/ Childs home wall

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IanMoody - on 18 Nov 2016

Any tips would be appreciated.
I'm going to build a small indoor wall for my daughter. She is ten years old and loves using walls when she gets the chance. We bought some holds for her birthday a while back and never got around to using them as we couldn't find a location. Anyway, no time like the present, so.....

Current thinking - if any of this seems wrong or stupid then please could someone correct me.

We have 3.4m high ceilings, but having kids fall from 3.4 m up without lots of clear space and pads would be utter madness - this thing need to be relatively safe. So we're not thinking of going any higher than normal ceiling height (2.2m ish)

This in turn means that we are thinking of going wider rather than higher.

The plasterboard wall on their outside of their bedroom is damaged, so we were thinking of replacing some sections of it with thick ply instead so we can mount holds directly to it. May not look pretty, but we own the house and if we came to sell it we'd just need to pay someone to replaster that chunk.

Or, if we have space, we could just mount new ply offset from the plasterboard (which we leave in place) but still have it mounted directly into the wall studs (my preferred option -much easier to take down / add holds etc.)

This would be in a corridoor that is partially single width and partially double width.
We would put the highest section in the double width area and then where the corridoor narrowed, go down to a lower bouldering type height.

As any of this sounding stupid / dangerous? This needs to be something she can play with on her own.

Should we have lines that she is not allow to go higher than on her own? So she could boulder alone the corridoor on her own but not use the high bits on her own.

Are there recommended minimum clearances for walls of different heights?

Are there obvious sources of information on this stuff?

This is meant to be a fun thing, but it needs to be good enough to actually want to use.

Then where do we start with hold placement? Are there standard patterns / arrangements that work well for kids?

Can we colour code them to make easy / medium / hard runs? Is it all based on arm lengths? body heights?

Has anyone else here done anything like this?

If she's only bouldering a foot off the ground will she get away without a helmet?

I have a million other questions, but I think really I just need to start coming up with a concrete Plan A and take it from there.

Wsdconst - on 18 Nov 2016
In reply to IanMoody

Don't remove any plaster board and replace with ply, this could be really bad if you ever have a fire. Mount some battens onto the vertical studs being careful of hidden wiring, plumbing them mount ply to those, You can fix them horizontally across the studs if you prefer. The reason for using battens is because holds are all different thicknesses you need a space behind for the bolt as it protrudes from the back of the t-nut.
French Erick - on 19 Nov 2016
In reply to IanMoody:
WDs...something has given you really good advice. Don't remove existing plaster board! Don't bother with making 2,20m , buy a full sheet of ply and put it with no cuts (244x122cm). Usually studs are every 60cm if not you may need to put horizontal batten instead of vertical so it's not a problem where the sheets fall, every 60cm is probably overkill but safe. If looks important then go for ply, if not OSB sheets are a bit cheaper.
What's the plan for holds? screws or t-nuts? Buy t-nuts in packs of 100 and have lots of options would be my preferred option. If screws probably ply is a bit more durable.
Good luck with the build.

on edit. horizontal battens obviously only fixed to vertical studs (well obvious to me anyways)
Post edited at 19:50
IanMoody - on 29 Nov 2016
In reply to French Erick and Wsdconst:

Thankyou both for your replies, and sorry for not replying sooner - "life gets in the way" as they say.
Wsdconst > Very sensible advise - I will leave the plasterboard up and, cross mount battens and then attach a full board to that. Luckily I know I'm in the clear for wiring and plumbing as I can peek down the top of the wall from inside a strange suspended ceiling portion.
French > Sounds good, and with the battens in place the full board will clear the skirting too, bonus. Will probably go for a 100 pack of t-nuts placed in a diamond pattern as I've seen in many places. Will probably go for ply as I was going to paint it and round the edges etc.

I'm thinking even on a single sheet of ply you have space to have some fun. i.e.

Climb up left side, slide across top, down right side.
Different colour coded hold patterns
We can put some hangs in the ceiling nearby
Could even angle the top 50cm or so.

jkarran - on 29 Nov 2016
In reply to IanMoody:

Take a trip to your local bouldering center and have a look at how they've set problems on the vertical sections of their wall, watch to see the sort of moves adults have to make between holds and how kids solve the same problems. That should give you a starting point for setting out the holds but treat it as just that, a starting point, be reactive to how they're used and move holds as your kid figures the wall out. Don't set problems, let them figure them out.

If it's going to be unsupervised then give some thought to the risk of pointy holds and loose or hooded clothing (do kids still wear hoodies?).

I'd screw 2x1 batons to the studs on top of the plasterboard (makes space for screws/bolts) and whole 12 or 15 mm ply sheets to the batons. Fix T-nuts in a diamond pattern on 6" grid from 2ft to the top. Small screw on holds for feet.

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