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What is a Floating Wall?

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  • Written By: Malcolm Tatum
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 30 September 2014
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    Conjecture Corporation
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Floating walls are walls that are constructed to shift slightly when the floor or ceiling within the space expands or contracts. While looking like any other type of wall, a floating wall is outfitted with plates along the bottom of the framing. The plates make it possible for the structure to move slightly up or down in order to accommodate contractions or expansions without creating any cracks in the surfacing of the wall itself. A wall of this type is often used in basements or other spaces where a concrete slab is used for the flooring.

In all situations, the floating wall is never a load bearing wall. Rather, its function is normally to adequately enclose an area of the space for aesthetic purposes. The surfacing on the wall can match that found on the load bearing walls in the room, and will be undetectable to everyone other than professionals who know how to tell a load bearing wall from any other type of construction.

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When learning how to build a floating wall, one of the first steps is to understand how the wall is able to adjust to changes affecting the ceiling and floor. In order to allow for any expansion or contraction that may occur at the top of the bottom points where the wall is connected to the floor or ceiling, two horizontal plates are used in the construction of the floater wall. The plates are normally located at the bottom of the wall, and have the ability to adjust to any changes caused by climate or humidity. The plates adjust in conjunction with the contraction or expansion activity of the ceiling or floor without causing any structural or cosmetic damage to the wall itself.

It is often a good idea to build a floating wall when constructing any space that features a floor made with concrete. Since concrete does shift slightly as weather changes take place, the wall continues to offer floating support to the ceiling even when contractions change the floor slightly. Thus, the wall is always in direct contact with both the floor and the ceiling, regardless of the humidity level or temperature of the room. This makes the use of the wall especially helpful in areas like garages or basements, where concrete floors are common.

Both the garage and the basement floating wall are practical as well as decorative. They do provide an enclosure for the space, giving the area a finished look. The walls can be outfitted with shelves and storage racks, which makes it easier to organize any items stored in the space. In terms of practical use as well as the ability to paint, wallpaper, or even panel a floating wall, a basement floating wall is just as versatile as any weight-bearing wall.

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