Introduction to House Framing

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    Framing refers to the process of building the structure of the house. Once the foundation is established carpenters begin to build the frame of the house with nominal sized 2x lumber and plywood material.

    The methods used for building the frame of the house vary by region, the materials being used and builders experience. All builders will have a different way of getting the work done but the inspection process will make sure that general standards are adhered to.

    Lets quickly review some of the basics of house framing then following articles we will cover the details needed to perform the work.

    First a Sill Plate made of 2x CCA pressure Treated lumber is attached to the foundation with bolts or tie down straps. The Sill Plate’s main purpose is to provide a nailing area to attach the rim joist and floor joists that make up the first floor deck.

    The floor joists can be Nominal 2x lumber or I-beams. The size or width of the joist is is calculated based on the on the span of the first floor. Commonly 2″x12″ x 16ft long joists along with a mid-span beam are used for distances up to about 30 feet. A mid-span beam is necessary to provide a resting area for the interior end of the joist.

    I-beams and wood trusses are commonly used for joist systems and can reduce overall costs of framing because of their added strength.

    Although they are much lighter then traditional Pine Lumber a single I-Beam can span the full distance between the basement walls. This eliminates the need for a costly steel or timber mid-span beams and also reduces labor times because of their light weight.

    On top of the joists you attach your OSB or plywood sub-floor decking. Construction Adhesive should be applied to all of the joists and a nail gun with full round head – glue coated nails should be used to nail down the sub-floor.

    Next the Walls go up. On the first floor deck 2×4 studs are laid out and spaced 16″ on center in the shape of the wall. Headers for the window and door openings are built. OSB or Plywood sheathing is attached to the top of the 2x4s and will face to the outside when the wall is lifted into place.

    If you look closely you will see 2×4 spring boards holding up the walls. These braces help in the plumbing or trueness of the walls and will remain in place to reinforce the walls until the roof is completed.

    After the exterior walls are in place all of the interior walls are built. If necessary glue laminated or conventional beams are installed to support the second floor.

    The second floor is built the same as the first except an additional 2×4 is installed on top of the second floor walls to give added support for the roof trusses or rafters.

    Roof Trusses are installed and braced and a layer of 1/2″ Exterior Grade Plywood is used for the Roof Decking / Sheathing.

    At this point most of the framing is finished. No additional finnish work will be completed until the shingles and siding is applied and the house is water tight

    Installing Windows and doors is not necessarily considered Framing however most contractors will install at least a temporary door to provide easy access.

    If security is a concern during the framing process a sheet of plywood can be nailed over the door openings and window openings will be cut out only when a window is onsite to be installed.

    A typical single family home will take about 3 to 6 weeks to frame and if separate crews for each subcategory are hired about 3 additional weeks to install windows, doors, siding and roofing materials.

    After the first 6 to 9 weeks the home is far from complete but it is closed in and protected from the weather.  Now contractors such as the HVAC, Plumber and Electrician can begin work.

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