DIY House Framing Details


DIY house framing details look overwhelming, but the framing is a combination of different sections that fit together to make up the whole. It is not as difficult as it looks to frame a house once you understand the various assemblies. The best way to get a grasp of framing structures is to start with a smaller structure, such as a shed or garage.

Framing Methods

  • Wood is the most common material used for DIY house framing. However, in recent years more builders have started to use metal. There are two basic standards for house framing: balloon or platform framing. Balloon framing, also referred to as “stick framing,” is common with two-story houses. The wall studs extend from the sill plate to the top plate of the second floor. Platform framing is the simplest and most popular method of framing and is used for both single and two-story houses. You can build the second-story walls right on top of the floor.

Construction Tips for Foundations

  • You can build on foundations or concrete slabs. A foundation requires a first floor to be built. A concrete slab serves as the floor. Build walls on the slab or floor and raise the wall unit into place. Sole plates must be fastened to the concrete slab with anchor bolts. When constructing on a foundation the initial step is to build the first floor. Attach the floor joists to the sole plate. Joist hangers work better than toe-nailing joists.

Construction Tips for Walls, Windows and Doors

  • Construct walls with 2x4 or 2x6 framing members. Make the studs either 16 or 24 inches on center, according to local code. If you want stronger walls, to install extra insulation or have large pipes in the walls (bathroom), use 2x6 framing. Lay out the side walls first. Mark on the sole and bottom plate the locations for the studs, as well as the rough openings for the windows and doors. Save yourself some time by pre-cutting the studs.

    When building the headers for windows and doors, make sure that you use 3/8-inch plywood as a spacer between the 2x6 or 2x10 headers. This will ensure that the width of the headers matches the studs. Square the wall units by measuring diagonally from corner to corner. Install sheathing at the corners to help keep the assembly square.

    Most building codes require that some type of bracing be incorporated into wall assemblies, such as a 1x4 inlet wind bracing. You’ll have to notch a 1x4 diagonally into the studs. Another option is to use large 90-degree triangles at the corners of the wall assemblies.

    Create the opposite wall next. Use 2x4 stakes (driven into the earth) to brace the walls. After you construct the end walls and erect them, you can start laying out the ceiling joists on top of the wall. If this is a two-story structure, start building the next level right on the platform.

Adding Details

  • As you are framing, add details that will aid you in finishing off the project, such as reinforcement or blocking for faucets, mirrors, grab bars or medicine cabinets. You can also construct blocking for tubs or baseboards and other trim. Install cross-bridging between floor joists to limit squeaking.


  • Most roofing assemblies are pre-fabricated trusses and no longer require rafters and ceiling joists. This advance has made DIY house framing details less intimidating and easier to grasp for do-it-yourself enthusiasts.

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