Anatomy of a House

Before you start a do-it-yourself carpentry project you should familiarize yourself with a few basic elements of home construction and remodeling. Take some time, before you begin, to gel comfortable with the terminology of the models shown on the next few pages The understanding you will gam in this sectson will make it easier to plan your project, buy the right materials, and clear up any confusion you might have about the internal design of your home.

If your project includes modifying exterior or load-bearing walls, you must determine if your house was built using platform- o< balloon-style framing The framing styte of your home determines what kind of temporary supports you will need to install while the work is in progress. If you have trouble determining what type of framing was used in your home, refer to the original blueprints, if you have them or consult a building contractor or licensed home inspector

Anatomy of a House With Platform Framing

Framing Houses Carpentry

Platform framing :pho*os, left and above) is t f»ed by the floor-level see plates and ceiling-level top plates to which the wall studs are attached. Most houses built after 1930 use platform framing If you do not have access to unfinished areas, you can remove the wail surface at the bottom of a wall to determine what kind of framing was used in your home

Framing in a new door or window on an exterior wall normally requires installing a header Make sure that the header you install meets the requirements of your local building code, and always install cripple studs where necessary.

Floors and ceilings consist of sheet materials. joists. and support beams. All floors used as living areas must have joists with at least 2x8 construction. For modification of smaller joists see page 106

There are two types of walls: load-bearing and partition. Load-bearing walls require temporary supports during wall removal or framing of a door or window. Partition walls carry no structural load and do not require temporary supports For more information on determining types of walls, see page 107

Anatomy of a House With Balloon framing

Anatomy House

Balloon framing (ohotos, right and above) is »centi fiGd by wail studs that run uninterrupted from the roof to a sill plate on the foundation without the sole plates and top plates found m platform-framed wal& (page opposite) Balloon framing was used in houses bu<lt before 1930. and is still used in some new nome styles, especially those witn high vaulted ce-lings

Central Plate Door

Door opening: The structural load above the door is carried by cripple studs that rest on a header. The ends of the header are supported by jack studs, (also known as trimmer studs) and king studs that transfer the load to the "sole plate" and the foundation of the house. The rough opening for a door should be 1 ' wider and Jf taller than the dimensions of the door unit, includ-ingthejambs This extra space lets you adjust the door unit during installation.

Carpentry Power Machine

-Top plate

Sole plate

-Top plate


Sole plate


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Wood Working 101

Wood Working 101

Have you ever wanted to begin woodworking at home? Woodworking can be a fun, yet dangerous experience if not performed properly. In The Art of Woodworking Beginners Guide, we will show you how to choose everything from saws to hand tools and how to use them properly to avoid ending up in the ER.

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