Basic Framing

Framing isn't rocket science, but there is some science involved. Understanding structural fundamentals can save you hassles later. If you are totally new to framing, you should seek out professional advice or at least read about structural strength of materials. For example, a simple question people often ask is "how big of a board do I need to span this distance?" That can be discovered quickly with some basic online tools if you know the wood you plan to use and how far apart you plan to install the boards (This is commonly referred to as "spacing"- 16" or 24" centers). Visit American Wood Council for wood span calculator. Whether it is a roof design or a first floor you plan to install tile on, you need to know how much weight boards can support. Do your homework before framing and realize that following another homeowner or old-timer could be risky. Where did the person get their information? Did they understand structural science or where they following another "do-it-yourself" person who may or may not have had an understanding of structural integrity? Books about Framing are available now that give you basic ideas about spacing, size of boards, and general framing.

Common terms and abbreviations used on charts

--oc --"on center"
--nom --refers to "nominal" sizes -lumber is generally about a 1/2" smaller than it's name. For example, a 2x4 is actually 1 1/2" x 3 1/2".

If you are following a written house plan, note the placement of interior walls or closets; they may be part of structural supports. Be careful if you move or alter the plans. Placement of doors and windows may be adjustable, but think about things like the location of pre-planned vents or wiring and building codes that apply to the size or placement of windows (for example, they may need to be a certain heighth off the ground).

If you are drawing your own plans, notice common sizes of rooms, doors, windows, and closets. Most likely, these standard sizes will be easier to buy closet or room doors and windows and fit furniture in.

Some things to remember about framing

Framing needs to be done properly and accurately, but it not finish work and doesn't have to be done with intense precision in regards to exact, flush cuts or with non-blemished lumber. Remember the purpose is structural, not visual appeal. People unfamiliar with framing can get caught up in making something look good instead of putting a functional, solid board where it needs to be. Of course, neatness and consistency is important, but "polish" and "making it look good" is not a part of framing.

More Books about Framing

It's important to consider safety on any job site. If you tear out a brace, remove any nails so no one gets hurt on it. If you cut off the end of a board, create a containment area so it doesn't become a trip hazard. Wear safety glasses to protect eyes and consider where cords run so ladders, boards, and people don't come in contact with them to create a hazardous situation. Look for possible hazards such electricity (aluminum ladders do conduct it!), water (wet surfaces can be very slick), shapes (round cords do roll!).