How To Build Haunted House Walls

YWall Framing Materialour most common haunt consists of wood walls that make up some form of a path for the victims to move through. How you make your haunted house walls can vary greatly. Not only are there different sizes but the construction materials and even how they are connected and setup vary. Some haunts use angled walls that make the path feel more cramped and enclosed and give the feel of being smaller and enclosed.

Size is the first thing. Working from a safety and regulations point if you want it to meet the Disability Act then your pathways have to be 4 feet wide and some building codes require this also. Keeping that in mind your most common wall section is a 4×8 panel part of this is because that is the required width for many pathways in building codes and that the most common sheet wood comes in that size in its stock form. This makes it very easy because it reduces the required cutting and modification of the wall sheeting. Now if you need smaller sections then you just need to cut it down to the size you need for a specific purpose.

Next up is the framing material. The most common material used is 2×4 and will make for a very sturdy wall section. However I have seen many different versions of framing. If you do not expect the victims to be trying to burst through your walls then you can downgrade a little and something seen in theater and in some haunts is wall sections made from 1×4. This cuts the weight in half and if framed properly is still very strong. It really comes down to your building codes in your area and your needs. I have yet to try using 1×4 but am curious as to just how well it will hold up.

Following the framing material the next up for your haunted house walls is the sheeting that covers the top of the frame. This is most often some variation of thickness in plywood. I have used OSB before due to it being cheaper but it is heavy still like plywood. We used 7/16″ plywood and some places use 3/4″ plywood which is very thick and should last a long time but adds greatly to the weight. Now following the lightweight walls from the framing you could go with thinner plywood or even try Luan. Now this is very important because Luan is not thick at all and not very strong but if put together with proper framing I have seen it stand up to a decent beating.

How to build haunted house walls that will not come apart is the next concern. Often you see it done with screws and sometimes nails which I strongly suggest against. I like to use screws because they can be removed easily and quickly if something has to be replaced. However if you try the thinner more lightweight materials the trade off is that you will have a problem with it splitting the wood unless the holes are pre drilled. What I see done in theater where this style wall is used regularly is staple guns and a combination of wood glue. The idea is you glue up the wood where it joins together then shoot the staples into it and when the glue is dried it makes for a very strong joint. The same is done with the Luan covering. I prefer the 2×4 with the plywood because it can be dismantled and repaired fairly quickly because it all comes apart quickly with a screw gun not to mention I know from experience that it takes a great beating.

Now just a disclaimer because I am not a contractor or code inspector so make sure you consult the proper tradesmen and inspectors in your area before you go into construction because if they are going to make you stick to some code they have in place locally you could waste a lot of money on materials  and fines. Also safety, make sure you follow proper safety instructions for using any tools or materials you purchase or use in the construction. I always have a general contractor friend give me a hand so I make sure I meet regular requirements so you may want to do the same and I have found that often times if you post to craigslist or some other board you can find people who work these fields that are willing to donate time for the cause and opportunity to help out with something fun.

6 thoughts on “How To Build Haunted House Walls

  • September 4, 2012 at 12:23 pm

    can you tell me where i would need to go as far as bilding codes and the can and cants i would love to here back from you thanks for your time

  • October 2, 2012 at 9:12 pm

    Hi David,
    I will send you an email, sorry about the delay, I got married at the end of August then went on my honeymoon and jumped right into haunt construction upon my return, just got around to all my site updates and noticed some comments that slipped through my emails. Sorry again about the delay.

  • October 14, 2012 at 11:00 am

    We use 2×4 and plywood walls to be sure they stand up to the weather better as well (our haunt is mostly outdoors). I was wondering how you would suggest constructing a roofing system for such a structure. We must have a roof and in the past we have used 2×4 “stringers” with ply wood coverings but it never seems to go together or come apart very easily. We tried substituting plywood for black plastic but then we always manage to need to replace it every year. Thank you for your time and thank you so much for your information on this site. We have volunteered out time, money and materials for 12 years for a local benefit haunt but we are considering moving on to our own business. You make it seem possible. Thanks again, have a wonderful day and year!

  • November 8, 2012 at 4:33 pm

    We only do short sections with roofing. We have done several rooms with military camo net and that is fire proof. The issue with enclosing the entire thing is fire sprinklers they do not do their job if there is a roof and you will run into that with the fire codes because if you want to enclose an entire room with a roof you need to extend your fire sprinkler down into that room. We usually use the fire retardant black plastic and run it from the ceiling to the top of our front wall and around the perimeter if it is visible within the warehouse just to block out lite and sound a little. We have also done hallways using wine racking which is like a pallet with slates of wood which gives a nice ceiling effect.

    Let me know if this helps and if you can provide anymore detail on why you need the roof maybe I can help out further.

  • October 26, 2016 at 12:07 pm

    where are you at

  • October 26, 2016 at 12:08 pm


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