What to Expect From Your House Framer

A Framer is a type of carpenter who’s job is to construct the 3-dimensional frame of the structure , usually out of wood. Not all carpenter’s are framers , some carpenters do not do framing by choice because they perceive it as physically demanding work , other carpenters do not frame houses because they do not possess the mental ability to do so.

Framing a house can arguably be both the most physically and mentally challenging of the carpentry disciplines . When you are framing a house , you should have the ability to take the 2-dimensional drawing of the house on the blueprint and see it as a 3- dimensional structure in your mind’s eye. In conjunction with being able to see the finished product , you need to be able to see all the parts and there prescribed role within that structure. If the carpenter foresees a problem in the design be it structural or just how the structure itself flows , I believe he has an ethical responsibility to bring it to the attention of the builder, architect, homeowner or GC as quickly as possible . This will allow the job to continue to flow smoothly and the problem to be properly addressed early on , before it becomes a much greater and more costly problem later, and possibly stop the job all together.

This one ability, to foresee problems and address them early on , is more than worth paying a little more for your framer. Some carpenter’s actually possess this ability but they utilize it more for their own benefit ,than for the client’s. Of course you are wondering how, suppose the framer saw a potential problem early on, with the architects drawings, which nobody else brought to your attention, the unscrupulous contractor sees that as found money. He low-balls the job and builds it wrong ,his argument is that he built it as drawn , and now you have to pay him to rip it apart and rebuild for a hefty “$extra bill” . Now your lowest estimate on framing is easily the highest and you are at this guy’s mercy because you are going to have to pay what he wants in order to keep the job moving along .

Do all problems get caught , no, and it really isn’t the contractors responsibility to redesign what you already paid an educated professional architect to design and draw , but more often than not, the men in the field that I have worked with, and for, who have a conscience  are the ones making sure it works and comes out right in spite of the drawing not because of it

True story, walked into a small house 10 years ago these people wanted to quadruple the size of their house. They handed me there plans and said what do you think. The new house was a side hall colonial with stairs that went from the 1 1/2 story family room to the second floor. I said right away I see a problem, the man of the house who was 6’2 said , what is that, I said you guys all look like your more than 4’6 tall your going to bump your head into the ceiling when you try to go up the stairs. Later on after I redesigned the house on the fly and made it work, they told me I was the only estimate they got ,based on our initial meeting. That was probably the smartest move they made. It shouldn’t be like this, but a lot of times it is and your framer could be your last chance to get it right .

When you apply for a license to do carpentry, you are required to show that you have at least 5 years experience learning the craft, while it is only 2 years experience to be licensed to do roofing or siding . There is good reason for that, it is quite a bit harder to learn and much more involved. My personal background consisted of 7 years of framing of rather large and complex houses averaging over 5000 sq. ft. with a variety of round roofs, octagon roofs and cathedral and vaulted ceilings and 3 years of other types of carpentry before starting my own company.

What is 2-dimensional construction as it relates to housing? Your sheet rocker, your roofer, your sider ,tile man, flooring contractor , painter some forms of trim and masonry are only performed in 2 dimensions . These contractors do not need to be able to see the structure in 3-d , for the most part they are attaching there material in a variety of ways in only one plane to the 3-dimensional structure that the framer has created. If the framer has not created a square, straight and plumb structure, if he has not properly created the frame of the picture ,nailing a bunch of other things on top of it is not going to make it look any better, quite often it magnifies the discrepancies.

Framing is cool you can stand back and look at what you created in 3-d at the end of the day, I enjoy it, and I enjoy solving problems and being creative , some people are wired that way and I’m one of them.

Here at CD Construction we do framing, we do quite a bit of other carpentry too , and I think that makes us better framers. Knowing how everything is interrelated and dependent on each other, all the parts of the house and the trades, leads to a better overall product . If you are a builder ,general contractor, or homeowner who wants to GC their own house or addition give us a call . We will be happy to point out all the things wrong with your plans and fix them too. Once in a while we don’t find any and that’s nice also. Additionally we are builders / general contractors and we have an architect that we work closely with, who makes drawings that make sense ,very reasonably , if you are looking for that type of builder , the type that can actually get out there and build it, you can call us for that also.