11 Golden Rules of Framing
Test yourself: How many do you know? How many do you use?
Why spend time setting those beams? What use is there for bowed and knotty lumber? When is it crucial to be precise, and when is that less of a priority? Check out your familiarity with the 11 key framing rules in this slideshow.
Waste nothing. Every pallet of incoming lumber should be culled so that the straightest pieces can be set aside for the places where straightness matters most (plates, king and jack studs, etc.). Crooked, bowed, waney, and knotty lumber has its place, though. These defects matter very little when the piece is being cut short for cripples, blocking, or temporary supports.
When in doubt, check. Before hooking your tape on the edge of the floor frame for measurements, be sure that the floor frame itself is aligned with the mudsill it connects to. When in doubt, plumb up from the edge of the mudsill with a short level and then mark the position of the interior face of the wall framing from the level.
Learn the shorthand. There’s more to laying out top and bottom wall plates than pulling a tape and marking X’s for each stud position. If you don’t already, get in the habit of marking every component – kings, jacks, cripples, intersections, blocking, and more – to ensure you don’t have to waste time later fixing mistakes.
Plumb and level aren’t enough. Every wall that is tipped into place should be rigged up with a string that runs from one end to the other so that it can be checked and adjusted with springboards along its length. Although the method is different, joists, rafters, and beams must also be kept straight to ease the parts that are installed after.
Know the end before you start. Don’t start setting joists, sheathing, or any other framing components without paying attention to how the pieces will pace out when you get to the other end. A little foresight will allow you to adjust layout to avoid potentially weak, problematic, or just plain inconvenient fastening situations.