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How to construct a loadbearing wall to support a basin in natural stone

01.2020

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You are in the midst of designing a new bathroom and you’ve found the perfect basin. It’s wall-mounted and you know that with its natural stone and Made in Italy design it will be the centerpiece, bringing the wow factor to a room which is often the last to receive any aesthetic attention.

To ensure it will create the effect you have in mind, however, you’ll need to think about more prosaic aspects. The first, fundamental thing is to ensure that the wall it will be mounted on is strong enough to support it. To help with this, we’ve put together an overview of the key steps to follow to create a load-bearing wall.

Before we launch into that however, just a quick clarification. There are a number of terms used around the world to describe the key material for creating a wall, such as gypsum, gyp board, drywall and so on, but we have chosen to use “plasterboard”.

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Firstly, you will need to decide how thick you want the wall to be, which should generally be 50, 75 or 100 mm. Obviously the thickness of your struts will be determined as a result of this.

When it comes to designing the frame, the first decision to take is whether to use wood or metal. Whilst we would recommend metal, we know that in some countries wood is more commonly used so this is a choice to be made by the builder, taking into consideration the various advantages each material offers.

Ensure the frame has plenty of horizontal braces (or noggings, nogs or blockings depending on where you are in the world) so that the plasterboard, once installed, will be more stable. Anchor the struts both to the ceiling and the floor. If you want to avoid drilling the floor and creating holes in it, you may choose to use heavy duty double-sided tape. Also always ensure the screws of the sink have an anchorage point. Use the horizontal braces for anchorage points.

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We always choose a water-resistant plasterboard for bathrooms and use double sheets of 12.5-mm plasterboard on both sides of the wall as this increases its stability and strength. If you are using traditional plasterboard rather than fibre cement boards, you will need to reinforce the lower part of the wall so that it provides resistance for the brackets used to support your basin and is strong enough to bear the weight of the basin. This should be done by using blocks of wood attached to your frame and the height of this reinforced area must be slightly higher than the point where the brackets will be mounted.

To fill the cavity, we recommend you use some sort of acoustic insulation. Then, once you have attached the plasterboard to the frame, apply scrim to ensure that there are no gaps between each sheet, as this will reduce the likelihood of cracks forming in the joints in the future.

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At this point, you have the structure in place, ready to bear the weight of your lovely stone basin. The only other choice is how you will finish the wall. So, why not really transform your bathroom into a space that is not merely functional, but a real showstopper, with a finish from our Walls & Floors collection? Textures such as Bamboo, Romboo, Rain and Lithoverde are ideal for a high splashback or feature wall.

For any further info or assistance please do not hesitate to contact us!