Conventional house walls have an inner wooden framework. This framework may, or may not, support part of the house, but it does support exterior and interior wall coverings, and your windows and doors. Your house framing also provides cavities for electrical wiring, plumbing, ductwork, and insulation.
Although most walls are framed with two-by-four wall studs, two-by-six studs are used to provide more strength and larger cavities in some areas of your home. Exterior walls, for example, may be framed with two-by-sixes to allow more room for insulation. Some bathroom walls are also framed with two-by-sixes to allow plenty of space for large pipes. Not all houses are framed with wooden wall studs, however. Some newer homes are built with metal studs, a practice adopted from commercial construction methods.
Wall Framing a Multi-Story Home
Multi-story houses are built one level at a time. Each floor provides a platform for the next series of framing and walls. Most contemporary houses are built using the platform construction method of house framing, and special wall framing considerations are necessary to ensure that any multi-story structure is framed safely and is up to code.
Wall Framing Non-Bearing Walls
Non-bearing walls may be perpendicular or parallel to joists or rafters. They often may be identified from under the house, because they’re not supported by a foundation wall or beam. Because they don’t support loads, they usually can be removed without compromising a structure’s strength, making them ideal for renovations or remodels. Load-bearing walls include exterior walls that carry ceiling, roof, or upper floor loads to the foundation and internal walls that support joists at a midspan. A joist is any of a set of parallel beams set from wall to wall to support the boards of a ceiling or floor.
Wall Framing Alterations
If you are planning structural changes, such as removing walls, or if you are planning a complex building design, you should hire an architect or structural engineer to evaluate your house framing. An architect will help you detail exactly what you want, draw up plans and material specifications, and may provide oversight for your project while it’s in progress. Hiring an architect can help eliminate confusion, and could save you a lot of time and money in the end. Architects typically charge an hourly rate or flat fee, so be sure to get an estimate of the total cost to draw up plans before you start. And if you’re planning any home remodels or renovations, talk to an experienced framer about what needs to be done for more common home additions. Wall framing is one aspect of home construction that must be done correctly to ensure the integrity of your home.
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