/ Building a climbing wall at home

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L JimmyEatWorld on 05 Feb 2019

Hi All,

I'm in the process of building my own climbing wall in the alley way between my house. It will be a 4.4m x 3.5m flat wall. That will ultimately be a circular circuit. With a campus board at the end. I'm building one because the bouldering wall is nearly an hour away and sometimes I can't get there so this wall is intended to train strength, endurance and technique on my busy days.

I need advice on the following:

I'm building a frame that will be attached to a brick wall. The frame will be 4.4m long and 3.5m high. So I'm opting for 2x6 timber. When I've built the frame what screws do I use to attach it to the brick wall? Because the frame is built like a stud wall the timber will be on its slim end so I have to get through 5 1/2" of wood before I'm into the brick.

Also the alleyway has slabs, with a gap either side of about 2" where there is mud and stones for drainage. I've built a roof and waterproofed it to protect the wall. But how would I attach the frame to the floor?

I'd post images if I could but this forum doesn't seem to let us.

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

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ericinbristol - on 05 Feb 2019
In reply to JimmyEatWorld:

You need to post photos in your gallery e.g. 

https://www.ukclimbing.com/images/dbpage.php?id=309689

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Dandan - on 05 Feb 2019
In reply to JimmyEatWorld:

Perhaps I'm not understanding your intentions correctly but why does the frame need to be made of 6x2 timber? If it's mounted vertically to a flat wall and is just something to screw your ply panels to, why not make it from 2x2? or even cheap battens? Make a grid of battens/timbers on maximum 600mm centres then you'll have plenty to screw your ply to.

Rawlplugs and screws would be fine for attaching the frame to the wall, on a vertical wall most of the force will be in shear so pull out strength isn't really an issue. There are plenty of more significant fasteners if you want to go belt and braces, rawlbolts or similar.

Why do you need to attach it to the floor at all? If it is securely fastened to the wall then it can float just off the floor no problem, that will also stop the bottom from getting damp.

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In reply to JimmyEatWorld:

Don't use 6x2 use 2x2  or even better cut down the 6x2 so it is 6 at the Top and 1 at the bottom and you have a slight over hang

concrete screws from screw fix are perfect and easy and quick and just noggin inn a few places higher up to reduce  side ways movement

once the boards are on it will be solid

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tlouth7 on 05 Feb 2019
In reply to JimmyEatWorld:

2x6 seems really excessive for this, I'd go with 3x2. Surely you don't attach it to the floor? Hang the whole thing from the wall with a decent number of rawl plugs (or expanding anchors). In fact I practically wouldn't bother with a frame, just battens spaced every 2 feet, perhaps with horizontals at any sheet edges.

The trick when going through deep timber is to counterbore:

1. Clearance hole through the timber

2. Follow the hole up to ~ half depth with a bit slightly larger than the screw head.

Also can you make the frame 4.4 x 3.66m? Would save on cutting.

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jkarran - on 05 Feb 2019
In reply to JimmyEatWorld:

Are you building a vertical wall?

2x6 is overkill for a domestic wall, lighter materials and a little more structure if necessary are much cheaper. It's quite possible to build an adequately stiff wall without framing timbers though some framing does simplify the job.

If it's a vertical wall:

a) IMO it's a waste of time and money

b) 2x1 batons screwed directly into the brick are all you need to provide a little space behind the boards for excess screw threads behind the holds.

If you can't build off the floor, screw a baton to the wall and build off that.

Various brick/concrete screws are available from places like Screwfix. Which size and type you choose will be steered by your design. There's nothing wrong with Rawlplugs and ordinary screws when used appropriately and in sufficient quantity.

Counterbore holes in thick timbers so you can use sensible screws or use brackets to join timber to wall.

jk

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tlouth7 on 05 Feb 2019
In reply to JimmyEatWorld:

It is pleasing that a bunch of answers that appear to have all been written at the same time give pretty much the same advice.

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L JimmyEatWorld on 05 Feb 2019
L JimmyEatWorld on 05 Feb 2019
In reply to Dandan:

Firstly thank you for your replies.

I've followed a number of how toos https://www.rei.com/blog/climb/build-home-climbing-wall and they all have stated if the wall is over 2.5 metres then you need thicker wood. But I'm glad more than one person said that is over kill. As I didn't want to spend that much either!!

I'm happy with hanging it above the floor. As I wasn't sure how I can fix to the slabs anyway!

I know the screws your talking about and I've used them from the roof and they are bomb proof.

2x2 sounds good to me. One of my next questions is there a standard length for the T bolts to screw the holds in?

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L Dave77633 on 05 Feb 2019
In reply to JimmyEatWorld:

I have been thinking of building a wall myself. There are some good books available. I also found this page that shows what appears to be a relatively easy wall to build. https://craggear.com/home-built-garden-climbing-wall/

 

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L JimmyEatWorld on 05 Feb 2019
In reply to thedevonshirepiemuncher:

Cutting down a 6x2 for a slight over hang sounds like a good idea. I know the screws you are talking about.

The alleyway is just over a metre wide hence just a boring flat wall. I know about the dangers of falling off and needing space. but I still want to build a small wall anyway. In your opinion how much overhang do you think I can get away with in the little space I have. 

Images

http://i64.tinypic.com/2h51sn5.jpg

http://i64.tinypic.com/axbprt.jpg

http://i63.tinypic.com/29golt1.jpg

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L JimmyEatWorld on 05 Feb 2019
In reply to jkarran:

The alleyway is just over a metre wide hence just a boring flat wall. I know about the dangers of falling off and needing space. but I still want to build a small wall anyway. In your opinion how much overhang do you think I can get away with in the little space I have.  Please view the photos. Enough to make it challenging mind and with enough space to move at the top...

2x1 batons what is the standard length of the t bolts to screw in the holds then?

Images

http://i64.tinypic.com/2h51sn5.jpg

http://i64.tinypic.com/axbprt.jpg

http://i63.tinypic.com/29golt1.jpg

Thank you for all your answers I'm beginning to see light at the end of the tunnel.

If I am able to get a bit of a over hang would the safest idea to put sleepers across the roof joists and then attach the over hang wall to that using brackets?

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In reply to JimmyEatWorld:

Can you stop posting the same links to tinypic with every reply please.

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Oceanrower - on 05 Feb 2019
In reply to JimmyEatWorld:

>One of my next questions is there a standard length for the T bolts to screw the holds in?

Unfortunately not. Depends on the size of the hold. Also, be aware. Some holds won't take "martini" bolts (countersunk with the 6mm socket) and only take 8mm cap head. Axis sprung to mind and, I think, Cult.

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jkarran - on 05 Feb 2019
In reply to JimmyEatWorld:

Looks like you have very little space. I'd suggest before you throw money at it try only using the vertical walls at your local wall for a couple of sessions, be really strict with yourself about it, no overhangs. Was it worthwhile and enjoyable?

If you do go ahead with it 2x1 batons will be fine, fix them to the wall screwing into the mortar rather than the bricks so it's easier to make good. Brown rawlplugs will be fine for attaching a vertical wall.

On a vertical wall you'll mostly want screw-on holds anyway but yes, setscrews/bolts come in standard lengths but they're usually available in 10mm length increments (sometimes 5mm) at the sizes of interest. Different holds need different length screws.

edit: In that narrow space I wouldn't bother introducing any overhang across the path, you don't want to be popping off top end first and scraping down a brick wall. If you really want to you could make it adjustable 4ft panels (manageable weight) so the path still works and you can experiment. It hardly changes the design (2x2 frame would work for modest overhangs) You could consider a steeper overhanging panel that swings out across the path, it would be very narrow. Really it's not the right space for a training wall. Sorry to be negative.

jk

Post edited at 13:07
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paul__in_sheffield - on 05 Feb 2019
In reply to JimmyEatWorld:

To be perfectly honest, I think I would spend time and energy fitting a beastmaker and a pulley weight system into a door frame with a good view of Netflix on a big flat screen. The training advantage and time you want to spend on a flat vertical wall outside is a bit limited. The fun will quickly wear off.

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L JimmyEatWorld on 05 Feb 2019
In reply to paul__in_sheffield:

What do you mean by a pulley weight system?

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Durbs on 05 Feb 2019
In reply to JimmyEatWorld:

So, although a smaller scale, I too built a vertical wall.

Mine attached to the outside wall of the house, and kept off the ground (to prevent damp mostly).

Frame-mounted: 

https://www.ukclimbing.com/images/dbpage.php?id=288333

Finished and painted:

https://www.ukclimbing.com/images/dbpage.php?id=288335

 

Since then, I've added a slight overhang to the middle panel by cutting a 2x4 down the diagonal:

https://www.instagram.com/p/BkLUj0xjdt-/

With hindsight, I should've done this overhang for the entire wall, setting tough, interesting slabs is challenging, whereas the overhang makes it easier to tweak a route as moving a hold just one bolt-hole higher can make a big difference.

It also means you get more of a workout. 

Also, on a practical note, finding bad, hard-to-use bolt-on holds for slabs/walls isn't easy, but constantly re-setting screw-ons chews up the wood a fair bit.

I still love my wall, it doesn't get as much use as perhaps it should, but that's just me being lazy.

 

 

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Ben_Climber - on 05 Feb 2019
In reply to JimmyEatWorld:

Save your time and money and avoid T-Nuts and just go with screw ons.

Plenty of hold manufactures now offer screw on holds in all shapes and sizes. Gives you the flexibility of where you can put holds and can add as many as you want.

 

 

 

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paul__in_sheffield - on 05 Feb 2019
tlouth7 on 05 Feb 2019
In reply to JimmyEatWorld:

> I've followed a number of how toos https://www.rei.com/blog/climb/build-home-climbing-wall and they all have stated if the wall is over 2.5 metres then you need thicker wood.

The images in that tutorial show self supported walls. You have the luxury of screwing to a fully solid structure (the wall) every few centimetres so don't need a structural frame, just something to screw the ply to.

Why not start with a small wall and see how it is?

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L JimmyEatWorld on 06 Feb 2019
In reply to Durbs:

The wall looks good. A couple of questions:

What did you use to paint the wall?

What type of plywood did you use? Marine or Structural?

What thickness of plywood would be sufficient 18mm or 25mm?

How did you make the over hang?

Where did you get your holds from?

What size wood did you use for your frame?

Thanks

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L JimmyEatWorld on 06 Feb 2019
In reply to Ben_Climber:

As everyone says vertical walls get boring so to starve of this boredom I was going to use bolt on with 3 screw in t-nuts. I found really cheap ones.

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L JimmyEatWorld on 06 Feb 2019
In reply to tlouth7:

That's great to hear as it makes the wall cheaper. What sort of plywood would you use and how thick?

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L JimmyEatWorld on 06 Feb 2019
In reply to paul__in_sheffield:

Thanks for the link 

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gravy - on 06 Feb 2019
In reply to JimmyEatWorld:

With a supported wall 2"x2" batons behind are fine.  They are there to spread the load on the ply and provide a bit of space for bolts to protrude behind.  The easiest way to fix is to use frame fixings like this:

https://www.screwfix.com/p/easyfix-window-anchors-10-x-140mm-10-pack/19573

They are cheap and easy to use and they have the advantage that you drill the ply, frame and wall in-situ so everything is always aligned, then you bash the fixing in by hammer and tighten up using a screwdriver.

Assuming you use 18mm ply, 50mm batons you'll need 120-140mm fixings.

I suggest assembling the panels and batons flat on the ground - marking where the batons go and screwing the batons to the first/bottom panel. Then fix the batons+first panel to the wall and then add the other panels - that way things stay nicely aligned to your original marks. You won't be able to do anything more assembled because of the weight. A few bits of wood and some bolts help to provide temp support as you construct. Remember to fix your t-nuts with screws or stapels to stop them poppoing out later (because this is a real pain). Assuming you hit good placements each time then 6 fixings per panel is sufficient.

If it is in your alleyway use exterior grade ply and cover - otherwise it will rot quickly. Also leave a gap at the bottom and make sure air can circulate behind.

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Durbs on 06 Feb 2019
In reply to JimmyEatWorld:

> The wall looks good. A couple of questions:

> What did you use to paint the wall?

Shed paint, mixed with sand, but treated it beforehand with waterproofing stain.

The wall remains covered with a tarp when not in use.

> What type of plywood did you use? Marine or Structural?

Structural, 18mm. Marine was more expensive, but possibly about price neutral having bought enough woodstain to treat both sides.

> What thickness of plywood would be sufficient 18mm or 25mm?

18mm's fine

> How did you make the over hang?

A friend had an extra-long piece of 2x4 and a range of woodwork tools (it's his hobby), so he just cut it on the diagonal the full length of the beam.

I then just removed the panels off the wall, attached the extra bits of beam, and by luck/design (it was luck...) the panels mounted in vertical dimension on the new frame almost perfectly. There's a couple of 3mm gaps between the wall and vert, but you wouldn't notice.

> Where did you get your holds from?

I got a bulk set off here from someone selling them, though most of those are too generous for a vert wall, but there was a couple of useful ones too.

Others came from Holdz.co.uk (as did the white volumes) as they're well priced, and the rest is a mix brands, always from special offers as-and-when I find them. 

> What size wood did you use for your frame?

Standard 2x4 beams, again stained.

> Thanks

You're welcome!

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David Bennett - on 06 Feb 2019
In reply to JimmyEatWorld:

Don't try cutting the battons diagonally to create a slight overhangs, use roofing firrings attached to smaller batons. A 3.6m length should give you 50mm of overhang.

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Durbs on 07 Feb 2019
In reply to David Bennett:

I concur - no way I could've done this, luckily matey had the tools and is a whizz with wood!

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elsewhere on 07 Feb 2019
In reply to David Bennett:

> Don't try cutting the battons diagonally to create a slight overhangs, use roofing firrings attached to smaller batons. A 3.6m length should give you 50mm of overhang.

firrings  - that's a good idea and you could stack them up for 100mm overhang.

Post edited at 09:55
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L JimmyEatWorld on 07 Feb 2019
In reply to David Bennett:

Thank you. So a total NEWBIE question where do the Firrings go? Would they go at the bottom? If so how would I attach the batton to the wall at the top? 

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L JimmyEatWorld on 07 Feb 2019
In reply to gravy:

Would this be ok to use then turned on its edge? 

https://www.nwtt.co.uk/50mm-x-25mm-roofing-batten

And those large screws wouldn't split the wood?

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L JimmyEatWorld on 07 Feb 2019
In reply to Durbs:

I have the deck screws for the frame but what type and size of screws did you use to attach the plywood to the frame? 

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Durbs on 07 Feb 2019
In reply to JimmyEatWorld:

Erm... 60mm gold screws off the top of my head... possibly 50mm

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tlouth7 on 07 Feb 2019
In reply to JimmyEatWorld:

That appears to be 2x1 which would be fine behind the middle of a panel but a bit narrow at the joins. Will definitely split if you put a large decking screw through it longways without a clearance hole.

I would use 4x50 turbogold woodscrews (accept no substitutes) between ply and studding.

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Lurking Dave - on 07 Feb 2019
In reply to JimmyEatWorld:

As others have said... Beastmaker - a lot less effort, more likely to get used.

LD

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L JimmyEatWorld on 11 Feb 2019
In reply to jkarran:

So heres what I'm thinking using 2x2 for the frame. Frame the wall above the ground to prevent damp. Then create a 50mm - 100mm overhang with another frame (haven't measured it yet). If I create a small overhang and attach it to the frame on the brick wall and to the ceiling could I get away with 2x2 studs?

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jkarran - on 11 Feb 2019
In reply to JimmyEatWorld:

Assuming the roof is sound (it looks it) you might as well build off it it. 2x2 framing will be fine for a modest overhang if the uprights are tied into the wall every 4ft or so. It'll flex a little but that really doesn't matter.

People massively overbuild their home walls, a little flex is fine. I presume it's either an abundance of caution or copying commercial walls that have to be absolutely bulletproof with a significant number of people all over them.

As ever, adding structure (in your case occasional ties back to the brickwork) is usually better than adding weight of timber.

jk

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Durbs on 14 Feb 2019
In reply to JimmyEatWorld:

Last thing to mention - some people recommend a damp-proof-course between the frame and the wall.

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L JimmyEatWorld on 20:57 Mon
In reply to jkarran:

Thanks for that. Does anyone know where I can find the right joist hangers?

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