Step-by-Step Wood Framing for a New Construction

John Landers

Wood framing for a new construction is not as difficult as it looks. Construction framing is the process of building separate building components and assembling them to create the whole structure.

When framing for new construction, make sure that you understand what the local building codes are for dimensions such as ceiling heights, size of door openings, width of hallways and size of staircases. You will also need to incorporate fire code requirements into your plans. You will probably need drawings and a permit.

Framing Techniques

Generally, there are two basic framing techniques: balloon framing and platform framing. The basic balloon method involves running the wall studs from the bottom sill plate, which rests on the foundation wall, or slab, up to the roof. Create a second floor by securing the floor joists to the studs on the outside. or exterior, walls.

Balloon framing is not used as much anymore as platform framing, the most popular technique for new construction of two- or three-story homes. The first-floor platform is constructed, and then the exterior walls. The second floor joists are attached to the first-floor exterior walls. The second-floor exterior walls are built on top of the subfloor.

Slabs & Foundations

If building on slab, install a sole plate. Use decay-resistant, two-by-six board and secure the sole plate to the concrete with anchor bolts. Most structures are built on foundations. Secure a two-by-six sill plate to the foundation facing. Build the first floor next. Toenail the joists or use joist brackets to attach the joists to the sill. The metal brackets make the job simpler. Make sure the header joist and outside joists are lined up with the foundation.

Walls, Windows & Doors

It’s easier to construct walls by working on the slab or subfloor. Build longer walls in sections Walls are usually constructed of two-by-four framing, but two-by-six is becoming more and more popular. It may be a requirement to use two-by-six in certain rooms, or in specific regions, so check your local codes. Big pipes and more insulation fits much more easily into larger cavities.

Build the sidewalls first. Lay out and mark the top and bottom plates of the wall together. Make sure they are the exact same length. Precutting the studs is a great time-saver. Don’t forget the rough openings for windows and doors. Put 3/8-inch plywood between the windows and door headers. This will make them the same thickness as the framing.

Make the window headers size three inches more than the rough openings. For doors, add five inches to the rough opening size for headers. Use local codes and standards for adding bracing to walls. Make sure that the walls are square before raising and securing them into position.

Other Components

The great thing about modem wood framing for a new construction is that you do not have to frame the roof the old-fashioned way. Eighty percent of new homes have pre-manufactured roof trusses installed.

As you are building the various components, install blocking and reinforcement to make finishing the job, with fixtures, cabinets, towel bars or grab bars, easier. Install blocking for tubs and baseboards too. Cross-bridging will strengthen the floor systems and minimize squeaking.