If you’re planning on adding an addition or extension to your home or building a house, you’ll need to know roughly how much it costs to frame a house. The project will go forward using stages, and each stage has a cost and timeframe associated with it. After you plan and draw out your new home or addition, the first major step is framing it. This stage allows you to see how your space is slowly taking shape.
Framing is the phase where the crew builds the structure of your home or addition. It’s a rough construction that forms a base the rest of the construction will take place on, so it’s essential that you know the cost to frame a house since you need a solid foundation. Framing is always necessary, and it doesn’t matter what material you choose, the shape or size of the space, or what it’ll look like at the end. However, these are the different factors that will play into your final cost to frame a house.
On average, you’ll pay right around $3,600 for a rough framing job. Depending on your project size, the cost to frame a house can fluctuate from $1,400 to $6,000 from start to finish. Adding something like a basement or garage to your home will be much less expensive than building an entire house from scratch. For materials and labor, the cost to frame a house hovers between $7.00 and $16.00 per square foot. This works out to around 18% of your new home’s construction costs. If you’re adding an addition to your home, you’ll pay between $1,800 and $3,500 for a 200-square foot structure. The average is $2,500 for addition framing.
If you’re considering adding an addition to your home or building a new house, this guide will walk you through the biggest costs to frame a house. It can be very challenging to predict your installation costs, but knowing the general considerations and ranges will give you a strong starting point. You also want to understand the framing basics to get a better idea of the cost to frame a house.
Getting a base estimate for the cost to frame a house will help you build a budget before you start this project to ensure you have enough money set aside to finish it. Framing by Chad Johnston / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
Understanding the Importance of Your Home’s Frame
Since the frame makes up around 18% of your project cost, you may make the mistake and assume that it’s not as important as other parts like picking out your finishing materials. However, this frame is one of the most important parts of your home, and this is why getting a rough cost to frame a house from professionals is so essential.
The frame is the initial structure of your home. Think of the frame as the house’s skeleton that you build the rest of your house on. Without a steel, wooden, or insulated concrete block frame, your house would lack the support system to build on. So, making sure your frame is in excellent condition and properly erected will ensure that the rest of your project goes smoothly. In turn, this can help lower your overall costs to frame a house and the rest of the project costs to keep you inside your budget. You may even free up some money to add a patio or hot tub enclosure to your yard.
The type of framing material and the location will determine your framing process. If you want a wood frame, you’ll typically have to pour a foundation, put up your skeleton walls, and frame out your doors and windows. Some framers will take this time to frame out the load-bearing trusses and the roof. When you get to interior framing, your contractor will put up skeletons for your walls. They won’t go back and finish them until they complete the electrical and plumbing work.
Some framers may choose to put up the final outdoor walls and roof. They may also install the house wrap and put in any exterior insulation at this point. They won’t do any further work inside your home or addition. If they use steel instead of wood, they follow a similar process that can take longer. They also perform less finish work outside.
You’ll typically use ICF blocks for the exterior walls of your addition or house. So, this can drive the cost to frame a house up because they’ll do the interior framing separately using lumber. They finish the exterior walls without the siding. Once they erect the walls, they consider the frame finished.
Labor Costs for Framing a House
Labor will play into the cost to frame a house. If you want a lumber-based frame, you’ll spend between $5.00 adn $10.00 per square foot in labor alone. The labor costs for steel are higher at $10.00 to $15.00 a square foot, and ICF labor prices start at $5.00 and go up to $11.00 per square foot.
These costs to frame a house involve building the home’s exterior and interior walls. It also includes any minor exterior finishing steps they do like installing your house wrap. The labor costs start at $800 and go up to $2,000 for a 200-square foot project. Most people will pay a grand total of $950 for labor out of the total $2,500 cost to frame their house.
Your labor costs will play a major factor in your total price, but you shouldn’t try to do it by yourself unless you’re 100% sure you know what you’re doing. Having a professional come in and fix your mistakes will be even more expensive. Frame by Paul VanDerWerf / CC BY 2.0
Cost to Frame a House by Area or Step
On average, you can expect to pay between $4.00 and $10.00 per square foot for labor costs. For materials, you’ll pay between $3.00 and $6.00 per square foot. Depending on your specific project, it’ll have a range of unique considerations that will determine your final cost to frame a house.
If you want to frame basement walls in an already established home, this will also help to keep your costs to frame a house low because it’s on the lower end of the spectrum. These new framed areas aren’t load-bearing, so they don’t require a lot of planning or have much complexity to worry about. For these reasons, it costs around $5.00 per square foot to frame a basement.
The final cost to frame a house will depend on whether or not you’re adding an addition or framing an entire house. Any framing costs will have a large price range based on the products you choose, your material grade, as well as your design details. Framing a simple box with no inserts or bump-outs is far cheaper than a space with complicated angles that require you to frame them specially.
For example, if you only want to frame a 500-square foot addition, you can expect to pay between $3,500 and $8,000 to complete it. To frame an entire house and complete the project, it would run between $30,000 and $100,000. You may have to hire a structural engineer or architect to decide where your most stable placement is for your home or addition.
Garages – Attached or Detached
If you want to build a garage yourself, this is usually one of the most simple structures to create. So, it helps keep your cost to frame a house total low. You typically spend an average of $4.00 to $5.00 per square foot to frame in your garage, and this falls right to the low end of the framing range.
Sheathing and Wrap
Adding a sheathing and wrap to the outside of the house is popular because it can add a needed structural element to your home. Per square foot, you’ll pay between $2.00 and $8.00 for the sheathing. For the wrap, this will help form a weather-resistant barrier to help seal moisture out. Popular brands include Tyvek or Typar, and it will cost between $0.50 and $1.00 for each square foot.
Reframing Rates for Ceilings, Interiors, and Walls
Reframing rates for interior wall projects fall between $1,800 and $1,900. Interior ceilings and walls typically run between $7.00 and $12.00 per square foot. Interior walls also come with unique challenges that can impact your cost to frame a house. This is especially true when it comes to adding them to your already established house. There is usually far less room to work overall, and the contractors have to take great care to ensure debris and dust don’t get everywhere because the homeowner typically lives on-site during this process.
Cost to Frame in a New 2,000-Square Foot House
On average, the cost to frame a house in regards to a 2,000-square foot structure will run between $14,000 and $32,000 for the frame alone. If you want to add wrap and sheathing, you’ll add $4,000 to $16,000 to the total cost. However, this is only a small fraction of the average cost to build a home at $310,000. If you have a two-story home, you’ll typically pay around $3.00 more per square foot than you did on the first floor because it’s much more involved and complicated.
Roof Framing Prices
You’ll have to frame in your roof, and this can also inflate your cost to frame a house. However, roof framing costs will stay around the same as you’d pay to frame in the rest of the house. This falls between $6.00 and $9.00 per square foot. If you opt to have a more simple roof design with minimal hips or valley and no dormers, it’ll be more toward the $6.00 a square foot. If you have lots of angle changes or dormers with a complex design, it’ll be closer to the $9.00 a square foot. If you want to avoid rafters and keep your cost to frame a house lower, consider using premade roof trusses.
It could be well worth it to opt for premade roof trusses than building them as you work on your project. They’ll usually cut down on your labor costs, and they can be much quicker to install than the more traditional options. Karina 09’0816 – 113 by karen / CC BY-NC 2.0
Per truss, you’ll pay between $35.00 and $150. The length of the truss will dictate the overall cost. For labor and equipment costs on a standard 2,000-square foot structure, you’ll pay between $7,000 and $12,000. Roof trusses can be between 10-feet and 36-feet long, and they are pre-made roof framing pieces. They will cost more per piece than you’d pay with wooden rafters, but they take a lot less time to install, and this can save you on labor costs. They also use far less material, and they usually get installed 24-inches on center instead of the rafters’ 16-inches on center.
Replacing Roof Framing vs. New Structure Costs
It’s usually more cost-effective to build a new roof than it is to replace it. On average, you’ll pay $3.00 to $6.00 per square foot in materials and up to $20.00 an hour for labor costs. If you want to replace your old roof frame, you’ll have to add demolition costs into your final cost to frame a house. This works out to an additional $4.00 to $15.00 per square foot. If you use roof trusses, this will help get rid of the labor costs.
Cost to Change a Flat Roof to a Pitched Roof
If you want to take a flat roof that has a rooftop garden on it and change it into a pitched roof, you’re framing in a new roof. This can add to your cost to frame a house to the tune of $6.00 to $9.00 per square foot. If you get a detailed estimate from a roofing company, it should include the hourly rates. These rates are typically higher to take on this project when you consider the material prices, equipment needed, and the job complexity.
Important Frame Building Points to Consider
How often you change your initial plans and the project’s complexity will only add to your total cost to frame a house. It’s essential that you have a professional draw up and sign a contract with all of the contingencies and charges that will factor into your final cost to frame a house.
Several factors play into your total costs. Generally speaking, the more complicated the project is or the more changes you make, the more expensive your final price tag will be. Karina 09’0617 – 4 by karen / CC BY-NC 2.0
Maybe the framing process already started but you decide that you want to make changes to the original plan. This will increase your cost to frame a house. Each project will have specific variables, and this is why it’s so hard to give you a solid estimate on your cost to frame a house. Small changes like adding a door, adding loads to your second floor, or swapping a window’s location will impact the cost to frame a house. If it’s possible, try to keep your changes to a minimum.
Complexity and Project Size
A lot of the contractors you hire will charge anywhere from $4.00 to $10.00 per square foot to frame in your home or addition. The more complex or detailed your plans are, the more you should budget for the cost to frame a house. Every intersecting wall you have will need more studs, and this boosts your material needs. More valleys or slopes will make your material and time needs go up. The price will depend on the complexity.
Most contractors estimate a project based on square footage, so size matters when you’re figuring out your cost to frame a house. However, it’s far less important than project complexity. If you have a very simple 3,000-square foot home with minimal frills, the cost to frame a home would be around $12,000 at $4.00 per square foot. IF you have a two-story, 2,000-square foot home that is more complex, it could cost around $18,000 to finish because your costs per square foot is around $9.00.
In the design process, you make the frame to accommodate any doors or windows you want to have in your finished product. Some framers will install the windows themselves when they frame in the house, but some don’t. So, be sure to ask when they give you an estimate. For a set of three wooden-framed windows, you’ll pay around $1,230 each.
Commercial vs. Residential Framing Costs
Maybe your next project is to frame in a commercial building instead of a residential one. If so, the cost range is slightly higher per square foot, and it ranges between $12.00 and $40.00. However, these prices will include labor, insulation, and installation. Also, a lot of commercial framing will use steel instead of wood, and this can make the project more time-consuming to increase the overall labor costs.
DIY vs. Hiring a Contractor
You should consider hiring a contractor to perform this project, even if it does drive your total cost to frame a house up. There are so many things that could go wrong during the process, and a small mistake can have a huge impact on how stable and sturdy your final home is. Since this is the foundation of your house, it is worth it to pay out a little more upfront.
If you choose to do it yourself, make sure that you know exactly what you’re doing. You will also have to invest in a host of tools if you don’t have them to complete the project. If you run into any problems, you could find yourself scrambling to fix it, or you could pay more to have a professional come in, fix the issue, and pick up where you left off.
Where to Find House Framing Contractors
Frequently Asked Questions
Understanding which questions to ask when you look at estimates will help you nail down a more solid price point. Get a few estimates and go with whichever company makes the most sense for your situation. Master Bedroom by chaim zvi / CC BY-NC 2.0
1. How much do house framers typically make?
The average hourly rate for house framers is $20.00, but this can vary by location and range from $12.00 to $30.00 per hour. Many contractors also usually get benefits like retirement contributions and health insurance. Tools and supplies, travel, insurance, marketing, and overhead must also factor into their costs per hour, so it can vary from company to company.
2. Is it cheaper to use steel framing instead of wood?
No. Metal framing is more expensive than wood, so you can expect to pay between $14.00 and $36.00 a square foot for metal framing. Wooden framing will cost between $9.00 and $18.00 a square foot, and this is why it’s so popular for helping keep your cost to frame a house low. Commercial buildings usually have metal framing for durability, but the structures are usually much larger too.
3. How many estimates should you get before you pick a contractor?
If you decide to hire a contractor to perform your framing project, you want to get a few estimates before you settle on one company. At the very least, you should get three different estimates. Make sure any estimates you get include labor and material costs.
4. What is the most common type of framing for residential structures?
Most contractors will use platform framing. You may know it as stick framing. This is the most common framing in today’s residential construction. The contractor will create a frame for your house using uniform-sized lumber. They’ll typically space two by fours at even increments around the outside of your structure to get the rough frame in place. This also works for building porches, decks, or patios to ensure you get a stable, sturdy, and even foundation to build on.
5. What are the best wood types for framing?
A lot of contractors choose to use softwood for their framing needs because they grow faster and they also have a much straighter grain on them than other types. Popular softwoods include spruce, pine, cedar, and fir. They also use these types of wood in outdoor projects and general construction.
The cost to frame a house will vary depending on several factors. This is what makes it so difficult to give you an exact estimate. However, this guide will outline the most important things you have to consider if you’re gearing up to take on this project at your own home. We invite you to take a look, make note of the considerations, and apply them to your situation to see what a rough estimate would be for your costs to frame a house and whether or not you can feasible afford it going forward.
Jen is a master gardener, interior designer and home improvement expert. She has completed many home improvement, decor and remodeling projects with her family over the past 10 years on their 4,500 sf Victorian house. She is also a passionate farmer who keeps goats, chickens, turkeys cows and pigs on her farm, and an instructor for her community’s Organic and Sustainable Farming project.