Step 6: Framing Basics

Picture of Framing Basics
The first construction step is going to be framing up the walls. To successfully frame your garage you need to decide where all your openings are going to be (windows and doors) and plan for the sheathing on the outside and any interior covering (drywall, plywood) you plan to use. I framed my garage in 24" on center stud spacing but the same approach applies to 16" on center construction. Based on my site plan and elevation drawings, there are more openings on the east wall, with the access door and one window. Thus I am going to start there.

The first step to framing up the east wall is to measure the width of the slab/block. As designed mine is right on 20' within a half inch. Take this measurement and cut AC2 treated 2x4's to make the bottom or sill plate. Any lumber that contacts masonry must be treated to prevent rot. Keep in mind that building code requires that any cuts in the sill plate be anchored with bolts within 12" from the cut on both sides of the cut. Place your cuts accordingly or buy a longer piece of wood. If you plan ahead you can have the concrete guys put in some extra anchors for this purpose. With the sill plate cut, lay it on the slab/block and transfer the positions of the anchor bolts onto the wood. Make your marks so that when the sill plate is mounted on the bolts it will be flush with the exterior surface of the slab/block. Then drill holes in the sill plate large enough for the anchor bolts to clear (~3/4" ) and make sure all the bolts will fit through at once without too much binding. Leave the sill plate on the bolts on the slab/block.

Then measuring from the outer edge, make marks on the top of the sill plate every 24". If the marks overlay any of the anchor bolts you may need to notch the corresponding stud or cheat the stud to one side or the other. Also mark the opening for the door. Typically, the opening for the door is 1.5-2" larger than the door itself. So for a 32" door you need a 33.5-34" opening.

Next, cut regular non-treated 2x4s to the same total length as the treated sill plate. This span should be made up of 2 pieces or less. This is the first layer of the top plate. Then take the sill plate off the bolts and lay both the sill plate and top plate next to each other and transfer the stud measurement marks to the top plate. Now lay both the sill plate and the top plate on an open flat area such as the slab about 8' apart. Now get your 8' studs and start laying them in place at the marks. Before you start nailing, let's talk about openings.

The width of an opening for a window or door is defined by the distance between the innermost jack studs. The jack stud runs uninterrupted from the header to the sill plate and provides support. Nailed to the outside of the jack studs are king studs that run from top plate to sill plate like normal studs. Generally you want one of the king studs to be on your 16" or 24" spacing pattern. Above the header and below the top plate are so-called cripples that are placed on the 16" or 24" pattern. At the bottom of the opening (for windows) there is a saddle stud that is toenailed into the jack studs and supported by more cripples that go from the saddle to the sill plate. See the sketchup diagram below to clarify. It is very helpful to have your openings planned out before framing so you can quickly measure and cut the required lumber. The header is often made from a pair of 2x6's cut to width and nailed together with a spacer in between to make the total header thickness the same as the wall. In the case of 2x4 framing where the wall is about 3.5" thick the pair of headers will be around 3-3.25" thick and a spacer can be omitted if you are lazy.

Another thing to note is that your starting wall will be the full width of the slab/block foundation. The subsequent side walls will overlap the ends of the first wall. As you can see in the opening framing sketch below I have added an interior wall stud that allows the creation of an interior corner for screwing/nailing your interior finishing material to the framing. See the corner framing sketch to get a better idea of how this occurs. The sketch is a cross section of the framing at the corners of the walls. When wall#1 and wall#2 come together, the end studs will sit such that there will be no way to attach the interior sheathing to the framing of wall#1. Thus an "interior wall stud" is added. I have no idea what this is called, so take that name with a grain of salt. I suppose I should name is something catchy like "queen stud" or "naughty in the corner stud". I leave that to the experts.

With your openings and corners planned you can cut the lumber and start nailing through the sill and top plates into the studs using the power nailer or your own elbow grease. You want two nails per connection. There are a couple of types of nailing connection, that I will call end nailing, toe-nailing, and bond nailing. See the sketch below to get an idea of how these are done. The only one that can be tricky is toe-nailing, but you will get the hang of it. For attaching the studs, jack studs, king studs, cripples, etc to the sill and top plate you will need to put two end nails into each stud through the plate as drawn. You will use bond nailing to attach the headers together and to attach the jack to the king studs. You will also end nail the headers to the king studs and the cripples to the saddle. The only place you need to do toe-nailing in most framing is to attach the saddle to the jack studs and to attach upper cripples to the headers. Go to it.
bit_bucket5 years ago
Your a great help but I need to self install a 4 way switch for a man cave (3 switches one light) any help?
jmengel (author)  bit_bucket5 years ago
rzook5 years ago
what software are you using for your cad drawings? is it free?
jmengel (author)  rzook5 years ago
As discussed in Step 1: http://sketchup.google.com/
I'm adding an attached 2 car to my existing 2 car and I'll be using 2x6 construction with 1/2 ply sheathing with 1 3/4 styro over the ply. ( I want to heat the garage ) the styro was free from a industral building under construction that was damaged from a tornado. I was thinking that I would have trouble securing the window and door flanges to the styro so could I insert a 2x8 frame into the window and door openings to be flush with the exterior sheathing and give me something to nail to? I know I would have to widen my opening 3" (1 1/2 each way). I live in Illinois in the country and have fields a mile each way around me and the winter winds get a good run at the house. The house is cedar sided but I was thinking about Hardy concrete board for siding for more rot resistance. Thanks for any advice!
jmengel (author)  nashsimmental5 years ago
Yes, you would want some kind of wood to nail the window flanges to.  If the styro is 1.75" thick the 2x8 framing in the window would still be 0.25" short.  It might be easier to frame everything up normally with 2x6 and then nail some 2x4s with the wide face to the exterior ply around the window openings with a 0.25 plywood spacer strip (1.75" total thickness) to get the wood flush to the styro.  We had a similar problem getting uniform window jamb depths on an attic renovation with new 2x6 walls mixed with old 2x4 walls.  Cutting a few sheets of the right plywood thickness into strips let us shim out to the necessary depth.

I would imagine that siding over the 1.75" styrofoam is not going to be easy either as you will need a pretty long nail to get to the sheathing.  With that much free nail between the siding and the sheathing I'd bet the siding could move around a bit in the right kind of wind.  Over time this might work the nails loose. Otherwise you could use regularly spaced furring strips like in drywalling the block walls of a basement.

Based on what I have heard I like the concrete siding, but have not worked with it myself.   Initial install is tougher than vinyl or wood, but supposedly lasts a long time if done right.  You need to take care to seal the cut ends to avoid water wicking and another tip that I have heard is to skip the concrete hardi-board trim and use another product called MiraTEC for the trim pieces.

Good luck.
jon2dc6 years ago
Can someone please give me some drawing on how will I construct a 20 ft wall. I dont know how will I connect the pieces to get 20 ft and how will I double plate it on top. Ex. If I use two pieces of 2x4x10 on the base what should be the measurement of the top plate? Should the connection of the top plate have a stud on the middle?
jmengel (author)  jon2dc6 years ago
For the double top plate I would make sure that the seams didn't overlap with the seam in the bottom plate if you can't get lumber in 20' lengths. You can also put a stud on both sides of the bottom plate seam and nail the two sections together laterally so you would have a double stud at the bottom plate seam. This allows you to nail into both sections of bottom plate at the cost of using an extra stud. If you go this route, you can essentailly build two 10' wall sections with a single top plate and then join them by nailing the two studs together and with the top plate when ready.
jon2dc jmengel6 years ago
thanks for your reply. May I know the normal practice? If you will make a 20' wall what would you do? Is 8.5 ft and 11.5ft ok? so it's 8.5 and 11.5 at the bottom and then 11.5 and 8.5 for the top plate? Is it necessary for the double plate to overlap on the other wall?
jmengel (author)  jon2dc6 years ago
I can't really say what the normal practice is, only what I would do. So far that has been enough to pass code in my area. The double top plate seams must be separated by greater than 4'. So if you built a 8.5' wall with a single top plate, and then a 11.5' wall with a single top plate and nailed two facing studs together to make a 20' wall with single top plate you would need to attach the double top plate to the resulting wall with lengths of 4.5' and 15.5' or 12.5' and 9.5' such that the seam in the topmost plate was at least 4' in either direction from the join in the 8.5' and 11.5' wall sections. This doesn't include any corner overlap of the top plates required. That is how I would do it. I hope this is clear, and if my info is incorrect that someone can correct it.
jon2dc jmengel6 years ago
thanks for your help. One more thing. Is the following configuration fine for a 20 ft wall? top plate: 12 ft and 8 ft bottom plate 8 ft and 12 ft double top plate 8 ft and 12 ft. if I do this then I will have one of my stud exactly on the joints of the top plate and bottom plate. Is this fine? as I will have my stud every 16 inches? thanks in advance
jmengel (author)  jon2dc6 years ago
Sounds fine. Good luck.
rh71576 years ago
I started to lay out my walls and found out my slab inot square. it was supposed to be 16 x 24 and it is 16 x 23' 9 x 23' 11. bothe ends are 16 ft but the two side differ by 2 inches. do i build to the slab and try to square up with the roof or do i square up the initial framing and leave an inch ovehang/short on the slab? BTW they deliverd the lumber yesterday and it is raining today.
watermelon7 years ago
Where did you get the plans for the stud layouts, anyway? I see many other anomalies. Notice that with the layout shown the exterior sheathing only has one backing point on the end, which is bad. What you want is to maximize backing by turning the interior stud to be parallel with the end stud #1 using 3- 2"x4"x6" spacers between the interior stud and the end stud #1, top middle and bottom. This still gives enough interior corner drywall support when you lay this piece up first.
jmengel (author)  watermelon7 years ago
Plans? Come on, what self-respecting DIY'er would resort to plans? We built the walls based on the combined experience of the workers on hand, with no plans. Potentially there are some anomalies, but none that the inspector had any problem with. I assume you are referring to the cross-section where "end stud #1" is the only support for the horizontal exterior sheathing while the other (vertical in the figure) sheathing corner has "end stud #1" and "end stud #2" to support it. While additional backing could provide more strength, I am not convinced that it is needed. With 1/2" wood sheathing interior and exterior I am not too worried about structural strength. If I was using that "built-rite" junk I could see your point. Is the configuration you describe required by code or is it a "best practice"? Thanks for the input!
A framed corner is a major structural element for both contracted and DIY projects which through culmination of improvement by many, many hands has reached the stage of ultimate and efficient design. It is definitely a "best practices" issue which code may defer to as the minimum standard. As for passing local inspection a lot depends on legal jurisdiction, building department policy, inspector knowledge, etc. In most, if not all, legal jurisdictions in the US inspectors must follow code and are not authorized to deviate without an architect's approval. Code often requires submission of plans to catch and correct such anomalies and to have a record in case of problems later on. Most county property tax departments require a floor plan anyway so they can categorize the space and assign the proper rate. Building something that may put someone's life at risk, including your own, is the issue. "Can it put life at risk?" Is the common question that most conscientious building departments and inspectors ask when coming across any anomaly. They have authority to pass only if an architect has certified the anomaly safe and as representing no risk to anyone's safety, regardless of whatever improvement or advantage it offers in form or function or cost. I learned this the hard way with a very conscientious plumbing inspector on my first DIY construction project. He pointed out that knowing code and/or "best practice" is a prerequisite to DIY design and independent of "common sense," individual intelligence, higher education or on-the-job experience where code or "best practice" knowledge was not gained. In fact, I know a licensed contractor who violated the DWV safety concept in his own home that the inspector had described to me although DWV involves many other issues such as proper quantity, size and limit of vents and traps. Bottom line: read the books first then explore alternate design, else risk accidentally putting safety of yourself and others at risk.