How much does it cost to frame a house?
The national average cost of framing a house is between $3,500-$35,000, depending on the size. House framing costs are generally priced by the square foot, and your total price will depend on the house's floor plan, site elevation, design of the home and regional material and labor costs.
To make sure you get this crucial step right when building a new house or addition, don't sacrifice quality for costs by neglecting to hire a qualified framing professional. But first, get an idea of how much it will cost to frame a house by reading this guide.
What's in this cost guide?
To help you better estimate your costs, here are some examples of project price breakdowns from a Thumbtack pro:
|Expense||Cost per square foot|
|Hardware (nails, hangers for the trusses, Simpson connections, etc.)||$4|
|Lumber only||$5-$10, depending on the type of wood|
|Labor and lumber||$9-$21, depending on the type of wood|
In another example, the pro worked with a customer to build the frame of a custom 5,000-square-foot home with 14-foot ceilings with arches and arched windows. The homeowner provided materials for the job. The pro included the labor costs, hardware and a crane to set the roof trusses in their overall price. Overall, the project cost $35,000 (or $7 per square foot). The job took four weeks with a six-person work crew.
Your frame is the most expensive part of building a new home. House size and complexity dictates the cost of your frame — the larger and more complex the house, the more materials and the time your construction crew will need.
But framing costs aren't estimated on square foot alone. According to Luis Ceballos of L.C.L. Construction in Phoenix, Arizona, the price per square foot to frame a house will also be impacted by:
- Floor plans and home design: The size and complexity of your design will have the biggest impact on your cost per square foot.
- Specialty details: If you include soffits, high ceilings, and tall windows, your material and labor costs will go up.
- Materials and hardware: If you're using reclaimed wood or salvaged materials you already have on hand, that reduces the price per square foot. Hardware, which includes all the components required to fasten the wood together but not the wood itself, is another expense to consider.
- Type of frame: A 19th-century style timber frame home won't cost the same as an A-frame house.
Unique designs with specialized plans also increase framing costs because home-builders require more labor and expert knowledge for specialized designs than for a simple ranch-style or A-frame home. In most areas in the U.S., you will also need approved building plans and proper permits to begin construction and framing.
Framing, or the process of erecting the structural outline of a new building, is a critical step in any building construction project. This structural outline will be what holds the walls, siding, windows, doors, and roof. It's also where the plumbing and electrical wiring is concealed. The frame can be made of lumber, concrete, brick or steel, but most residential homes are built using lumber.
After you lay your house's foundation, a team of carpenters or a specialized framing team will erect the frame or structural support of the building. Framing is very precise work, so it's important to work with a general contractor or structural engineer you trust. The walls need to be perfect, and the joists need to be exactly parallel to ensure the strength and integrity of the frame. Make sure it can support your roof, walls, windows and other parts of your home.
House framing is generally included in the overall construction costs to build a new home or remodel. However, it can still be helpful to have a cost estimate of this construction step before you begin work — especially if you plan to DIY other parts of your home building or renovation project.
Homeowners working with a general contractor most likely will not need to directly hire the framers. Most general contractors work with framing crews on a regular basis and can take care of the hiring.
Homeowners acting as the project manager on a home construction should research framing companies, read reviews and make sure all details are spelled out clearly on contracts — including labor and materials warranties — before moving forward. It's important to have building plans drawn and approved well in advance so that permits can be pulled when needed, either by the framers or by the homeowner.
Last but not least, homeowners should specify whether they will provide the lumber and materials for framing or expect the framer to obtain them.
Find framing contractors near you
To make sure you get this crucial step right when building a new house or addition, you'll want to hire the right carpenter. Search for a general contractor or framer in your zip code on Thumbtack.