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Spike's How To

Layout a House for Framing

It is not code, but it should be. It is considered good practice!

First Floor

Pick a corner of your house and start your layout for everything from that corner. It can be the left or the right corner. Mind you, if you use an engineered floor joist system, have a peek at their layout and match your starting point with the joist layout.

Tack two plates together (a top and bottom plate), making sure they are both the right length, and the same length. This way you end up marking them in the same spot and doing it this way is more accurate.

Start your layout by marking out all the partition walls. Next, do the layout of all the windows and doors on your wall. If you have any bearing points in your wall section, mark those out on your plates too.

After marking out the previous items, it is time to layout the wall for the stud placement. Why do you do this last? The studs needed for the previous items will often be in the exact location as your stud layout. Whenever one of the studs ends up or almost ends up on one of your previous marked items, you can omit this stud. And if the stud location is under a window, change your x to a j for jack for clarity.

If you frame your walls 16 inches on centre, start your stud layout from the corner you picked and mark the first stud at 15 1/4-inch on the wall plates the x, the location of the studs, beside the line away from the corner. Use a long measuring tape and tack it in place to line up zero inches with your first stud line mark. Proceed from here on at 16-inch centres with your layout. (start the first stud at 23 1/4" for 24" O.C. wall framing.)

Do the same for the side wall, starting at the same corner. Continue the layout from these first two studs all through the house. When the first floor is framed, all the studs should line up.

How To Layout House for Framing

Floor Joist

Start your floor joist layout from the exact same location as you started your stud layout. With the floor joist layout, you will have to ensure that the joist is not located under the toilet, tub, or shower drains. A joist that is in the way of those items should be moved as much as needed. It never fails that at least one of your joists is right in the middle of a toilet drain. Usually, a few inches will make a difference.

Second Floor

Start the layout for the studs on the second floor from the same location as the first floor. Everything should always line up. Ensuring that this is the case is good practice and will make life much easier for the plumbing and the heating.

How To Layout House for Framing

After you are all done, it will look something like the above.

How To Layout House for Framing

If you don't start your layout from the same point for exterior and interior walls, unless you are fortunate, you could end up with something like this, creating all kinds of problems for heating ducts and plumbing stacks to run through the walls, plus it ends up being messy and looks like crap.

How To Layout House for Framing

Of course, there is a bit more to laying out a building for framing but starting your layouts from one point throughout the house for all walls, joist and trusses not only makes sense, but it will also end up less messy after everything is said and done.

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