Are you confused about the difference between a knee wall and a pony wall?
If you’re going to be building or remodeling a house soon, it’s important that you know the difference between these two walls so you can avoid any confusion when talking with your contractor or architect.
We’ve written this blog post about the difference between these two types of walls so that you’ll feel confident in knowing what is being talked about when they are mentioned.
Table of Contents
What Is A Pony Wall?
A pony wall is a half wall. Technically, it is called a self-supporting knee wall because it serves no function except to divide space.
It’s sometimes called as well for the same reason a demi-wall or short wall since they are also short walls that only serve a decorative purpose rather than structural support like regular walls do.
Since this type of wall gets its name from being “half” of a normal all, it’s easy to figure out what you get when you cut the whole thing in half. A pony wall may or may not be load-bearing and therefore can be just about any height up to 4 feet tall.
What Is A Knee Wall?
A knee wall is the best name for a structure that supports a roof overhang. It can be a load-bearing wall or not depending on its height and design but it provides support for the rafters above it, so it must be able to bear weight.
Most people nowadays call this type of wall a knee wall since they are usually shorter than regular walls and sit at about the same level as your knees when you are standing. They run alongside the exterior face of a building to protect window openings from water damage caused by rain or snow blowing in around the side of an outside corner or something like that.
What’s The Difference Between A Knee Wall And A Pony Wall?
As we mentioned earlier, a pony wall is half of a normal all while a knee wall is a load-bearing wall that supports the rafters of an overhang.
You can think of a pony wall as just serving a decorative purpose while knee walls have to be able to do more heavy lifting in order to support the weight of whatever is above them.
It’s true that they are both short walls and are also sometimes called half-walls, but that’s about where their similarities end because one has to do with rafters and roofs while the other does not.
Where To Use A Pony Wall
A pony wall can be used anywhere you want to divide space without blocking the light from inside your home.
Since they are usually not load-bearing, it’s easy to cut them up into any shape or design that you like so that you can make a room look the way that you dream of it looking. You just have to remember to get help putting this type of wall together because it is pretty heavy and requires more than one person for installation.
Pony Wall Bookshelf
The pony wall can be turned into a bookshelf in two different ways. You could leave the top open and make the actual wall a shelf by leaving slots out, like Joanna Gaines’ famous “pony” wall or you add shelving to the top of your pony walls
You can turn an empty space with little depth behind doorways into storage with shelves attached directly onto that area’s backside (a la: built-in). Or, create individual bookcases on wheels so they roll under tables for instant access when entertaining guests.
Shower Or Toilet Divider
If you have a tiny bathroom that lacks privacy, then there is no better way to add that than with a pony wall. You can tile it or do something else to make it pretty and then also hide your shower head behind a wall so that when someone uses the facilities they don’t see you from the hallway outside.
In this case, you should leave the top open because you want people to be able to see in. If instead of a shower stall this was used as a toilet partition, then I would recommend covering up the top because who wants to look at other people’s feet while using the restroom? Not me.
If you don’t have a hall tree to hold your coats, handbags, and umbrellas but still want to make the area appear visually open and easy to use, then installing a pony wall at the bottom of your staircase is just what the decorator ordered.
You would attach it to an adjacent stud so that it was secure. This way when people walk into your home they won’t slam their bags onto the bare floor or lose their balance on an unstable surface.
Pony Wall Reading Nook
If you were going for a reading nook or sitting area, you would want to leave the top open so that light could come in from the window above it.
Even though this is technically a pony wall, I thought that putting it here was appropriate because of the way that you can see how pretty and versatile they really are. They can be dressed up with shelves or tiles just like anything else in your home.
Kitchen Breakfast Bar
Whether you are looking at breakfast nooks or kitchens, a pony wall is a perfect solution for those times when you want to divide space without closing it off.
In this example, there is one opening at the top of the wall that lets light through and acts like an open window over the kitchen countertops. The bottom has been tiled so that people can safely set their drinks down on it when they sit down to eat or talk.
Where To Use A Knee Wall
Knee walls are a very specific type of wall that don’t serve the same purposes as other types of walls. They provide support, but not decoration and can offer vertical backgrounds in upper levels which is useful for adding depth to an area.
Knee walls simply have one use: they should be used when there isn’t another option available because it supports materials outdoors or inside by holding them up like any load-bearing wall would do.
They shouldn’t be confused with sleeper or retaining walls either because these two help keep buildings from falling over while knee walls only work on their own weight instead of others’.
How To Build A Knee Wall
Building a knee wall needs to be done over another load-bearing wall. Doing this will give the best results and it isn’t necessary but highly recommended. So if you want your walls looking good as well, make sure you build them right. After that’s out of the way, these next steps are going to take us through some basics about building a knee wall so they’re easy for anyone with experience in construction
Step 1: Measure & Mark
Measurements need to be exact because they are what’s going to hold everything together later on down the line. That means using a tape measure and marking out where each stud should go with a pencil on every wall that you intend it to be between.
Step 2: Fix The Distance Between Studs
Take wooden blocks of the same width as your studs and move them in between them until you have an even space for your knee wall to work with. This step takes time but is well worth it if you want everything to turn out right when we get started. Now, cut two pieces of 2×4 into manageable lengths depending on how far off the ground you’ll start building your knee wall and then continue from there up to the top.
Step 3: Cut & Attach
Cut each stud that you’ve measured and marked with a reciprocating saw so they are sticking out of each wall evenly and there aren’t any unsightly gaps anywhere for nobody wants their walls to look like this. If you want to avoid having your knee wall fall down within hours of finishing it, then attach all these pieces together at the corners using screws instead of nails because they’re stronger and less likely to come apart under heavy pressure like a knee wall should be able to take.
Step 4: Level It Off And Add A Strip Of Wood To The Top
Next up is leveling everything off with a rubber mallet just in case one side has happened to turn into a complete disaster while you were leveling the other side. After that, add a 1×2 strip of wood to the very top so that way it looks like a stool.
To finish off your knee wall all you need to do is cover it with drywall and paint or stain it however you want to depend on how much time and money you have.
How To Make A Pony Wall
Pony walls are used for a variety of purposes such as dividing an area, separating two different spaces, or even keeping things neat and tidy. Whether there’s cabling in the room, plumbing running around somewhere behind one of these walls, or whatever else might be hiding back there – pony walls help solve almost any problem without causing them. They’re a lot stronger than you might think, too.
Before we can get started with the step by steps on how to make a pony wall, there are a couple of things that need to be discussed first. The best way to describe these common features of any pony wall is as follows: they’re nothing more than studs in walls that aren’t load-bearing (towards exterior/interior walls) and have about an inch or two between them instead of the standard four inches apart required for regular studs. They should be placed anywhere between 14-16 inches off the ground.
Pony walls can also be built using concrete blocks over a plywood board instead if you prefer but this tutorial isn’t going to cover it since it isn’t the most common method used but it’s still just as easy if not easier since you’ll be working with a smaller area:
Step 1: Measure & Mark
Measure the space you’re going to work with and mark out where each stud should go on every wall that you intend it to be touching. It doesn’t matter if there are electrical wires or plumbing running through these walls, they can easily be covered up later whether using drywall or something else entirely (it really depends on how much time and money you have). Now, extend some more measurements so you know exactly where all your lines are supposed to go for everything is a lot easier when it comes to this step.
Step 2: Cut And Attach
Cut each and every stud that you marked so they extend out of the wall by an inch or two (be sure to readjust your measurements as needed) then screw them into place. It’s basically impossible for these walls to fall down unless something really heavy gets knocked into them so don’t worry about having all your lines end up where they should be just focus on getting everything to stick together instead. You’re almost done with this part but still have a ways to go before the day is through…
Step 3: Cover The Knee Wall With Plywood
Now, cut plywood boards to fit over the top of your knee wall in between each set of studs and attach them using screws. These boards will have holes drilled in them that are slightly smaller than the screw you use so it doesn’t risk splitting the board when tightened down. Make sure they’re all level with one another since any uneven spaces will cause problems for you later on.
Step 4: Add Crown Molding To The Top Of The Board And Paint/Stain It
The last step is to add some crown molding up along each of your boards from top to bottom and paint or stain them however you like (this is why it’s sometimes a good idea to build pony walls using concrete blocks instead of as this type of system would be used for just about anything else). That’s pretty much everything there is to know on how to make a pony wall…just remember that drywall can help clean up any areas that might have gotten messed up while building these walls in the first place.