For those of us who want a quick and relatively cheap building method, you can’t beat stud partition walls. They’re great for turning a large room into small ones or building an en-suite shower room in a bedroom corner. They don’t use messy wet cement or bricks, and you can even do without plaster if you want.
For a timber stud wall 3m long x 2.4m high x 125mm thick, the average price lies between £800 and £900. Overall, including materials, and labour, the cost of a stud wall partition per m2 is from £50-£65.
This guide tells you everything you need to know about stud partition walls, how to construct one, the UK Building Regulations they must comply with, those factors that affect the cost, and estimated prices.
How much does a stud wall cost?*
The table below contains estimated stud wall installation costs. You can use them as a benchmark or cost calculator for your quotes.
|Installing a stud wall||£800 - £900|
|Installing Stud Wall with light fittings & radiator||£1100 - £1200|
|Installing two stud walls||£1600 - £1800|
|Plastering one wall||£100 - £200|
|Plastering two walls||£150 - £300|
|Painting||£100 - £300|
* We compiled these estimated costs to build a stud wall from various online resources. Therefore, use them as a start for your research. However, if you want accurate quotations, ask a carpenter, stud wall specialist, or even better, complete the form on this page.
Generally, the price of materials makes up about 30% of the total cost, while labour charges are the remaining 70%.
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Stud Wall Installation Process
If you’re good at DIY, you can produce a reasonable stud partition wall without using a professional. However, you’ll probably take a long time, and you might forget a crucial step. Therefore, we recommend you hire a professional every time.
Let’s go through the process of building non-loadbearing studwork, so you know what’s involved. Note that it’s pretty safe for anyone to construct non-load bearing walls. However, load-bearing (or structural) walls must have input from a structural engineer, the calculations approved, and work inspected by Building Control. Therefore, this must be done by a professional.
Anyone who produces dust from plasterboard, cutting wood or handling insulation must wear suitable personal protection. Typically, these are:
- Dust mask – To prevent dust inhalation when cutting wood, fibreglass insulation and plasterboard.
- Safety glasses – To prevent dust from entering the eyes.
- Gloves – To protect your hands from fibreglass irritation and wood splinters.
- Lengths of 100m x 50mm timber.
- Sheets of 12mm or 9.5mm plasterboard.
- Insulation slabs.
- Plasterboard screws.
- 100mm wood screws.
- Measure the proposed wall length to buy the correct amount of materials. Always add on 10% for materials as there will be wastage when cutting timber and plasterboard.
- Ensure floor and ceiling are horizontal, so you know where gaps need sorting out.
- Then, remove radiators, light switches, ceiling roses, and electrical sockets that might be in the way of the new wall.
- Reroute services to provide electrical sockets, light locations and switches, and radiators. Remember, ceiling lights are usually in the centre of the room and light switches are next to a door.
- Draw the wall layout on the floor using a chalk line. Then, use a spirit level to transfer the lines up the wall. Finally, chalk the layout onto the ceiling.
- Find the location of existing wall studs, floor and ceiling joists and mark them as places to securely fix the stud wall. However, if there aren’t any in the correct location, you must provide adequate support at these locations.
- Using the floor chalk marks as a guide, cut the timber to correct lengths.
- Cut half-lap joints and screw the laps together on internal and external corners.
- Where the floorplate meets an existing wall, cut a half-lap joint to receive a vertical stud’s lower end.
- Drill and screw timber floorplate to the floor joists. However, ensure there aren’t any hidden cables or pipes in the way.
- If you intend to add a door, you must leave a gap in the floor plate.
- Install the ceiling plate in the same way as the floor plate, fixing it to ceiling joists with screws.
- Bore holes in the ceiling plate at the correct places for electrical cables or plumbing pipes.
If using 9.5mm thick plasterboard, the studs must have a distance between centres of no more than 400mm. In comparison, if using 12.5mm plasterboard, the distance between centres must be a maximum of 600mm.
Start by fitting the studs against the existing walls, where you’ve cut lap joints on the floor and ceiling plates.
- Cut and place the studs against the wall, seated in the lap joints. Screw the studs to the existing wall. Then, screw the studs to the floor and ceiling plate.
- Measure and mark the stud positions on the floor plate at the appropriate distance apart.
- In turn, cut each stud to length and fit them between the floorplate and ceiling plate. Use a spirit level to ensure each one is vertical. Fix into position at floor and ceiling plate using screws.
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Noggins are horizontal pieces of timber fixed between the studs to provide additional strength. They should have a maximum distance between centres of 600mm if using 12.5mm plasterboard or 400mm centres if using 9.5mm board.
If you intend to fix a radiator on the wall, provide extra noggins for support. Furthermore, if the wall will support kitchen wall cupboards, fix extra noggins at a suitable height.
Although cutting and fixing plasterboard looks easy, it’s a difficult job, and you should leave it to the professional, so we won’t go into great detail here.
- Cover one side of the wall with plasterboard, providing cutouts at appropriate positions for electrical sockets and switches.
- Fill the cavities between studs and noggins with insulation.
- Cover the other side of the wall with plasterboard, providing appropriate cutouts where needed.
If you’re using the studded wall as a dry lining against an outside wall, include a vapour barrier behind the plasterboard to prevent condensation.
Building Stud Wall Cost Factors
Many factors add to the cost of your stud partition walls, and you should bear these in mind when calculating the budget for the project.
Room and building size
Larger rooms and buildings require more stud partition walls. But, buying timber and plasterboard in large quantities will usually lower the stud wall cost per square metre.
The UK’s standard ceiling height for modern houses is 2.4m, and manufacturers produce plasterboard sheets in sizes to minimise wastage. If your home has ceilings higher than normal, you will have more waste after cutting the boards to fit, which means more offcuts to get rid of; Both these cost extra.
Architect’s or structural engineer’s specifications
The thickness of the plasterboard depends on the wall’s purpose. Some parts of a property must have 30-minutes fire resistance. Usually, architects specify coverings of 12.5mm plasterboard and plaster finishes, or two layers of 9.5mm plasterboard and plaster finish to achieve this. Fireproofing also applies to internal walls and ceilings, where you must protect plywood, structural steel and interior timber from fire.
Insulation must also be fireproof, so fibreglass or Rockwool is usually the material of choice.
Stud partition wall thickness
Typically, professionals use 100mm x 50mm studs to accommodate 100mm of insulation. However, if the stud wall isn’t in a domestic setting, such as an office partition, then insulation isn’t such an issue. In this case, you can use 75mm x 50mm timber for studwork, which is cheaper than 100mm x 50mm timber. When choosing the studwork sizes, always remember that the Building Regulations require most domestic partition walls to provide adequate heat insulation, soundproofing and fireproofing.
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Stud centre distances
A wall using studs placed at 400mm centres will use more timber than one with 600mm centres. Therefore the wall will cost more in materials and labour.
Prices for stud walls in London and southeast England can be up to 20% higher than prices elsewhere. Bear this in mind when calculating costs.
Electrical & radiator fittings
Additional fittings used for electrical and heating appliances will add to the overall costs.
What is a Stud Wall?
A stud wall might sound strange to anyone not conversant with the term. But it really is the simplest of things. It is only a wooden frame covered with plasterboard and stuffed with insulation. It’s used as a partition or to convert one large room into many smaller rooms. You can also use stud partitions to cover unsightly pipes and cables. Once the wall is complete, no one can see the studs, and superficially, you wouldn’t know the difference between this and a masonry wall.
There are several reasons why people might use this method to build walls.
- You don’t need to build the wall on a concrete foundation. Therefore they can be used upstairs, supported by floor joists.
- They are faster and cheaper to build than a masonry wall.
- They cause less mess during construction.
- You don’t need specialist skills to build one. Anyone with a bit of DIY knowledge can create a stud partition.
Planning Permission & Building Control
Assuming the stud partition is an internal wall, you won’t need to apply for Planning Permission unless your home is listed. In this case, you must apply for listed building consent for any significant works.
When building an interior wall from stud and plasterboard, you must comply with the relevant Building Regulations:
A load-bearing wall separates two rooms and provides support and transfers loads from other parts of the building, usually from ceiling to floor, and so on to the foundations. Typically, a load-bearing wall supports:
- Sections of the roof structure and ceiling joists.
- You can remove a chimney stack on the ground floor and support the remaining chimney structure with a beam that rests on the load-bearing wall.
- The load-bearing wall could support a wall positioned above.
- Sometimes, floor joists can be resting on the wall or built into the wall.
If you intend to build or replace a load-bearing wall, you must hire a structural engineer to design a suitable beam or wall.
Non-load bearing wall
This wall supports itself. You don’t have to make any allowances for this type except that it must support its own weight. Typically, we use these as partitions rather than as support structures.
Fire resistance & safety
A stud wall used to create a new room must be built with fire safety in mind to prevent the spread of fire and provide a means of escape. Usually, we use 12.5mm plasterboard on both sides of the wall to protect the wood from burning. This thickness plasterboard provides 30-minutes of fire protection.
If the new stud wall creates a room whose only means of escape from a fire is through another room, you must provide an external window to be used as an escape route. The exception is when the room’s floor level is higher than 4.5m above outside ground level. Approved Document B discusses this compliance in depth.
A new room produced by the stud wall must have adequate ventilation. So, you must provide fresh air from a window or by using a mechanical extractor fan. Approved Document F covers this in more detail.
Stud walls producing a new room must contain thermal insulation complying with Approved Document L to ensure adequate energy performance. Usually, you can provide thermal and acoustic insulation using the same product.
Materials and workmanship
The new stud wall must be built to a professional standard using suitable materials. This complies with Approved Document 7.
Using stud partition walls to add extra rooms to your home are an excellent way to give your family more usable space. You can convert a sizeable draughty room too big for one person into many small cosy rooms perfect for individual purposes.
However, it’s challenging to find a reputable carpenter or another professional who knows what they’re doing without charging you over-the-top stud wall partition costs.
We can help you find qualified and experienced professionals. Complete the form on this page, and we’ll ensure you receive up to four quotations for your stud partition wall project.
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