for two reasons.
- It's difficult to pry up the board from the concrete slab after it has been nailed down.
- In some cases, the thickness of a piece of 2-by-4-inch lumber set on-end (nominally 4 inches, but its true dimension is 3 1/2 inches) may end up touching your pipes if the measurement is off.
Nail Down the Base
The base for nailing up the pieces of 2-by-4-inch lumber will be one pressure-treated piece of 2-by-4 inch lumber nailed to your floor. The floor in your laundry room is likely concrete, which requires the powder-actuated nailer to attach the base. If you have a wood subfloor, omit the powder-actuated nailer and use a hammer and 16d nails instead.
Place one piece of 2-by-4-inch lumber on the floor behind the washer and dryer. With the tape measure, confirm that it is equally distant on both sides from the back wall.
Put on ear and eye protection. Set up the powder-actuated nailer (for concrete) or 16d nails (for wood). Nail down one end of the board. Confirm the board is in place; adjust it if it has moved after the first nail. Continue to nail in three nails in equidistant places on the board.
Powder-actuated nailers use live .22 caliber loads. Thoroughly read the nailer's instructions before operating it. Always wear eye and hearing protection when using this type of nailer.
Measure and Cut Vertical Studs
Place two of the pieces of 2-by-4-inch lumber horizontally on top of the base that you just nailed down. Hold up another piece of 2-by-4-inch lumber so that it is vertical.
With the carpenter's pencil, mark the point where the top of the stack of three pieces of boards hit the vertical stud. Use the marked stud as a reference to mark five more pieces of 2-by-4-inch lumber. With the miter saw, cut all six of the pieces of lumber at that reference mark.
Build the Framework
You can build the framework either off-site or off to the side.
Place the six cut pieces of 2-by-4-inch lumber next to each other, 16 inches on-center away from each other. These are the vertical studs.
Make sure that the framework has a stud at the very left and very right sides. The framework should not be open-ended on the sides. Butting these vertical studs are two horizontal studs, one at the top and one at the bottom. Nail the framework together with the hammer and 16d nails.
Set the Framework in Place
Bring in or lift up the framework. You may need a second hand with this as it will weigh up to 90 pounds.
Set the framework on top of the base's piece of 2-by-4-inch lumber. It should fit tightly, and you may need to tap the framework into place with the hammer. Nail the bottom of the framework onto the base. With the bubble level, plumb the framework so that it is vertical. Nail the top of the framework into the ceiling joists.
After the framework is built, add drywall to the front.
Cut full-sized sheets of drywall to size with a utility knife. Run them horizontally across the framework. Screw the sheets of drywall into place.
Paint the Wall
Prime the drywall, then paint the wall with your desired interior latex paint color; opt to paint with a roller since this is a large expanse of wall.
Add Outlets and Hookups
When paint dries, install electric outlets in the new wall. You may need to create cut outs in order to fish through the drainage pipe and dryer vent. You may also need cut outs for access to the hot and cold water supply pipes and shutoff valves running through the wall. Use the drywall jab saw to create the necessary cut outs.