One of the critical components of home building is framing. This element provides the backbone and structure that creates the shape, strength, and structure of the home. So you are wondering, how much does it cost to frame a home? And what is the best way to hire a framer? Well, you have come to the right place! Here, we review the price to frame a 1,500 to 1,800 square foot home using research and experience.
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Framing for a home costs between $6 and $24 per square foot. Which calculates to a range of $9,000 to $43,200 for homes between 1,500 and 1,800 square feet. The main influences of cost are:
- Local Building Codes
- Local Market Prices
Keep reading the rest of this post for details on each of the above framing cost considerations. We also include a how-to guide on choosing a framer for your home. To conclude, we answer several related questions.
How much does it cost to frame a home?
Framing a home varies based on the lumber, hardware, and labor put into the framing. Also, local prices and local building codes influence the final cost. In the following sub-sections, we will explore the cost considerations for each of these topics.
Depending on the source, framing lumber or rarely, steel ranges between $4 and $10 per square foot of the finished home. As this article is being written, in the spring of 2021, lumber prices are at an all-time high. This means that currently, expect to pay on the high end of the estimated lumber cost.
The price varies based on the exact type of wood used, the thickness of the sheeting, the number of high-cost items such as beams, the height of the ceiling, and more. Generally, it is cheaper to buy lumber in bulk, so very large homes enjoy a lower price per square foot for framing lumber.
Hardware for framing includes nails, hurricane clips, and other metal fixtures that connect different aspects of the framing. Generally, hardware costs about $4 per square foot to frame a home. This means that you can expect to pay about $6,800 on hardware for a 1,500 to 1,800 square foot home.
Of all the costs described in this section, labor is the most variable. Local labor laws and rates impart a strong influence on the hourly wage paid for framers. Generally, labor runs between $5 to $10 per square foot for framing.
Since city wages are much higher than in rural areas, except to pay on the high end of this range for urban areas. Also, when it comes to labor, you get what you pay for. The more you pay for your framing, the more likely the contractor and employees will take the time to ensure a quality finished product.
If there is one area to not skimp on, it is labor. The men and women who are framing your home are responsible for building a structure to house you and your family that will last generations. When you spread the cost of labor out per year, the price starts to seem very reasonable. A well-framed home leads to a neat finished product that will look better and last longer.
Local Building Codes
Different jurisdictions (cities, counties, states, etc.) have different building codes. While these codes share a lot of similarities from place to place, there are minor differences. These differences sometimes impact the cost of the framing. Thus, do not be surprised if your contractor or builder explains an additional cost due to the local building code.
Local Market Prices
This factor is included because local market prices are always in flux. The price at the material store is not consistent from town to town or state to state. Do not be surprised if your contractor gets you deals on certain items but also has to pay more than you expect for other items.
How to find a framing contractor?
The task of finding a framing contractor is usually handled by your builder or general contractor. They have a knowledge of local framers and framing laborers and oversee the process of hiring the framer and the framing itself. However, sometimes you might want to hire a framer on your own.
The first step is to reach out to the framing contractor for bids. It is wise to talk to as many contractors as possible to get an idea of what services are available. It is recommended that you get at least three to five bids. The contractors will meet with you, look over the plans, and come up with a price for framing the home.
Keep notes during the meetings and do your research afterward; this is not a decision to make lightly. Look at the following when considering which contractor to choose: cost, experience, rating, personal compatibility, and availability.
Given the high cost of framing, the price of your framing contractor is perhaps the first order of criteria. Do not choose a framing contractor who will charge more than you can afford. However, the cheaper bids usually come with a lower quality finished product. Weigh the price against the desired finished product quality to choose the right contractor.
During your contractor meeting, the contractors will ask whether you want a cost-plus or a bid price. Framing is generally a cut and dried project, where builders just build to specifications from a plan. Because of this, framing is generally a bid price aspect of building a home. However, if you are unsure of your framing specifics, cost-plus is a good option.
All framers will tell you they have tons of experience. Usually, this is even true. However, take the time to ask for pictures and references to ensure that a framer really has the experience they advertise. An experienced framing outfit will usually charge a little more, but this means they are more likely to produce a high-end finishes product.
A newer framer can still produce a very well-framed home. Use your judgment of the framer as a person to sess out whether they will actually do a good job. Ask follow-up questions or even ask for references from other jobs they have worked. You can usually understand a person's work ethic through just a little digging.
Many framers are on rating apps such as Angie's List. It is worth reviewing these sites to see what other customers' experiences have been. However, a few bad reviews do not mean that the builder will actually do a poor job. Take the time to look at reviews and maybe ask them to explain the bad reviews to help with your decision.
As with any employee or contract worker, some people get along, and others do not. If there is a framer that you really just do not like or who rubs you or your partner the wrong way, it might not be worth hiring them, even at a reduced cost. The additional headache caused by incompatible personalities can lead to increased project costs.
Unfortunately, sometimes the best framer for the job just does not have time in their schedule to meet your needs. Understand that it might be necessary to go with a second or third choice to ensure that your home gets built according to your desired timeline.
How much does it cost to frame a 2,000 sq ft house?
A 2,000 sq foot house costs between $20,000 and $3o,000 to frame. This cost varies based on the many factors discussed above. To get a good idea of what framing will cost in your area, reach out to a few framing contractors with your plans to get a bid. The bid process is usually free.
How do you estimate framing?
Estimating framing involves taking total wall length, the number of corners, and the number of windows/doors into account. There are consistent requirements for top plates, bottom plates, a stud every 16-inches, several studs per corner (different for inside and outside corners), and header material over all doors and windows. Using this information and past labor costs, an estimate can easily be reached.
As described above, a wall with windows costs more than a wall without windows, not even considering the cost of windows! To get a better idea of what the windows themselves cost, read this great article, "How Much Does A Living Room Window Cost?"
How much do framers cost per hour?
Framing laborers make between $15 and $40 dollars per hour. However, this rate changes significantly based on their role on the framing crew, their number of years as a framer, and the local rate for laboring tradesmen. It is not uncommon for framers in cities to make upwards of $50 per hour.