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House Framing Cost


How Much Does House Framing Cost?

 
average costLabor: $2-$12+ Per Square Foothigh costMaterials: $3-$12+ Per Square Foot
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Whether building a new house or constructing an addition to an existing home, once the foundation and utilities are in place the next step is framing -- erecting the basic skeleton of the structure, creating its essential support and shape. The frame of a house carries the weight load of the roof down to the foundation so the entire structure is supported, and provides a weather-tight barrier against the elements.

Typical costs:

  • Framing projects are typically bid by the square foot and the complexity of the project (steep roofs, vaulted ceilings or "cut up" roofs that are not standard rectangles all cost more). Framing carpenters are usually subcontractors who work for a general contractor on a specific building project; most framing contractors provide labor only, with the general contractor (or the owner-builder) buying the materials separately. In some areas a framing project includes only basic framing while elsewhere it's standard for framers to install roof shingles, doors, windows and house wrap. Some framers charge for each square foot under the roof; others charge only for living spaces; and still others others have different rates for living spaces compared to a garage or covered porch.
  • Framing labor can cost $2-$12 or a more a square foot, or $3,500-$36,000 for a 1,600- to 3,000-square-foot home, depending on location and what's included. An average house framing labor rate nationwide is about $6-$8 a square foot, or $10,000-$25,000 for 1,600-3,000 square feet. For example, at DoItYourself.com[1] a homeowner reports paying $12,000 for framing labor for a 1,600-square-foot home plus basement and two-car garage, or about $7.50 a square foot. At OwnerBuilderBook.com[2] a Tennessee homeowner reports a bid of $5.50 a square foot for 2,900 square feet of living space and $2.25 a square foot for 850 square feet of garage and porch, or about $17,900, including installing roof shingles, doors and windows; and a Seattle area resident received bids of $25,000-$64,000 for framing labor for 4,100 square feet plus a 950-square-foot garage and 325-square-foot porch ($6-$11.90 a square foot).
  • Some new homes might use steel framing, but most residential construction is done with wood framing. Framing materials typically cost more than labor. It can cost $3-$12 or more a square foot based on the current price of lumber (or steel) and the size and design of the structure. For example, at GardenWeb.com[3] a Pacific Northwest resident reports on two projects: a 5,600-square-foot, two-story home with a three-car garage and 9'-10' tall ceilings at $42,000 for lumber (about $7.50 a square foot) and $27,500 for labor ($4.91 a square foot), or $69,500 total framing costs ($12.41 a square foot); and a 3,500-square-foot single-story home with vaulted ceilings and bonus room over a three-car garage at $30,000 for lumber (about $8.53 a square foot) and $18,000 for labor (about $5.15 a square foot) or $48,000 total (about $13.72 a square foot).
Related articles: Building a Custom Home, Home Addition, House Foundation, House Wrap

What should be included:
  • Wall sections are typically constructed on the ground or floor surface, then raised into place. Precision is important; in a poorly framed finished house the drywall may not be flat, the floors could squeak and the doors might not close properly. AlsNetBiz.com illustrates and defines basic framing terms[4] . A framing company posts a video of the framing process[5] . This Old House lists framing tips[6] and AskTheBuilder.com explains roof framing basics[7] .
  • An average 1,800-square-foot house typically takes two to three weeks to frame, according to InfoForBuilding.com[8] .
Shopping for house framing:
  • The American Forest and Paper Association explains Conventional Wood Frame Construction[9] .
  • An owner-builder buying framing materials should take a set of plans to at least three lumber yards for a list of the individual quantities and costs. This Old House discusses modern framing materials[10] and how to read the grade stamp[11] found on framing lumber.
  • A general contractor will be familiar with local framing subcontractors; owner-builders can ask other subcontractors on the project for recommendations. Verify that the framing contractor is properly bonded, insured and licensed[12] ; check references; and search for complaints with the Better Business Bureau[13] .
  • Most framing contractors require a deposit (10%-50% of the total cost). Final payment should be contingent on the framing being done according to the plans, plus holding back 10% until the framing passes any required inspections. The written labor contract should list all costs including the rate for work not covered by the original bid (referred to as a change order); a start and completion date; any penalties to the framing contractor if work isn't completed on time; and any materials or equipment rentals included in the contract.
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External Resources:
  1.  www.doityourself.com/forum/framing-sub-flooring/248308-framing-labor-cost-new-house.html
  2.  www.ownerbuilderbook.com/forum/messages.aspx?ID=3602
  3.  ths.gardenweb.com/forums/load/build/msg1208584916512.html?8
  4.  alsnetbiz.com/homeimprovement/framglossary.html
  5.  www.youtube.com/watch?v=i2Le_BLm8Sc
  6.  www.thisoldhouse.com/toh/article/0,,1204044-3,00.html
  7.  www.askthebuilder.com/roof-framing-basics/
  8.  www.infoforbuilding.com/Home_Construction_Phase_2.html
  9.  www.awc.org/pdf/wcd1-300.pdf
  10.  www.thisoldhouse.com/toh/article/0,,1152525,00.html
  11.  www.thisoldhouse.com/toh/article/0,,1639800,00.html
  12.  www.contractors-license.org/
  13.  www.bbb.org/us/Find-Business-Reviews/
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