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What to Expect Series: Session 6: Framing

Updated: Feb 16, 2022

Whether you are planning a large renovation, a new build, or even a smaller renovation, you will likely encounter some framing that needs to be completed.

Framing can be structural or non-structural, but doing it properly is crucial to starting your project off right. Below is more information on types of framing, why it is important, and what other decisions should be made during this phase of the project.

Types of Framing

Wall framing in house construction includes the vertical and horizontal 2×6 of exterior walls and 2×4 or 2×6 interior partitions, both of bearing walls and non-bearing walls.  The stick frame is then clad and poly sheeting is used as a moisture barrier where required.  

Exterior walls are often thicker than interior walls except where a wall thickness is required for plumbing pipes/vents or heating runs to run through.  

Think of framing as literally the framework for your home – it supports everything else from the exterior cladding and windows to the plumbing and cabinets.  Whether it is a new build or a renovation/addition the framing is completed based on the renderings provided.  Load bearing walls and point loads (what holds up the house structure) are determined by structural engineers and must be determined before any new building is built or any load bearing wall removed.

Importance of Framing

Framing affects every change and trade that comes in afterwards. If framing is off by even ⅛ of an inch over the whole house it can have a huge effect on all of the next steps. It is important that this is done right to ensure the end result matches the proposed plans and your home is structurally sound.

Framing that is not done on the square (ie. walls are not very straight vertically and roof lines horizontally), makes installing drywall, tile, cabinets, counter etc. even harder.

Imagine trying to install a cabinet and counter in a corner where the wall runs 87 degrees from floor to ceiling and the gap that  it would produce!

Seeing The Big Picture

Once framing is complete, it is a great time to take a walk through the space and get an idea of the new layout. It is important to also note at this stage is THE BEST time to make any last minute changes to the space. We always walk through with the construction PM, cabinet maker and electrician to finalize the details. 

Something to think about for example is window placement to ensure the sink can be centered underneath – maybe the window needs to be 1” smaller? Do the light switch placements make sense for how you move through the space? Do the door swing directions make sense with the light switch locations?

At framing, we can also discuss where items such as hooks, towel bars, shelves etc. will be located so we can make sure adequate backing is placed so they don’t fall or get torn off the wall

If your layout doesn’t feel right, it is time to speak up and make those changes because once electrical and plumbing rough-ins go on, the ability to make changes gets harder.

What Now?

Now that the framing is done and finalized, the final cabinet plans are required as cabinet installers and electricians must install the rough-ins (electrical and plumbing behind the walls) prior to insulation and drywall installation. In addition to making decisions about cabinet layouts, you must also decide how you want to deal with the ceiling details around the cabinets. You can have cabinets extending up to the ceiling, add a cabinet filler, or a drywall bulkhead. Some of these choices require more framing, so it’s best to make this decision early on. 

After framing is complete, you can start to see the space coming together and start getting excited  about some of those other elements, like the tile backsplash, that are coming up in your project.

Next Week

Next week we will be discussing exterior and hardscape design. There are so many decisions that can be made when doing an exterior renovation and it goes way beyond what colour your front door will be!


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