The national average cost of framing a house is between $3,500 and $35,000, depending on the size. House framing costs are generally priced by 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.
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.
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. To make sure you get this crucial step right when building a new house or addition, you won't want to sacrifice quality for costs by neglecting to hire a qualified framing professional. Get an estimate of how much it will cost to frame a house with this guide.
What's in this cost guide?
- What is framing?
- Price per square foot to frame a house
- Tips for hiring a carpenter
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 what 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 perfectly plumb, and the joists need to be exactly parallel to ensure the strength and integrity of the frame, and make sure it can support your roof, walls, windows, and other parts of your home.
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 had, 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 a A-frame house.
To help you better estimate your costs, here are some examples 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|
Example project: Custom 5,000-square-foot home
- Total cost: $35,000
- Cost per square foot: $7
For example, this 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. The job took four weeks with a 6-person work crew.
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 clearly whether they will provide the lumber and materials for framing or expect the framer to obtain them.
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.