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How much does it cost to frame a wall?

Wall frame
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Building an interior wall in your home has several benefits. Not only can it improve your living experience, it can also increase your home’s resale value, depending on the sort of new room or area it creates. In construction lingo, you often see this sort of interior construction project referred to as “framing a wall.” Though often synonymous with “installing a wall,” technically framing is only the first step: It means erecting an internal frame to serve as the basic scaffold or skeleton of your wall, to strengthen and anchor it.

The average cost of framing an interior wall can be anywhere from $7 to $16 per square foot, according to HomeAdvisor. But that’s only part of the project. There are many additional components involved in completing your wall, including the installation of drywall, the addition of openings and electrical outlets, and the type of finish, says Mischa Fisher, chief economist for home improvement site Angi. These factors can boost the price tag to $20 to $30 per linear foot.

All told, installing a wall can cost $2,500 to $6,100, according to the home maintenance site Thumbtack. That covers not only the labor required but also supplies, such as connectors, fasteners, and dimensional lumber. Pricing also typically includes necessary consultations, preparation, setup, and cleanup, as well as disposal of extra materials.

Let’s look more closely into the costs of adding a wall to a room, ways to save money and how to finance your wall framing project.

What’s in an interior wall?

Before getting into the costs of building a wall, we should define a few terms.

There are two types of interior walls: load-bearing and non-load-bearing. A load-bearing interior wall is one that supports both its weight and other structural aspects of the home: the ceiling beams, the roof or the floors. A non-load-bearing interior wall is not integral to your home’s structure and is instead an individual item that supports its own weight and only that.

Regardless, all interior walls consist of four parts:

  • Bottom plate: This horizontal plate is affixed to the floor, using it for support.
  • Top plate: Also called a two-by-four, the top plate runs parallel to the bottom plate and affixes the vertical studs to the ceiling.
  • Studs: Spaced apart every 16 inches and connecting the two plates, studs are vertical two-by-four planks that provide definition for drywall and finish surfaces.
  • Drywall: A board made of layers of material bonded to a gypsum plaster core, drywall is fastened to both sides of the wall to anchor and cover it — its outer skin, so to speak.

How much does it cost to build a wall?

While interior wall installations generally run in the low four figures, the range can be huge: anywhere from $973 to $8,000, according to HomeAdvisor. When estimating the cost to build a wall, you need to consider first and foremost its overall size. “In addition, load-bearing walls will cost more than non-load bearing, since they need to meet stud spacing requirements,” says Fisher. “Openings, such as doorways or windows, will also add to the cost.”

Here are the leading elements that influence a wall’s installation costs.

Wall size

Size does matter. The biggest factor influencing the cost to build a wall is its dimensions: length, height and thickness.

To calculate the size of your wall in square feet, multiply the length of the desired wall by the ceiling height. You’ll also need to know how thick the wall will be. This typically ranges from 2.5 inches to 6 inches. The thicker the wall, the more expensive it will be, but thicker walls have better insulation and sound protection between rooms.

“The size of the wall is a major factor in determining cost because it impacts the quantity of materials and the labor time required to complete the project,” says Fisher.

Type of framing

Framing options include wood and metal and your costs will vary depending on which material is used. Wood prices are about $1 to $5 per square foot while metal framing is about $2 to $4 per square foot.

Windows and doors

The cost to frame a wall will usually increase with each window or door that is added. This is because the studs that support the interior wall structure must be taken out and the weight redistributed to make room for each opening. If you’re adding a bedroom, you’ll probably need at least one door, which will increase the project costs.

Wall openings tend to cost around $120 to $200 per opening for a simple door or window. However, an elaborate wall arch may range from $1,000 to $5,000 depending on size and load-bearing properties, says Fisher. Other styles of doors, such as pocket doors, can be anywhere from $100 to $2,500 per door. “Ultimately, the cost to install a door in your new wall will vary based on the style, material and location of your door, as well as trim, hinges and hardware and other add-ons,” says Fisher.

Installing multiple windows averages around $5,700 per project.

Materials used

Interior walls often consist of some combination of wood, plaster, drywall, insulation and steel. “Most interior walls are finished with at least some level of drywall. Drywall currently costs between $1 and $3 per square foot, but that cost will depend on the level of finish,” says Fisher. “There are five levels of drywall finish, rated from 0 to 5, with 5 being the highest quality and the most expensive.” Overall, interior walls framed with drywall tend to cost between $20 and $30 per linear foot, an estimate that does not include the additional costs of drywall screws, joint compound and joint tape.

If you choose a custom finish, like brick, cork, tile, glass or metal, your costs will most likely go up. Here are some of the costs associated with alternative wall finishes, based on HomeAdvisor’s statistics:

Pricing Wall Finishes
Type of Finish Cost per square foot
Plaster $3 – $10
Glass $25 – $75
Brick $27 – $45
Brick veneer $5 – $15
Stone $25 – $80
Stone veneer $10 – $25
Concrete $5 – $12

Additional decorative features such as fancy trim (crown molding, baseboards) will also drive up the price.

Electrical work

Most – if not all – of the interior walls in your home contain some sort of electrical wiring, which powers your outlets, lights, and appliances. You may have to hire an electrician depending on the complexity of the electrical work needed, which can easily increase the cost to frame a wall. The cost of electrical work ranges from $40 and $100 per hour, with the first hour a bit higher at around $150, says Fisher. For two pros, the cost averages around $175 per hour.

“Also keep in mind your material costs, which tend to run from $6 to $8 per foot when wiring a house,” says Fisher. “Depending on what you need and its complexity, electricians may opt for a flat rate for the total project. The total cost will depend on the size and specifics.”

Is it worth it to add an interior wall?

New walls may well be worth it. They create an extra bedroom, add a home office, or install closets. They can separate off a kitchen, make a living room more intimate, or finish your basement.

“Adding an interior wall in your home can be a way to create additional rooms without the cost or complexity of a full-on addition,” says Fisher. It may also improve the overall aesthetics of your home, especially if you’re displeased with the floor plan or lacking storage.

Here are some factors to consider when trying to decide whether an interior wall project is a smart move.

  • Layout: Before investing in an interior wall installation, carefully consider how it will impact the overall layout and flow of your home. “People currently prefer open layouts, so if the wall will make the home feel smaller or more closed off, it might be worth reconsidering,” says Fisher. Building an interior wall that makes your home feel cramped or crowded could diminish your property’s resale value.
  • Increased usable space: On the other hand, if you have an underutilized basement, an additional wall can be a beneficial project, allowing you to create more livable space within your existing square footage. This type of project can increase your home’s value and potentially allow you to create an income stream. “Adding a few walls to your basement layout can help turn it into a mother-in-law suite, create inviting office space, or even create a rental unit that generates extra income,” says Fisher.

What are my financing options for framing a wall?

Even the most basic interior wall construction will likely cost thousands of dollars, and not everyone has that kind of money lying around. Fortunately, there are still plenty of ways to finance the project.

  • Personal loan: When you apply for a personal loan you are given an interest rate based on your credit score and financial information. A personal loan is a great way to finance a relatively small remodel job like a wall addition if you don’t have much equity in your home.
  • Home equity loan: A home equity loan is a lump sum that is borrowed against the equity (ownership) in your home and is commonly referred to as a second mortgage. The cost to install a wall is an investment in your home’s market value, so financing it with a home equity loan would make sense — and the interest might well be tax-deductible.
  • Home equity line of credit: A home equity line of credit, or HELOC, is unique in that you’re given access to a line of credit that you can borrow from up to a certain amount rather than a lump sum. You should consider a HELOC if you’re unsure how much your new wall will cost or if you don’t know how much of the project you’ll be able to pay out of pocket.

Next steps in framing and building an interior wall

To decide whether building a wall is worth the investment, you will need to determine how much it would cost to construct the wall and then calculate the benefit of the additional room it creates. When it comes to cost, the wall’s size is a key element, but the framing process is also a factor in determining the price. The materials used, and the presence of apertures and electrical outlets, influence the final tab of the wall installation, too.

The cost to build a wall can add up quickly. Before diving in, reach out to several contractors for quotes; a good contractor can help you choose the best wall materials for your budget. Then, determine how you’ll pay for the renovation. If you decide to finance all or part of your wall framing project, be sure to make your payments in time and in full. This way you can keep your credit score in good shape and open the doors to other home improvements down the road.

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Written by
Lisa Melillo
Personal Finance Writer
Lisa Melillo is a freelance writer and entrepreneur with a background in personal finance, insurance, and international business. In addition to contributing to Bankrate, she has appeared in Money and Reviews.com and frequently ghostwrites for other entrepreneurs.
Edited by
Senior homeownership editor