Bouldwall Panel Installation Guide
Excited to get your new wall up? Just follow this step by step guide and you'll have your new wall operational in no time. You can expect to spend about 15 minutes per panel plus about 20-60 for preparation and cleanup. If you have any questions feel free to reach out!
Your panels need to be mounted to a flat, structurally sound surface. If you have any doubts about the structural strength of your wall consult a professional before proceeding.
Most residential homes in the US have walls constructed with drywall over studs spaced every 16", and this is the easiest and most common surface our panels are mounted to. This guide will assume this is the case.
If your walls are some form of masonry (concrete, cinder block, brick), read this page here and then continue following these instructions: Installing Bouldwall Panels on Masonry
If you have any other type of wall (metal studs, adobe) you will need to reinforce your wall before installation. Consult a professional on how to do this.
You will need:
- 2 people (most installations can be done with 1 person, but two makes it much easier)
- Stud Finder (Alternative methods HERE)
- Electric Screw Driver / Cordless Drill
- Level (optional)
- Tape Measurer (optional)
1. Determine Layout
There are endless possibilities for wall layouts (See our Layout Guide here), but you always want to be sure the panels are supported adequately. They need to be securely fastened to the structure of your wall. For drywall construction this means the studs.
As a general rule, the more points of contact with studs the better, and these points of contact must be as evenly spread out as possible. In any configuration the panel must be mounted using two parallel rails (both long rails or both short rails) as shown above.
Vertical wall (90° or perpendicular to floor) Requirements:
- Must use 4 screws minimum, one within 16" of each of the 4 corners (as close to the corner as possible).
- Must connect to 2 different studs (minimum).
Overhung wall (any incline) or Ceiling Requirements:
- Must use 6 screws minimum, one within 12" of each of the 4 corners (as close to the corner as possible).
- Must connect to 3 studs (minimum).
The simplest and most common way to install your panels is in a stacked, horizontal configuration. If your wall has 16" stud spacing (standard in US) you can place your panels anywhere you like and it will overlap the studs properly. The rest of this guide will follow this configuration.
2. Position 1st Panel
*If you want to apply a skin to your panel, do this before installation. Follow this guide: Applying Skins
Each panel comes with a layout tool. Assuming you have at least two panels, you will have two layout tools to work with.
Before fixing the layout tools to the panel, open the trim flaps to expose the screw slots (Video Demo).
Fix the layout tools to the panel so it will be suspended at the desired height off the ground. Place the panel against the wall where you want it.
*If mounting on an overhang or roof you will need another person to assist you in holding the panels in place, even with the layout tool.
3. Mount to Wall
Use a stud finder to determine where the screw slots intersect with a stud (refer to Step 1 to make sure your panels layout is proper). Marking these locations at the screw slots can be helpful. Aiming to place a screw in the center of each stud, use the driver to screw through the felt and fix the panel to the studs. Ensure each screw is snug but not overly tightened. Remove Layout tools.
4. Position Next Panel
Open the trim flaps on the next panel and fix the layout tools in place. Make sure they extend the proper distance past the frame. Set the next panel on top of the first, slide it to the proper spacing, and bolt the layout tools to the first panel securing the second panel in place. Repeat steps 3 and 4 until all panels are fixed to the wall.
All that's left now is to set your routes. This should be a fun experience! It can be as simple as randomly bolting a bunch of holds to the wall (great for kids) or systematically designing routes or training arrays. For those more serious climbers that want to know the basics of legit route setting, check out this video series by DoughJo Setting.
Trim won't open/close after screwing panel to wall
This usually happens because the wall isn't flat. Use a straight edge (your layout tool will work in a pinch) to assess how flat the wall is. If it's warped, you will need to slightly loosen any screw that is distorting the panel, and if its bad you will need to add a shim behind the panel to support it.
If the trim is just being stubborn, you can use a quarter to pry it open (Video Demo).
Missed the stud / slots don't line up perfect
If the slots in the rail don't line up exactly with the center of the stud, you can angle the screw toward the center as you drill. The slots come close enough together that you shouldn't have to angle it by much.