Framing, in construction known as light-frame construction, is a building technique based around structural members, usually called studs, which provide a stable frame to which interior and exterior wall coverings are attached, and covered by a roof comprising horizontal ceiling joists and sloping rafters (together forming a truss structure) or manufactured pre-fabricated roof trusses—all of which are covered by various sheathing materials to give weather resistance.
Modern light-frame structures usually gain strength from rigid panels (plywood and other plywood-like composites such as oriented strand board (OSB) used to form all or part of wall sections) but until recently carpenters employed various forms of diagonal bracing (called wind braces) to stabilize walls. Diagonal bracing remains a vital interior part of many roof systems, and in-wall wind braces are required by building codes in many municipalities or by individual state laws in the United States.
Light frame construction using standardized dimensional lumber has become the dominant construction method in North America and Australia because of its economy. Use of minimal structural materials allows builders to enclose a large area with minimal cost, while achieving a wide variety of architectural styles. The ubiquitous platform framing and the older balloon framing are the two different light frame construction systems used in North America.
Wood Framing - Builder Grade Selection
Lumber (wood) is by far the most popular construction framing material because it's readily available, easy to work with, and comparatively less expensive than other framing materials. Douglas fir, pine and hemlock are some species frequently used to make framing lumber. The vast majority of builders will seek to use wood for the framing of your home or remodel as their default construction material.
- Wood framing is usually less expensive.
- It's a common method used in construction, builders are familiar with methods.
- Wood is a standard material designed into plans for convenience.
- New manufacturing processes are utlizing less valuable species of trees to produce application and specific construction members.
- New processes make wood less susceptible to insect damage and decay.
- Untreated wood will decay as it drys out
- Wood is less uniform in strength characteristics.
- It’s a Natural product with Knots and Flaws.
- Wood is combustible and as it gets older it dries out.
- Wood only comes in standard sizes.
- There is a considerable amount of waste on every home built.
- The movement of wood as it dries causes cracking in walls and floors.
- Wood is a fire hazard, unless you use fire rated wood products, which add excessive cost.
Metal Framing - RCM and Green Selection
Steel, the most commonly used metal in building products today, has long been a staple in commercial construction. Recently, however, it has begun to make strong inroads into the residential building market.
The move to steel in home construction was fueled by rapidly increasing lumber prices and a need to conserve timber products. Builders are discovering other reasons, however, to use lightweight steel studs, joists and beams.
- Steel is very uniform in strength, light weight and can be shaped to different sizes.
- Steel is recyclable ( It takes about Six Old Cars to frame a Single home ) Its Truly a Green Product.
- There is an Insurance Savings.
- Steel comes in many different sizes and shapes.
- It is non-combustible. Class A- Fire Rating
- It is insect & termite resistant,
- Standardization with connectors, fasteners & Electric Grommets has decreased cost.
- Wind Loads are greater with basic framing standards, up to and exceeding 140 MPH.
- Steel will not Decay or Rot.
- Steel is Light Weight, which will save you money on field labor and expensive foundations.
- Steel requires 1/2"insulation on the exterior service for thermal shock, “Insulation Value".
- Steel is generally 10% to 15% more expesive.
- Many builders are not familiar with the construction methods.
- The education in the use of steel is much more sophisticated.
- An engineers stamped may be required when using steel. May Increase cost by $0.25 to $0.75 per square foot.
- Steel takes a longer time for labor because of framing fasteners.
Concrete Block / Poured Wall Construction - Alternate Selection
What is a Masonry Home?
A masonry home is constructed with masonry blocks at the exterior walls. This is different from standard construction practices in that standard construction, referred to as stick framed, uses either a 2" x 6" or a 2" x 4" to frame the outside walls of the house. The block wall is constructed in one of two methods. The first is to use a standard 6" grey block that is finished with stucco, stone or brick. The second option for the block is a 6" colored rock face block. The rock face block comes in at least 15 different colors. The rock face block is a product made by Anchor Block and is referred to as "Livingstone."
As far as constructability options, masonry is capable of building anything that wood can build, if not more. View past projects at our Project Portfolio.
A masonry home, in its nature, is much more solid than a wood framed home, however there are many other benefits to building with masonry. These benefits include energy efficiency, durability, comfort, security, and privacy.
These days the rising cost of fuel and energy has everyone looking for a way to save money on energy expenses. A common method to save a little money is to add insulation in the attic or to put plastic wrap on the windows. Our suggestion is that you build your home for efficiency to begin with and a masonry home is exactly the answer. In order to insulate the masonry walls, we use a closed cell expanding foam. We also provide this as an option in the attic. The benefit to the expanding foam is that there are no breaks in the insulation as is typical with wood construction. In a typical 2" x 6" or 2" x 4" wall every place there is a stud, there is a lower R-value and a loss of energy efficiency. The expanding foam eliminates these gaps and creates an extremely efficient house that will heat with less energy in the winter and cool with less energy in the summer.
An all masonry home provides an extremely durable exterior finish. Whether you choose the rock face finish or the stucco finish there is probably no need to have to ever replace, repaint or repair the exterior. Whereas vinyl siding can easily be torn from homes in a wind storm, steel and aluminum siding can be easily dented by hail and flying debris, and wood siding needs to be repainted every couple years, there is no need to worry about a masonry exterior. Typically, flying objects will not leave a mark, color is fade resistant and there is nothing that will blow away in a masonry product.
Comfort, Security and Privacy It is no exaggeration, inside an all masonry home you are oblivious to what is going on in the outside world. The combination of a masonry wall insulated with expanded foam creates a wonderful noise buffer to the outside world. The only way to keep track of what is happening outside is by looking out the window!
Advantages of Concrete /Block Poured Walls & Floors:
- Withstands Hurricanes, Tornados, & earthquakes.
- With additives: Insect & termite resistant.
- Embraces various building shapes
- Can be Installed with Insulated forms.R-30 or Better.
- Durability & Longevity of Products.
- Environmentally friendly and considered
Disadvantages of Concrete Walls & Floors:
- Weather may cause time delays.
- Takes 30 days + to cure.
- May crack over time with settling.
- Must be sealed to protect from moisture.
- Usually more costly.
- Longer process of construction.
- Difficult to hold tolerances.