HWOW 29: Recycled Upstairs Bouldering Room

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CBJ Homewall of the Week

Kevin S. made the most of his upstairs space by utilizing the rafters and roof joists to support his multi-angle homewall. By using recycled materials, Kevin was able to keep his budget down while creating his ideal home training dojo in Lowell, MA. Check out past HWOW here.

CBJ Homewall of the Week

When did you build your wall? Was it a COVID baby?

This wall started in Feburary 2019 when I reclaimed about 20 4×8 used wall panels from Boston Rock Gym, which was closing and in the process of demolition. I started building in July 2019.

How long did it take you to build and what did that time look like?

About 5 months. I built mostly nights and weekends from about mid-July (2019) to late November. I transformed it from a bare unfinished room to an insulated room, covered in panels and lights with a stereo and set routes. I’m still working on minor projects like the crack machine and some volumes.

Not including holds and padding, how much did it cost you to build? Any surprises there? Most/Least expensive part?

$850? Since a lot of the panels were free and came with T-Nuts, most of the cost came from buying insulation, screws, lights, wiring, and a few new tools. I have definitely made an effort to reclaim or reuse as many materials as possible. I’m still making volumes out of the scraps from the original panels.

What was your primary incentive for the wall? Did anything in particular inspire your wall design?

We built the wall based off the framing of the house. When my wife and I bought our house, the upstairs room was completely unfinished and we both had grand ideas for the space. All of the panels are fixed directly to the wall studs, rafters and roof joists. There were a few obvious cracks we made out of some close together rafters and gaps. Those were a bonus when the panels started going up!

CBJ Homewall of the Week

What was the most difficult aspect of the design and build?

Probably budgeting out all of the reclaimed panels to cover all the space. Some of the panels were damaged and some of the spaces were funky. In the end though, it all fit together perfectly (with only a few small gaps left).

What would you do differently?

If I were to do this differently, I would build in a 25 or 30-degree wall. As it stands, there is a long 45-degree wall with a 42″ kicker, a shorter similar 45 section, and a long 45 with a 18″ kicker, two vertical sections and a roof. It would be nice to have a less steep overhung option.

What is your favorite aspect?

Having a home wall is fantastic! Most sessions happen between 9pm and midnight when the kids are in bed and commercial gyms are closed. It’s awesome for the kids to climb on too. We put swings on bolts from the ceiling and sometimes even do a movie night with a projector and the speakers built in the ceiling.

CBJ Homewall of the Week

Any words of wisdom to aspiring homewallers?

Build it!… But beware it starts to take over your life! I’m always looking for new and used holds, so budget about half or more of your wall $$$ for these ongoing. Reclaim and reuse as much as you can from your local gyms and other sources.

Do you have any connection to climbing brands or gyms?

Yes, before COVID I would regularly go to 3 local gyms; Central Rock Gym Stoneham, Metrorock Littleton, and Vertical Dreams in Nashua, NH. It’s definitely important to still support your local gym when possible. That’s where the community is. The biggest thing my home gym doesn’t have right now is community.


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CBJ Homewall of the Week