Components of Advanced Framing

Houses constructed with advanced framing techniques may include some of the following components:

  • 2x6 wood framing spaced at 24 inches on center (vs. 2x4 wood studs spaced 16 inches on center)
  • Insulated three-stud corners or two-stud corner with ladder blocking
  • Single headers (vs. double headers and cripples in conventional framing)
  • Walls continuously sheathed with plywood or oriented strand board (OSB)
  • In-line—or stacked—framing
  • Single top plates (vs. double top plates in conventional framing)
  • Use of jack studs and cripples around openings only where required
  • Elimination of redundant studs and unnecessary blocking and bridging

These techniques are detailed in the Advanced Framing Construction Guide, Form M400 from APA. This publication is available for free download in PDF format.


Incorporating Advanced Framing Techniques

Because significant changes in framing practices, such as eliminating double top plates in favor of single top plates, may initially require increased effort at the design stage and oversight during construction, many builders elect to incorporate advanced framing in stages rather than all at once. If increased energy-efficiency is a primary reason for converting to advanced framing, the following steps are recommended. Note that not all advanced framing techniques are required; builders may elect to incorporate fewer than all four steps depending on their circumstances.

  1. Switch to 2x6 studs to increase cavity insulation depth and meet R20 energy code requirements. (Especially important in colder climate zones.)

  2. Where permitted by structural code requirements, change the wall framing module from 16 inches on center to 24 inches on center to reduce framing costs. Retain the use of double top plates to avoid in-line, or stack, framing alignment requirements.

  3. Incorporate intersecting wall techniques and energy efficient corners, such as three-stud corners and ladder junctions, that allow for greater insulation volume. Implement energy-efficient headers and limited framing around openings.

  4. Eliminate double top plates. Because this step requires vertical framing alignment, including 24-inch on center floor and roof framing as well as non-industry standard stud lengths which may be difficult to source, it is often the last technique builders consider. For these reasons, many builders elect to retain double top plates.

Whatever techniques are selected, it is important that the advanced framing details are clearly specified on the architectural plans when submitted to the building department. Note that if framing crews are unfamiliar with advanced framing, additional onsite supervision and quality control oversight should be planned while framers learn these new techniques.

Read more about the advantages of advanced framing.


Get the Details

The Advanced Framing Construction Guide, Form M400, from APA details several techniques for more efficient, cost-effective framing practices, including 2x6 wood framing spaced 24 inches on center, insulated three-stud corners, two-stud corners with ladder blocking, wall intersection options, single headers, single top plates, and eliminating unnecessary materials. Many of these techniques can be adopted independently. The Advanced Framing Construction Guide is now available for free download in PDF format.

Twenty new CAD details, based on the framing techniques featured in the guide, are now available for free download fromAPACAD.org, APA’s online resource for building designers and construction professionals in search of Computer Aided Design details for wood-frame construction. APACAD.org now features 257 free CAD details, including 30 Spanish-language details, all of which are available to download free of charge in four file formats: DWG, DWF, DXF and PDF.

For more information on the wind resistance of wood structural panel sheathed walls, refer to APA Technical Topics: Wind Resistance of Wood Structural Panel Sheathed Walls, Form TT-110. This publication provides comprehensive information on the wind resistance of light-framed walls sheathed with plywood or OSB using the methodology of the 2012 IBC, Table 2304.6.1 and the 2012 IRC, Table R602.3(3).