How to frame pony wall for overhanging top without corbel support

mudwormAugust 29, 2011

We are planning to build a breakfast bar and need to build a pony wall as an extension to the existing wall.

The maximum overhang in the granite countertop on top of the pony wall will be 12" on the bar side and 6" on the cabinet side like what's shown in this image:

Because I do not want any corbel support, I wonder how we can frame this pony wall for the worst case scenario -- say, someone puts his kid on the overhang. We don't have kids, but my DH says he will not want to be reminding our guests that they cannot do this or that in our house, so our remodel is being done with all sorts of worst case scenarios in mind.

I got the impression that some sort of metal bracket is needed, but I don't really have a clear idea how to execute it correctly and where we can get the needed hardware. Does anyone have some pictures or links to share? TIA!

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Not trying to be a wet Nellie, but to me It seems to me that you are not being very realistic about what you are asking or trying to do. I recommend you get some help from a tradesperson.

In my experience as a homeowner, you should expect your counter to be strong enough for a 200 pound worker to kneel/stand on to reach your ceiling for electrical, painting, what have you.

Someone's toddler is hardly the beginning of it.

What about all of those groceries at thanksgiving?

I suggest you find out from someone experienced in the type of countertop you will be using, and get some calculations done with the finished weight, and then add to that the additional weight of the countertop use load.

What do your local building codes say?

    Bookmark   August 29, 2011 at 7:59PM
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This is a topic often discussed in the kitchen forum and one of the suggestions is to attach a steel platform to the pony wall and then mount the finished counter top.
Regarding the pony wall, it will be counter balanced by the base cabinets.

    Bookmark   August 29, 2011 at 9:13PM
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Any granite overhang over 6" will need corbels or some other type of support underneath it. It doesn't matter how strong the wall is. It's the amount of overhang that determines the need for the corbel.

BTW, the 6" overhang on the cabinet side will do nothing but get in your way. I'd really recommend a single height island here rather than a two tier island.

    Bookmark   August 29, 2011 at 10:28PM
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@juliekcmo, good point on adults trying to stand on the cantilever of the countertop. I'd like to think I don't know such people, but maybe I do and I just don't know yet. I thought pony wall with granite countertop is very common and am just trying to see how others have done theirs.

@snoonyb, maybe I didn't do the search right, but my searches did not come up with many technical details. I do remember one post where they used a very thick metal plate across, but thought they had it custom made. I'm sure it had been done differently and hopefully in some cases, only stock items were involved.

@live_wire_oak, I hear ya about the one level countertop. I can see the beauty in that. But I have certain functional purpose to serve that requires my two tiered design (as well as the 6" overhang on the cabinet side). This is not an area where I do most of my work (I'll have a huge L shaped countertop along the perimeter), so I'm okay with the limitations of this design. I swear I've seen many kitchen breakfast bar photos with up to 12" overhang without corbel support. I think 12" is the line to cross in terms of that requirement here. I'll confirm with the building department, but would like to learn the knowledge regardless.

    Bookmark   August 30, 2011 at 12:40AM
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Live_wire is correct 6" max unsupported is what my fabricator recommends as well. (9" for manufactured quartz) While you may have seen installations without visible supports under the overhang, you can be sure that they were there. The Counter Balance system is one such "invisible" support, as well as plate steel, and a few other custom designs. This is a BIG safety issue. Support under an overhang isn't just about the counter "tipping" over, it's about the granite itself breaking when weight loaded.

BTW, I'd be curious as to what function that 6" overhang is expected to do over the counter? If you are doing bar height, then that creates a 6" tall x 6" deep space that will be inaccessible. I have installed spice drawers in such a situation that looked really nice, so I'm wondering what your intent is with the overhang?

    Bookmark   August 30, 2011 at 2:27AM
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Mr. GreenDesigns, I must point out that I have been misunderstood. There is no way I would set down the overhanging countertop unsupported; I just don't want corbel.

What I had in mind (may not be my innovation but I may have gotten the idea in a dream) is using L Brackets -- flat plates bent in 90 degrees. They can be mounted to the studs on either the bar side or the cabinet side, and I think we should stagger them. The studs and top plates will be notched so the plates sit flush. They will be slightly shimmed so they can be preloaded when the countertop is set down. Again, it's all theory because I haven't seen anyone do it that way.

As for the 6" overhang... Yeah, with a 36"H counter top and 42"H bar top, there is less than 4.5" clearance in between; That would indeed be useless. But I'm having a 30" countertop (only ~60" long) here and 42" bartop, which will give me a clearance at about 10.5". Have you seen the bulk plastic saran wrap from Costco? The box is about 6"Hx6"Dx12"L. They look ugly, but I love how convenient it is. Getting a wrap is a 2 step operation instead of 5 when you have the wrap in a drawer. This box will be kept under the overhang. I may even get their bulk Al foil (in a similar box) too. This design will help me keep the perimeter counter free of clutter, yet provide me the convenience where I need it. I also bought a compact Breville Smart Oven (10" high), which I might shove under the 6" overhang too on one end.

The intended airy look from the livingroom:

Only because I can hide some stuff here:

The deskheight countertop also hides my kitty feeding zone, and provides knee space when I occasionally need to sit down.

Yeah... this thread should have been posted on Kitchen Forum. :D

    Bookmark   August 30, 2011 at 1:22PM
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Par of the problem is that it depends on the exact stone piece you start with.

3 cm granite is laid over dishwashers all the tie.

That is a 30 inch span that is only supported by the cabinets on each side.

You can use steel under the granite larger cantilevers (overhangs).

It is also possible to groove the bottom of the granite and epoxy sections of angle iron in.

Making pony walls that are solid requires the studs in them to go through the floor and be attached to joists or other framing below.

Another trick is to face at least one side of the pony wall with 3/4 in plywood, glued and screwed.

If you can face both sides you have created a torsion box with the plywood and framing.

The only issue becomes anchoring to the joists adequately.

    Bookmark   August 31, 2011 at 5:42PM
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Here's the thread that I think you are referring to. The last two posts link to products that you can use.

Here is a link that might be useful: granite supports

    Bookmark   August 31, 2011 at 6:19PM
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Great information everyone! Annz, thanks for the link. Good to know when it comes to it, we can purchase ready made hardware for our application.

Our local steel supply has 1/2"x3" flat plates that can be cut to length. The gave me the name of a guy who can do the welding. So, at this point, this is the framing diagram I came up with (click on image to see full size):

The above only shows the above-floor part. For our pony wall setup, the own way it can tilt is tilting towards the bar side, right? I was thinking about making three flat plates in L shape. The vertical piece attaches to the 4x4 stud, it goes through the floor, and the horizontal piece is fastened to the bottom of blocking that runs between floor joists. There is one floor joist running along the pony wall underneath.

Any comment regarding the plan or any general suggestion will be appreciated. Thank you!

As you can see in the images, I use 4x4 for three studs and the top plate. Should I use stacked 2x4 instead?

    Bookmark   September 2, 2011 at 12:51AM
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Oh I forgot to say that we had decided to cover the entire bar side of the wall with plywood underneath 1/2" drywall -- just like what you, brickeyee, has mentioned. But we were thinking about using 1/2" plywood. Do you feel strongly against it (since you said 3/4")? If so, why?

    Bookmark   September 2, 2011 at 1:06AM
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You must be an engineer! :~) I say that because your design looks like something my DH would come up with. Needless to say, I don't think the granite is going anywhere with the reinforcement you've given it.

I don't think that much bracing is needed but it doesn't hurt. Also, I don't think the plywood under the granite is necessary. If you want a cleaner finish, I'd just glue the granite to the bracing and top of the wall, or recess the brackets into the granite as brickeyee suggested.

    Bookmark   September 2, 2011 at 2:08AM
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I think the flat pieces may not be needed. After all, countertops span over wide cabinets all the time. If I go with soapstone, I may try to convince DH to fore-go the 3/4" plywood roughtop.

An engineer? I'm guilty.

    Bookmark   September 2, 2011 at 8:17PM
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Just read thread Question about Granite overhang for bar top. And then followed the lead from azstone's video to Chemical Concepts "CounterBalance" plates (link). Was amazed to find how minimalistic the commercial products are (same with those mentioned in annz's link). Makes me feel that we are over-doing it. I think after the holiday, I'll call Chemical Concept and have a chat with their tech guy. Maybe all I need is that 3-piece kit (for $39).

    Bookmark   September 2, 2011 at 8:48PM
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The fastening at the floor is not adequate.

You have a very large lever for any force applied to the counter horizontally.

The first time someone 'swings' or bumps the end of the counter things are liable to come loose.

Get at least the short stud on the end through the floor and on the joists below.

The plywood thickness is not that important, but you need a real wood glue (like Titebond, not construction mastic) and a decent screw schedule (about every 6 inches) on every piece of framing.

Top, bottom, and every stud.

DF not use drywall screws to fasten the plywood.
They are hardened and crack under loading.

McFeeley's has the correct screws.

Comercial work is rarely designed for a very long life.

    Bookmark   September 3, 2011 at 12:00PM
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We supported our pony wall to the floor because it was "swinging". Ours was a much longer expanse without any achoring to the ceiling. Really a floating pony wall. We did that with a steel L bracket hidden under the hardwood, covered with dry wall on the wall side. This is exacting type of cutting out and expensive if you are paying tradespeople. Get realistic quotes for installation.

We used solid brass brackets that are installed under the counter that spans through the cabinets AND counter. They seem sturdy. The cabinet maker supplied these.

I see a lot of homes where there is a sitting in the next room through a cut out on the kitchen wall. This is a common design in older homes that had the kitchen opened up. I own one of these in my rental. I always found this design a bit "cheesy". I am not a great fan of this design. It really screams "remodel".... and that the sitting intrudes into the next room. I understand the pros of the design but.... One of the goals of a remodel should be that it feels as if it must have always been this way....

IMHO, when you see the cabinet matching material under the over hanging counter, it visually connects the room quickly with the kitchen even though it is through a cut out... It tricks your brain that the room is more part of the kitchen then the LR and that sitting there does not intrude into the LR. Try the design with no pony wall, cabinets/open bookcase under the counter even if you have the raised bar area. (You can use 6 inch shallow display/book cases as the raised part.) This storage will complement the glass storage on the left.

You have a niche cut out for glass storage. Bring that down to the counter level to balance the other side and see how that looks.

Just a thought. Play with it on the sketch up and see how you feel.

    Bookmark   September 10, 2011 at 9:30PM
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Brick, far be it from me to annoy or contradict you, but where do you get the 30" dishwashers? They are 24" (apt. size 18")
So, yeah.
You can have a welder/fabricator a tubular steel frame that can be bolted through the half wall to the floor framing with threaded rod; the resulting compression will also make the half-wall stronger.

    Bookmark   September 10, 2011 at 10:00PM
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Yep, overturning moment is a concern and there are several methods to address it, in addition to that already discussed.

Replace the wood framing with 2-1/2" steel studs, 16 or 18ga., attached to the floor framing thru square steel washers. Plug weld 1/2" bolts to the steel plate supports for the bar top and thru bolt to the top trac with square steel washers.

2-1/2" studs allow 1/2" ply to be laminated on each side there-by replicating the "assumed" thickness of the existing framing, further stiffening the wall.

It is also common practice to add 1X or 2X backing in the wall cavity for the eventual attachment of moldings and cabinets.

2cm counter material will also reduce the weight.

You have 3 finished end panels which can be thickened, at the expense of some cabinet space, glue blocks or "L" brackets attach to the cabinet cleat.
Setting the cabinet over a 2X frame adds the rigidity.

You know the drill, do the math.

I've employed each of these methods, individually and in concert.

    Bookmark   September 11, 2011 at 2:05PM
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mudworm, fyi, I would get steel of the shape I dreamt of, and not limit myself to what I thought I heard or was told at some store. (".... 1/2"x3" flat plates that can be cut to length...."). Any welder will know where to buy steel. You can use the good old Yellow Pages too. Once you find the right key words you can find other suppliers of steel. If you have to pick it up yourself to deliver to a small time welder, use old towels or rags to protect your car from the greasy dirt on the surface of the steel.

Assume for a few minutes that steel is free, no cost, and that welding long flat bars parallel to each other is the best thing to do. Draw this out. I would draw have the welder tack a few wide flat bars together to have an almost monolithhic piece of sculpture, a structure that all by itself seems to be exactly the right finished shape you need. Put antirust paint on it and plop a counter on it.

i could see getting the welder to make the pony wall + counter support with steel, all in one piece, eliminating wood studs. Costs less overall. Less drilling and screwing. You would bolt it down to the floor in several places, and by attaching the kitchen cabinets to it you would be able to make its base wider. The welded steel base could go under the kitchen cabinet bases too, under the kitchen cabinet base side panels, or next to and not under them so that they touch the floor, and then, a piece of angle iron could be used to bolt the cabinets to the steel frame, near the toekick, and all this increases the base (width) and improves stability and spread. Yes, you could also leave the studs everywhere and add steel to them, sistering all the way down to the floor.

Since the wall for this overhanging counter structure is not freestanding but is an extension of a bigger wall, you have THAT big wall too, so use it. It's there and it's available. The welder can make a structure that bolts in several places into a floor-to-ceiling steel bar delivered separately; this floor-to-ceiling steel bar would be screwed to the floor-to-ceiling wood stud. All this makes for a counter that is stronger than the house. You win.

I will re-read this thead more another day. If I've missed something, I'm sure someone will help me figure it out.

In the meantime, mudworm, pay no attention to naysayers. They've already proven themselves in the earlier part of this discussion.

1/8" and 1/4" flat steel is fine too. Don't buy thicker steel where it's not needed. More about this later.

    Bookmark   September 13, 2011 at 3:58PM
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Wow. A lot of information in this thread! Even though I don't get to exercise every advice and idea mentioned, I'm sure the information will benefit the next person who stumbles on the thread when looking for help.

@kaismom, you always have great ideas for layout and designs. Unfortunately, I can't make many changes to ours at this point -- every cabinet, every cove, and every little or big wall has their purposes to serve. I hope in the end, all will come together looking alright.

Brick, Casey, snooyb, and David, thank you for sharing your knowledge with me. I read your posts, talked to a local metal guy (and got a quote), looked at what I could find in stores, and also took my plan to the county building department. Below is my most recent version of the framing plan (much beefier than what I showed to the county inspector, which he okay'ed).

All I need is a bunch of 2 by 4s, four 10" x 10" Zinc corner iron and three 6" x 6" Zinc Corner Braces (links have item details from manufacturer). I found 1/4" wood screw and machine screws with nuts that can be used to fast the braces to the studs and the top plywood to the braces.

A few notes: The tilt of the countertop is taken care of by the braces on both sides of the stud wall. The stability of the stud wall is ensured by the plywood sides, the cabinet backing, and long crews through the sole plates into the floor joist (or blocking under the floor). My cabinets are out of a catalog. Since I want this counter to be 30" high, I'm using two desk cabinets here(21 deep and 28.5 high). For that reason, I like to bump them out so that my lower counter top is 24" deep that's flush with the refrigerator return.

Wood Framing

Metal braces

Plywood Sides


Counter top

The same process viewed from a different angle:

Yet another angle:

    Bookmark   September 15, 2011 at 1:11AM
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You did your homework.

Here is a comment about what is really needed. It will help you maximize that part and minimize the other parts. Once you put the plywood sides on, rigidity is created. To get this concept firmly established in your head, see "box girder" in wikipedia or "box girder rigidity" on the web. If one side is unplywooded you would have like a C channel instead of a tube. THEN, the metal braces are the next most important thing. The stone can rest on the metal; the plywood top is unnecessary, but who cares if you overkill this aspect and add mitered edge pieces all around the exposed edge; it's just work time and money, and besides, maybe you want a thick built up counter instead of a light and "floating" counter. The one thing that is overdone in the above is the stud structure under the plywood. You could make it slenderer and it would work absolutely just as well. You don't need to notch the wood if you just add 1/4" filler at the bottom; this saves time and money. As illustrated above, the cabinets create almost no additional rigidity. Once you add the two plywood sides you will see the whole thing is incredibly monolithic.

If you are in any way concerned about the weakest point in this structure being its connection to the floor, find a way to add a couple braces at the end, at floor level, notching the floor/subfloor if necessary on the exposed side. Or, a couple of metal braces added as an afterthought on top of the plywood can go on the one side that has cabinets (at floor level). This is way more important than the thickness of the studs or the number of studs. You could turn the studs sideways and get a thinner wall. The metal braces at floor level is what will make the structure rigider overall with the building.

Good work.

Q: when the exposed side of plywood meets the larger wall what are you planning to do in terms of transitioning?

    Bookmark   September 15, 2011 at 11:20AM
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high quality OSB can be used, instead of plywood, and you get the advantage of its inherent dimensional stability without any loss in terms of strength.

    Bookmark   September 15, 2011 at 11:24AM
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What is the fastener schedule/other details for attaching the free end to the floor? The strongest box beam will hold nothing if it can be toppled over. The through-bolting from top plate to floor framing puts the structure in compression so it can't be toppled.

    Bookmark   September 15, 2011 at 6:04PM
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My concern as a structural engineer is that those brackets are too thin. I don't think they add much to the overall design since they're section modulus is so low. They're what, 1/8" max?

My suggestion is you eliminate the plywood top and instead run 3/4" or 1" square tubes front to back. Space them however close you want (12" or so). Have them drilled and countersunk so you can fasten them to the top of your wall and have the fasteners flush.

Just a suggestion. Just did a quick calc and assuming your brackets are 1/8" x 1.5" wide and comparing to a 3/4"x3/4"x1/16" thick tube, the tube is 10X stronger. Again, just a suggestion.

    Bookmark   September 20, 2011 at 3:39PM
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"The strongest box beam will hold nothing if it can be toppled over."


Fastneing to the sode of the joists (or blocking between the joists) adds teh stiggness you need.

Relying for machne threads to mainaint a tight joint is a losing battle in wood joinery.

It is all to easy to compress the wood while trying to get the fasteners tight, and repeated swelling and shrinkage over the years works the joints loose.

The wood crushed when it swells slightly, and then the fasteners are loose when the wood shrinks.

    Bookmark   September 20, 2011 at 4:15PM
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brickeyee has articulated a lot of thought. Thank you! Instead of relying on the threads of a screw or bolt, add a couple of those steel braces at floor level. OR, make some using 1/4" steel. I hope brickeyee will add his input. brickeyee has already explained very well why "threads" are not reliable. There are more reasons too. But, I don't have the inclination to write them all out.

advertguy has mentioned that square or rectangular tubes are much stronger than 1/8" steel braces. True, stronger in one sense. But then these need to be welded, not screwed. A wide flat bar welded parallel to the counter will be stronger than any number of bulky (which are then visible) tubes, welded, until you get into a large number of tubes. By this time you may as well have tack-welded a continuous plate parallel to the counter.

YOur steel support does not need to go out far. It can be short. The thing to strengthen is the joint (crease line) where the horizontal (counter) meets the vertical (half-wall). ONLY a continuous flat bar does that. Welded. I've already pointed this out in a previous post. I hope brickeyee will add his input.

It is much cheaper to weld than to buy a batch of braces. Welding means you could use 1/4" flat bar at the crease point and a 1/8" flat bar farther out. Welding can be tacked, too. Show this to the welder.

    Bookmark   September 21, 2011 at 12:47PM
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I see now that the braces were to be 1/4".
It's in one of your images in small print.
(N220-186 and they are 1/4" thickness.)
This is good.

Where the screw threads are the most vulnerable is in the place where sombreuil_mongrel described it as his recommendation. "Through bolting" and "compression". This is where I wrote earlier that you need to have some of these same 1/4" thickness braces at the floor level, under the kitchen cabinets. To state this more clearly, sombreuil_mongrel is wrong and brickeyee is right.

So, a next-best option to welding is to use these 1/4" solid brackets. The 10" length of the bracket is not the important thing. They could be shorter. It's the 1/4" thickness that is the key here. The 1/4" thickness is important. This statement goes along with advertguy's statement about the strength of "tubes". Since it's 1/4" thickness, it is far far stronger than a 1/8" thickness bracket.

    Bookmark   September 21, 2011 at 12:58PM
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I don't think you understand what I'm saying regarding the tubes. No welding required. Screw them down to the top of the pony wall. Brackets bend, Tube won't. 1/4" bracket is still only 4X stronget than 1/8". Built up edge around counter would hide the tubes, just like it would have hidden the plywood subtop shown in the diagram.

Just my opinions though.

    Bookmark   September 21, 2011 at 2:25PM
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Built up edge, yes. This is a good point.

1/4" is that much stronger than 1/8" that it deserves a chance, in your analysis. Do not discard it simply because a tube is bigger.

If the tubes could be bought as 90 degree brackets, they would be 2 or 3 times stronger than the 1/4" solid steel. (Assuming the tube wall is thick enough too!) But this does not seem to be a purchase. Web search for this?

The 1/4" solid steel brackets are already shaped in the right shape

Screwing straight tubes is not a strong fastening method. A weak point in the system. No matter how much you learn now, you will have to admit you are wrong to suggest straight tubes screwed onto something.

On the other hand the 1/4" solid steel brackets are already shaped in the right shape.


    Bookmark   September 21, 2011 at 3:39PM
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Just wondering how the brackets would be fastened to the pony wall? Screwed to the side most likely?

Why is screwing straight tubes not a fastening method?

My tube numbers supplied above were based on 1/16" thick walls. I believe standard readily available is thicker.

Simple fact of the matter is that a 1/4" plate will flex at the pony wall joint. A continious tube across the top may also flex a bit but the entire tube will likely rotate along with it whereas the pony wall will remain stationary in the bracket case.

I could model both cases to check stresses etc, but in the end it's a countertop. It'll be fine with whatever is used.

Tack welds offer little to no strength.

    Bookmark   September 21, 2011 at 5:08PM
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The weakest place is still the floor-wall junction.
This still requires a 1/4" bracket for reasons brickeyee described.

the next weakest point is the pony wall joint, which is the point we are discussing. If the OP can arrange to buy tubes, and for each tube to be screwed in more than one place, then the OP will have something strong. Welding the tubes is a lot stronger. A single screw is not suitable because a single screw becomes loose. Whenever a single set of threads are relied upon to do all the work, they fail. That is why you see two and often three screws in anything subjected to slight bumping. Although tubes ARE stiffer than solid steel only 1/4" thick, the gain is not where it is needed. You are correct that it is at the 90 degree junction of the two planes where the strength is needed. Your point about the " the entire tube will likely rotate along with it whereas the pony wall will remain stationary in the bracket case " is not a strong point, but it is a point.

The weakest place is still the floor-wall junction. You have not yet written that you "see this, and sombreuil_mongrel did. His screw-based suggestion was the problem. Model the floor-wall junction. It is more critical than the countertop support -to- ponywall junction.


    Bookmark   September 21, 2011 at 5:29PM
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if the OP gets into a discussion of welding, we can get into details about definitions of continuity of seams (tacks).

    Bookmark   September 21, 2011 at 5:34PM
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didn't brickeyee suggest the typical method of fastening the pony wall to the jists below by extending through the subfloor (few posts up)? no brackets needed for that.

you can easiley get 2 fasteners of appropriate size per tube into the top plate of the pny wall.

the entire tube rotating puts less stress on the stone, which is what you want. and by rotation, i mean on a very small scale. as far as i'm cncerned, that is a strong point. support for the stone to prevent cracking versus flexure which will cause cracking.

tack welds are not for strength. they are to simply hold something in place temporarily before a proper weld can be made. perhaps you mean a fillet weld rather than tack?

OP should comment, agreed.

    Bookmark   September 21, 2011 at 7:50PM
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Wow, lots of technical discussions. I admit that I can't follow it all right now (my head hurt from a long day of work). Forwarded the link to DH so he can read the discussions, but here is what I have to say...

I somehow got a feeling that the worst case scenario we had thought of is no where near gloomy doomy that your guys are envisioning. Can it really happen so easily that the overhanging top cracks, it tilts, or the whole pony wall tips? My views are simple:
1) I have a 3/4" thick plywood subtop plus the metal braces underneath, so the stone top should not crack.
2) The metal braces on the bar side (1/4" thick) prevent the counter top from tilting by providing a push from below while the smaller braces (0.19" thick) on the other side prevent by holding the subtop down. Okay, it's not a good idea to use through bolts/screws to hold the braces to studs. Got it! (Thanks!)
3) The pony wall framing has doubled 2 by 4's all around. So, it's fairly rigid. Then it has 1/2" thick plywood enclosure on both sides which extend beyond to the adjacent wall. A 12" wide cabinet is attached to the pony wall as well the adjacent wall. A 21" wide cabinet is attached to it near its "free" end. The cabinet will also be screwed down through the subfloor into blocking. Does this pony wall still have a chance to tip over?

Regarding the hardware. I might not have looked in the right places, but really, the only stock items I could find (from local lumber or building supply stores) are those braces. Tubes sound good too, but I haven't seen them. I try not to go the custom welding route after getting a quote from a local guy. I live in the SF Bay. Not sure if that plays a factor in the price.

I don't worry too much about the current design passing inspection (since my previous plan -- a lessor version -- was okayed by an inspector at the building dept), but it seems to have a hard time passing by you guys. I really appreciate all the inputs. I do adapt my plans within my ability as I learn.

The things I plan on changing from the previously posted plan include:
1) Instead of double top and sole plates, we use one for each. But we'll do blocking both at the top and bottom. The over all profile will still look similar, but blocking should provide more rigidity. (Not sure if you could tell the difference in the image below.)
2) Add a couple of long braces (10") at the bottom of the pony wall below the cabinet(s) that will be fastened to the blocking under subfloor. Really, how angry can one get to summon a force strong enough to push over this pony wall (with cabinets attached and all)?

    Bookmark   September 21, 2011 at 9:27PM
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You can use composite lumber (or any hardwood) for the top and bottom plates, which answers the compressibility-over-time question of softwood plates.
Can you actually cut a 2x4 size hole in the floor to bolt the end stud to a floor joist or sandwich it between solid blocking installed between joists (in the event the joists run opposite)? Or are we on a slab/inaccessible crawlspace? Running the 2x4's through the floor to connect to joists can make a mighty strong pony wall, as long as the joists can't twist, but additional blocking added can address that.
In olden times they tackled a similar problem (that of attaching the newel post at the base of the stair) by using a tusk tenon & wedge in the basement. If the newel post worked loose, you whacked the wedge in a bit deeper.

Can the end panel of the cabinet be brought into play to add rigidity to the system? Plywood is a pretty strong rack brace. I'm directing this mainly at Brickeyee, since he's one of but a few here with real-world problem-solving experience.

    Bookmark   September 21, 2011 at 10:38PM
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The stability discussion is to remove wiggle, wiggle which gets worse very gradually, wiggle which worsens after someone "gets angry", wiggle which ultimately leads to someone saying the installation was not good enough or has failed. Nothing more than that. It can be said that anything will wiggle a micron or a millimeter, and that is all true, but what you want is a wiggle that doesn't get worse.

    Bookmark   September 22, 2011 at 8:33AM
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Can you actually cut a 2x4 size hole in the floor to bolt the end stud to a floor joist or sandwich it between solid blocking installed between joists (in the event the joists run opposite)? Or are we on a slab/inaccessible crawlspace? Running the 2x4's through the floor to connect to joists can make a mighty strong pony wall, as long as the joists can't twist, but additional blocking added can address that.

Remove those braces from the bottom since they're not doing anything. Do what is discussed above.

Tubes are available at any steel supply shop (yellowpages or internet). They can cut them to whatever length you want. Then you can drill the holes and countersink as required or get them to do it. Not a big deal. shouldn't cost you more than $20.

Or use brackets.

I also agree that discussions about countertop support get a bit out of hand. I wonder how often overhangs crack/break (under normal use)?

    Bookmark   September 22, 2011 at 9:30AM
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I'm not seeing why the base cabinets aren't being considered the bracing for the pony. Seens if they were stable, problem solved.

    Bookmark   September 22, 2011 at 10:07AM
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Base cabinets were mentioned once. They would be good bracing!
It seems the discussion went towards braces that you buy in a store.

To attach base cabinets as bracing one will need angle iron, and a lot of fine tuning work in terms of the cabinet feet and height above the floor. Uh-oh. Sounds impractical now. So, the 90 degree braces at floor level now seem to be the best thing to do.

mudworm, on I entered two keywords: aluminum tube. I got positive results. Here are some of them. Item #: 215640 Item #: 216100. Go to wherever they have these in the store and you will see steel tube too. Or, web search for steel tube. I just figured that "aluminum tube" would be easier to search for. Buy aluminum tube if there is no steel. Once a metal is made into a tube it is very rigid. In home depot I have also seen steel and aluminum tube. So, tube IS available if you know where to get it. Tube is stronger than thin flat metal. If you add tube on top of the braces you will have both the benefits of what advertguy proposes and the benefits of the 90 degree bracing, and no deleterious secondary impact.

advertguy in your latest post "Remove those braces from the bottom" is not clear.


    Bookmark   September 22, 2011 at 10:58AM
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should have written that tube takes the place of plywood.
plywood adds little over this dimension (size).
Thus tube, in lieu of plywood, instead of plywood, as a better thing than plywood.

    Bookmark   September 22, 2011 at 11:55AM
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Remove the braces from the bottom is pretty clear to me. Remove them. Not needed if the wall is secured to the floor as mentioned by casey above. That is a typical way to build a pony wall.

Aluminum tubes are not strong. About 1/3rd the strength of steel if i remember correctly. Lowes and HD don't sell 1" tubes in steel (at elast not around me).

tube takes the place of plywood.


    Bookmark   September 22, 2011 at 1:22PM
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I am creating a pony wall that is attached to the wall studs on one end and the other end has a 3 ft return (right angle wall). It is built with a double frame, 2 x4 studs every 12 inches on center. it is set into the concrete with 3 1/4 tapcom connectors every foot. The wall will be roughly 1 foot taller than then counter top of the base cabinets (which will also be fastened to the wall). The counter on top of the pony wall with be 10 inches with more of it towards the other side of the wall away from the base cabinets. I am fastening with 3 inch wood screen with 2 at each connection point diagonally positioned. Do i need any additional bracing and if so the plywood for stiffness or more on anchoring to the wall or frame ?

    Bookmark   March 12, 2015 at 11:27AM
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thsasquash - It would be better if you started your own thread and included photos or drawings. This thread is 3 1/2 years old.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2015 at 5:30PM
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I'm still here, but Brickeyee has been gone from GW for more than a year I think. Miss that guy!
If you get really good purchase with the big tapcons, and use 1/2" plywood for the sheathing of the return wall, glued and screwed, then you have a secure rack-free structure that won't topple. Problem is, tapcons are not a 100% success every time. For that reason I would use 1/2" anchor bolts embedded in the Hilti epoxy made for that purpose. Don't drill all the way through the slab, or it will not work. You'll need a substantial hammer drill. The holes need to be blown out clean, and that's dusty, you probably want to build a containment area (Zipwall is one strategy).

    Bookmark   March 13, 2015 at 7:07AM
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IMO it would require plan and section drawings for anyone to offer you useful advice and those drawings would also help you too especially since someone marked them up to show you a solution.

Here is a site with lots of counter support brackets.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2015 at 10:49AM
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Joseph Corlett, LLC

Here's how not to do it.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2015 at 9:41PM
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