The average cost to frame a house ranges from $7 – $16 per square foot1 or $11,200 – $48,0003 for homes between 1,600 and 3,000 square feet. The average size of a home is 2,687 square feet as of 2019, which would have cost $5,374 – $32,2443 to frame. With increases in prices of housing materials, the cost is likely higher today.
Framing is crucial when you’re building a new house or adding something new to your existing home. Because projects vary by size, complexity, materials used and other factors, it’s difficult to estimate the cost to frame a house. But by educating yourself on the different cost factors, you can get an idea of how your budget should look.
Check out our guide below to learn more about house framing costs.
Table Of Contents:
The Process Of Framing A House
House framing is the process of establishing a structural outline for your home. For a new home, this includes building stick frames for what will be its walls with empty spaces outlining windows and doors. This frame provides a foundation for your home, which will uphold your walls, doors, windows and roof. Frames are normally
House Framing Cost Per Square Foot
Your house frame is the costliest part of building a new house. The price you pay is determined by labor and materials required.
While the cost for framing a house ranges from $7 – $16 per square foot, it will vary depending on the materials needed.
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Important House Framing Cost Factors
The cost for framing a house is dependent on a number of factors. For example, if you use steel to create your frame over lumber, it’s going to be more expensive. If your house is larger, then the labor needed to construct the frame will cost more.
Here are the factors that you need to consider when estimating the cost to frame a house.
House Square Footage
The square footage of your home frame is the largest cost variable for framing a house. The larger your home, the more expensive it will be to build a frame.
Home designs with an abundance of roof lines, corners and extra slopes and valleys are going to be more expensive than a conventional home. This is because these more complex add-ons require more materials and take more time to build.
Commercial And Residential Framing Costs
Commercial framing is more expensive on average than residential framing. Commercial projects typically use steel and are more complex, while residential projects use timber and are simpler.
Since commercial projects are run on tighter deadlines with stricter regulations, workers require more skill to finish the job on time. This causes commercial projects to cost more.
Home sheathing is the protective barrier attached to your frame that strengthens insulation and provides a base for your home’s siding. Exterior sheathing increases the cost for framing your home by $2 to $8 per square foot.1 If house wraps are used to protect the sheathing, then this could cost extra.
The two materials primarily used in house framings are lumber and steel. While lumber’s price per square foot is lower and it’s easier to work with, steel is more lightweight and durable.
Cost Per Square Foot
$3 – $8
$9.50 – $11
Fasteners (nails, screws, etc.)
While the costs of framing basements and garages are on the lower end, ceilings and roofs are costlier.
Basement Framing Costs
Framing for basement walls in established homes run on the inexpensive side at about $5 per square foot.1 Basements aren’t load bearing and don’t require much planning, which lowers labor costs.
Roof Framing Costs
Proper framing is crucial to avoiding future roof leaks. Depending on the complexity of the project, roof framing can cost $6 – $9 per square foot.1 Extra valleys, slopes and angles result in higher costs.
One way to avoid the costs of roof framing is to use prebuilt trusses. Roof trusses require less labor to install and provide more support than traditional stick frames.
Garage Framing Costs
Attached and detached garages range from $4 – $5 per square foot and are one of the most simple and inexpensive projects to construct.1
Wall And Ceiling Reframing
Framing projects for ceilings and walls cost $7 – $12 per square foot.1 Adding walls to an existing house can cause complications that increase your labor costs. The carpenter might also have to worry about cleanup of debris and working in a tighter space.
Here are some tips to consider before selecting a carpenter:
Check Their Experience
Make sure that your carpenter’s past experience aligns with your project. For example, if your carpenter has never constructed a steel frame and your project relies on steel, you should look elsewhere. Ideally, you want a carpenter who has a strong reputation with more than 5 years of experience.
Ask For An Estimate
After you’ve vetted a list of reputable carpenters, provide them with your building plans and ask for an estimate. Ask each carpenter to outline the cost of their labor, their profit margins, materials and any other expenses. If necessary, use your estimates to negotiate a better price with your carpenter of choice.
Local carpenters will be more familiar with your area’s building codes and are easier to contact if future problems arise. Since they’re in your community, it should be easy to reach them and they’ll likely take more care with their work to maintain their reputation in your area.
Don’t Pay Upfront
If your carpenter asks you to pay more than half of your project’s cost upfront, that’s a red flag. While a down payment of 10% – 25% isn’t uncommon, you shouldn’t pay the complete price until your project is done.
Get It In Writing
Have your carpenter write up a contract that outlines each aspect of your project. This should include proof of liability insurance, a payment schedule, materials to be used and a start and completion date.
Take Your Time
It’s important to take your time to compare estimates, decide on a carpenter and read the contract from top to bottom before you sign.
How Much Does Lumber Cost Per Square Foot?
Lumber costs range from $3 – $8 per square foot. This means that the cost for lumber for framing a 2,000-square-foot house could cost $6,000 – $16,000.
How Much Does It Cost To Frame A 2000-Square-Foot House?
The average cost for framing a 2,000-square-foot home will range from $14,000 – $32,000.1, 3 If you add sheathing to the frame it will cost you an additional $4,000 – $16,000.1, 3
The cost to frame a house fluctuates depending on the materials used, add-ons and the size and complexity of your project. Before you choose a carpenter, make sure to take your time to research their background and secure multiple estimates.
If you’re building a new home, don’t forget to choose the right homeowners insurance for you. If you’re framing additions to sell your home at a higher price, check out our home buyer’s guide to help you find a new living space.
2 National Association of Home Builders
3 Manual calculations based on square footage multiplied by the typical cost to frame a home ($7 – $16 per square foot) or the cost to sheath a home ($2 – $8 per square foot)