It can be unsightly to have a conglomeration of exposed water supply and drain pipes, wires, conduit, and receptacles in laundry rooms. Though a laundry room is a working space, it still is more comfortable to have one that is clean and orderly. One way to accomplish this is by building a second, or false, wall in front of these pipes, effectively shielding them from view. This type of wall is not load-bearing, so it is far easier and less expensive to build than one that is structural. 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.
Tools and Supplies You Will Need
- (8) Two-by-fours
- Drywall screws
- Cordless drill
- Powder-actuated nailer and supplies
- Tape measure
- Ear protection
- Eye protection
- Carpenter's pencil
- Electric miter saw
- 16d nails
- Bubble level
- Interior acrylic-latex paint
Plan the Wall
The wall behind your washer and dryer likely will have large expanses that can be covered with full sections of the 8-foot tall framework. But as you get nearer to the area of pipes, it will be impossible to cover that section with a full framework. So, figure out 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 and then add another inch or two so that the false wall does not touch any pipes. In some cases, the thickness of a two-by-four set on-end (nominally 4 inches but its true dimension is 3 1/2 inches) may extend your wall past the point of the pipes.
Nail Down the Base
A single two-by-four placed on the floor behind the washer and dryer will act as a base for nailing up all other two-by-fours. Place the two-by-four on the ground and, with the tape measure, confirm that it is equally distant on both sides from the back wall. Be very careful about getting this measurement correct because it is difficult to pry up the board after it has been nailed down.
Put on your ear and eye protection. Set up the powder-actuated nailer, then nail down one end of the two-by-four. Confirm or adjust the board if it has moved. Continue to nail in three more equidistant places.
Measure and Cut the Vertical Studs
Place two two-by-fours horizontal on top of the base that you just nailed down. Hold up another two-by-four so that it is vertical. With the carpenter's pencil, mark the point where the top of the stack of three two-by-fours hits the vertical stud.
Use the marked stud as a reference to mark five more two-by-fours. With the miter saw, cut all six two-by-fours.
Build the Framework
You will build the framework either off-site or off to the side. Place the six cut two-by-fours next to each other, 16 inches on-center away from each other. These are the vertical studs. Butting these vertical studs are two horizontal studs, one at the top and one at the bottom. Make sure that the framework has a stud at the very left and very right sides, too. The framework should not be open-ended on the sides. Nail the framework together with the hammer and 16d nails.
Set the Framework in Place
Bring in 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 two-by-four. 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 two-by-four. With the bubble level, plumb the framework so that it is vertical. Nail the top of the framework into the ceiling joists.
Add Drywall to the Framework
After the framework is built, add drywall to the front. Cut full-sized sheets of drywall to size with a utility knife and run them horizontally across the framework, screwing them into place. Make cutouts for pipes (such as the washer supply) or for the dryer vent with a jabsaw.
Paint the Wall
Prime the drywall. All paper-surfaced, uncoated drywall must be primed prior to painting. Paint the wall with your desired interior latex paint color. Since this is a large expanse of wall with few complicating factors, it is a perfect candidate for painting with a roller.