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Know the terms in construction – Framing

July 16, 2016

Framing nomiclature

Know the terms in construction – Framing         

Today is the second installment of “Knowing the parts and pieces of your home”. Again, we’re not making you an expert but, if you need work done, it’s good to know what the contractor is talking about. Or it may help you describe something you need at a home store.

Not only did Ron post last week’s TOTW which was “Roofing Parts and Terms”, he added a picture. Which then gave me the idea to talk about framing terms. Not just the actual terms but, because we broadcast all over the world, there are different terms for the same framing. 

When talking about framing I think it best to start at the bottom and work our way up.

Sill Plate – This is usually a treated 2 x 6 that has the layout for the floor joist on it. This 2 x 6 is bolted to the top of foundation. It’s bolted there so if there is a hurricane or tornado, the carpenters will know where to start again. This sill should have compressed foam insulation under it. (But, it usually doesn’t)

Rim Joist, Band joist or end joist – This is a board that is equal in height to the floor joist. It sits even with the outside edge of the sill plate. It is typically held down with a few nails shot from a gun. (or good intentions).

                NOTE: the sill plate and rim joist combination is the leading point of air infiltration in your house. We highly recommend that these be insulated with closed cell foam.

Floor Joist – The floor joists are what literally support your floors. They are typically 2 x 10 SPF#2 at 16” o.c., but this can vary based on the span.

Bridging or Cross Bracing – Bridging installed properly strengthens the floor structure. It runs from the top of one joist to bottom of the two on either side and those two have a piece running from the bottom to the top of the middle joist. The way it works is, if you stand over one joist it has to push down on the two either side of it. This decreases deflections of the joists by 200%.

Sheathing – It is recommended that your floor sheathing be ¾” T&G CD. This is a tongue and groove so it will strengthen the joints between the floor joists. You can use OSB T&G and save a few dollars and live with the bounce and swelling until you re-sell. Sheathing should always be glued down with an underlayment adhesive and screwed to the joist on 8” centers. The screw must go into the joist a minimum of 1 ¼”

Bottom Plate or Wall sill – This is the bottom horizontal member of the wall that lays on the sheathing. Like the sill plate, it should be insulated or caulked down to prevent air leakage.

Studs – There are a few kinds of studs that make up the wall.

You have the normal 2 x 4 or 2 x 6 on 16” centers that make up the wall. Green building uses 2 x 6 at 24” o.c. for less lumber used and more insulation area.

King Studs – These are full height studs that go on either side of a window or door opening. Usually nailed to the sides of the header for the door or window.

Cripple or Trimmer – These are cut to support the header. They are nailed to the king stud but go directly under the header for support.

Window Sill – This is the horizontal 2 x that goes on the bottom of the window opening.

Top Plate or Plates – In conventional western platform framing there are two top plates. This is to help prevent deflection and sag in the roof. However, Green building uses a single top plate and ensures that rafters and ceiling joists sit on the plate directly over the studs.

Sway Bracing – There are a few ways to sway brace the wall.

                1 x 4 let in sways - are traced out diagonally on the wall and then the studs are cut so the 1 x 4 can be nailed to the studs’ flush with the exterior. This is the strongest way to brace the wall but, it takes too long.

                Metal sway braces – These too are laid out diagonally on the wall. But you simply snap a line across the studs, run a saw thru the edge of the studs. Simply drive the brace in and add a couple nails.

                The most common sway bracing now is to use ½” plywood on the corners. However, it is far less effective when the walls are over 8’ tall.

Ceiling Joist – Ceiling joist are just like floor joist going across your home. But, they are usually only 2 x 6 or maybe a 2 x 8 depending on the span. The reason they are so much smaller is you won’t be walking on them or putting anything on them. One reason why we don’t recommend storing things in your attic. It wasn’t designed for it.

Next week we’ll talk about your foundation.


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