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Question DetailsAsked on 12/15/2017

What category would temporary/retractable walls be under?

Looking to turn my living room into a bedroom, but I would prefer to use temporary walls than a permanent one Incase I sell my home.

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1 Answer


Doors wouldbe the Search the List category for this - though retractable walls tend to be sold by commercial building door companies, not the mostly residential product ones listed on Angies List, so not sure how many of the AL listed ones deal in those.

As the following linked previous question says in the answers, there are a number of options - pretty much all involve some sort of fastening or hanging system which will put bolt/anchor holes in ceilings/floors. This may be easy to handle if a carpeted area and plain flat drywall ceilings, but not so easy if a plank or tile/stone floor or detail textured ceiling which is hard to repair to identical appearance. Ceiling damage you can sometimes take care of covering the mounting holes by just filling them, then putting a decorative wood strip or valence or strip lighting or such to cover the repairs so they are not evident. Flooring which has been pentrated much tougher to make whole and identical looking without totally replacing the flooring in that room, though if the "wall" is aligned right, depending on the flooring type, the mouinting holes may be able to be covered by a transition strip between the rooms.

As one answer said, it is possible to build a studwall and drive it into place - he suggested bubble wrap to provide the space needed for a wall to fit snugly without fasteners into floor and ceiling, though I would be afraid over time that it would stick to the existing flooring and ceiling, because I have seen visqueen (generally a more stable plastic than the usually polyethylene used for bubble wrap) stick and bond tightly - almost "melt" into place - over time. Ditto especially to foam rubber carpet padding and cardboard and such. I think in that case I would use a scrap of synthetic carpet, carpeting side to the existing finish surface, backing against the wall top and bottom plate. Or maybe a few layers of bleached, untreated muslin or canvas - not the treated surface type used in painters tarps and such.

There are totally inflatable walls (also called "air walls") out there - basically like an air mattress on side, designed to fit 7, 8, 9, or 10 foot and maybe higher ceilings. As he said, showing up in apartments and condos in large cities, especially in ones where multiple unrelated people or families are living in a unit designed for one family. I imagine their fire rating is about zero though, so in addition to probably not being to code for a bedroom wall might be a substantial fire hazard to the occupants. And of course if you have kids or free-roaming toothed/clawed pets in the house could end up with an open-air bedroom some day.

There are also extendable sound barrier walls - basically like office cubicle wall panels, designed with sliding components so they can be pressed tight between the floor and ceiling - available again for varying ceiling heights. Are used for temporary office partitions, partitioning off areas for extended construction work in office buildings, and for building temporary office in warehouses and such.

There are also architectural panels (with or without glass) like you see used to make interior labs and machine work spaces for very dirty machining operations and spray booths and such, or to partition off "clean rooms" in factories.

All these fixed panel type walls are generically called "modular walls" or "soft walls".

Architecturally, probably the solution which might least impact resale and could be left in place during the sale listing, would be folding or bypass panel type doors - like the ones used to subdivide hotel and convention center ballrooms and similar large rooms into smaller convention or meeting rooms, and also used as sun barriers inside exterior glass curtain walls - some have zero disturbance of the floor, hanging from the ceiling like drapes (assuming your overlying framing is strong enough to hold the weight).

Note that by code if the living room is used as a bedroom you need to have a second egress to an area the same as your "bedroom door" - typically to the outside via a door or legal egress-sized opening window, though can also access a different part of the house like a hallway which has a rated interior door between it and the room or hall your "bedroom door" connects to. In some code areas, bedroom doors also cannot connect directly to the kitchen, as that is presumed to be a highly likely source area for an interior fire.

Generally by zoning codes, a living room can not (if the only living/rec/common room in the house or apartment) be sold as a bedroom (i.e. belisted as such in a real estate listing), and even if it could would likely require a built-in closet to legally so count as a bedroom by code - most areas require a built-in closet to consider a room a "bedroom". Talk to your realtor or planning and zoning department about those type of requirements in your area, and any minimum size requirements (though most living rooms would meet that).

Answered 2 years ago by LCD

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