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How Much Does It Cost to Frame a House In 2024?

house construction

There are few things as exciting as committing to building a custom home. Designing and building a house is a rewarding experience that provides a lot of freedom and ability to customize to your liking. The first major step in building a custom home is framing. House framing must be completed before any windows or doors go in, before the roof gets finished, before the siding goes on, or before any of the interior details get started. Framing a house is a critical step that can take a lot of time to complete. So how much does it cost to frame a house today?

The cost to frame a house can vary wildly based on a number of factors. The cost can run anywhere from $5,000 to $50,000. Here is how much it costs to frame a house this year and what you can expect.

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House Framing Costs

Framing is one of the first steps to building any house from scratch. Once the site is prepped and the foundation is laid, it is time to frame. House framing makes up all of the structural bones of the house. It includes walls, the roof, doorways, and window openings. The frame of the house has to go up before any other work is started on finishing the house. If you are building a custom home, framing is the first critical step to finishing the job. Framing requires a lot of materials, a lot of labor, and a lot of expertise to complete.

housebuilding construction site
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Labor Costs

Labor is one of the most expensive parts of any job. Framing a house can take weeks of work with a crew of multiple people. That is a lot of man hours that have to be billed out over the course of the job. Labor costs for house framing range between $4 and $10 per square foot. That boils down to $15 to $30 per hour, per person. Normally, the exact hourly labor costs are rolled into a final bid by a framing crew that you will not have to deal with, but it is good to know how much people are making when they are working for you.

Experienced framing crews can charge as much as $30 to $40 per hour for good labor. Experienced crews might cost more money in labor, but they can also finish jobs faster and more efficiently than less experienced crews.

Labor Costs

Low Average High
Cost Per Sq. ft. $4 $7 $10
Cost Per Hour $15 $20 $30+
carpenter cutting wood
Image Credit: PICADORPICTURES, Shutterstock

Material Costs

Material costs for house framing range from $1 per square foot to $5 per square foot. The cost to frame a house in lumber or steel is comparable with each type having the same average cost. Wood framing can be a little cheaper or a little more expensive than steel depending on the market. The lumber market is a volatile commodities market that sees big swings in prices month to month and year to year. That means if you frame during a down period, you could get a super good deal on wood materials. However, if you frame during a high market you can end up paying a lot more.

The steel market is less volatile than the lumber market. Prices for steel framing material also fluctuate, but usually not as much as the lumber market.

Material Cost Per Square Foot

Low Average High
Wood Framing $1 $3 $5
Steel Framing $2 $3 $4

Total Cost Per Square Foot

Putting everything together the cost to frame a house runs between $7 and $16 per square foot. That makes the average cost to frame a house, including labor and materials, $22,700. The average home size in the United States as of 2021 is 2,273 square feet. The larger the home, the more money it will cost to fully frame. Using the high-end costs with a large house can yield results as much as $60,000. Small houses in rural areas with cheaper costs can be as little as $10,000 or less. There is a very wide range of price outcomes depending on the cost of materials, cost of labor, and the size of the house.

house floor trusses and joists
Image Credit: ungvar, Shutterstock

Total Cost to Frame a House

Low Average High
Full House Framing $7 $10 $16

Additional Costs

Changes

One of the biggest sources of additional costs is changes. Changes happen all of the time on the job, but they often require more time and money to resolve. Changes can arise from material shortages, timeframe alterations, or unforeseen problems that arise during work. Change orders often require trip fees and more materials to complete. Changes can be related to code or inspection issues that crop up during construction or they can happen due to homeowners changing their minds about a design feature or layout.

The more things you change during a framing job, the more money it will cost you. It is best to try to get everything as settled as possible before starting a job. Also set aside some additional funds for unforeseen changes that are likely to materialize.

shed construction
Image Credit: Piqsels

Complex Floor Plans

Complicated floor plans will cost more money to frame than simple houses. Boxes are easier to frame than something with multiple walls, eaves, dormers, and other architectural features. Homes with a lot of interior walls or staircases will require more time and material to frame than simple houses with open concepts or single-story houses. The larger and more complicated the house, the longer it will take and the more materials that will be required.

Windows

Window openings are specialized areas of a house that require additional attention. Window openings need to be framed to specific sizes and often need additional material for headers that make them more expensive than a section with no window openings. The more windows a house has, the more money the framing will cost. Keep that in mind when designing a house, especially if you are on a budget. Larger or specialty window openings like bay windows will require additional materials, expertise, and time to complete.

Replacement Framing

Replacement framing is generally more expensive than new construction. Replacement jobs require additional work to ensure that everything meets code. Replacement framing can also include repairs or demolition that need to be completed during the course of the job. Repair work and demolition can add additional charges or days to the final cost of the job.

New construction might sound like it would be cheaper but things like reframing an ailing garage or adding an addition can actually cost more than framing for new construction.

female construction worker
Image Credit: Halfpoint, Shutterstock

Weather Issues

One of the most frustrating additional costs can be related to weather. People can’t control the weather, but bad weather can delay a job and ruin product. Rainy weather and exceptionally hot or cold weather can keep framers off the job site. Inclement weather like thunderstorms, tropical systems, or snowstorms can damage product on the ground by blowing it around, freezing it, or soaking it in water. These problems can lead to additional labor costs or having to buy replacement materials. All of that can run up the bill, especially if the weather is severe or if you run into a long stretch of rainy weather.

How Long Does It Take to Frame a House?

The time it takes to frame a house will depend on a number of factors, including the size of the house, the complexity of the layout, the skill of the framers, and the weather during the framing. The result is that houses can take anywhere from three to twelve weeks to finish being framed. The average time to frame a house is usually five to seven weeks. Typically, the longer a job takes, the more money it will cost. The longer a job takes to reach completion the higher the labor cost and the more chances there are for something to go wrong or hit a snag.

carpenter drilling wood at construction site
Image Credit: Tyler Olson, Shutterstock

Tips for Getting a Good Deal

The best tip for getting a good deal on a house framing job is to get multiple bids. Before embarking on a large project like building a house, you should get a variety of bids. Three is the minimum number of bids you should get, but five is probably a better number. House framing is extremely important and is the foundation of any home build. Getting a quality crew and a fair price is important to starting and eventually finishing a home build.

You should also take time to look over each bid. If you did not receive an itemized bid, you should ask for one. Compare prices on labor and materials to see if anything looks overly low or overly high.

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Conclusion

Framing a house might sound stressful and expensive but it is required in order to build a house. Houses get framed every single day, sometimes by the thousands. It is a routine job, but it takes time, money, and labor to complete. Finishing a framing job in the proper manner will set you up for success for the rest of your home build but it is likely going to cost thousands of dollars to get right.


Featured Image Credit: FOTOGRIN, Shutterstock

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