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Framing a Window

Framing a Window
Windows, as here in Plan 888-18, are typically inserted in frame
When you are planning to build a new home it's helpful to know as much as possible about the construction process. Most houses are framed with either 2-by-4 or 2-by-6 lumber depending on building code, one story vs. two story, insulation considerations, and budget.  Whether 2-by-4 or 2-by-6, most studs are located 16” on center and then doubled up when it comes to window and door openings and tripled up at corners.

Construction Terminology (diagram courtesy Carpentry-pro-framer.com)
King studs run from the bottom plate to the top plate and are nailed on the side of the window sill and header. Jack studs are nailed to the inside of king studs and sit under both sides of the header. Headers support the weight of the ceiling rafters and upper story floor joists. Window sills support the window and are nailed to the cripples and the king studs. Cripple studs are nailed between the bottom plate and the window sill. These studs carry the weight of the window. Window framing is a system that transfers the vertical load from the roof or ceiling joists onto the Header, transfers that load down both the King and Jack studs to the bottom plate that sits on the foundation. Make sure the rough opening is about ½” wider than the side jambs of your window and allow a ½” space above the sill to level and plumb the window.

Note: Windows come "pre-hung" in a frame made out of 3 quarter inch material. Hinges and hardware are already in place. Then you shim the frame to level within the rough 2 by 4 opening.

Door Framing 
is analogous to window framing (diagram courtesy mycarpentry.com). The door is usually framed 2 inches wider than the width of the door and one inch higher than the height of the door. This allows space for the door jamb (3/4” material on each side). The door is made plumb and level with shims. If there are side lights (windows) these are framed by the same procedure.

Skylights are framed by a similar process to windows and doors only the top and bottom plates are each doubled up to support the weight of the skylight and to support the roof rafters that are interrupted by skylight framing. The load is transferred to the rafters on the left and right of the skylight which are doubled up as well. Framing is a process is that is designed to be as efficient as possible. Bottom and top plates are marked out, studs are inserted every 16 inches and the whole thing nailed together with a nail gun.

When planning your house, don’t be afraid to make changes to your window or door schedule but just make sure everything is finalized before construction begins!

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