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How to Build an Internal Frame for a Recessed Aquarium

Learn how to save space in your home and add an aquarium at the same time.

More in Remodeling

save space by installing recessed shelving
  • Time

    Weekend

  • Price Range

    $100 - $250

  • Difficulty

    Easy to Moderate

Highlights:

Step 1: Add the Electrical Outlet

First, an electrical outlet is added to the wall behind the future location of the aquarium. After turning off the breaker, a hole is cut in the seat to allow access to both walls. The wall is measured and marked for placement of the new outlet, then a spiral saw is used to cut away the drywall.

Non-metallic building electrical wire or cable is fished through the opening, cut and pulled through the new electrical box.

Tip: For this or any other type of electrical project, it's recommended that any do-it-yourselfer contact a professional if inexperienced in electrical work.

The cable is tightened and the wires are strip. The outlet is attaching; first, the green ground wire is attached, the black wire is attached to the brass terminal, and the white is attached to the silver.

The outlet is secured. The non-metallic sheathed cable is pulled through the existing box, the wires are connected, and the power is turned back on before the outlet is tested.

spiral saw is used to cut away drywall

Step 2: Remove the Lip

The lip is removed from the window seat ledge. The depth of the overhand, plus the width of the drywall, is measured and marked with a chalk line.

A circular saw is used to begin removal of the lip, before a reciprocating saw finishes the job.

lip removed from window seat ledge

Step 3: Begin Framing the Wall

To begin framing the wall (Image 1), first add a bottom plate, minus 1/2" for the drywall.

Measure for the end piece — which will go from the end of the ledge in this case, and back to the exterior wall — minus 1/2" for the drywall.

Install the first stud against the wall next to the door frame. Use a level to ensure it's plumb.

Install the angled top plates on the ceiling (Image 2). Insert 4" toggle bolts into the predrilled 2 x 4s and insert into holes into the ceiling. Tighten the bolts.

Cut the studs for the walls. The tops of the first two are cut at an angle and at different lengths that the others. The rest of the studs should be about the same length.

Install the cleat (essentially a 2 x 6 brace) on the exterior wall. Use jack studs underneath to strengthen and support the cleat.

To secure the front braces, add jack studs and nail in place (Image 3). Add 2 x 6 joists that span the braces (Image 4), then cover the joists with 3/4" plywood shelf (Image 5) to support the tank.

Step 4: Install a Header Board

Install a header board atop the framing and add a vertical stud in between to anchor the drywall that will be added later.

Finally, install jack studs and a sill plate for the shelving area.

install header board atop framing

Step 5: Add Drywall

To begin adding drywall, start installing on the end of the new wall section. Set the first piece along the front surface and secure to the studs (Image 1).

Use a spiral cut saw to remove areas for the shelving and tank (Image 2).

Install the piece of drywall cut to fit the angled part of the ceiling (only if necessary for your project, which may not have an angled ceiling).

Finally, install the corner bead (Image 3).

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