The Basics Of Commercial Framing

Standard timber frame roof structure

Today, light frame construction, or framing, is the method of choice for building structural properties. Vertical components known as studs and horizontal components known as joists are connected to provide a stable frame for walls, ceilings and floors. Platform framing – where each level is framed on top of the previous one – is the most commonly used method of framing today. Building each level off the floor of the one below it provides a stable work surface and allows builders to use more widely available pieces of lumber.

Understanding Platform Framing

With platform framing, studs that are eight to nine feet high rest on the platform of the floor below it. Using this technique, each level is framed on top of the last, with the roof resting on top. Below are the advantages of using platform framing:

  • Shorter pieces of lumber are required when compared to older techniques, making it more cost-effective.
  • A solid work surface is provided when the next level is erected on a platform, allowing for high structural integrity.
  • The spaces in between the studs from level to level serve as natural firebreaks.

Older Framing Techniques

While platform framing is the most popular method of commercial framing today, there are several older techniques that can still be found within the frames of older houses. These are:

  • Balloon framing: Becoming widespread in the 1830s, this method is not as widely used today due to the fire hazard it poses. Making use of a single stud that can run up to 30 feet, this stud extends from the foundation all the way to the roof and are secured with nails. With one long, uninterrupted stud, a fire that starts from the bottom level can quickly and easily raze all the way to the top. This is one reason balloon framing has fallen out of favor today.
  • Timber framing: In timber framing, large posts and beams are connected by wooden pegs. Natural logs and trees were used instead of pre-cut lumber, which today we identify by their common dimensions. A popular method up to the 19th century, timber framing fell out of fashion when machine-sawn lumber became widely available, saving on the costs and labor associated with hand-hewn timber.

Framing Components

When building a property from scratch, below are the components that will need to be constructed through framing:

  • Floor: Floors are built with joists, trusses and sheathing. Floor sheathing is added to the floor structure as an additional panel.
  • Walls: Usually, two or more types of walls will need to be constructed. A load-bearing wall supports a weight from above, such as another wall or floor. Non load-bearing walls are used as partition walls to distinguish from one room from another whereas shear walls act as protection against adverse natural conditions.
  • Ceiling: Ceiling joists hold up the load of the roof.
  • Roof

Work with US Framing for Construction Projects

Are you looking to construct a property and need help from the pre-design stage all the way to construction? If so, look no further than US Framing. Since our inception in the 90s, we have framed a wide range of buildings including hotels, student housing, apartments and more. Please feel free to contact us for more information or a quote.