Knee walls are typically found in 1 and a 1/2 story homes. They are short walls, and they are built into the structure to support the rafters of a roof. The knee wall is often not large enough to span from the eaves to the ridge, and it is usually covered with some type of board or plaster. A knee wall is most often used when a homeowner desires a finished attic, even if only partly finished.
Knee walls are most commonly found in older construction. The ceiling of the attic slopes down, and a short wall runs vertically from the edge of the ceiling to the floor. These walls are so named because of their height when compared to the human knee. If you were to stand next to such a wall, it would be no higher than your knee.
Although knee walls are not typically used in newer home builds, they can be. For some families, multiple stories don’t make sense, but the option of having at least one more small room does. In these instances, a finished attic is beneficial. The space can be used for an extra bedroom, an office or any other use the owner deems necessary.
If you would like assistance in deciding if a one and a half story home is more appropriate than a two-story home, speak with an experienced home designer about your options. A knee wall can turn an attic into a useable space without having to take care or a multi-level home.