I want to pull this off without pulling it off
December 19, 2009 10:14 AM   Subscribe

Need help building a climbing wall in my apartment.

Mefites recently decided I should have a climbing wall in my room. Excellent! The next question is the hows of pulling this off in the easiest, safest manner least likely to anger my wife.

I can choose between two more or less identical rooms, as described in the original post, but the burning question is...

Should I chose the room with one concrete wall and one that is drywall over studs, or the one that has two drywall-walls. I am intending I think to use the "anchor a plywood "pegboard" to your wall" method.

What factors do I need to take into consideration here?
posted by Iteki to Home & Garden (10 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: You can drive an anchor into concrete pretty much anywhere but you'll have to use the studs in a gyproc wall. The flip side is a simple screw will suffice for the stud wall where as you'll need to use something more complicated for the concrete wall.

I'd probably choose the concrete wall, everything else being equal. Both Tapcons and Wedge anchors aren't all that difficult to use as long as you can drill a hole in the concrete. A simple hammer drill is adequate for most concrete found in homes. If nothing else you probably don't share the concrete wall with living space your family uses and even if you do it'll be quieter.
posted by Mitheral at 10:38 AM on December 19, 2009

I haven't done this myself, but you may want to check out this book on Home Climbing Gyms. It's the authority on building these.
posted by bookdragoness at 11:51 AM on December 19, 2009

The room with two drywall walls. Holes in drywall will be much easier to repair when it is time to remove the climbing apparatus.

I would rip strips of 3/4 plywood about 4" wide and screw these into the studs using 3" deck screws spaced 12-16" apart. Run a strip along the top tight to the ceiling (you should have a top plate at the top of the wall for you screws to drive into. Run vertical strips along your studs in the wall.

Attach your climbing wall to this grid using 2" wood screws every 16" or so.

I am not an engineer, this is not engineering advice. :)
posted by davey_darling at 12:00 PM on December 19, 2009

You should put hinges at the bottom of the climbing service and attach to the wall via chains at the top so you can adjust the angle for additional challenge.
posted by ghharr at 2:51 PM on December 19, 2009

service = surface of course
posted by ghharr at 2:51 PM on December 19, 2009

For the climbing wall to stay interesting, (IMHO) it should be steep-overhanging, and therefore needs structure beyond just a few panels of plywood screwed to the wall.
For this reason I'd recommend you build something self-supporting that doesn't need to be screwed to the wall at all - more cave-like, basically, but you could still have one or two vertical sections for variety, & stemming.
posted by Flashman at 3:12 PM on December 19, 2009

Response by poster: Oh no, lack of consensus!
Do we have a tiebreaker in the house or will davey_darling and Mitheral will have to cagefight?

Variety isn't a concern and freestanding or with overhangs etc are out of the question unfortunately, but these are things to keep in mind for when I get a house!
posted by Iteki at 3:38 PM on December 19, 2009

Best answer: I used to build climbing walls for a living. I would anchor into the concrete and build a structure that comes off at a 45 degree angle to the ceiling. I agree with others above that you need more structure than just attaching holds to vertical walls which will get real boring real fast. Bonus points if you figure out how to attach holds to the ceiling.
posted by fieldtrip at 4:42 PM on December 19, 2009

Actually, I just looked at the drawing of the room. I would just use that concrete wall and not even deal with putting holds on the other walls. You do want the angle to kick back -- severely in some places. How tall is the ceiling? That will be a significant factor. I'm guessing the 14' wall is the one that is concrete right? You could have the bottom half of the wall just be vertical then the top half kick back severely. You could have half the wall (7') be at one angle and have the other half at an even steeper angle and go across the room just under the ceiling. What you are actually building is a bouldering wall or bouldering cave not really a climbing wall which implies more height. Like this linky1 , linky2, linky3, linky4, great one (pdf)

Have fun!
posted by fieldtrip at 4:58 PM on December 19, 2009

Shoot. I just saw that overhangs are out of the question. Please ignore my responses - except I have to tell you I don't think that building a climbing wall (or bouldering wall) without having overhangs is worth doing.
posted by fieldtrip at 5:00 PM on December 19, 2009

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