Introduction: Roommate Blocker 1.0
First Prize in the
Converse Back to School in Style Contest
This project should be done at the beginning of the new school year.
The duration of this project is completely dependent on how large of a wall you need.
KEEP IN MIND, you will PROBABLY need to drill at least one hole into your wall. Do what you have to, to avoid making the holes too noticeable. In other words... PREDICT damage that may be seen at the end of the year, hint hint. My wooden frame uses about THREE wall holes.
Why: Your roommate smells. Your roommate is noisy. You have a girlfriend. You don't have a girlfriend. Your 21 and think it's unreasonable that your University does not provide adequate housing... you would understand if you knew what we paid per month.
Everything seen in this guide can be found at lowes/home depot... I'm sure you could also supplement some of the items used for hardware found at local stores.
The wall is also really sturdy, but I think I used the bare minimum in order to accomplish this.
Without tools: $120,
With tools: Roughly $50
This project will reduce noise by about 70% and eliminate all light... mostly.
** Also, you should probably get your roommates permission.
*** The entire project took about 5 hours to complete.
**** There was no glue or joint compound used in this project, it is fairly clean and straight forward.
***** If you are concerned that your room may spontaneously combust, this project will probably facilitate the burning process.
*******This project may violate the terms of your dorm agreement, it also may not be approved by governing fire officials. Build at your own risk.
Step 1: Materials and Tools
Drywall is pretty cheap so you should buy about 1.5 times more than you would think to buy.
Enough Wooden studs to build a frame in the are you want to frame off. (The length of your pieces should match up with the height of your ceiling. You also may want to have one long piece going to the door, so keep that in mind when picking wood. I used 1.5"x1"x9'. I think 96" is a standard ceiling size in college dorm rooms.
1xbox of concrete screws,
1xbox of drywall screws, ($6.23 for a 4'x'8'x1/4")
1 twin bed sheet,
1 sliding door kit ($12.99)
1 unmounted door ($19 at lowes... it's pretty light too)
A roll of velcro tape
Foam tape (cover up drill holes and adds sound insulation. It also helps create a seal)
1 inch Copper tube straddle ( this was just a cheap way to make a handle, you can get whatever you'd like)
1 Twin XL fitted sheet ($9.99 target(tar-zhe) )
Miter Box ( for a college dorm room this is essential, the room is too small to use clamps in odd places.)
Step 2: The Run Down
The smaller your room is the easier this project will be. I used a sliding door so that I could minimize the amount of open space in the frame. I also did not want to drill into the walls so most of the wood framing is completely wedged into tight spaces. There are only about three or four drill holes in the wall space of about 5'x8'.
There are only three major steps to this project:
Build a frame.
Put up the drywall.
Mount the door.
This seems simple, but dorm rooms are never perfectly square, so you will need to adjust because nothing is really straight. This wall obviously does not have to be perfect since it just intended to split a room into two, but the door will slide better if the wall is straighter.
Step 3: Building a Frame
Find a place in your room that is somewhat close to the center of the room. At this location you are going to want to place your first beam. In order to use the concrete scews properly you will need to drill a guide hole first. Since the wooden beam has inherit thickness, you will need to shorten the guide hole. You can use a level, but the room may be slanted so you should probably just use your eyes.
Drill the guide hole, and mount and drill in the first beam. Drill another hole if you need to, this is the anchor of the wall, everything else will rely on the strength of that connection in order to support the weight of the door. You can drill as many holes as you want... but your going to have to pay for it in the end... I think making perfect measurements and wedging will be fine for supporting the 10-15 pound door.
If you want to have a thicker wall, you need to use a wider beam. I used 1.5", since dorm rooms are small I thought that this would be a pretty reasonable beam size.
Since you will be dealing with a smaller space, it is likely that you won't need that much wood. I covered the entire length of each wall with wood, wedging the opposing side into the 8' space. Cutting the edge of the beam at 45 degree angle will also facilitate the wedging process.
I used a sliding door that is wider than half the width of the wall, so you will need to have the door port off center ( that sounds much more confusing than it is). I also wanted to guarantee that sound and light would be blocked, so i made the door frame in inch shorter on each side and on the top. This would cover up future mistakes as well as assure that the door would cover the hole.
There are many different ways you can build the frame, just make sure there is an area that you can wedge the wood into. Also, remember where you put the beams this will make your job easier. Take a picture if you can not remember.
When you wedge and mount the outer frame, you can start mounting the inner frame. You can design it how you like, but use my blue print as a guideline. I also ran out of wood at one point, so on of my cross beams looks shortened. If you want to put a screw in at an angle, you will need to drill a pilot hole.
The blue print included uses angled cross beams, in order to accomplish this you will need to make two 45 degree cuts that are parallel to each other.
Step 4: Add Drywall
From what I've gathered people think drywall is harder to use than it really is. All you need is some dry wall screws and a razor blade. This is a bi-layer wall, so both sides will be covered by dry wall. I used a smaller car to transport the dry wall, so I cut the pieces in half (4'x4'). Measure your wall and keep note of where your beams are... write it down.
Turn the drywall on its backside (paper backed side) and outline the wall based on your measurements. I placed a ruler on the surface of the drywall in order to cut a straight line. Take a straight edge and pass through your sketched lines a few times until you feel it cut through. Don't worry of you didn't fully cut through. Carefully lift up the drywall and bend the piece at the cut line, the drywall should break. Now, you can take your straight edge and cut through the cardboard backing. This stuff gets messy, wear a mask and cover the floor, or rent an industrial vacuum.
Once you've got your shapes you will want to mount the drywall onto the studs. With the drywall in place, find your studs and drill away. I used about 8 screws per 4x4 sheet.
Now that both sides are mounted, look for gaps, you can cover them later... but keep note of them.
**Use 1/2" drywall on each side to increase sound blocking. I used 1/4"
Step 5: Mount the Door
The door I bought is slightly thicker than the slider kit, I needed to bring the track away from the wall. I did this by adding an external beam. This added stability to the sliding door.
The mount that I bought is intended to be mounted so that the holes are parallel with the floor. I mounted the holes perpendicular to the floor, it worked out better for me. Follow the directions given with the kit, keep the plastic rail guides.
In order for the door to work well the rail needs to be pretty straight. Have a friend help you out. Add the wheels to the door, and slide it onto the tract.
The door may make a little noise, used WD40, it works like a champ and makes sliding work a lot better.
You can also add the door handle at this time.
Step 6: Sound and Light Proofing
Sound will always make its way through, but you can do everything possible to block it.
The best way to increase the sound blockage would be to increase the drywall thickness, but that would be a little more expensive.
With the door closed I looked around the wall and used foam tape to cover up any openings. If the door is moving around a lot we will fix this in the next step. The foam works really well and will provide a seal comparable to a quality sliding door. Add the foam when the DOOR IS CLOSED. Use the door as a guideline for laying down the foam.
Step 7: Decreasing Unwanted Motion and Gaps
I placed the foam tape on the backside of the actual sliding tract, this decreased the undesired range of motion.
The door will also move around perpendicular to the sliding motion. I eliminated this by Velcro taping one of the plastic guide pieces underneath the door... it works very well and will not come off.
There was also a sizable gap between the closed door and the interior drywall. I measured the space (door way) and cut a long piece of drywall to fit into the empty space.
Step 8: Making It All Look Good
Based on tugging and pushing... this wall could comfortably hold up 100-150 pounds. You can decorate it with virtually any posters you have.
I didn't want to paint anything... it's messy, and will spill everywhere... Don't use paint.
I didn't mind small gaps because I knew that I'd be covering up the wall with some flexible material.
I went to target and bought a twin XL fitted sheet, I didn't want any seem lines so I made sure that the sheet was at least the size of my wall. I cut the sheet to size and stapled away. If you pull tight enough, the wall will look like it's painted.
I used some standard picture frame hooks, and hung some posters... NOW, it looks like a normal college room wall.
We have a be nice policy.
Please be positive and constructive.