Vous êtes sur la page 1sur 258



Graphic Guide To

Now in its third edition, this visual handbook

for wood-frame construction delivers completely
updated information about the latest materials,
building methods, and code revisions. Over 50

Graphic Guide To
new and revised drawings cover energy-efficient

construction, advanced framing, designs for high
wind and earthquake zones, and installation details
for new building materials. Whether you’re setting
a foundation, erecting a partition wall, or flashing a
window, you’ll find the visual explanation here.
Rob Thallon

Frame Construction
With more than 500 comprehensive Major detail categories include:
drawings and concise explanations n Footings and Foundations

to go with them, this professional- n Beams, Joists, Girders, and Subflooring

grade guide unpacks the details n Wall Framing, Bracing, and Sheathing

and requirements for frame n Roof Framing, Sheathing, and Flashing

construction from start to finish. n Exterior and Interior Stairs, and Railings

Look for other Taunton Press books About the author

wherever books are sold or visit our website
Rob Thallon has been designing and building wood-frame structures for over
at www.taunton.com
40 years. A practicing architect with his own firm, Thallon is also an associate
The Taunton Press professor of architecture at the University of Oregon. He has written two other
63 South Main Street, P.O. Box 5507 Taunton
Graphic Guides—to site construction and interior details—which provide the
Newtown, CT 06470-5507
www.taunton.com details that today’s designers and builders need to get the job done right.

Visit www.finehomebuilding.com for the most

trusted building information online and to learn
US $24.95

about Fine Homebuilding magazine and other
ISBN 978-1-60085-023-3
home-building products from The Taunton Press.

9 781600 850233

Pp Taunton Product #071226 3rd Edition Revised and Updated

graphic guide to

graphic guide to

rob thallon

third edition, revised and updated

Text © 2008 by Rob Thallon
Illustrations © 2008 by The Taunton Press, Inc.

All rights reserved.

The Taunton Press, Inc., 63 South Main Street, PO Box 5506, Newtown, CT 06470-5506
e-mail: tp@taunton.com

Editor: Peter Chapman

Copy editor: Karen Fraley
Indexer: James Curtis
Jacket/Cover design: Susan Fazekas
Interior design and layout: Susan Fazekas
Illustrators: Illustrations 6B (right), 23C, 25C, 33D, 44A–D, 45B, 61 (top left), 62B-D, 74, 75A & B, 76A, C & D, 82, 83, 84, 85A & B,
86A–D, 87A–D, 94B (top and center), 106B, 119, 120 (top right), 122–125, 152A & D, 153C, 157B (right), 160, 161A–D, 198, 199A–D,
204A & B, 205C, 215B & C rendered by Anthony Baron. Illustrations 6B (bottom, second and fourth from left), 23C (bottom left), 27A
& B (right), 28A, 30 (left column, second, third, and fourth), 31, 37 (left center), 44C, 53B & C, 54B & C, 55B, 69A, 70A, 71B & D, 72C,
81A & B, 89B (bottom), 96 (bottom right), 100C, 110A & B, 118, 128A, 142B–D, 153B & C, 154A–C, 155A, 159C & D, 161B, 162, 198A,
201A rendered by Vinicent Babak. All other illustrations rendered by Scott Wolf.

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

Thallon, Rob.
Graphic guide to frame construction / Rob Thallon. -- 3rd ed., rev. and updated.
p. cm.
Includes index.
ISBN 978-1-60085-023-3
1. Wooden-frame buildings--Design and construction. 2. Wooden-frame buildings--Drawings. 3. Framing (Building) 4. House framing.
I. Title.
TH1101.T48 2009

Printed in the United States of America

10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1

Homebuilding is inherently dangerous. Using hand or power tools improperly or ignoring safety practices can lead to permanent injury or
even death. Don’t try to perform operations you learn about here (or elsewhere) unless you’re certain they are safe for you. If something
about an operation doesn’t feel right, don’t do it. Look for another way. We want you to enjoy building, so please keep safety foremost in
your mind whenever you’re working.
To Dee

his book has been enriched immeasurably by understanding; Dee Etwiler, my wife, for her research
the contributions of professional architects, assistance, her loving support, and her patience; Lloyd
contractors, and engineers throughout Kahn, for inspiration and support for this project long
the country. The first edition was reviewed in its before it was realized; Chuck Miller, for listening to
entirety by the following architects and builders: my ideas and suggesting the project to the publishers
Edward Allen, South Natick, MA; Judith Capen, in the first place; Don Peting, for valuable assistance in
Washington, DC; Steve Kearns, Ketchum, ID; Scott articulating my thoughts about structural relationships
McBride, Sperryville, VA; Jud Peake, Oakland, in early chapters; Scott Wolf, for insightful assistance
CA; Dan Rockhill, LeCompton, KS; Joel Schwartz, with the format and for putting as much energy into
Princeton, NJ; Stephen Suddarth, Miami Beach, rendering the original drawings as humanly possible.
FL; Blaine Young, Santa Fe, NM. And for the second edition, I remain grateful to:
In addition, portions of the second edition were Steve Culpepper, for his unwavering belief in the
reviewed by: Edward Allen, South Natick, MA; John importance of the Graphic Guide series and his deft
Carmody, Minneapolis, MN; Walter Grondzik, Talla- facilitation of the second edition; Jennifer Renjilian
hassee, FL; Christine Theodoropolous, Eugene, OR. Morris, my editor, for gracious management and
This third edition was reviewed in part by the astute tuning of the writing; David McClean, my
following: Edward Allen, FAIA, South Natick, MA; assistant, for helpful suggestions about and multiple
Chris Anderson, Contractor, Eugene, OR; Chris drafts of most of the new drawings; Anthony Baron,
Brandt, P.E., Weyerhauser/iLevel; Donald Corner, for skillful rendering of the new drawings in the
Professor, University of Oregon; Tom McClain, style of the originals.
P.E., Simpson Strong-Tie; James McDonald, The production of this third edition has
Contractor, Eugene, OR; Hal Pfeifer, P.E., Eugene, benefited greatly from the existence of the first
OR; Joe Johnson, Architect, Portland, OR. two editions as well as from the digital revolution.
The participation of all these reviewers has made Whereas for previous editions I have thanked
the book significantly more comprehensive and the long lists of people who contributed in numerous
process of writing it more enjoyable. invaluable ways, this time around the work that
It has been almost 20 years since the first edition did not fall to me directly was very graciously and
was originally conceived. My gratitude to those who efficiently managed at the publishers. For this I
helped to formulate and develop that first effort persists thank Peter Chapman, Senior Editor, and assistant
because the importance of their contribution has only editor, Courtney Jordan. Peter, of course, was also
increased with the passing of time: responsible for working with me to define the scope
Paul Bertorelli, for helping to define the scope and focus of this edition, a task for which I am very
of the book and the method of producing it; Joanne grateful. Lastly, I need to thank my colleagues and
Bouknight, for patient and skillful editing with especially my family for enduring unpredictable
just the right touch of humor; David Edrington, behavior and schedules on my part during the
my architectural partner, for his patience and development of this volume.
Introduction ix

1 Foundations 1 4 roofs 127

Footings 3 Framing 129
Foundation Walls 7 Sheathing 162
Pier & Grade-Beam Systems 13 Flashing 167
Basement Walls 14 Roofing 177
Retaining Walls 17 Gutters & Downspouts 193
Drainage & Waterproofing 18 Insulation & Ventilation 197
Wall Caps 19
Slabs 20
Utilities 25

2 Floors 27 5 stairs 207

Beams 29 Framing 211
Joist Systems 32 Treads & Risers 216
Girder Systems 46 Balustrades 218
Subflooring 48 Handrails 221
Porches & Decks 52 Exterior Stairs 222
Insulation 61 Exterior Steps 223

3 WALLS 65
Framing 67 Legend 226
Lateral Bracing 77 List of Abbreviations 227
Sheathing 78 Resources 228
Shear Walls 82 Glossary 230
Moisture & Air Barriers 88 Index 238
Windows 90
Doors 96
Flashing 102
Exterior Finishes 106
Insulation 120

ight wood-frame construction originated in this sawn lumber for many parts of a building. Wooden
country over 150 years ago and quickly evolved buildings are now greatly more resistant to the forces
into the predominant construction system of hurricanes and earthquakes. Vinyl windows, which
for houses and other small-scale buildings. Today, were just being introduced, are now the standard.
over 90% of all new buildings in North America are Advanced framing that both conserves material and
made using some version of this method. Remodeling allows for upgraded insulation is rapidly gaining
projects follow the same track. acceptance. These and many other advances were
There are many reasons why this system has been the incorporated into the second edition, but the building
choice of professional and amateur builders alike over culture is not static. Best practices are evolving rapidly
the years. A principal reason is its flexibility. Because because of improved communication and building
the modules are small, virtually any shape or style of science, and innovative materials are proliferating to
building can be built easily with the studs, joists, and meet increased demand.
rafters that are the primary components of wood-frame This third edition expands on those issues covered
construction. In addition, the pieces are easily handled, in the first two editions with the addition of the
the material is readily available, and the skills and tools most recently developed practices and materials.
required for assembly are easily acquired. In particular, this edition updates the details for
Given the popularity of the system, it was surprising engineered lumber products and takes a closer look at
to find that, before the publication of the first edition the important issue of moisture in wood frame building
of this book, there existed no detailed and compre- assemblies. These two subjects have dominated the
hensive reference focusing on light wood framing. research in recent years and significantly impact each
Now, seventeen years and two editions later, over chapter of the book. The topic of environmental
275,000 copies of Graphic Guide to Frame responsibility, which has gained serious traction in
Construction have found their way into the libraries of recent years, has been covered extensively in previous
architects, contractors, owner-builders, and students. editions but receives further discussion here.
The acceptance of the Graphic Guide as a standard With all the attention given to advanced practices and
reference has corresponded with great strides in materials, it is also important not to forget traditional
building technology. Wood frame buildings today are principles and materials. These form the backbone
built faster, stronger, and with more efficient use of of the system of wood frame construction and are the
materials. Engineered lumber products, relatively starting point for the important and considerable work
rare just 20 years ago, are now more common than of remodeling and renovation.
x Introduction

THE SCOPE OF THE BOOK ants, and other insect pests; it must be structurally
To provide a detailed reference, the scope of the book stable; and it must be reasonably protected from the
had to be limited. I decided to focus on the parts of a ravages of fire. All these criteria may be met with
building that contribute most significantly to its lon- standard construction details if care is taken in both
gevity. Virtually all the drawings, therefore, describe the design and the building process.
details relating to the structural shell or to the outer There are some accepted construction practices,
protective layers of the building. Plumbing, electrical, however, that I do not think meet the test of durability.
and mechanical systems are described only as they For example, the practice in some regions of building
affect the foundation and framing of the building. foundations without rebar is not prudent. The small
Interior finishes and details are not covered because investment of placing rebar in the foundation to
they are the subject of a companion volume, Graphic minimize the possibility of differential settlement is
Guide to Interior Details (The Taunton Press, 1996). one that should be made whether or not it is required
The process of construction, covered adequately in by code. The stability of a foundation affects not only
many references, has here been stripped away so as the level of the floors but also the integrity of the
to expose the details themselves as much as possible. structure above and the ability of the building to resist
Design, although integral with the concerns of this moisture. Another common practice that I discourage
book, is dealt with only at the level of the detail. is the recent overreliance on caulks and sealants for
The details shown here employ simple, standard waterproofing. This practice seems counterproductive
materials. With this type of information, it should be in the long run because the most sophisticated and
possible to build a wood frame building in any shape, scientifically tested sealants are warranted for only
at any size, and in any style. Many local variations are 20 to 25 years. Should we be investing time, money,
included. and materials in buildings that could be seriously
damaged if someone forgets to recaulk? It is far better,
A FOCUS ON DURABILITY I believe, to design buildings with adequate overhangs
Although the details in this book have been selected or with flashing and drip edges that direct water away
partly on the basis of their widespread use, the primary from the structural core by means of the natural forces
focus is on durability. I believe that wood-frame of gravity and surface tension.
buildings can and should be built to last for 200 years Durability, however, does not depend entirely
or more. To accomplish this, a building must be built upon material quality and construction detailing.
on a solid foundation; it must be designed and built Durability also depends heavily upon the overall
to resist moisture; it must be protected from termites, design of the building and whether its usefulness
Introduction xi

over time is sufficient to resist the wrecking ball. The drawings. Most are drawn at the scale of 1 in. equals
more intangible design factors such as the quality of 1 ft. or 11⁄ 2 in. equals 1 ft., although the scale is not
the space and the flexibility of the plan are extremely noted on the drawings. This format should allow the
important but are not a part of this book. details to be transferred to architectural drawings
with minor adjustments. (Details will usually have to
ON CODES be adjusted to allow for different size or thickness of
Every effort has been made to ensure that the details material, for roof pitch, or for positional relationships.)
included in this book conform to building codes. Codes Those details that are not easily depicted in a simple
vary, however, so local codes and building departments section drawing are usually drawn isometrically in order
should always be consulted to verify compliance. to convey the third dimension.
Any notes included in a detail are intended to
HOW THE BOOK WORKS describe its most important features. By describing
The book’s five chapters follow the approximate order the relationship of one element to another, the notes
of construction, starting with the foundation and sometimes go a little further than merely naming an
working up to the roof (however, the last chapter on element. Materials symbols are described on page 226.
stairs is intentionally out of sequence). Each chapter Abbreviations are spelled out on page 227.
begins with an introduction that describes general
principles. The chapters are divided into subsections, A FINAL NOTE
also roughly ordered according to the sequence of My intention in writing and now in twice revising
construction. Subsections, usually with another more this book has been to assist designers and builders
specific introduction and an isometric reference who are attempting to make beautiful buildings that
drawing, lead to individual drawings or notes. endure. With the drawings, I have tried to describe
Subsections are called out at the top of each page the relationship among the parts of every common
for easy reference. Each drawing has a reference letter, connection. Alternative approaches to popular details
a title, and often a subtitle. Sometimes a reference have been included as well. I have relied primarily on
and title is assigned to an entire topic. With this system, my own experiences but have also drawn significantly
all the drawings (and topics) may be cross-referenced. on the accounts of others. In order to build upon this
The callout “see 42A”, for example, refers to drawing A endeavor, I encourage you, the reader, to let me know
on page 42. of your own observations and critical comments.
As many details as possible are drawn in the Please send them to me care of The Taunton Press,
simple section format found on architectural working P.O. Box 5506, Newtown, CT 06470-5506 or via email
to thallonarch@continet.com.
xii Foundations
Foundations 1


foundation system has two functions. First, it SLAB-ON-GRADE FOUNDATIONS
supports the building structurally by keeping Slab-on-grade systems are used mostly in warm climates,
it level, minimizing settling, preventing uplift where living is close to the ground and the frost line is
from the forces of frost or expansive soils and resisting close to the surface. The footing is usually shallow, and
horizontal forces such as winds and earthquakes. the ground floor is a concrete slab. Many slab-on-grade
Second, a foundation system keeps the wooden parts systems allow the concrete footing, foundation, and
of the building above the ground and away from the subfloor to be poured at the same time.
organisms and moisture in the soil that both eat wood
and cause it to decay. CRAWL SPACES
The foundation is the part of a building that is most Crawl spaces are found in all climates but predominate
likely to determine its longevity. If the foundation in temperate regions. In this system, the insulated
does not support the building adequately, cracks wooden ground floor is supported above grade on a
and openings will occur over time, even in the most foundation wall made of concrete or concrete block.
finely crafted structure. No amount of repair on the The resulting crawl space introduces an accessible zone
structure above the foundation will compensate for for ductwork, plumbing, and other utilities, and allows
an inadequate foundation; once a foundation starts to for simple remodeling.
move significantly, it will continue to move. We now
have developed the knowledge to design and construct BASEMENTS
durable foundations, so there is no reason to invest in a Basements are the dominant foundation system in the
modern building that is not fully supported on a foun- coldest parts of the country, where frost lines mandate
dation that will endure for the life of the structure. deep footings in any case. Like crawl spaces, basements
In the United States, there are three common foun- are accessible, and in addition they provide a large hab-
dation types. Each performs in different ways, but itable space. Basement foundation systems are usually
all rely on a perimeter foundation, i.e., a continuous constructed of concrete or concrete-block foundation
support around the outside edge of the building. walls. Drainage and waterproofing are particularly crit-
ical with basement systems.

Slab-on-Grade Foundation Crawl Spaces Basements

2 Foundations

CHOOSING A FOUNDATION to a permanent foundation system, and these are dis-

Each foundation system has many variations, and it is cussed in this chapter. They include support of loads
important to select the one best suited to the climate, that do not fall at the perimeter wall, such as footings
the soil type, the site, and the building program. With for point loads within the structure and at porches and
all foundations, you should investigate the local soil decks; insulation and moisture barriers; waterproofing
type. Soil types, along with their bearing capacities, are and drainage; protection against termites, other insects
often described in local soil profiles based on informa- and wood-decaying organisms; and precautions against
tion from the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). If there radon gas.
is any question about matching a foundation system
5. Get the details right. Use pressure-treated or
to the soil or to the topography of the site, consult a
other decay-resistant wood in contact with concrete.
soil or structural engineer before construction begins.
Straps, hangers, and fasteners in contact with pres-
This small investment may save thousands of dollars in
sure-treated lumber should be hot-dip galvanized
future repair bills.
to protect against degradation from the preservative
chemicals. Use a moisture barrier between all con-
crete and untreated wood.
Because the foundation is so important to the longevity
of the building and because it is so difficult to repair,
it is wise to be conservative in its design and construc-
The permanent wood foundation (PWF), developed
tion. Make the foundation a little stronger than you
in the 1970s, now accounts for about 5% of founda-
think you need to. As a minimum, even if not required
tions in the United States and 20% in Canada. Made
by code, it is recommended that you follow this rule-of-
of pressure-treated framing, the crawl-space or base-
thumb checklist:
ment walls sit on a bed of compacted gravel rather
1. Place the bottom of the footing below the frost line than a concrete footing. The same framing crew that
on solid, undisturbed soil that is free of organic mate- constructs the structure above can build the founda-
rial. (Local codes will prescribe frost-line depth.) tion walls; and when insulation, wiring, and other utili-
ties are required, they can be located in wall cavities
2. Use continuous horizontal rebar in the footing and between studs as they are in the rest of the building.
at the top of foundation walls (joint reinforcing may be Insulating concrete formwork (ICF) may be used in
allowable in concrete-block walls). Tie the footing and place of wooden formwork for the walls of a basement
wall together with vertical rebar. or heated crawl space. The insulation stays in place
after the concrete walls have been poured and provides
3. Tie wood members to the foundation with bolts or
thermal separation for the space within. ICF walls must
straps embedded in the foundation. Anchoring require-
be protected on the exterior, and wiring and other utili-
ments in hurricane and severe earthquake zones are
ties must be either integrated or carved into the inte-
shown in the following chapters, but specific require-
rior insulation surface.
ments should be verified with local codes.

4. Provide adequate drainage around the foundation. ABOUT THE DRAWINGS

Slope backfill away from the building and keep soil The sizes of building elements indicated in the draw-
6 in. below all wood. ings in this section are for the purposes of illustrating
Many codes and many site conditions require mea- principles and reminding the designer and the builder
sures beyond these minimum specifications. In addi- to consider their use carefully. These drawings should
tion, there are several other considerations important therefore be used only for reference.
Foundations 3

Fir eplac e footing

Stepped see 5A
see 4D C olu mn footing
see 6A

Pier & gr ade- bea m For med footing

system with key way see 4C
see 13

Slab For med Tr en c h

footing footing footing
see 22-24 see 4B see 4A

Footings are the part of a foundation that transfers Reinforcing—Most codes require steel reinforcing
the building’s loads—its weight in materials, contents, rods (called rebar) in footings. Rebar is a sound invest-
occupants, and snow, and possibly wind and earthquake ment even if it is not required, because it gives tensile
loads—directly to the ground. Consequently, the size strength to the footing, thereby minimizing cracking
and type of footing should be matched carefully to the and differential settling. Rebar is also the most
ground upon which it bears. common way to connect the footing to the foundation
wall. For rebar rules of thumb, see 5B.
Soil type—Concrete footings should be placed on
firm, undisturbed soil that is free from organic mate- Size—Footing size depends mainly on soil type and
rial. Soil types are tested and rated as to their ability to the building’s weight. The chart below shows footing
support loads (bearing capacity). sizes for soils with bearing capacities of 2,000 pounds
Compaction of soil may be required before footings per square foot (psf).
are placed. Consult a soil engineer if the stability of the W
soil at a building site is unknown. No. of stories H W
1 6 in. 12 in.
2 7 in. 15 in. H
3 8 in. 18 in.

Soil type Bearing capacity (psf) A rule of thumb for estimating the size of standard
Soft clay or silt do not build footings is that a footing should be 8 in. wider than the
Medium clay or silt 1,500–2,200 foundation wall and twice as wide as high.
Stiff clay or silt 2,200–2,500
Frost line—The base of the footing must be below
Loose sand 1,800–2,000
the frost line to prevent the building from heaving as the
Dense sand 2,000–3,000
ground swells during freezing. Frost lines range from
Gravel 2,500–3,000
0 ft. to 6 ft. in the continental United States. Check local
Bedrock 4,000 and up
building departments for frost-line requirements.

4 Foundations

Length of Loc ate vertic al r ebar Length of Loc ate vertic al r ebar
r ebar stu b per loc al c ode & at r ebar stu b per loc al c ode & at
equalS c enter of c ells for equals c enter of c ells for
30 bar bloc k foundation. 30 bar bloc k foundation.
dia meters dia meters
C on c r ete or (min.) C on c r ete or
c on c r ete- bloc k c on c r ete- bloc k
foundation wall foundation wall
Bac kfill Bac kfill

Bend bot to m of
r ebar & alter nate
dir ec tion of bend.
Dr ainpipe
see 18A Dr ainpipe
see 18A

Hor izontal r ebAr

per loc al c ode
Hor izontal r ebar
Bend bot to m of
per loc al c ode
r ebar & alter nate
Loc ate bot to m of dir ec tion of bend. Loc ate bot to m of Note
footing on level, Note footing on level, For H & W see 3
undistur bed soil For H & W see 3 undistur bed soil below
below frost line. frost line.

Trench Footing Typical Formed Footing


R ebar c ontinuous through step

11⁄ 2 -in. by 3-in. Multiples

(approx.) key way of 8 in. for
loc ks footing c on c r ete- bloc k
C on c r ete
to c ast-in- foundation
plac e c on c r ete wall (ma x. depth
foundation wall. 24 in.)

Bac kfill

Hor izontal r ebar

per loc al c ode
Dr ainpipe
see 18A Note
Keep c ut in soil
as vertic al
as possi ble
at step in
Loc ate bot to m
Note of footing
Use key way footings only on level,
Min. width equals
with c on c r ete foundation undistur bed
depth of footing.
walls wher e later al loads on soil below
foundation ar e not signific ant. frost line.
Loc ate bot to m of footing on level,
Use footings doweled with
undistur bed soil below frost line.
vertic al r ebar for later al loads.

Footing with Keyway Stepped Footing

Foundations 5

Code requirements for rebar use may vary, but a few

Edge of rules of thumb can be helpful guidelines. Verify with
fir ebox local codes first.

Sizes—Rebar is sized by diameter in 1⁄ 8-in. incre-

Tie fir ebox to
6-in. (min.) footing at ments: #3 rebar is 3⁄ 8-in. dia., #4 is 1⁄ 2-in. dia., #5 is
projec tion c or ners with 5 ⁄ 8-in. dia., etc. The most common sizes for wood-frame
beyond fir ebox r ebar dowels.
or c hi mney Ver if y with loc al construction foundations are #3, #4, and #5.
masonry c odes.
Overlapping—Rebar is manufactured in 20-ft.
lengths. When rebar must be spliced to make it contin-
uous or joined at corners, the length of the lap should
equal 30 bar diameters, as shown below.

12-in. (min.) depth 30 bar dia meters

without r ebar

Tie fir eplac e

& foundation
Loc ate bot to m of
footing with
Clearance—The minimum clearance between rebar
footing below
frost line. r ebar. and the surface of the concrete is 3 in. for footings, 2 in.
for formed concrete exposed to backfill or weather, and
3⁄4 in. for formed concrete protected from the weather.
Fireplace Footing
Rebar Rules of Thumb
6 Foundations

Note Column footings (also called pier pads) support col-

X should not exc eed H
without r ebar in footing. umns in crawl spaces and under porches and decks.
Place all footings on unfrozen, undisturbed soil free of
organic material. The bottom of the footing must be
X located below the frost line unless it is within a crawl
H Cast-in-Place Round space. Columns may need to be anchored to column
footings to prevent uplift caused by wind or earthquake
forces (see 6B).
#4 r ebar at 12 in. Typical sizes are 12 in. to 14 in. for square footings
Cast-in-Place Square O.C . t ypic al; ver if y
with engineer. or 16-in. to 18-in. diameter for round footings.
Extreme loads may require oversize footings. The
vertical load divided by the soil bearing capacity equals
the area of footing, e.g.,
6,000 lb. ÷ 2,000 psf = 3 sq. ft.
To prevent moisture in the footing from damaging
the column, use a pressure-treated wood column
or place a 30-lb. felt moisture barrier between an
Pre-cast Oversized untreated wood column and a concrete footing, or use
steel connectors where required (see 6B).
Column Footings

Bolt str ap Bolt or

Nail or
to wood sc r ew Sc r ew or
sc r ew base
c olu mn. base to bolt base
to wood
wood to wood
c olu mn.
c olu mn. c olu mn.

Bear ing

Single Strap Wet Base Adjustable Base Drilled Base

Galvanized steel This galvanized Multiple-piec e Expansion bolts ar e
str ap is of ten used steel base must be galvanized steel dr illed into footing
in c r awl spac es or pr ec isely loc ated assem bly allows or slab af ter c on c r ete
under por c hes. in wet c on c r ete. for so me later al is finished, allowing
Available with adjust ment befor e for pr ec ise loc ation of
standoff to r aise nut is tightened. Base c olu mn.
the wood c olu mn elevates wood c olu mn
above the c on c r ete. above c on c r ete
Use P.T. wood c olu mn Note
or plac e 30-lb. felt expansion bolts
moistur e bar r ier r equir e spec ial
bet ween untr eated inspec tion in most
post & c on c r ete. jur isdic tions

Column Base Connectors

Foundations 7
Foundation Walls

C on c r ete c r awl-spac e Bea m support see 16

foundation wall see 11A
C r i b & pony walls see 12C & D

C on c r ete- bloc k c r awl-spac e Pest c ontrol, temper atur e, moistur e

foundation wall & ventilation in c r awl spac e
see 9 & 10 see 8

Basement Vent
wall see 9C & 11B
see 14 & Mudsill
15A & B see 12A & B

R etaining
wall see 14
Br ic k-veneer
Windows, doors & other foundation
Pier & gr ade- bea m system
openings see 11C & D
see 13
see 10C & D

Foundation walls act integrally with the footings to all foundation walls should be tied to the footing with
support the building. They also raise the building above vertical rebar placed at the corners, adjacent to all
the ground. The primary decision to make about foun- major openings, and at regular intervals along the wall.
dation walls is what material to make them of. There There should be at least one continuous horizontal bar
are several choices: at the top of the wall. Joint reinforcing may be an ade-
quate substitute (see 10B).
Concrete block—Also known as concrete masonry
unit or CMU construction, concrete block is the most Width—The width of the foundation wall depends
common system for foundation walls. Its primary on the number of stories it supports and on the depth
advantage is that it needs no formwork, making it of the backfill, which exerts a lateral force on the wall.
appropriate in any situation, but especially where the With minimum backfill (2 ft. or less), the width of the
foundation is complex. Concrete masonry will be used wall can be determined from the chart below.
most efficiently if the foundation is planned in 8-in. The design of basement walls and foundation walls
increments, based on the dimensions of standard con- retaining more than 2 ft. of backfill should be verified
crete blocks (8 in. by 8 in. by 16 in.). by an engineer or an architect.
The minimum height of a foundation wall should
Cast concrete—Concrete can be formed into almost
allow for the adequate clearance of beams and joists
any shape, but formwork is expensive. The most eco-
from the crawl-space floor. A code-required 18-in.
nomical use of cast concrete, therefore, is where the
clearance usually requires 12-in. to 24-in. foundation
formwork is simple or where the formwork can be used
walls, depending on the type of floor system.
several times. Cast-in-place concrete is used for forming
pier and grade-beam systems, which are especially
appropriate for steep sites or expansive soils (see 13). no. of stories foundation width
1 6 in.
Reinforcing—Some local codes do not require rein-
2 8 in.
forcing of foundation walls. Codes in severe earthquake
2 10 in.
zones are at the other extreme. As a prudent minimum,

Foundation Walls
A Concrete & Concrete Block
8 Foundations
Foundation Walls

Moisture—Even with the best drainage, the soil

under crawl spaces always carries some ground mois-
ture, which will tend to migrate up to the crawl space
in the form of vapor. This vapor can be substantially
An 8-in. or 10-in.- An 8-in. x 16- One of var ious plastic
controlled with a vapor retarder laid directly on the deep sc r eened vent in. sc r eened or metal vents made
made to be c ast in vent that fits to vent through the
ground, which must first be cleared of all organic plac e in c on c r ete in plac e of r i m joist and fasten to
debris. Crawl-space vapor retarders should be 6-mil bloc k or c on c r ete one c on c r ete wood siding. C ar e must
foundation wall bloc k be taken to install
(min.) black polyethylene. The dark plastic retards proper flashing
plant growth by preventing daylight from reaching the
Unvented crawl space—In climates with humid
soil. Adding a concrete rat slab over the vapor retarder
summer weather, ventilation actually brings moisture
will enhance its effectiveness and durability.
into a crawl space, where hot, humid air contacts cooler
Moisture cannot be allowed to build up in a crawl
surfaces in the crawl space and condenses there. The
space where it can create catastrophic damage caused
best solution in this case is to insulate the crawl space,
by mildew, fungus, and other organisms dependent on
close it up tight, and heat and cool it as if it were another
moisture. There are two basic strategies to remove the
room. It doesn’t add much to the heating or cooling
moisture – ventilation to the outside, and conditioning
load, being a small volume with little exterior wall area.
the air as part of the air volume inside the building.
This strategy is also appropriate in other climates.
In both cases, air is moved through the crawl space to
Unvented crawl spaces must be insulated at the
replace moisture-laden crawl-space air.
foundation wall. The insulation can be installed using
Ventilation—Crawl-space cross ventilation minimizes the same details as for a basement wall (see 15C). Care
the buildup of excess moisture under a structure. In must be taken to seal the space well against air infiltra-
some regions, crawl-space ventilation is also required to tion. This includes sealing the joint between foundation
remove radon gas. wall and mudsill (see 12A) and sealing the joints of the
The net area of venting is related to the under-floor floor assembly that bears on the mudsill (see 33-34).
area and to the climatic and groundwater conditions.
Pests—Rodents and other large burrowing pests can
Most codes require that net vent area equals 1⁄150 of
be kept out of crawl spaces by means of a “rat slab,”
the under-floor area with a reduction to 1⁄1500 if a vapor
which is a 1-in. to 2-in.-thick layer of concrete poured
barrier covers the ground in the crawl space. Screened
over the ground in a crawl space. A concrete-rated
vents should be rated for net venting area.
moisture barrier should be placed below this slab (see
Vents should supply cross ventilation to all areas of
20). Termites and other insect pests are most effectively
the crawl space. Locating vents near corners and on
controlled by chemical treatment of the soil before con-
opposite sides of the crawl space is most effective.
struction begins.
Access doors can provide a large area of ventilation.
Wells allow vents to be placed below finished grade. Radon—Radon is an odorless radioactive gas that
As shown in the drawing above right, screened vents emerges from the ground and is present at very low
are available for installing in masonry, cast concrete, concentrations in the air we breathe. This gas can build
and wood. They are available in metal or plastic, and up to dangerous levels when trapped in a crawl space
some have operable doors for closing off the crawl (or basement). Although present everywhere, radon
space during winter to conserve heat. Operable vents concentration levels in the earth are higher in some
should be closed only during extreme weather con- regions, and all of North America has been mapped
ditions. Closing the vents for an entire season will and evaluated for radon danger. The best protection
increase moisture in the crawl space and can signifi- against radon buildup is to ventilate the crawl space
cantly increase the concentration of radon gas. well and/or effectively seal the ground below the
building. Radon test kits are readily available.
Crawl-Space Controls
Foundations 9
Foundation Walls

Knoc k out webs
of bond bloc ks
to for m c hannel Half Jam
for r ebar.
Ja m b bloc ks ar e
available in half
(shown) and
str etc her sizes.
In one side a slot
loc ks basement
7 5⁄ 8 in.
windows in plac e.

Bond or Lintel
C ut half, c or ner, and
other bloc ks on site Note
to c ontinue bond Va 15 5⁄ 8 in.
rie Almost any size or shape of
bea ms to the end of s masonry wall c an be built with
walls and around basic bloc k t ypes. C onsult NCMA
c or ners. Stretcher or Regular for c onstr u c tion tec hniques and
Standar d widths ar e 3 5⁄ 8 in., for spec ial bloc ks with spec ial
5 5⁄ 8 in., 7 5⁄ 8 in., 9 5⁄ 8 in., and edge c onditions, textur es, c olors,
11 5⁄ 8 in. All di mensions ar e ac tual. and sizes.

Concrete-Block Types

Floor system R ebar in bond bea m one

c ourse below vents and
P.T. mudsill see 12A c ontinuous around c or ners

Bond bea m with # 4 r ebar An c hor bolts set in

at top c ourse or below grout for mudsills
vent opening. For joint- see 12A
r einfor c ing alter native
see 10 B

Bac kfill

Vertic al r ebar
Bloc k for vent
o mit ted as near
Full mortar base
as possi ble to
wher e later al loads
c or ner
see 8A

Slope top of
footing with
Vertic al r ebar at
Dr ainage
c or ner, adjac ent
see 18A
to openings & in
c ells c ontaining
an c hor bolts

Crawl-Space Foundation Wall Corner & Vent Opening

B Concrete Block C Concrete-Block Foundation Wall
10 Foundations
Foundation Walls

Note Note
Hor izontal r ebar should be c ontinuous in a To r einfor c e a joint, a welded heavy-wir e
bond bea m at the top c ourse, or at the sec ond tr uss may be su bstituted for hor izontal
c ourse if foundation vents ar e loc ated in the r ebar in many c ases. It is em bedded in the
top c ourse. Hor izontal r ebar may also be loc ated mortar joints bet ween c ourses of masonry.
in inter mediate bond bea ms if the height, width &
fun c tion of the wall r equir e it.

Vertic al r ebar fro m

top c ell to footing.
Vertic al r ebar fro m Fill c ells with
top c ell to footing. grout.
Fill c ells with grout.

Hor izontal r ebar

c ontinuous Joint r einfor c ing
in top- c ourse Sc r een pr events bet ween top
bond bea m. Fill grout fro m t wo c ourses
c ells with grout. enter ing c ells not & at alter nate
filled with r ebar. c ourses below

Concrete-Block Foundation Concrete-Block Foundation

A Rebar Placement B Joint-Reinforcing Alternative

An c hor bolts Bond- bea m top Dou ble r i m joist

set in rout c ourse with
for mudsill r einfor c ing
see 10A
Ja m b bloc ks with
groove to loc k
Bond or lintel sash ja m bs
bloc ks with grout
and r ebar or C ast or for med
r einfor c ed c ast- c on c r ete or
c on c r ete lintel mortar sill

Vertic al r ebar Vertic al r ebar

at both sides at both sides
of opening and of opening and
extended into extended into
footing footing

C or ner and half Str etc her bloc ks

bloc ks at side ja m bs

C ast or for med

c on c r ete or mortar
sill Note
An c hor bolts ar e
Str etc her bloc ks not shown for
c lar it y.
Bond bloc k

Concrete-Block Basement Concrete-Block Basement

C Opening within Wall D Opening at Top of Wall
Foundations 11
Foundation Walls

Floor system
Hor izontal r ebar c ontinuous
around c or ners at top of wall
P.T. mudsill
see 12A
An c hor bolts set in
#4 r ebar at top of wall
c on c r ete for mudsills
see 12A
Vertic al r ebar as r equir ed
by loc al c onditions

Bac kfill

2500-psi (1-story str u c tur e)

or 3000-psi (2-story
str u c tur e) c on c r ete
For m vent as
near as possi ble
Foundation keyed to to c or ner
footing wher e vertic al see 8
r ebar is mini mal


Dr ainage if r equir ed Vertic al r ebar tied to

see 18A footing at all c or ners,
adjac ent to openings
and at an c hor bolts

Crawl-Space Foundation Wall Corner & Vent Opening

A Concrete B Concrete Foundation Wall

Fr a ming with Fr a ming with

sheating & moistur e sheathing &
bar r ier moistur e bar r ier

1-in. air spac e 1 in. air spac e

Br ic k veneer Br ic k veneer

Br ic k ties Br ic k ties see 117B

see 117B
P.T. mudsill P.T. mudsill see 12A
see 12A
Weep holes, flashing Weep holes, flashing
see 117B & C see 117B & C

Bac kfill Bac kfill

see 18 see 18

Width of foundation
wall equals width of
Width of foundation Plus 1 in.
wall equals width of Plus 3-in. (min.)
veneer bear ing for wood
Plus 1 in. str u c tur e. Mini mu m
C on c r ete- bloc k Plus width r equir ed C on c r ete- bloc k Foundation width =
or c on c r ete by no. of stor ies or c on c r ete r equir ement for no.
foundation wall see 3 foundation wall or stor ies.
see 3

Brick-Veneer Foundation Brick-Veneer Foundation

C Brick below Mudsill D Brick Level with Mudsill
12 Foundations
Foundation Walls

1⁄ 2 -in.steel an c hor bolt at 4 f t. or 6 f t. O.C . Bend dou ble-str ap an c hor around mudsill &
(ma x.) & 12 in. (ma x.) fro m end of eac h piec e of nail at side & top, or nail one str ap to mudsill
mudsill. Ver if y with loc al c odes. & other to fac e of stud.
1⁄ 2 -in. steel nut with steel washer 2x4 or 2x6 p.t. wood
2x4 or 2x6 p.t. wood mudsill

Sill gasket of c aulk or Sill gasket of c aulk

fi ber glass at basements or fi ber glass at
or other living spac e heated spac e

C ontinuous
ter mite shield in
Plac e mudsill
ter mite r egions
an c hors into fr esh
c on c r ete or nail to
C on c r ete or
for m befor e plac ing
c on c r ete- bloc k
c on c r ete.
foundation wall
R ebar
Slab with tur ned-
7-in. min. depth of down footing
an c hor bolt into see 22
foundAtion wall

Note Note
So me c odes Ver if y ac c eptabilit y of mudsill
r equir e longer an c hor with loc al building c ode.
bolts for The mudsill an c hor allows the
masonry walls. abilit y to finish slab to the edge
but it is diffic ult to use with
ter mite shield.

Mudsill with Anchor Bolt Mudsill with Mudsill Anchor


A c r i b wall is an alter native to c olu mns & a bea m A pony wall is useful in a stepped foundation
support for joists in a c r awl spac e. it allows mor e wall or in a sloping pier & gr ade- bea m foundation.
c lear an c e for du c ts and equip ment & avoids the The pony wall provides a level sur fac e for
potential problem of c ross-gr ain shr inkage in c onstr u c tion of the first floor.
bea ms.

R i m joist
or bloc king

Floor joists
Single top
Dou ble
top plate
Note c ontinuous
C r i b wall with mudsill
is br ac ed by
per i meter
foundation Pony wall
wall. r ec eives the
sa me exter ior
finish as the
fr a med wall
P.T. stud
P.T. 2x4
adjac ent to
foundation wall
C r i b studs plac ed bolted to Foundation
dir ec tly below c ontinuous wall or
eac h joist footing P.T. mudsill gr ade bea m

Crib Wall Pony Wall

Foundations 13
Pier & Grade-Beam Systems

Gr ade bea m c an slope Note

to c onfor m to c ontour. Pier & gr ade- bea m foundation systems
ar e partic ular ly suited to expansive soils
or steep hillsides. They ar e also useful
Pony wall on top to avoid da maging near by tr ee
of gr ade bea m roots. Pier & gr ade- bea m
makes a level systems must be engineer ed.
sur fac e for floor
c onstr u c tion
see 12D

Gr ade
bea m
see 13C

Pier see 13B

Pier & Grade-Beam Systems

P.T. mudsill
Gr ade bea m see 12A
see 13C
C ontinuous r ebar
C ontinuous pier engineer ed & tied to
r ebar tied to gr ade pier r ebar
bea m Bac kfill

Bac kfill & dr ainage Dr ainpipe if r equir ed

see 18A see 18A

Foa m c ushion
allows expansive
S mooth top edge of soil to r ise without
pier to allow soil lif ting foundation.
to expand without
lif ting pier. P.T. mudsill see 12A

C ontinuous r ebar
C ast c on c r ete pier
engineer ed & tied
to pier r ebar
T ypic al pier
dia meters ar e 12 in. Bac kfill
to 18 in. Spac ing
Dr ainpipe if r equir ed
var ies & depths
see 18A
r ange to 20 f t.,
desc ending on soil. V-shape allows
expansive soil to
Engineer size r ise without lif ting
& t ype of r ebar. foundation.

Piers for Grade Beam Grade Beams

B C Two Types for Expansive Soils
14 Foundations
Basement Walls

C on c r ete basement wall C onnec tion to wood floor:

see 15B Joists on mudsill see 33A & B
Joists flush with mudsill see 33C & D
C on c r ete- bloc k Joists below mudsill see 34
basement wall
see 15A

C onnec tion to stud

walls see 15D

But tr ess see 16A
see 17C

C onnec tion to
c on c r ete slab Water proofing
see 21C & D see 18C

For basement walls, ver if y thic kness
oF c on c r ete or c on c r ete bloc k; size, Dr ainage
a mount, and plac ement of r ebar; see 18B
str ength of c on c r ete or grout; and
c onnec tion to floor systems
with an ar c hitec t or engineer. C ounter fort
see 17A & B

Basement walls—Basement walls are one story in Retaining walls—Retaining walls resist lateral loads
height (7 ft. to 9 ft.) and are generally backfilled to at from the bottom only. They rely on friction at the base
least 4 ft. A basement wall must resist the lateral pres- of the footing and soil pressure at the outside face of
sure of the backfill at both the top and bottom of the the footing to resist sliding. The weight of the wall and
wall. Basement walls are therefore usually designed as the weight of soil on the footing resist overturning.
if they were a beam spanning in the vertical direction,
Overtur ning
with the rebar located at the inside (tension) side of
for c e of soil
the wall. Because the floor must resist the lateral force Weight of
Weight of
of the backfill against the basement wall, the connec- pr essur e soil on footing
wall on
tion between the wood floor and the basement wall Soil footing
pr essur e
is especially important (see 33–34). When basement on footing
wall backfill exceeds 4 ft. in height, an engineer should
be consulted about this connection. The floor system Sliding Forces Overturning Forces
should always be in place before backfilling. Basement
walls can be strength- Buttresses and counterforts strengthen retaining
ened with pilasters (see walls in much the same way that pilasters strengthen
16), which allow the wall basement walls (see 17). Buttresses help support
to be designed to span retaining walls from the downhill side, and counterforts
Slab & soil between pilasters in the from the uphill side.
pr essur e
Soil horizontal (as well as Technically, freestanding retaining walls are not a
on footing
pr essur e the vertical) direction. part of the building, but they are included here because
Pilasters are also useful they are typical extensions of the building components
as beam supports. (foundation and basement walls) into the landscape.

Basement & Retaining Walls

Foundations 15
Basement Walls

Insulation see 15C see 15C
Floor Floor
Bac kfill and dr ainage Bac kfill and dr ainage
system system
see 18B see 18B

Water proofing Water proofing

see 18C see 18C

Alter native loc ation Alter native loc ation

for insulation for insulation

Vertic al r ebar Vertic al r ebar

plac ed at tension plac ed at tension
side of wall r esists side of wall r esists
bending for c es. bending for c es.

Bond bea ms Hor izontal r ebar

as r equir ed by as r equir ed by
engineer ing engineer ing
Vertic al r ebar Vertic al r ebar
an c hors wall an c hors wall to
to footing. footing.
Slab see 21C or D Slab
see 21C or D
Full mortar joint
on roughened

Footing Footing
see 4 see 4

Basement Wall Basement Wall

A Concrete Block B Concrete

Heated basements must be insulated at their perim-

eter walls. The amount of insulation required depends Note
on the climate. There are two ways to insulate base- An alternative to
this detail is to
ment walls—from the exterior or from the interior. build the stud
wall 1 in. fro m the
Exterior—Exterior insulation should be a basement wall.

closed-cell rigid insulation (extruded polysty- Wall finish

rene or polyisocyanurate) that will not absorb
moisture. This insulation, available in 2-ft. or
30-lb. felt str ips
4-ft. by 8-ft. sheets, is attached directly to the bet ween untr eated
studs & basement
basement wall with adhesive or mechanical wall; extend felt
fasteners. It may be applied either under or Walls Parallel beyond stud or use
p.t. studs.
over the waterproofing, depending on the type.
Wall finish
Interior—Interior insulation may be either
At tac h stud with
rigid or batt type. Petroleum-based rigid types c on c r ete nails.
must be covered for fire protection when used
in an interior location. Other rigid insulation, Note
Do not use
such as rigid mineral fiber, need not be fire- c ontinuous vapor
bar r ier on war m
protected. Building a stud wall with batt insu-
side of wall
lation has the advantage of providing a nailing below gr ade.
Walls Perpendicular see 18c
surface for interior finishes.

Basement Insulation Basement Wall/Stud Wall

C D Plan Views
16 Foundations
Basement Walls

1⁄ 10 1⁄ 2 -in.
air spac e at end
of the distan c e
bet ween vertic al of wood bea m or use
supports (other p.t. wood or steel
pilasters, c or ners,
or walls)
For Use la minated
Bac kfill
pilaster wood or
as a bea m steel bea m
seat to mini mize
see 16B shr inkage.

Top of Basement
1⁄ 12
of pilaster wall 1⁄ 2 -in. air spac e
wall height
bea m

30-lb. felt under bea m at

point of c ontac t with
Note c on c r ete or c on c r ete
Proportions for bloc k
pilaster di mensions Shi ms to level bea m
ar e approxi mate. R ebar
3-in. mini mu m bear ing
in wall, pilaster &
sur fac e for wood
footing must be
bea m
engineer ed. Footing
see 4 Pilaster

Pilaster Pilaster Beam Seat

A Concrete or Concrete Block B Concrete or Concrete Block

1⁄ 2 -in.
air spac e at Fr a med wall
end and sides of 1⁄ 2 -in. air spac e
wood bea m or use
p.t. wood or steel Bloc king as r equir ed

Bea m with
11⁄ 2 -in. dec king
see 47C & D
or bea m & joist
Note system see 33C
Use la minated Notc h bea m for mudsill
wood or if r equir ed (ma x. notc h At tac h bea m to
steel bea m equals 1⁄ 4 depth of bea m). c olu mn
to mini mize
shr inkage.
1⁄ 2 -in. air spac e 4x4 wood or p.t.
wood c olu mn
Bea m
Wood c olu mn
30-lb. felt under bea m at bears on footing.
point of c ontac t with If at tac h ment is
c on c r ete or c on c r ete r equir ed
bloc k see 6B
Shi ms to level bea m

3-in. mini mu m C on c r ete or 30-lb. felt under

bear ing sur fac e c on c r ete- bloc k c olu mn at footing
Basement wall or use p.t. wood
basement wall for wood bea m foundation wall

Beam Pocket Wood-Column Beam Support

C Concrete or Concrete Block D Basement or Crawl-Space Wall
Foundations 17
Retaining Walls

Note Note
C ounter fort must be professionally C ounter fort must be
engineer ed. R einfor c ement is r equir ed professionally engineer ed.
for tension and shear.
C ounter fort r ebar
C ounter fort r ebar tied to r etaining
tied to r etaining wall & footing
R etaining wall
wall & footing
R einfor c ement
r equir ed for
r etaining wall tension & shear

8-in. (min.)-thic k
8-in.-thic k c ounter fort wall,
c ounter fort wall stepped

Footing Footing

Dr ainpipe Dr ainpipe

Note Footing is lar ge and r einfor c ed bec ause
Footing is lar ge and r einfor c ed bec ause c ounter fort uses its own weight plus
c ounter forT uses its own weight plus weight of soil above footing to r esist the
weight of soil abOve footing to r esist the hor izontal for c e on the wall.
hor izontal for c e on the wall.

Concrete Counterfort Concrete-Block Counterfort


But tr ess & r etaining wall must be
professionally engineer ed.

R etaining wall

8-in. (min.)-thic k
but tr ess wall,
seeped (shown)
or sloped

But tr ess r ebar

r equir ed for shear
is tied to r etaining
wall & footing.

Dr ainpipe

But tr ess footing

r einfor c ed & c ontinuous
with wall footing

C Concrete or Concrete Block
18 Foundations
Drainage & Waterproofing

3 ⁄ 4 -in. (min.) r iver roc k

Slope finish gr ade
around dr ainpipe away fro m building.
Filter fabr ic Water proofing
if r equir ed see 18C

4-in. per for ated Asphalt-i mpr egnated

dr ainpipe with protec tion boar d
holes or iented r ec o m mended for
down. Slope to so me insulations &
daylight or to water proofings
stor m sewer or
dry well. Exter ior or inter ior
Foundation Drain insulation
Bac kfill with bac kfill with r iver
soil around roc k against wall
stor m dr ain.
Filter fabr ic if r equir ed
4-in. solid plastic
dr ainpipe sloped to
Basement wall
daylight or to stor m
sewer or dry well Slope top of
footing with
Stor m & foundation
dr ains may be
c o m bined if loc al 4-in. per for ated dr ainpipe with holes
c odes allow. Storm Drain or iented down & sloped to daylight
or to stor m sewer or dry well

Foundation & Storm Drainage Basement Drainage

Drainage is essential in protecting a basement from Membranes—Rubberized or plastic membranes that
groundwater, but waterproofing the basement wall are mechanically applied or bonded to a moist or dry
from the outside is also vital. In selecting a water- surface are moderately elastic.
proofing material, consider the method of application,
Bitumen-modified urethane—The most recent
the elasticity, and the cost. Below are common water-
development in waterproof coatings, bitumen-modified
proofing and drainage materials.
urethane is applied with a brush to a dry surface. It is
Bituminous coatings—Tar or asphalt can be rolled, elastic, protecting cracks up to 1⁄ 8 in.
sprayed, troweled, or brushed on a dry surface. Often
Plastic air-gap materials—These drainage mate-
applied over a troweled-on coating of cement plaster
rials create a physical gap between the basement wall
that is called parging, some bituminous coatings may be
and the soil. A filter fabric incorporated in the material
fiberglass reinforced. They have minimal elasticity, and
allows water to enter the gap and drop to the bottom of
thin coats may not be impervious to standing water.
the wall. These systems are expensive, but they elimi-
Modified portland-cement plaster—Plaster with nate the need for gravel backfill.
water-repellent admixtures can look exactly like stucco. Although waterproofing and drainage will prevent
It is usually applied with a brush or a trowel to a moist- water from entering the basement, water vapor may
ened surface. It is inelastic, and unlike parging, it is migrate into the basement through the footing and
waterproof. basement wall. It’s important not to trap this vapor in
an insulated wall, so a vapor barrier on the warm side of
Bentonite—A natural clay that swells when moistened
a basement wall is not recommended. More common
to become impervious to water, bentonite is available
and more practical is to allow the vapor to enter the
as panels, in rolls, or in spray-on form. It is applied to a
space, and to remove the vapor with ventilation or a
dry surface, and is extremely elastic.

c Principles & Materials
Foundations 19
Wall Caps

Malleable or other Rowloc k br ic k

lar ge washer or paver c ap

Weather-r esistant
wood c ap beveled Masonry ties at
on top for dr ainage 2 f t. o.c .

Dr ip c ut in underside C on c r ete- bloc k or

of c ap c on c r ete wall
An c hor bolts at
6 f t. o.c . mini mu m.

C on c r ete- bloc k or Weather-r esistant

One-Piece Wood Cap c on c r ete wall Masonry Cap wood seat nailed
or sc r ewed to

P.T. 2x or 4x supports
Malleable or other bolted per pendic ular
lar ge washer to wall at 2 f t. oc .
or per c apac it y of
Weather-r esistant
finish seat mater ial
t wo-piec e wood c ap;
top piec e beveled &
with dr ip
An c hor bolts at
An c hor bolts at 2 f t. o.c . & r ec essed
6 f t. o.c . mini mu m. flush into supports

c on c r ete- bloc k or C on c r ete- bloc k

c on c r ete wall or c on c r ete wall
Two-Piece Wood Cap Wood-Bench Cap

Rounded shape
These details ar e for the tops of r etaining walls,
pro motes dr ainage.
whic h ar e usually exposed to the weather. Wood
c aps will ulti mately dec ay, so they ar e designed
Stu c c o or wall for r elative ease of r eplac ement. Ther E is not
c ontinuous over mu c h point in moistur e bar r iers, sin c e they will
c ap. For stu c c o only tr ap r ainwater against the wood. R etaining-
details wall sur fac es shoUld be protec ted fro m moistur e
see 118−119 penetr ation to pr event da mage fro m the fr eeze-
Silic one c oating for thaw c yc le. Seal with c lear ac rylic or silic one, or
moistur e protec tion water proof with modified Portland- c ement plaster
or bitu men- modified ur ethane.
see 18C
C on c r ete- bloc k or
Stucco Cap c on c r ete wall

C ontinuous metal
c ap with dr ip edge

Fasten metal c ap
to wall at side to
pr event moistur e
penetr ation of top
flat sur fac e.

C on c r ete- bloc k or
c on c r ete wall
Metal Cap

Concrete & Concrete-Block Wall Caps

20 Foundations

Slab/ basement wall Slab footings at bear ing walls

see 21C & D & c olu mns
see 23 & 24

Expansion joints & c ontrol

Slab per i meter
see 21B
see 22B

tur ned-down
slab footing
see 22 &

Gar age slab

see 24A & B, 25A

Slab r einfor c ing R adiant-heat slab

see 21 see 25C

Slab with deep footing Plu m bing through slab

see 23A, B & D see 25B

Preparation before pouring a slab is critical to the areas of extreme moisture. A more substantial
quality of the slab itself. The primary goals in preparing concrete-rated moisture barrier is necessary for Detail B
for a slab are to provide adequate and even support, because the moisture barrier is in direct contact with
and to control ground moisture. the concrete slab. Polyethylene may deteriorate within

Soil—Soil is the ultimate support of the slab. Soil C on c r ete

must be solid and free of organic material. Some soils
require compaction. In termite areas, the soil is often Sand

treated chemically. Verify compaction and soil treat- Moistur e

bar r ier
ment practices in your local area.
Gr avel
Gravel—Gravel is a leveling device that provides a Detail A Su b-soil Detail B
porous layer for groundwater to drain away from the
slab. A minimum of 4 in. of gravel is recommended. a very short period in this situation, and it is easily
Gravel must be clean and free from organic matter. punctured during slab preparation and pouring. A
Crushed and ungraded gravels must be compacted. more substantial concrete-rated barrier is a fiber-
Graded gravels such as pea gravel composed entirely of reinforced bituminous membrane, sandwiched
similar-sized round particles cannot and need not between two layers of polyethylene.
be compacted.
Sand—Sand (shown only in Detail A), allows water to
Moisture barrier—Moisture barriers prevent mois- escape from concrete in a downward direction during
ture (and retard vapor) from moving upward into a curing. This produces a stronger slab. The American
slab. Six-mil polyethylene is common and works well in Concrete Institute recommends a 2-in. layer of sand
Detail A. Overlap joints 12 in. and tape the joints in below slabs.

Foundations 21

Welded wire mesh—Welded wire mesh (WWM) is Expansion joints—Expansion joints allow slabs to
the most common reinforcement for light-duty slabs. expand and contract slightly with temperature changes.
The most common size is 6x6 (w1.4 x w1.4)—adequate They also allow slabs to act independently of building
for a residential garage, which requires a stronger slab elements with which they interface. Expansion joints
than a house. One disadvantage to WWM is that the are appropriate at the edges of slabs that are not heated
6-in. grid is often stepped on and forced to the bottom (not in the living space) or that, for some other reason,
of the slab as the concrete is poured. are expected to change temperature significantly over
their lifetimes. Expansion joints are also used to isolate
Rebar—Rebar is stronger than welded wire mesh.
building elements that penetrate slabs such as struc-
A grid of #3 rebar at 24 in. o.c is also adequate for a
tural columns, walls, or plumbing (see 25B).
residential garage.
Control joints—Control joints induce cracking to
Fiber reinforcement—Fiber reinforcement is a re-
occur at selected locations. They are troweled or cut
cent development in slab reinforcement. Polypropylene
into the surface of a slab to about one-quarter of the
fiber reinforcement is mixed with the concrete at the
slab depth and at 20-ft. intervals. Cold joints, which
plant and poured integrally with the slab, thereby elim-
automatically occur between sections of a slab poured
inating difficulties with placement of the reinforcing
separately, can act as control joints.
material. The addition of 1.5 lb. of fiber per cubic yard
of concrete produces flexural strength equal to WWM
in a slab. The appearance of the slab is affected by the
presence of fibers exposed at the surface.

concrete-slab reinforcing concrete-slab joints


Bac kfill & Water proofing Bac kfill & Dr ainage Water proofing
Dr ainage see 18C see 18B see 18C
see 18B
Basement wall Basement wall

Bitu minous
Expansion joint expansion joint
if slab pour ed or leave 1-in.
in c old weather spac e bet ween
slab & wall to
r elieve exc ess
4-in. (min.)
r einfor c ed slab
pr essur e fro m
below slab
C on c r ete-r ated
moistur e bar r ier
4-in. (min.)
r einfor c ed slab
4-in. (min.) gr avel
C on c r ete-r ated
4-in. c ontinuous moistur e bar r ier
per for ated dr ainpipe
sloped to daylight 6-in. (min.) gr avel
or to stor m sewer 4-in. c ontinuous
or dry well per for ated
dr ainpipe sloped
to daylight or
to stor m sewer

Slab/Basement Wall Slab/Basement Wall

C Well-Drained Soil D Poorly-Drained Soil
22 Foundations

4-in. (min.) r einfor c ed slab Slabs lose heat most r eadily at their per i meters,
c ontinuous with footing wher e they ar e exposed to the air, so slabs must
be protec ted fro m heat loss by a c losed- c ell r igid
P.T. mudsill insulation plac ed at their edges. The a mount of
see 12A or B C on c r ete-r ated
insulation r equir ed will depend on the c li mate and
moistur e bar r ier
on whether the slab is heated.
4-in. (min.) The position of the insulation will depend
c o mpac ted pr i mar ily on the foundation t ype. Slabs integr al
6 in. (min.)
gr avel or with tur ned-down footings ar e insulated at the
fro m soil
pea gr avel outside building edge. Slabs with deep footings
to mudsill
ar e of ten insulated at the inside fac e of the
foundation, although they may also be insulated at
the outside building edge.


12-in. (min.) R ebar c ontinuous

footing depth at per i meter Tur ned-down Deep footings
footings see 23A, B & D
Note see 22C & D, 23C
An uninsulated & exposed per i meter
slab is appropr iate only FOR unheated
spac es or in very war m c li mates.

Slab with Turned-Down Footing Slab Perimeter Insulation

A Warm Climate, Well-Drained Soil B

4-in. (min.) slab C oating protec ts insulation

Wall finish: c ontinuous with fro m ultr aviolet light and
Stu c c o-wr apped footing mec hanic al abr asion.
or siding C losed- c ell r igid insulation to below
stopped at top C on c r ete-r ated
frost line; thic kness var ies.
of insulation moistur e bar r ier
with flashing Ter mite shield if r equir ed
& protec tive
c oating over 4-in. (min.)
insulation c o mpac ted Fr a med wall projec ted over
gr avel or insulatION and c oating
pea gr avel

P.T. mudsill
P.T. mudsill
see 12A or B
see 12A or B

4-in. (min.) slab

c ontinuous
with footing

4-in. (min.) gr avel

C losed- c ell
r igid insulation C on c r ete-r ated
to below frost line Footing below moistur e bar r ier
frost line
R ebar c ontinuous Footing below
at per i meter frost line

Slab with Turned-Down Footing Slab with Turned-Down Footing

C Insulation Outside Framing D Insulation Flush with Framing
Foundations 23

Fr a med wall In ter mite r egions, Fr a med Wall In ter mite r egions, extend
extend ter mite shield ter mite shield c ontinuously
c ontinuously fro m slab fro m slab to exter ior.
to exter ior.

4-in. (min.) 4-in. (min.)

r einfor c ed slab r einfor c ed slab

C on c r ete-r ated
moistur e bar r ier

4-in. (min.)
C on c r ete-r ated
c o mpac ted gr avel
moistur e bar r ier
or pea gr avel

C losed- c ell
r igid insulation
C losed- c ell r igid extended 2 f t.
insulation to (min.) under slab
below frost line
or 2 f t. (min.)
see 22B 4-in. (min.)
c o mpac ted gr avel
or pea gr avel
Foundation wall Foundation wall
and footing and footing

Slab on Grade/Deep Footing Slab on Grade/Deep Footing

A Vertical Interior Insulation B Horizontal Interior Insulation

Fr a med wall In ter mite r egions,

C on c r ete-r ated extend ter mite shield
moistur e bar r ier c ontinuously fro m
Flashing & slab to exter ior.
protec tive
c oating over 4-in. (min.) slab
insulation c ontinuous w/ 4-in. (min.)
footing r einfor c ed
P.T. Mudsill
See 12A or B C on c r ete-
r ated
moistur e
bar r ier

4-in. (min.)
c o mpac ted
gr avel or
pea gr avel

Vertic al
4-in. (min.) c o mpac ted C losed-
c losed- c ell
gr avel or pea gr avel c ell r igid
r igid insulation
Note to below
R equir ed di mensions & frost line
R-value of insulation or 2 f t. (min.)
Horizontal c losed- vary w/ c li matic zone. see 22B
c ell r igid insulation Foundation wall
and footing

Slab wITH Turned-Down Footing Slab on Grade/Deep Footing

C Frost-Protected Shallow Footing D Vertical Exterior Insulation
24 Foundations

Gar age door R ec essed Thr eshold Gar age door R ec essed
c ast into slab to thr eshold c ast
4-in. (min.) c ontrol water into slab to
Thic ken slab edge
r einfor c ed slab c ontrol water
at foundation
see 21A c onnec tion & tie
C aulked expansion C aulked
joint with r ebar. expansion joint

Slope slab 4-in. (min.)

towar d door Slope dr iveway r einfor c ed slab
at 1⁄ 8 in. per f t. away fro m building see 21A Slope dr iveway

4-in. (min.) Gr avel 4-in.

gr avel (min.)
gr avel
C on c r ete-r ated R ebar
moistur e bar r ier c ontinuous C on c r ete- Foundation
at per i meter r ated
Footing wall
moistur e
c ontinuous with slab
bar r ier Footing
see 22C

Turned-Down Footing Deep Footing

A At Garage Door B At Garage Door

R ebar Wood post Note

Steel c olu mn
For alter native
C on c r ete- with steel
steel- c olu mn
r ated Galvanized steel bear ing plate at
c onec tion
moistur e c olu mn base bot to m bears
see 6B
bar r ier see 6B on footing.

P.T. sill plate

nailed to slab with
R einfor c ed slab
c on c r ete nails
pour ed around
Wood Post c olu mn loc ks
30-lb. Felt c olu mn in plac e.
under p.t. sill C on c r ete-r ated
R ebar moistur e bar r ier
c ontinuous
C on c r ete- bet ween slab
r ated Note & footing
moistur e Depth & flat
bar r ier bear ing sur fac e of R ebar
footing must be
sized to support
vertic al loads.

c olu mn footing
under slab
Bearing Wall Steel Column

Integral Slab Footing Under-Slab Footing

C Wood Post & Bearing Wall D Steel Column
Foundations 25

Expansion joint
at all edges Plastic-sleeve pipe 1-in.-thic k fi ber glass
of unheated insulation isolates wr ap insulation
gar age slab water pipes fro m slab. isolates waste pipes
C on c r ete or fro m slab.
c on c r ete- bloc k
foundation wall
2 in. (min.)
above slab

4-in. (min.)
r einfor c ed
c on c r ete slab
sloped at 1⁄ 8 in.
per f t. to front of
gar age

C on c r ete-r ated
moistur e bar r ier

Hot Cold Waste

C o mpac ted gr avel Note Note
Note or pea gr avel Use T ype K or T ype L Use ABS plastic waste
A stronger c on c r ete c opper supply pipes. lines. No c leanouts ar e
mix is r equir ed for a Mini mize br a zed allowed below slab. Set
gar age slab than for Foundation wall fit tings below slab. c loset flange at F.F.L.
a slab in living spac es. & footing Hot-pipe insulation is and an c hor dir ec tly &
Ver if y loc al r equir ements. r ec o m mended. sec ur ely to slab.

Garage Slab/Foundation Wall Plumbing through Slab


Per i meter insulation PEX tu bing at 8 in. Note

r equir ed o.c . (approx.) tied to C ross-linked polyethylene tu bing (PEX)
see 22B, C & D r ebar or wir e mesh has r eplac ed c opper tu bing As the
c onveyor of hot water for r adiant
slabs. This elastic tu bing is supplied
in long rolls & c an c over about
200 sq. f t. without any joints below
the sur fac e. The addition of insulation
4 in. (min.) r einfor c ed
below the slab will i mprove the
c on c r ete slab
per for man c e of the system.

Tu bing

Optional Heat
insulation sour c e

Slab with tur ned- C on c r ete-r ated

down footing moistur e bar r ier
or slab with Diagram of Radiant Heat Tubing
foundation wall C losed- c ell r igid
see 23B insulation (2 in. min.)
to 4 f t. fro m per i meter

4 in. (min.) of gr avel

Radiant-Heat Slab
26 Floors
Floors 27


he floor is the part of the building with which Support—Wood floor systems usually span between
we have most contact. We walk on the floor parallel supports. These supports may be a foundation
and, on occasion, dance, wrestle, or lie on wall, a stud-bearing wall, or a beam. The first two are
it. We can easily tell if the floor is not level, if it is covered in Chapters 1 and 3, and beams are a subject
bouncy or squeaky, and this tells us something about of this chapter (see 29-31).
the overall quality of the building. The floor carries
Joists—The primary structural members of a floor
the loads of our weight, all our furniture, and most of
system are the joists, which span between the supports.
our other possessions. It also acts as a diaphragm to
The most common materials for joists are solid-sawn
transfer lateral loads (e.g., wind, earthquake, and soil)
lumber (see 35-42) and engineered wood I-joists (see
to the walls, which resist these loads. Floors insulate us
43-44). Joists are usually placed on 12-in., 16-in., or
from beneath and often hold ductwork, plumbing, and
24-in. centers, depending on the required span and the
other utilities. So a floor must be carefully designed
sizes of the joists (see 32).
as a system that integrates with the other systems of
a wood-frame building—the foundation, walls, stairs,
insulation, and utilities. Once designed, the floor must
be carefully built because so many subsequent parts of
the construction process depend on a level and solid
floor construction.
Solid-Sawn Engineered
Joist I-Joist
Su bfloor Joist

Subfloor—The planar structural surface attached to

the top of the joists is called the subfloor (see 48-51).
The subfloor provides the level surface to which the
Stud wall Bea m
finish floor is applied, and it also acts as a diaphragm to
transfer lateral loads to the walls. Subfloors are usually
made of plywood or oriented strand board (OSB) but
may also be made of other materials. Some subfloors
also provide mass for passive-solar heating.
There are several floor-construction systems, and all of
them are composed of variations of the same basic ele-
It is essential to coordinate the details of a floor-framing
ments: support, joists, and a subfloor.
system with those of the wall framing. There are two
wall-framing systems from which to choose:
28 Floors

Balloon framing—Balloon framing is a construction For 125 years, the joists were all solid-sawn lumber,
system in which the studs are continuous through the and the subfloor started as boards, laid diagonally and
floor levels. It is a mostly archaic system, but there are later became plywood. In the past 35 years or so, solid-
some situations where balloon framing is appropriate. sawn lumber has been slowly replaced with engineered
These situations are discussed in the introduction to wood products—wood I-joists and other structural
Chapter 3 (see 65-66). Balloon-framing details that per- composite lumber (SCL). Engineered wood products
tain to floors are included in this chapter. are straighter, more dimensionally stable, and generally
stronger than their solid-sawn counterparts. In addi-
Platform framing—Platform framing is the domi-
tion, they can be made larger and longer than sawn
nant wood-floor construction system in this country.
lumber, so they can span farther.
The platform frame floor is so named because the
Currently, engineered wood products have over-
stud-wall structure stops at each level, where the floor
taken solid-sawn lumber in terms of market share
structure provides a platform for the construction of
for floor construction, but both materials are still
the walls of the next level. This chapter concentrates on
widely used. Subfloors are now typically made with
platform framing, which has two basic variations: joists
Oriented Strand Board (OSB) instead of the more
with structural panels (OSB or plywood), and girders
expensive plywood.
with decking.
Most of the details in this chapter are illustrated
with examples showing solid-sawn lumber—primarily
because the drawings are more clear using these simple
Throughout the history of the balloon frame and
forms. However, the solid-sawn details may be inter-
the more recent platform frame, floors have typically
preted to be built of engineered products because the
been made with joists (2x6, 2x8, 2x10, and 2x12)
basic principles apply to all types of framing mate-
that are spaced closely (usually 16 or 24 inches on
rial whether solid-sawn, I-joist, or other composite
center) to support a subfloor that spans between them.
materials. Because I-joists require special treatment
Su bfloor in certain conditions, there is a section of the chapter
devoted entirely to I-joists (see 43–44).
In areas where timber is plentiful, 4x girders with
Joist 2-in. tongue-and-groove subfloor decking that spans
4 ft. are often used as a floor system (see 46–47).
Lower grades of decking on girders make a very eco-
16 in. or 24 in. nomical floor over crawl spaces, and appearance grades
spac ing of decking are often used for exposed ceilings. The
decking itself does not technically act as a diaphragm to
resist lateral loads, so it may require additional diagonal
structure, especially at upper levels.
Also included in this chapter are porch and deck
floors, floor insulation, and vapor barriers.
Floors 29

C r i b & pony walls Wood- bea m or

see 12C & D gir der/post
c onnec tions
see 31

Bea m spans
C onnec tions to
see 29B
see 16

Bea m t ypes
see 30

A Floor Beams

T ypic al
Beam Span Comparison
joist Header or other
support Joist span ( X⁄ 2 + Y⁄ 2 )
Bea m Beam type 8ft. 10ft. 12ft. 14ft.
Beam Span (ft.)
(2) 2x8 built-up beam 6.8 6.1 5.3 4.7
2 4x8 timber 7.7 6.9 6.0 5.3
Y/ ist 3 1⁄ 8
in. x 7 1⁄ 2
in. 9.7 9.0 8.3 7.7
Jo n Y
2 a glue-laminated beam
X/ Sp
2 ist 31⁄ 2 in. x 71⁄ 2 in. 9.7 9.0 8.5 8.0
Jo n X
a PSL beam
header Sp
(2) 13 ⁄ 4 in. x 71⁄ 2 in. 10.0 9.3 8.8 8.3
LVL (unusual depth)
4x8 steel beam 17.4 16.2 15.2 14.1
Header supports
1⁄ 2
of single
bea m supports (W8 x 13 A36)
1⁄ 2 of eac h joist
joist span
span, pr x⁄ 2 +
y⁄ 2

see table at r ight

This table assumes a 40-psf live load and a 15-psf
Note dead load. The table is intended only for estimating
The dr awing above and the table at r ight
ar e for unifor m floor loads only. Roof loads, beam sizes and comparing beam types. For calculation
point loads & other loads must be added to
floor loads when c alc ulating bea ms & headers
tables, consult the national or regional organizations
listed on pp. 228–229.

A Floor Beams
30 Floors

Cut Timber Built-Up Beam

Ti m ber bea ms ar e Solid sawn lu m ber
available in a var iet y is nailed or s c r ewed
of spec ies & gr ades; together to for m a
Douglas-fir is the single bea m. Widths
strongest. Ac tual ar e multiples of
widths ar e 31⁄ 2 in. and 11⁄ 2 in. Height follows
51⁄ 2 in.; ac tual heights di mension lu m ber.
ar e 51⁄ 2 in., 71⁄ 2 in., etc .,
to 131⁄ 2 in.

Laminated-Strand Flitch Beam

Lumber (LSL) Beam A steel plate sandwic hed
Fac tory- made bet ween t wo piec es of
c o mposite bea m used lu m ber adds str ength
for headers, r i m joist, without su bstantially
and light-dut y bea ms. in c r easing the bea m
Ac tual widths ar e size. The lu m ber pr events
13 ⁄ 4 in. and 31⁄ 2 in; bu c kling of the steel
ac tual heights r ange & provides a nailing
fro m 91⁄ 4 in. to 16 in. sur fac e. Widths ar e
3 in. to 31⁄ 2 in. Heights
follow di mension
lu m ber.

Parallel-Strand Box Beam

Lumber (PSL) Beam 2x4 lu m ber is sandwic hed
Fac tory-glued long bet ween t wo ply wood
str ands of veneer skins. Ply wood is both
make very strong nailed & glued to 2x4s
bea ms. Ac tual widths & at all edges. Ply wood
r ange fro m 2 3 ⁄ 4 in. and lu m ber joints must
to 7 in; heights r ange be offset.
fro m 91⁄ 4 in. to 18 in.
51⁄ 2 in., 71⁄ 2 in., etc .,
to 131⁄ 2 in.

Laminated-Veneer Steel Beam

Lumber (LVL) Beam The strongest of the
Fac tory-la minated bea ms for a given
veneers make size, steel bea ms ar e
strong bea ms. Used c o m monly available in
individually or ganged var ious sizes fro m
together. Ac tual width 4 in. wide & 4 in. high
is 1 3⁄ 4 in. (t wo piec es to 12 in. wide &
matc h thic kness of 2x4 36 in. high. They may be
wall) Heights r ange pr edr illed for bolting
fro m 51⁄ 2 in. to 24 in. wood plate to top
flange or to web.

For c onnec tions to

Laminated Lumber steel bea ms see 37.
(Glulam) Beam
Fac tory-glued stac k of
kiln-dr ied 2x boar ds
makes very lar ge, long,
and stable bea ms.
Bea ms & joists must be designed as a system.
Ac tual widths ar e
C onnec tions bet ween joists & bea ms ar e
31⁄ 8 in., 51⁄ 8 in., 71⁄ 8 in., si milar for all wood- bea m t ypes.
etc . Heights ar e
see 36
multiples of 11⁄ 2 in. to
36 in. and lar ger.

A Beam Types
Floors 31

Wood bea ms may be splic ed over vertic al supports & of ten may be at tac hed to the support by
means of toenailing. So me situations & c odes, however, r equir e a positive c onnec tion of bea m
to post su c h as a ply wood gusset or metal c onnec tor. Splic e bea ms only over vertic al
supports unless engineer ed. Splic e will depend on t ype of bea m & t ype of support.

Built-Up Beam Plywood Gusset Metal Connector Metal Column

Keep one mem ber Ply wood gussets ar e Metal c onnec tors ar e Metal Lally c olu mn
c ontinuous over applied to both sides of manufac tur ed in many has integr al metal
posts. splic ed bea ms. Use 5-ply c onfigur ations for c onnec tor.
ply wood. most t ypes of wood
bea m & post joints.

A Wood Beam or Girder/Post Connections

32 Floors
Joist Systems

Mid-floor joist/joist c onnec tiOns Openings in floor

see 35 see 38B

Joist/ bea m c onnec tions Floor-level c hanges

see 36 see 41C & D

Floor/stud wall C antilevers

c onnec tions see 39A
see 39B

Su bfloor ing &

Br idging under lay ment
see 38 Floor/Foundation see 48
c onnec tion see 33 & 34

Both dimension-lumber and wood I-joists are

common materials for floor structure. Both systems Allowable Floor Joist Spans in Feet
are flexible, and the materials are universally available. Joist spacing (ft.)
Joist size, 12 in. 16 in. 24 in.
Species of lumber vary considerably from region to species, and grade o.c o.c. o.c.
region, but sizes are uniform. The most common sizes
2x6 hem-fir #2 10.0 9.0 7.9
for floors are 2x8, 2x10, and 2x12. Selection of floor-
2x6 spruce-pine-fir #2 10.2 9.3 8.1
joist size depends on span; on spacing required for sub-
2x6 Douglas fir #2 10.7 9.7 8.2
flooring and ceiling finishes (usually 12 in., 16 in., or
2x8 hem-fir #2 13.1 11.9 10.1
24 in.); and on depth required for insulation (usually
2x8 spruce-pine-fir #2 13.5 12.2 10.2
over a crawl space) and/or utilities (over basements and
2x8 Douglas fir #2 14.1 12.7 10.4
in upper floors).
2x10 hem-fir #2 16.8 15.1 12.3
The table at right compares spans at common on- 2x10 spruce-pine-fir #2 17.2 15.3 12.5
center spacings for three typical species and grades of 2x10 Douglas fir #2 18.0 15.6 12.7
framing lumber at four different sizes of joist (2x6, 2x8, 9.5 x 2.06-inch I-Joist 17.9 16.2 14.0
2x10, and 2x12) and an I-joist at the two largest sizes. 2x12 hem-fir #2 20.3 17.5 14.3
For information on wood I-joists, see 43 and 44; for 2x12 spruce-pine-fir #2 20.6 17.8 14.5
information on wood trusses, see 45A. 2x12 Douglas fir #2 20.8 18.0 14.7
This table assumes a 40-psf live load, a 10-psf dead 11.9 x 2.06-inch I-joist 21.4 19.4 16.8
load and a deflection of L/360. The table is for compar-
ison and estimating purposes only.

A Joist-Floor Systems
Floors 33
Joist Systems

Fr a med wall Fr a med wall

Su bfloor ing Su bfloor ing

see 48 see 48

R i m joist R i m joist

Floor joist C o m mon joist

P.T. mudsill

Bloc king bet ween r i m

joist & first c o m mon
Foundation wall joist adds support for
see 7 bear ing wall above and
r esists rotation of r i m
In earthquake or
hur r ic ane zones,
sec ur e floor joists P.T. Mudsill
to mudsill with
fr a ming an c hors.
For joist span table Foundation wall
see 32. see 7

A Joists on Mudsill Joists on Mudsill

Perpendicular to Wall
B Parallel to Wall

Fr a med wall Fr a med wall

2x8 P.T. mudsill

flush with inside of
P.T. mudsill foundation wall

Su bfloor ing
Su bfloor ing
see 48
Floor joist
Top flange joist
hanger at eac h
Metal joist hanger
joist nailed to and
at eac h joist or
supported by mudsill
support with ledger
or fr a med wall

protec t ends of
Engineer ed P.T. header joists fro m moistur e
bolted to wall or with 30-lb. felt
at tac hed with powder- or other moistur e
dr iven fasteners bar r ier

Foundation wall Note

see 7 Wall sheathing aligned with foundation
whic h is natur al with this detail but also
possi ble with any detail on this page.

Joists Flush with Mudsill Joists Flush with Mudsill

C Perpendicular to Wall with Ledger D Perpendicular to Wall with Hanger
34 Floors
Joist Systems

Fr a med wall Fr a med wall

P.T. mudsill see 12A P.T. mudsill see 12A

Exter ior or inter ior Exter ior or inter ior

insulation see 15C insulation see 15C

30-lb. felt moistur e 30-lb. felt moistur e

bar r ier bet ween bar r ier bet ween
foundation wall & foundation wall &
untr eated wood untr eated wood

Su bfloor ing Su bfloor ing

Joists per pendic ular

Joists per pendic ular to wall w/ full
to wall bear ing on
2x4 top plate

Bloc king bet ween

Bloc king bet ween

Engineer ed P.T. 4x
ledger bolted to
C on c r ete- bloc k foundation wall
C on c r ete- bloc k Fr a med wall
or c on c r ete or c on c r ete see 15D
foundation wall foundation wall

A Joists below Mudsill Joists below Mudsill

Perpendicular to Wall/Ledger Support
B Perpendicular to Wall/Framed Wall Support

Fr a med wall Fr a med wall

P.T. mudsill see 12A P.T. mudsill see 12A

Exter ior or inter ior
insulation see 15C Exter ior or inter ior
insulation see 15C

30-lb. felt moistur e 30-lb. felt moistur e

bar r ier bet ween bar r ier bet ween
foundation wall & foundation wall &
untr eated wood untr eated wood

Su bfloor ing Su bfloor ing

Joist w/ full
bear ing on 2x4 sill Joists
par allel
to wall
Bloc king bet ween

P.T. 2x4 sill w/ 1⁄ 2 -in.

Bloc king bet ween
an c hor bolts
joists helps to
at 6 f t o.c .
r esist later al loads.

C on c r ete- bloc k For detail w/ joists C on c r ete- bloc k Joist bolted or
or c on c r ete par allel to wall or c on c r ete nailed to wall
foundation wall see 33B. foundation wall

Joists below Mudsill Joists below Mudsill

C Perpendicular to Wall/Stepped Wall Support
D Parallel to Wall/All Support Systems
Floors 35
Joist Systems

Nailed Through Joist (?)

through Joist Metal Joist Hanger
The si mplest but the weakest
The si mplest but the weakest This is the strongest
method is r ec o m mended only
method is r ec o m mended only of the standar d
for bloc king.
for bloc king. methods. Eac h
approved hanger is
r ated in pounds.

Nail bloc king to

main joist.

Nailed with Blocking Doubled Hanger

In this fair ly strong & Dou bled hangers ar e sized
si mple joint, nails at r ight to hold t wo piec es of
angles effec tively loc k di mension lu m ber.
per pendic ular joists in
plac e. It is r ec o m mended
only for short joists.

For metal hangers, use c o m mon (not box)
nails. Hanger manufac tur ers spec if y nail
size for eac h hanger t ype.

use c onstr u c tion adhesive at metal joist

hangers to r edu c e floor squeaking.

For floor openings see 38B.

Blocked Corner Notes: For metal hangers, use c o m mon

(not box) nails. Hanger manufac tur ers
Dou bled joist makeS
make a a spec if y nail size for eac h hanger t ype.
strong outside c or ner for
c antilevers see 39A anddec ks
XX and
dec XX see 52
see ks

A Joist/Joist Connections
Nailed through Joist
36 Floors
Joist Systems

Sc ab must be long enough to qualif y
splic e as a single joist so that adequate
bear ing on bea m is ac hieved. Ver if y with
loc al c odes.
Bloc king
bet ween
Bloc king joists as
bet ween r equir ed
Joists joists as
r equir ed

Sc ab
nailed to
Lapped Joists side of
This c o m mon joint r equir es shif ting joists
the su bfloor layout 11⁄ 2 in. on
opposite sides of the bea m to allow
the su bfloor to bear on the joists. Spliced Joists
But t joists to maintain
sa me spac ing for nailing
the su bfloor on eac h side
of the bea m.
Lapped joists & splic ed joists ar e c o m monly used over a c r awl spac e or other loc ation
wher e head c lear an c e below the bea m is not r equir ed.

A Joist/Wood Beam Connections

Beam below Joists


Bea m

Joist Hangers Joists on Ledger

Align joists on eac h side A 2x2 or 2x4 ledger nailed to the
of bea m to maintain sa me bea m supports the joists. Toenail
spac ing for su bfloor the joists to the bea m or bloc k
nailing. bet ween joists. Notc h joists to
1⁄ 4 of depth if r equir ed to fit over

the ledger.

Joist hangers & joists on ledger ar e used wher e ma xi mu m head c lear an c e is r equir ed below the
floor. They wor k best if the joists & bea m ar e of si milar spec ies & moistur e c ontent so that one
does not shr ink mor e than the other.

Joist/Wood Beam Connections

B Beam Flush with Joists
Floors 37
Joist Systems

2x2 wood str aps nailed to joists over Bloc king

steel bea m maintain joist align ment. bet ween
joists as
r equir ed

2x nailing
plate bolted
Provide spac e
to upper
bet ween
bea m flange
str ap & bea m
to allow
for joist
shr inkage. Splic ed joists Steel bea m
see 36A
Nailing plates
bolted to lower Steel bea m
bea m flange
Bloc king
bet ween
Joists Bearing on Steel Flange joists as
r equir ed

2x nailing plate bolted

2x nailing
to upper bea m flange
plate bolted
to upper bea m


Lapped joists Steel bea m

see 36A

Joists on Nailing Plate

bea m
hanger loads
may be r edu c ed
due to nailing Top flange metal hangers Note
li mitations. nailed to nailing plate Use only in
c onditions
Joists Hung from Nailing Plate without
uplif t
for c es and
wher e s c abs
Joists will not
inter fer e with
c eiling.

1x boar ds
s c ab bed to
underside of joists
keep joists aligned & pr event
later al movement of steel bea m.

Joists on Steel Beam

Fac e Nailers bolted to
mount joist both sides of web
at tac hed to Note
nailers The details shown in 37A & B may be adjusted
for use with other t ypes of joists & gir ders
Joists Hung from Double Nailer disc ussed in the following sec tions.

Joist/Steel Beam Connections Joist/Steel Beam Connections

A Beam Flush with Joists B Beam below Joists
38 Floors
Joist Systems

Block Bridging
Solid bloc king fro m
sa me mater ial as
joists is stagger ed
for ease of nailing.

Metal Bridging
Metal piec es should
not tou c h eac h other.

Cross Bridging
5⁄ 4 x3 or 5⁄ 4 x4 or 2x2 or

Note 1x4 boar ds ar e nailed in

For deep joists with long spans (over 10 f t.), a c ross pat ter n bet ween
loc al c odes may r equir e br idging to pr event joists. Piec es should not
rotation & to distr i bute the loading. tou c h eac h other.

A Bridging

Joists Dou ble header joists at

ends of openings

Bloc king

Small Openings
Openings that fit bet ween t wo
joists for laundry c hutes or
heating du c ts ar e si mply made Per pendic ular joist
by nailing bloc king bet ween c onnec tions
the joists. Dou ble
see 35 tr i m mer
joists at
sides of

Large Openings
In openings that ar e wider than the joist spac ing, su c h as for
the stairways & c hi mneys, the floor str u c tur e around the opening
must be str engthened. For openings up to thr ee joist spac es wide,
dou ble the joists at the sides & ends of the opening may suffic e.
Wider openings should be engineer ed.

Openings in Joist­­‑Floor System

Floors 39
Joist Systems

Dou ble side joists for Extend c antilever ed

t wic e the distan c e of joists t wic e as far into
the c antilever. the building as the
length of the c antilever.

C antilever ed
walls see 73C

Dou ble joists

at sides of
c antilever.
R i m bloc king
may be set 1-in. out
fro m mudsill to provide C or ner joint
soffit nailing. see 35
Mudsill (first-floor
fr a ming) or dou ble Joist/joist
top plate (upper-floor c onnec tions
fr a ming) supports see 35
c antilever ed joists.

A Floor Cantilevers
Parallel & Perpendicular to Joist System

Joist floor-system connections to exterior walls

are straightforward. The wall framing may be one of
two types.
c onnec tions
(if at tic floor)
Platform framing—Platform framing, the most
see 132
Joist/inter ior-wall
common system in use today, takes advantage of stan-
c onnec tions: dard materials and framing methods. The ground floor
Load- bear ing walls
see 42A & B and all upper floors can be constructed using the same
Partition walls
see 42c & D
Balloon framing—Balloon framing is rarely used
because it is harder to erect and requires very long
studs. It may be the system of choice, however, if the
Joist/exter ior- floor structure must work with the walls to resist lateral
wall c onnec tions
see 40, 41A & B
roof loads or if extra care is required to make the insu-
lation and vapor barrier continuous from floor to floor.
(see 41A, B)
Joist floor-system connections to interior walls
depend on whether the walls are load-bearing walls or
partition walls. The other factor to consider is whether
edge nailing is required for the ceiling.

Joist/Stud-Wall Connections
40 Floors
Joist Systems

Exter ior finish Exter ior finish

Stud wall Stud wall

Inter ior finish Inter ior finish

Finish floor Finish floor

Su bfloor Su bfloor

R i m joist R i m joist
(or r i m bloc king)

Insulation Insulation
& vapor bar r ier & vapor bar r ier
see 63A & B see 63A & B

Floor joist Floor joist

2x4 bloc king

Stud Stud for nailing
wall wall c eiling

Finish c eiling Finish c eiling

A Joists at Exterior Wall Joists at Exterior Wall

Joists Perpendicular to Wall
B Joist Parallel to Wall

Exter ior finish Exter ior finish

Stud wall Stud wall

Inter ior finish Inter ior finish

Finish floor Finish floor

Su bfloor Su bfloor

R i m joist R i m joist

Floor joist R igid insulation

Bloc king at sa me Floor joist

spac ing as joists
adds str u c tur al
support & provides Sec ond r i m joist
c eiling nailing. adds str u c tur al
Stud Stud
wall wall support & provides
c eiling nailing.
& vapor bar r ier
Finish c eiling see 63A & B Finish c eiling

Joists at Exterior Wall Joists at Exterior Wall

C Joists Parallel to Wall with Blocking D Doubled Rim Joists Parallel to Wall
Floors 41
Joist Systems

Exter ior finish Stud wall Exter ior finish Stud wall
c ontinuous c ontinuous
through floor through floor

Inter ior finish Inter ior finish

Fir ebloc k and/or Fir ebloc k and/or

wall nailing wall nailing
bloc k as r equir ed bloc k as r equir ed

Finish floor Finish floor

Su bfloor Su bfloor

Joist sc r ewed
Bloc king to studs

Floor-joist Insulation
spac ing see 63C & D
c oor dinates with
wall fr a ming.

Finish c eiling
Stud Finish c eiling
wall Insulate befor e
c avit y is c over ed Vapor bar r ier
C intinuous by bloc king behind joist
lef t-in ledger see 63C & D see 63C & D

A Joists at Balloon-Framed Wall Joists at Balloon-Framed Wall

Joists Perpendicular to Wall
B Joists Parallel to Wall

Sole plate Finish floor

Upper-floor Upper-floor
system system

Single top plate Fir ebloc k and / or

avoids c ross- wall nailing
gr ain shr inkage bloc k as r equir ed
of dou ble plate.
Let-in ledger for
Stud wall joist bear ing
bet ween floor
systems; mini mu m
stud length 14 in. C ontinuous studs

Sole plate
system Inter ior finish
Vertic al supports
as r equir ed
by loading Note
Stud layout must be offset
Note 11⁄ 2 in. fro m joist layout.
To mini mize floor su bsiden c e C ontinuous studs avoid the
due to c ross-gr ain shr inkage c ross-gr ain shr inking of
use kiln-dr ied lu m ber. plates in detail see 41C .

Level Change Level Change

C Platform Framing
D Balloon Framing
42 Floors
Joist Systems

Interior walls are either bearings walls, which carry or through the floor system with extra framing. Both
loads from the roof or from floors above, or partition types of wall may require extra framing where they
walls, which do not support any loads from above. Both attach to floor systems, but the framing in bearing walls
types of wall can be fastened directly to the subfloor, will generally be more substantial.
but bearing walls must have their loads distributed to

Bear ing stud wall Bear ing stud wall; studs

aligned with joists &
studs below
Finish floor

Finish floor
Su bfloor
Su bfloor
Bloc king at
Bloc k if joist
16 in. or 24 in.
is splic ed over
o.c . aligned with
bear ing wall
studs above &
see 36A
Bloc king Bear ing stud wall (or bea m)
c an be Bear ing stud wall below; studs aligned with
eli minated (or bea m) below; studs joists (bear ing wall is
if bear ing aligned with bloc king not r equir ed if joists ar e
wall aligns & studs above. engineer ed to support top
with joist. bear ing wall).

A Joists at Bearing Wall Joists at Bearing Wall

Joists Parallel to Wall
B Joists Perpendicular to Wall

Finish floor Finish floor

Su bfloor Su bfloor

Joist Joist

C eiling Bloc king

Bloc king at 16 in. Oversized 2x bloc king

or 24 in. o.c . provides c ontinuous
bet ween joists nailing for c eiling.

Partition wall Partition wall

Finish floor Finish floor

Su bfloor Su bfloor

Dou ble Separ ated

joists below dou ble joists
partition allow wir ing
wall & plu m bing to
enter wall
fro m below.

C eiling C eiling

Joists at Partition Wall Joists at Partition Wall

C Joists Parallel to Wall D Alternative Details
Floors 43
Joist Systems

Wood I-joists are designed to work efficiently, with

most of the wood located at the top and bottom of the
Bot to m joist where the bending stresses are greatest. Called
flange Top
flanges, the top and bottom are generally made of lami-
nated or solid wood; the slender central part of the
joist, the web, is made of plywood or OSB. I-joists are
Web Thic kness straighter and more precise than dimension lumber and
of bac ker therefore make a flatter, quieter floor. Their spanning
bloc ks
& web capacity is only slightly greater than that of dimension
Note stiffeners
lumber, but because they can be manufactured much
Round or see 43B
r ec tangular holes deeper and longer than lumber joists (up to 30 in. deep
for utilities may
and 60 ft. long), they are the floor-framing system of
be c ut in web. The
farther fro m the choice when long spans are required.
support, the lar ger
the hole c an be. Wood I-joists are designed to be part of a system
11⁄ 2 -in.-dia meter composed of engineered beams, joists, and sheathing.
round holes may Widths:
be c ut almost 11⁄ 2 in., 2 in., 31⁄ 2 in. Laminated strand lumber (LSL) rim joists and laminated
any wher e in the veneer lumber (LVL) beams are sized to integrate with
web. Ver if y hole size
and loc ation with the joists. In cases of extreme loading, composite beams
manufac tur er.
may be substituted for I-joists. The system is completed
with span-rated tongue-and-groove sheathing nailed to
the joists and reinforced with construction adhesive.
Wood I-Joists
Because the web is thin, I-joists are about 50% lighter
Metal I-joist than lumber joists. But the thin web also means I-joists
Wood bea m hanger
or joist do not have as much strength to resist vertical crushing
forces. For this reason, the web often must be reinforced
I-joist with plywood or OSB web stiffeners. Nailed to the web,
these stiffeners occur at connectors for deep joists, and in
other conditions as required by manufacturers’ specifica-
tions and local codes. When vertical loads are extreme,
I-joists can be reinforced by attaching sections of 2x fram-
ing lumber called squash blocks to their sides or by fas-
Ply wood or OS B
Metal I-Joist tening LSL blocking panels between them (see 44C).
bac ker bloc k
hanger designed
both sides flush
with flange
to support When other framing members need to be attached
bot to m & top
to the side of an I-joist, backer blocks are added to the
c hor d later ally
webs of the I-joists. Like web stiffeners, backer blocks
are made of plywood or OSB, but their primary purpose
is to provide a planar, thick nailing surface rather than to
resist vertical loads (see 44D).
Like dimension lumber, wood I-joists are easily cut
I-Joist/I-Joist and joined on site. The production and fastening of
backer blocks, web stiffeners, and so forth for I-joist
systems can offset the construction time gained by not
Wood I-Joist Connections
B having to sort for defects.
44 Floors
Joist Systems

La minated str and

lu m ber (LSL) r i m P.T. Mudsill

Su bfloor ing Su bfloor ing

P.T. mudsill or top I-joist
plate of stud wall
Note hanger
LSL r i m joists ar e sized to c or r espond Note
with the depth of wood I-joists. Ver if y br idging r equir ement
Do not use sawn-lu m ber r i m. for tall joists.

Wood I-Joists at Rim Joist Wood I-Joists at Rim Joist

A Joists on Mudsill or Top Plate B Joists Flush with Mudsill

LSL bloc king

panel bet ween Bear ing wall
I-joists for
heavy loads Wood I-joist
bloc king bet ween
c ut I-joists

Su bfloor ing Su bfloor ing

Wood I-joists

Bear ing wall

2x squash bloc ks at below
both sides of I-joist Bac ker bloc ks on both
for heavy loads sides of I-joist at loc ations
Bear ing wher e c onnec tions (su c h as
wall below hangers) ar e made to I-joist

Wood I-Joists for Loads Wood I-Joist Connections

C Squash Blocks & Blocking Panels D Blocking & Backer Blocks
Floors 45
Joist Systems

Metal plate

c hor d


Top Chord Bottom Chord

Bot to m Bearing Bearing
c hor d

Four-by-two wood floor trusses are made up of small on the depth of the truss. Truss depths vary from
members (usually 2x4s) that are connected so that they 10 in. to 24 in., with spans up to about 30 ft. Like
act like a single large member. The parallel top and I-joists, floor trusses are practical for long spans and
bottom chords and the webs are made of lumber held simple plans, but difficult for complicated buildings.
together at the intersections with toothed metal plates. Floor trusses are custom manufactured for each job,
The open web allows for utilities to run through the and cannot be altered at the site. Bearing walls, floor
floor without altering the truss. Round ducts from 5 in. openings, and other departures from the simple span
to 16 in. in diameter can be accommodated, depending should always be engineered by the manufacturer.

Wood floor Trusses


Pin c onnec tion

c hor d

tu bing
web Top Chord Bottom Chord
Bearing Bearing
c hor d

Wood top and bottom chords are linked with steel over 100 ft. They are made with double 2x chords,
tubing webs in the composite truss. The tubing is which sandwich the webs. The lightest-duty composite
pressed flat at the ends and connected to the wood trusses are made with single 2x4 chords oriented flat
chords with a metal pin. Unlike wood trusses with and dadoed to receive the webs.
metal plates (see 45A above), the webs of the com- Like wood floor trusses, composite trusses easily
posite truss are entirely free to rotate (on the pins) and accommodate ducts and other utilities, which can be
therefore allow the truss to return to its original shape run through the open webs without altering the truss.
when the load is removed. Like all trusses, composite trusses are most practical
Composite trusses are generally more heavy duty for simple plans with long spans. Once engineered and
than their all-wood cousins illustrated in 45A above. installed, they are difficult to alter.
The largest composite trusses are capable of spanning

Composite Floor Trusses

46 Floors
Girder Systems

Exposed c eiling Visual gr ades of dr ied

dec king c onnec tions T&G dec king used for
see 47C & D exposed c eilings
see 49A

C o m bination Utilit y-gr ade 2x T&G

su bfloor-under lay ment dec king as su bfloor
see 48 see 49A

Gir der/post c onnec tions

C onnec tions to
see 31
foundation walls
see 47A & B

Girder systems may be designed with either dimen- girder spans

sion or laminated lumber. They are most common in Size, species, grade, and spacing Span (ft.)
the Northwest, where dimension timber is plentiful. 4 x 6 Douglas-fir #2 @48 in. o.c. 8.6
Girder floor systems are similar to joist floor systems 4 x 8 Douglas-fir #2 @48 in. o.c. 11.3
except that girders, which are wider than joists, can
4 x 10 Douglas-fir #2 @48 in. o.c. 14.4
carry a greater load for a given span and therefore can
4 x 12 Douglas-fir #2 @48 in. o.c. 17.6
be spaced at wider intervals than joists. Girders are
typically placed on 48-in. centers, so long-spanning
subfloor materials such as 2-in. T&G decking or
11⁄ 8-in. combination subfloor-underlayment are exposed T&G decking ceiling. These exposed ceilings
required (see 48). can make wiring, plumbing, and ductwork difficult.
When used over crawl spaces, girders may be sup- This table assumes a 40-psf live load, a 10-psf dead
ported directly on posts. Over a basement, a girder load, and a deflection of L/ 360. The table is for esti-
system may be supported on posts or may bear on a mating purposes only. No. 2 Douglas-fir is most preva-
wall or a beam like a joist system. At upper floor levels, lent in regions where girder systems are most
girder systems are often used in conjunction with an frequently used.

A Girder-Floor Systems
Floors 47
Girder Systems

Fr a med wall Under lay ment &

finish floor see 48

4- mil vapor bar r ier

see 61
Fr a med wall Under lay ment &
2x dec king spans 4 f t. finish floor see 48

4- mil vapor bar r ier

see 61

4x gir der with futur e

2x dec king
bat t insulation see 61
spans 4 f t.

4x gir der with futur e

bat t insulation see 61
R i m joist
½-in. air spac e or
30-lb. felt at tac hed
to end of gir der

P.t. mudsill P.T. 4x4 post bear ing

on footing

P.t. mudsill

Foundation wall
see 7 Foundation wall
see 7

A Girders on Mudsill Girders Flush with Mudsill

Girders Perpendicular to Wall
B Girders Perpendicular to Wall

Fr a med Wall Fr a med Wall

Under lay ment & Under lay ment &

finish floor see 48 finish floor see 48
2x T&G dec king
2x T&G dec king
exposed below
exposed below
for c eiling
for c eiling

Exposed or wr apped
gir der
Bloc king applied or wr apped
bet ween and to sides gir der
of gir ders supports
wall finish.
Bloc king supports
finish mater ial

Fill spac e with Fill spac e with

Finish insulation Finish insulation
wall see 63 wall see 63

Note Note
2x T&G dec king may be sanded to make finish Dec king does not provide str u c tur al
floor, but this is advisable only with very dry diaphr ag m r equir ed at upper floors.
dec king. Dust filtr ation fro m upper to lower Use ply wood under lay ment or other
floor & sound tr ans mission bet ween floors method to tr ansfer later al loads.
may oc c ur with this detail.

Girders with Exposed Decking Girders with Exposed Decking

C 2nd Floor: Girders Perpendicular to Wall D 2nd Floor: Girders Parallel to Wall
48 Floors

Subflooring—Subflooring is the structural Sur fac e gr ain of

ply wood su bfloor panels
skin of a floor system. It spans between the is per pendic ular to
joists and acts as a diaphragm to transfer hori-
zontal loads to the walls of a structure. For Stagger end
joist systems, subflooring is typically tongue- joints of
all su bfloor
and-groove (T&G) plywood, non-veneered panels.
panels such as oriented strand board (OSB) or
T&G plywood combination subfloor/underlay-
ment, which is a grade of T&G plywood
that is plugged and sanded to a smooth
underlayment-grade surface. In girder
systems, the subflooring is typically T&G
Offset joints
decking (see 49A). of su bfloor &
under lay ment
Underlayment—Underlayment is not struc- panels.
tural but provides a smooth surface necessary
for some finish floors. It can also be used to Joist or gir der

fur up floors to match an adjacent finish floor Edge bloc king is r equir ed if
su bfloor panels ar e not T&G
of a different thickness. Underlayment is typi- & under lay ment is not used.
cally plywood, particleboard, or hardboard.

Spacing and nailing—Most plywood manufacturers

specify a space of 1⁄ 8 in. between the edges of panels to
allow for expansion. Panels that are sized 1⁄ 8 in. smaller
in each direction are available to allow a space without subflooring spans
Subfloor type Thickness Maximum span
compromising the 4-ft. by 8-ft. module. The procedure
Plywood sheathing 1⁄ 2in. to 5 ⁄ 8 in. 16 in.
may be successfully avoided in dry climates. Check
or combination 5⁄ 8in. to 3⁄4 in. 20 in.
with local contractors for accepted local practice. 3⁄4 in. to 7⁄ 8 in.
subfloor 24 in.
A common rule of thumb is to nail panels 6 in. o.c. at underlayment 11⁄ 8 in. 48 in.
edges and 12 in. o.c. in the panel field. Glues and panel
Non-venneered 5⁄ 8 in. 16 in.
adhesives can minimize squeaks and reduce the nailing
panels: OSB, 3 ⁄4 in. 24 in.
requirements for panel floor systems. Verify attachment
methods with the specifications of the manufacturer. A particleboard
typical plywood grade stamp is shown below.

Panel gr ade APA —The

Engineer ed Wood The values in this table are based on information
Assoc iation
Span r ating from the APA—The Engineered Wood Association and
roof / floor Thic kness the International Building Code (IBC). Values are for
Panel is 1⁄ 8 in. panels that are continuous over two or more spans, with
nar rower & Exposur e
shorter than r ating the long dimension of the panel perpendicular to sup-
full size
Mill nu m ber ports. Verify span with panel rating.

Tec hnic al
infor mation

A Subflooring & Underlayment

Plywood & Non-Veneered Panels
Floors 49

Typical T&G Decking Sections

Stagger joints
over gir ders. 2x6 V-Joint is most
c o m monly used on
upper floors to make exposed
c eilings below. Most spec ies
will span 4 f t.

2x8 utilit y is
used pr i mar ily
as su bfloor over c r awl spac es
or basements & is of ten
installed gr een. It will span
4 f t. in most floor situations.

Glue dec king 3x and 4x
Gir der la minated is
to gir ders with
c onstr u c tion used mostly at
adhesive to mini mize roofs to make exposed c eilings
floor squeak. R efer below, but also as floor ing.
to Wester n Wood Dec king is end matc hed for
Produ c ts Use Book r ando m-length applic ation & is
for span infor mation. available pr efinished in 3x6, 3x8,
4x6, & 4x8 sizes. It spans up to
14 f t. for r esidential floor loads.

A Subflooring
T&G Decking

C on c r ete
su bfloor/ A small part of the subfloor may need to be concrete
c o m mon joist
see 50D to support tiles or for a passive-solar mass floor at a
south edge. The structure under the concrete must be
lowered in order to accommodate the extra thickness
of the concrete, typically 21⁄4 in. to 3 in. Use plywood
that is rated to carry the load of wet concrete, usually
3⁄4 in. (min.).

In the case of a tiled floor, the complications of

adjusting the structure to accommodate a thick con-
crete subfloor may be avoided by using a 7⁄16 in. thick
glass-fiber–reinforced cement board over the surface of
the typical wood subfloor. Check with the tile manufac-
turer for recommendations.
C on c r ete
su bfloor/
see 50A, B & C

C on c r ete Note:
su bfloor/header For thin- mass
joist floors
see 51A & B see 51C & D

A Subflooring
50 Floors

Fr a med wall
2x6 fr a med wall Fur r ing sa me thic kness
Fur r ing sa me thi c kness as wood su bfloor
as wood su bfloor
Dou ble r i m joists
P.T. mudsill Finish floor

Finish floor C on c r ete su bfloor on

¾ -in. Ply wood base;
C on c r ete su bfloor on level and thic kness
¾ -in. Ply wood base; level vary with finish mater ial.
and thic kness vary with
finish mater ial. 30-lb. felt or other
moistur e bar r ier

30-lb. felt or other Joists hung fro m P.T.

moistur e bar r ier header joist r ipped to
bear on foundation wall.
Spac er bloc ks at 16 in. o.c .
Joists bear on ledge in
foundation wall or on Moistur e bar r ier
ledger or pony wall bet ween untr eated
see 12D joists & foundation
P.T. mudsill

Moistur e bar r ier P.T. mudsill
bet ween untr eated
For 2x4 wall, plac e insulation bet ween
wood & foundation
dou ble r i m joist & P.T. header joist.

A Concrete Subfloor at Exterior Concrete Subfloor at Exterior

Full-Depth Joists below Mudsill
B Full-Depth Joists/Alternative

2x6 fr a med wall R i m joist Note Note

For c ondition at For c ondition at
exter ior wall exter ior wall
Fur r ing sa me thi c kness see 50A & B. see 50C .
as wood su bfloor
Finish floor

Fur r ing Ply wood or other

wood su bfloor
Finish floor
T ypic al joists
C on c r ete su bfloor on
¾ -in. ply wood base;
level and thic kness vary
with finish mater ial. C on c r ete
su bfloor on ¾ -in.
30-lb. felt or other ply wood base
moistur e bar r ier
30-lb. felt or
Joists c ut or sized other moistur e
down to ac c o m modate bar r ier
depth of c on c r ete
su bfloor Lower ed joists may C ut or sized-down
need to be sized joist, dec r ease span
P.T. mudsill Insulation deeper than t ypic al and/or spac ing to
full-depth joist to support c on c r ete
support c on c r ete su bfloor
Note su bfloor.
Dec r ease span and/or spac ing of sized-down
joists supporting c on c r ete.

Concrete Subfloor at Exterior Concrete Subfloor at Interior

C Cut-Down Joists on Mudsill D Edge Parallel to Joists/2 Details
Floors 51

Finish floor
For c ondition at exter ior wall
see 50a or b.
Finish C on c r ete
Ply wood or other floor su bfloor on ¾ -in.
wood su bfloor ply wood base

C ut-down joist
C on c r ete su bfloor
on ¾ -in. ply wood Vertic al support
base as r equir ed

30-lb. felt or other

moistur e bar r ier Finish floor

C on c r ete
Joist on joist hanger su bfloor on ¾ -in.
Ply wood base

Dou ble header joist 30-lb. felt or other

joist on moistur e bar r ier
Single header joist joist
nailed to dou ble hanger Notc hed joist
header joist

Bloc king
Vertic al support
as r equir ed Bea m or stud-wall
support as r equir ed

A Concrete Subfloor at Interior Concrete Subfloor at Interior

Edge Perpendicular to Joists
B Edge Perpendicular to Joists: Alternative Details

Stud wall fr a med Stud wall fr a med Dou ble 2x P.T. Plate
af ter c on c r ete is af ter c on c r ete is serves as sc r eed &
finished finished allows utilities to
pass through floor
system at wall.
Dou ble 2x P.T. plate
serves as sc r eed

3-in. c on c r ete
3-in. c on c r ete su bfloor on ¾ -in.
su bfloor on ¾ -in. ply wood base
ply wood base

30-lb. felt or other 30-lb. felt or other

moistur e bar r ier moistur e bar r ier

Joist Joist

P.T. mudsill (or top Bloc king

plate if thin- mass
su bfloor is at Str u c tur e below
upper story) as r equir ed

Note If the c on c r ete is to be exposed, the dou ble
This detail is used to provide mass to a lar ge plate may be o mIt ted for ease of troweling.
ar ea of floor for solar gain. The stud wall may then be shot to c on c r ete.
see 24c

Thin-Mass Subfloor Thin-Mass Subfloor

C At Exterior Wall D At Interior Wall
52 Floors
Porches & Decks

Porches and decks are traditional and useful addi- Waterproof porch—A waterproof porch or deck
tions to wood-frame structures. They provide a transi- floor can be treated like a flat roof. As shown in the
tion between indoors and out, allowing people to pause drawing below, flashing (or the roofing material itself)
upon entering or leaving, and they extend the building must be tucked under the siding to catch water running
to include the out-of-doors. Porch and deck floors must down the side of the building, and the floor (roof) sur-
be constructed differently from interior floors in order face must be sloped away from the building (see 56A).
to withstand the weather. The connection between The framing for waterproof decks over living spaces
porch and deck floors and the building itself is espe- needs proper ventilation (see 205A).
cially critical in keeping moisture out of the main struc-
ture. Because of constant exposure to the weather, this
Exter ior wall
connection must be detailed in such a way that it can
be repaired or replaced.
Water proof

Por c h/dec k
str u c tur e

Porch Deck
Exter ior wall
Open porch—In an
open porch or deck Siding
The floors of porches and decks can be grouped into floor, the parts that Spac e allows
connect it to the main water to pass.
two major types: those that are waterproof and thus act
as a roof protecting the area below, and those that are structure are exposed
open and allow water to pass through. to the weather, yet Por c h/dec k
str u c tur e
need to penetrate
the skin of the wall.
C onnec tors at
This connection can intervals
see 54B & C
Waterproof be accomplished by
Porch/Deck keeping the porch/
deck structure away Exter ior wall
from the exterior
wall and attaching it
only at intervals with
spaced connectors
(see 54B & C). Por c h/dec k
Alternatively, a str u c tur e

continuous ledger
Porch/Deck may be bolted to the C ontinuous
Floor wall and flashed (see see 55a
55A & B).

Porches & Decks

Floors 53
Porches & Decks

Porches and decks are exposed directly to the Wood decking—Because decking is oriented horizon-
weather in ways that the main part of the structure is tally, it has a relatively large exposed surface to collect
not. Consequently, the wood used in porches and decks and absorb moisture. This moisture will tend to make
is much more susceptible to expansion and contraction, the decking cup. Most references suggest installing flat-
twisting, checking, and rotting. A special strategy for grain wood decking (and rail caps) with the bark side
building porches and decks is therefore appropriate. down because boards will cup in the right direction to
shed water as they season.
Weather resistance—Elements of porches and
decks that are likely to get wet should be constructed
of weather-resistant materials. Virtually all the material
required to make a new porch or deck is now available
Unseasoned (wet) Seasoned (dry) Wet
in pressure-treated lumber. Weather-resistant woods
like cedar or redwood are also appropriate.
However, if dry (seasoned) decking is installed with
Connectors—At least once a year, joints that are the bark side down, the boards will cup in the wrong
exposed to the weather will shrink and swell, causing direction when they get wet. Therefore, dry decking
nails to withdraw and joints to weaken. Joints made boards should be installed with the bark side up so that
with screws or bolts will therefore outlast those made the boards will shed water if they cup.
with nails. For joist connections, use joist hangers or
angle clips.
Joist hangers are made of galvanized steel, which
should not be adversely affected by exposure to the Seasoned Wet
weather. Galvanized steel deteriorates relatively
quickly, however, when combined with pressure-
treated lumber, especially when moisture is added to
Synthetic decking—There is a new generation of
synthetic decking made of reclaimed hardwood and
the mix. Therefore, always use connectors with the
recycled plastic. This material holds up in exposed con-
longer-lasting hot-dip galvanized finish. Also, consider
ditions, is not harmed by rot or insects, and is extremely
the use of weather-resistant wood species for use with
consistent and stable. The decking is not as stiff as sawn
galvanized hangers.
lumber, so it requires closer joist spacing. It can be
Fasteners such as nails and deck screws should be
fastened to framing with conventional methods and is
galvanized. Stainless steel screws are also available and
available in standard sizes from 1x6 to 2x8.
will give the longest life.
Because the decking does not absorb water, thermal
Framing—Areas between adjacent wood members expansion is more of a concern than warping or cup-
collect moisture and are especially prone to rot. Even ping. The decking requires no sealers or preservatives
pressure-treated lumber can rot in this situation. Avoid and is manufactured with a nonskid surface. It is dis-
doubling up members in exposed posable (no toxins).
situations. It is better to use a
single large timber where extra
Painting—Sealers and preservatives will extend the
life of porches and decks. Special attention should be
strength is required, as shown in
Poor Good given to end grain and to areas likely to hold moisture.
the drawing at right.
Stains will outlast paints. Special porch and deck paints
Where wood must touch another surface, make the
are available for use where exposure to the weather is
area of contact as small as possible and allow for air cir-
not severe.
culation around the joint.

Porch & Deck Construction

54 Floors
Porches & Decks


Sheathing Siding Hor izontal siding

or shingles

P.T. mudsill Flashing tu c ked under

top piec e of siding
& extended below
Maintain 1-in. gap lowest piec e of siding
below wood siding.
Open dec king
Open dec king
P.T. 2x or 4x
bloc k with
sloped top
Dec k joist
Lag bolt(s)
in pr edr illed
bloc k
P.T. header
joist bolted to
foundation wall
90-lb. felt gasket on
flashing at lag bold

bloc king for lag bolt

Foundation wall
see 7
P.T. mudsill

Foundation wall
see 7

A Open Deck/Foundation Wall Open Deck/Wood Wall

B 1st Floor : Horizontal Siding or Shingles
Sheathing Hor izontal siding
or shingles

Flashing tu c ked under

top piec e or siding
& lapped over first
c ontinuous piec e of
siding below Notes
Flashing extends 8-in. mini mu m past both sides
of bloc k spac ers.
Open dec king
Install spac er bloc ks si multaneously with
siding & flashing, then install dec k.
Pl.T. 2x or 4x
bloc k with
Open dec king laid diagonally ac ross joist
sloped top
system ac ts as a diaphr ag m, whic h may
Lag bolt(s) eli minate the need for br ac ing por c h supports.
in pr edr illed
bloc k Details show level of dec k slightly below
level of finish floor. In snow c ountry, adjust
dec k level and flashing height to ac c ount
Header joist for snow buildup.

Spac ed dec king is of ten used for the floor

90-lb. felt gasket on of a sc r eened por c h. In this c ase, the dec king
flashing at lag bolt must be installed over insec t sc r eening.

Bloc king for lag bolt

Inter ior floor

str u c tur e
Fr a med wall

Open Deck/Wood Wall

C 2nd Floor : Horizontal Siding or Shingles
Floors 55
Porches & Decks

Siding stopped
Siding above dec king

Flashing tu c ked
1 in. under siding and C ontinuous flashing
wr apped over ledger fro m under siding to
ker f in joists
Open dec king
Open dec king
joist Ker f in dec k
joists for
Dec k joist flashing dr ip

P.T. ledger
nailed to
bolted to
fr a ming

Lag bolts with washers

Joist hanger

¾ -in. galvanized
Flashing behind ledger
hollow spac ers filled
with dr ip over siding
with silic one c aulk

Inter ior floor

Inter ior floor
Fr a med wall str u c tur e
Fr a med wall str u c tur e

A Open Deck/Wood Wall Open Deck/Wood Wall

B Alternative Detail

Open r ailing bolted

to joists or as Solid r ailing of
extension of studs & siding
vertic al support see 55a
see 59a

Open dec king

Open dec king

Dec k joist
Dec k joist supported supported by
by joist hanger on joist hanger on
header joist header joist

Header joist
bolted to studs
Header joist s c r ewed
or bolted to vertic al
Flashing tu c ked
1 in. under siding
skirting and behind
header joist
Dr ip

Stud wall, wood Stud wall, wood

post, or other post, or other
vertic al support vertic al support

Open Deck/Open Railing Open Deck/solid Railing

56 Floors
Porches & Decks

C ant str ips at inside c or ners as Notes

r equir ed by water proof c oating Water proofing c an be
protec ted fro m abr asion
by addition of wood or
Elasto mer ic , bitu minous, or
c on c r ete-paver sur fac e,
other water proof mem br ane or
see 57a, b & c
c oating; extend c oating fro m
under siding to edge of dec k.
Slope may be ac hieved
by sloping joists or,
Slip sheet as r equir ed with wher e a level sur fac e
so me c oatings. is r equir ed below, by
r ipping joists or adding
Slope 1⁄ 4 in. per f t. fur r ing str ips.

Edge flashing with dr ip

extends 4 in. under
water proofing.

At tac h ment of r ailings

see 58 & 59
Header joist bolted
to fr a ming mini mizes R i m joist deeper than
movement. dec k joists to for m dr ip

Stud wall, wood post, or

other vertic al support

Waterproof Decks
A General Characteristics

Water proof mem br ane Note

c ontinuous fro m If r ail is solid, slope
under siding to outer c on c r ete to sc uppers
edge of c on c r ete fro m all dir ec tions.
See 57D

R einfor c ed
light weight- c on c r ete
Alter native flashing
dec k
detail below will
provide a for m for
Slope 1⁄ 4 in. per f t. edge of c on c r ete.

Edge flashing with dr ip

extends 4 in. under
water proof mem br ane.
Ply wood su bfloor

R i m joist deeper than dec k

Header joist bolted joists to for m dr ip
to fr a ming
Stud wall, wood post, or
other vertic al support

Lightweight-Concrete Porch Deck

Floors 57
Porches & Decks

Open r ail (shown) or solid R ec essed 1x4 c edar, P.T. or

r ail & s c upper see 58 & 57d sleepers at other weather-
edges against r esistant boar ds
wall allow spac ed 3 ⁄ 16 in. apart
Water proof mem br ane water passage.
c ontinuous fro m under
siding to flashing at
3 ⁄ 16 in.
edge of dec k

Slope of dec k sur fac e

Du c kboar ds see 57b
Slope 1⁄ 4 in. per f t.

1x3 or 1x4 Br ass or

Edge flashing
weather-r esistant galvanized sc r ews
with dr ip
sleepers at 12 in. o.c . c ountersunk fro m
or ac c or ding to underside of
spanning c apac it y sleepers.
of sur fac e boar ds;
Du c kboar d dec ks ar e gener ally held in plac e
or ient in dir ec tion
by gr avit y. They should not be used in ar eas
of dec k slope.
of extr emely high winds.

A Duckboard Deck Duckboard Deck

Open Rail Shown
B Detail

Water proof mem br ane Through-wall Sc upper

c ontinuous fro m under siding flashing
Over flow
to s c upper through wall opening

C on c r ete pagers set on Dr ip

30-lb. or 90-lb. felt
C edar sleeper provides gut ter
at solid r ail & r etains pavers
at open r ail & allows for Parts of a Scupper
expansion of pavers.

Through-wall flashing
extends 4 in. (min.)
past wall.
Low point in dec k

Siding for ms dr ip
over wall opening

Extend flashing
Note dr ip beyond siding
This detail is not Sc upper through
r ec o m mended in solid rail see 57d Sc upper
ar eas of sever e Section
fr eezing weather. Downspout

Concrete-Paver Deck Scupper

C Solid Rail Shown D
58 Floors
Porches & Decks

Because they make continuous contact with the Waterproof deck with solid railing—Waterproof
porch or deck floor, solid railings are relatively simple decks surrounded by a solid railing must be sloped to
to design and construct to resist overturning due to lat- an opening in the railing. This opening can be a flashed
eral force. For short railing spans (up to 8 ft. long) sup- hole in the wall, or scupper, as shown here, or it can
ported at both ends by a column, a wall, or a corner, the be a gap in the wall that accommodates a stairway or
simplest framing (see the drawing below) will suffice walk. (Avoid directing water to walkways in climates
because the top edge may be made stiff enough to span with freezing temperatures.) The opening should be
between the two rigid ends. located away from the main structure of the building,
Longer railings or railings with one or both ends and the floor should pitch toward the opening from all
unsupported must be designed to resist lateral forces directions. In some cases, a second opening or overflow
by means of a series of vertical supports firmly secured should be provided to guarantee that water won’t build
to the porch or deck floor framing (see the drawing up if the primary drain clogs.
below). This means, of course, that the porch floor
R ailing
framing itself must be solidly constructed. R ailing/ wall see dr awing
c onnec tion at lef t
see 105a
Dou ble top plate,
supported at
both ends, may be
stiffened further
by r ail c ap.

Sole plate nailed

to si mple dec k
c onstr u c tion

C ontinuous r ailing stud

notc hed over r i m joist &
nailed to joist system
r esists overtur ning.
Wall/dec k
c onnec tion
Bloc king for
is sa me as
siding nailing
r ailing/dec k
c onnec tion see Sc upper
dr awings at see 57d
Bloc king for
su bfloor nailing lef t

Provide bloc king
bet ween joist at Open deck with solid railing—Open decks sur-
r ailing stud if
r ailing is par allel rounded by a solid railing are simple to drain since
to joist system. water will pass through the floor surface (see 55D).
Care should be taken to provide adequate drainage
The same results may be achieved in a porch or
from any surface below the deck.
deck built over a living space by using a balloon frame
system with porch-rail studs continuous through to the
wall below.

Solid Railing at Porch or Deck

Floors 59
Porches & Decks

Open railings are connected to the floor of a porch However the railing is attached to the porch, its
or deck only intermittently, where the vertical supports rigidity depends ultimately on the solid construction
occur. It is through these supports that open railings of the porch framing. Pressure-treated joists will con-
gain their rigidity. When the end of the railing is sup- tribute to the floor’s longevity, and metal hangers and
ported at a wall or a column, no special connections clips will add rigidity. Block between joist bays when
are required. When the vertical support does not coin- the railing is parallel to the joist system.
cide with a rigid part of the structure, however, a rigid
Waterproof deck with open railing—Waterproof
connection must be made with the floor system of the
decks surrounded by an open railing should be sloped
porch or deck. One logical place to locate this con-
away from the wall(s) of the building. Drainage may be
nection is at the inside edge of the rim joist (see the
distributed around all open edges, as shown below, or it
drawing below).
can be collected in a scupper.

Open r ailing R ailing/ wall

bet ween supports c onnec tion
see 105a
Vertic al support
bolted to inside Rim
of joist system joist

Por c h floor
str u c tur e

Supports ar e mor e
r igid if c ontinuous
to footing.

Another logical place to secure the railing to the

porch floor is at the outside of the rim joist (see the
drawing below). This is usually the most practical
choice for waterproof decks, since the railing does not
have to penetrate the waterproof surface.
Tr aditional Por c h
por c h r ailing flashing
see 60c see 56
Open r ailing
bet ween supports

Vertic al support
bolted to outside Rim Open deck with open railing—Open decks sur-
of joist system joist rounded by an open railing are relatively simple to
drain. Be sure to provide adequate drainage from the
surface below the deck.

Por c h floor
str u c tur e

Balusters may also

be at tac hed to the
joist to stiffen the
r ailing even mor e.

Open Railing at Porch or Deck

60 Floors
Porches & Decks

A wood porch with an open railing and a tongue- Fr a med wall Sheathing
and-groove wood floor has been a tradition throughout Siding
the United States for the entire history of wood-frame
30-lb. felt c ontinuous
construction and is still in demand. A tongue-and-groove behind flashing 3 in.
porch floor is actually a hybrid between a waterproof above por c h floor

deck and an open deck because although it is not water- Tr i m as r equir ed

proof, it is also not truly open like the spaced decking 5 ⁄ 4 x4 or 1x4 T&G floor

of open porch or deck floors. Moisture is likely to get sloped 1⁄ 4 in. per f t.
away fro m building
trapped in the tongue-and-groove joint between floor
boards and cause decay. To avoid this problem, the floors Air spac e below siding
& at end of floor ing
of these porches are often painted annually. Weather-
resistant species or wood that has been pressure-treated Dr ip
will provide the most maintenance-free porch.
Joists par allel to
The tongue-and-groove wood porch was traditionally main building
built without flashing. But for a longer lasting porch, P.T. ply wood bloc king
stud wall or at bolts
the connection between the porch floor and the main
structure should be flashed for the same reason as for wall C ontinuous P.T. fur r ing

all open porch and deck floors. Flash over siding below
if r equir ed

A Traditional Wood Porch Traditional Wood Porch

Floor Characteristics
B Connection to Main Structure

Solid r ailing studs

Open r ailing
c ontinuous fro m
see 59
top to base of r ail

C ontinuous c olu mn Sheathing

in por c h r ailing
Tr i m

Tr i m as r equir ed
5 ⁄ 4 x4
or 1x4 T&G floor
sloped 1⁄ 4 in. per f t. Fur r ing joist
away fro m building allows nailing &
r eplac ement of
floor ing without
r emoval of siding.
Tr i m as r equir ed

Skirting Flashing
c ontinuous over
fur r ing joist

5 ⁄ 4 x4or Pr essur e-tr eated

1x4 T&G floor joist nailed to
sloped fur r ing joist
1⁄ 4 in. per f t.
through flashing
away fro m building

Traditional Wood Porch Traditional Wood Porch

C Open Railing D Closed Railing
Floors 61

Por c h When crawl-space floor insulation must be installed

Roof insulation Wall insulation & dec k
see 197 see 120 floors from below, spring wires are cheap, easy, and effective.
spac e
see 197

Floor insulation
at upper floors Spr ing wir es pushed into plac e
see 63 Heated at 24 in. o.c . support insulation.
c r awl
spac es
see 15c
Floor insulation over open areas that are exposed to
varmints and house pets should be covered from below
Floors over
unheated c r awl with solid sheathing (see 88A).
spac e (see Notes Slab
on this page)
see 22b
Vapor retarder—A vapor retarder is not always
required in the floor structure over a crawl space
because the temperature differential between the inte-
Floors rior space and the crawl space is not always enough to
over other
unheated cause condensation. A floor over a heated basement or
ar eas crawl space (see 8) would not require a vapor retarder.
see Notes
Floor insulation on this When conditions do require a vapor retarder or when
at foundation page an air-infiltration barrier (AVB) is desired, a 4-mil air/
see 62
vapor barrier may be placed on the warm side of the
insulation, as shown in the drawing below.
Floor insulation—Building codes in most climates
Vapor r etar der c an go
require at least R-11 for floors over unheated spaces. on top of su bfloor
if unfac ed bat t
Installation—Floors over vented crawl spaces and insulation is below,
other unheated areas are typically insulated with fiber- or
vapor r etar der c an be
glass batts because the ample depth of the floor struc- integr al with or on
ture can accommodate this cost-effective but relatively top side of insulation.

bulky type of insulation. The batts are easiest to install

if weather and other considerations permit them to be A vapor retarder placed on the subfloor is more con-
dropped in from above. To support the batts, a wire tinuous than one on the top side of the batts, and it also
or plastic mesh or wood lath can first be stapled to the will not trap rainwater during construction. Floor vapor
underside of the joists, or plastic mesh can be draped retarders in any position are likely to accumulate mul-
very loosely over the joists. tiple nail penetrations and should be coordinated with
the finish floor. For more on vapor retarders and air-
infiltration barriers, see 120.

Perimeter insulation—Floors whose perimeter

completes the thermal envelope, such as upper floors
that are located over a heated space, need only be insu-
Support fi ber glass- bat t insulation lated at their perimeter, not throughout the entire floor.
with wir e or plastic mesh, or with The continuity of insulation and air/vapor barriers at
wood lath or wir e at 12 in. o.c .
this location requires serious consideration (see 62B,
C & D and 63).
Floor Insulation
62 Floors

Fr a med wall with futur e wall

insulation, vapor r etar der,
moistur e bar r ier & siding
Fr a med wall with futur e wall
insulation, vapor r etar der,
moistur e bar r ier & siding
Su bfloor
Su bfloor
Unfac ed fi ber glass
bat t insulation fills
Vapor r etar der on top
joist c avities.
of su bfloor c an be
see 61
sealed to wall vapor
r etar der at bot to m
R igid insulation
sealed at edges

Unfac ed fi ber glass- bat t

insulation fills joist
or gir der c avities.
see 61 Joist on mudsill
see 33a & b

Insulated fr a med wall

P.T. mudsill see 15c & d

Foundation wall
P.T. mudsill with
sill gasket

Foundation wall

A Floor Insulation at Foundation Floor Insulation at Foundation

Uninsulated Basement or Crawl Space
B Heated Basement/Joist on Mudsill

Fr a med 2x6 wall c antilever ed Fr a med wall with futur e wall

2 in. with futur e wall insulation, insulation, vapor r etar der,
vapor r etar der, moistur e bar r ier moistur e bar r ier & siding
& siding

Su bfloor

Su bfloor
P.T. mudsill with
sill gasket

2x8 P.T. mudsill

with sill gasket R igid insulation
sealed at edges

Joists on fr a med wall

Joist hung fro m mudsill see 34b
see 33d

Insulated fr a med wall

see 15c & d

R igid insulation with

protec tion above gr ade
see 15a, b & c Foundation wall

Insulation is not c ontinuous so this detail
not r ec o m mended for extr eme c li mates
Foundation wall unless walls ar e super insulated.
see 121b

Floor Insulation at Foundation Floor Insulation at Foundation

C Heated Basement/Joist Flush with Mudsill D Heated Basement/Joists Flush with Mudsill
Floors 63

Fr a med wall with futur e wall Fr a med wall with futur e wall
insulation, vapor r etar der, insulation, vapor r etar der,
moistur e bar r ier & siding moistur e bar r ier & siding

Shif t floor fr a ming

Su bfloor 11⁄ 2 in. to allow for r igid
insulation at per i meter.

Bat t insulation or
R i m joist or bloc king as
spr ayed-in-plac e foa m
r equir ed by joist bear ing
insulation in c avities
bet ween joists, bloc king
& su bfloor Su bfloor

Plac e vapor r etar der on Joist with 11⁄ 2 -in. bear ing
war m side of insulation (min.) or joist hanger

C ontinuous vapor r etar der

Bloc king wher e joists
wr aps outside floor
ar e par allel to wall
fr a ming & extends to
inter ior of plates to be
sealed to wall vapor
Fr a med wall r etar der.

Note Bloc king as r equir ed

Bec ause joists per pendic ular to the wall
penetr ate the wall c avit y, it is diffic ult to Fr a med wall
get a tight seal against air infiltr ation.
For alter native detail see 63b.

A Upper-Floor Insulation Upper-Floor Insulation

Platform Framing
B Platform Frame: Alternative Detail

2x4 or 2x6 fr a med wall

2x4 or 2x6 fr a med wall with with futur e wall insulation,
futur e wall insulation, vapor r etar der, moistur e
vapor r etar der, moistur e bar r ier & siding
bar r ier & siding
Fir e/nailing bloc ks
Fir e/nailing bloc k

su bfloor Su bfloor

Vapor r etar der Wall c an be insulated

c ontinuous behind joist; at ti me of insulation
seal to wall vapor of walls above & below
r etar der above & below. only if nailing bloc k is
installed in c oor dination
with insulation.
Insulate wall behind joist
befor e joist is installed.
Vapor r etar der at war m
side of insulation
C ontinuous header
joist sc r ewed to wall
C ontinuous let-in
Note: Note:
Bec ause the joists do not penetr ate the wall Bec ause joists per pendic ular to the wall
c avitiy, it is possi ble to provide a good seal penetr ate the wall c avit y, it is diffic ult to
against air infiltr ation. However, this detail get a tight seal against air infiltr ation
does not provide the later al str u c tur al for alter native detail. see 63c
str ength of alter native detail. see 63d

Upper-Floor Insulation Upper-Floor Insulation

C Balloon Framing/Joists Perpendicular to Wall D Balloon Frame: Alternative Detail
64 walls
walls 65


he walls of a building serve several important with 2x4s is a typical combination when the energy-
functions: They define the spaces within the efficient 2x6 wall is selected. Stud spacing of 2x4
building to provide privacy and zoning, and and 2x6 walls may vary with loading, lumber grades,
they enclose the building itself, keeping the weather and finish materials; in this book, however, studs are
out and the heat or cold in. Walls provide the vertical assumed to be 16 in. o.c. in 2x4 walls and 24 in. o.c. in
structure that supports the upper floors and roof of 2x6 walls unless noted otherwise.
the building, and the lateral structure that stiffens the
building. Walls also encase the mechanical systems FRAMING STYLE
(electrical wiring, plumbing, and heating). To incorpo- Should the walls be built using platform framing
rate all of this within a 4-in. or 6-in.-deep wood-framed or balloon framing? Balloon framing, with studs
panel is quite an achievement, so numerous decisions continuous from mudsill to top plate and continuous
need to be made in the course of designing a wall between floors, was developed in the 1840s and is the
system for a wood-frame building. There are two pre- antecedent of the framed wall. In recent years, balloon
liminary decisions to make that establish the framework framing has been almost completely superseded by the
for the remaining decisions. more labor-efficient and fire-resistant platform frame
construction, with studs extending only between floors.
WALL THICKNESS There are still situations, however, where a variation of
Should the walls be framed with 2x4s or 2x6s? The the balloon frame system is useful. One such situation
2x6 wall has become increasingly popular in recent is where the continuity of studs longer than the normal
years, primarily because it provides more space for ceiling height is essential to the strength of a wall.
insulation and allows for other minor energy-saving Examples include parapet walls and eave (side) walls
advantages (such as the ability to run electricity in a
notched base, as shown in 73A). These advantages
all come at some cost. A 2x6 wall with studs spaced
24 in. o.c. (the maximum spacing allowed by codes) Par apet Roof
uses about 20% more material for studs and plates load

than a 2x4 wall with studs with a code-allowed spacing

of 16 in. o.c. On the outside, the sheathing has to be
1⁄ 2 in. thick (1⁄ 8 in. thicker than sheathing on a stan-
Roof Floor
dard 2x4 wall). Inside, the drywall also has to be 1⁄ 8 in.
thicker to span the 24-in. spacing between 2x6 studs.
Thicker insulation costs more too. So, overall, 2x6
framing makes a superior wall, but one that costs more.
Framing the exterior walls with 2x6s and interior walls
66 walls

that must resist the lateral thrust of a vaulted roof (as in SIZING HEADERS
a 11⁄ 2-story building). Headers are structural members over openings in walls
Balloon-framed gable-end walls also provide for windows or doors. Header size depends on wood
increased stability in high-wind areas (see 160). species and grade, loading, header design, and rough-
Another reason for using balloon framing is to mini- opening span. Following is a rule of thumb for sizing a
mize the effects of shrinkage that occurs across the common header type, the 4x header (see 68B):
grain of joists in a platform-framed building. This could For a single-story building with a 30-lb. live load on
be important with continuous stucco siding that spans the roof and 2x4 bearing walls, the span in feet of the
two floors without a control joint, or in a multiple-story rough opening should equal the depth (nominal) in
hybrid building system where the floors in the balloon- inches of a 4x header. For example, openings up to
framed part would not shrink equally with the floors in 4 ft. wide require a 4x4 header and up to 6 ft. wide, a
the platform-framed part. 4x6 header.


Once the stud size and spacing and the framing system Advanced framing minimizes the amount of structural
have been selected, it is time to consider how to brace material that is required to hold up the building. The
the building to resist the forces of wind, earthquakes, greatest impact on framing efficiency can be made
and eccentric loading. Will diagonal bracing be ade- in the walls because wall construction has evolved in
quate, or should the building be braced with structural such a way that the typical wall is overbuilt. Floors and
sheathing and/or shear walls? This question is best roofs are constructed reasonably efficiently because the
answered in the context of the design of the building as design challenge has been to span horizontally with an
a whole, considering the other materials that complete economy of materials. Standard framed walls, however,
the wall system. How is the wall to be insulated? Where contain numerous extraneous and oversized elements.
are the openings in the wall for doors and windows? The elimination and downsizing of wall members not
Will there be an air-infiltration barrier? What material only saves lumber, it also lowers the effect of thermal
will be used for the exterior finish? The details relating bridging, thus saving energy. Advanced framing of walls
to these issues are addressed in this chapter, along is discussed in this chapter (see 74–76).
with some suggestions for their appropriate use. How
these various details are assembled into a complete wall ABOUT THE DRAWINGS
system depends on local climate, codes, tradition, and Construction terms vary regionally, and the names for
the talent of the designer. the components that frame wall openings (see 68A)
are the least cast in stone. Studs called “trimmer studs”
in one locality are called “jack studs” in another; and
the bottom plate may go by either “bottom plate” or
“sole plate.” Consult local builders and architects for
common usage.
For clarity, insulation is not generally shown in
the exterior walls except in the insulation section
walls 67

see 68a
see 68, 69, 70a & c

Intersec ting
see 70a & b

R ake walls
see 72

C onnec tions
with roof
& c eiling
see 132-134

Later al
br ac ing
see 77
C onnec tions
with floors
see 40-42

C or ners
see 70a & d, 71

Bloc king,
bac king, C antilever ed
fir estopping walls
see 73a & b see 73c & d

R esour c e-effic ient

advan c ed fr a ming
see 74 Note
In this c hapter all 2x4 walls ar e shown
with studs at 16 in. o.c .; all 2x6 walls ar e
shown with studs at 24 in. o.c .; unlabeled
walls may be either 2x4 or 2x6.

A Wall Framing
68 walls

Dou ble top Lap dou ble top Cripple

plate plate 4 f t. (min.) studs

aligns with door header.

T yp. 6 f t. 10 1⁄ 2 in. for 6 f t. 8 in. door

Header Header

Window header t yp.

Tri m mer Tri m mer

rough opening
stud stud

King stud King stud

Door rough opening

C o m mon sill

Su bfloor Cripple

Door rough Window

opening Sole plate rough opening

A Openings in a Stud Wall

Dou ble top plate Dou ble top plate

Cripple studs at
Cripple studs at sa me spac ing as
sa me spac ing as c o m mon studs
c o m mon studs

4x header at sa me Dou ble 2x header

width as studs with 1⁄ 2 -in. or 3 ⁄ 8 -in.
ply wood spac er

Tri m mer stud

Tri m mer stud

King stud
King stud

Header builds to
thic kness of wall
& provides nailing
at all sur fac es.

4x Header Typical Double 2x Header

B 2x4 Bearing Wall C 2x4 Bearing Wall
walls 69

Dou ble top plate Dou ble top plate

Dou ble (or single) Cripple studs at

2x10 header with 2x4 sa me spac inig as
sc ab bed to bot to m c o m mong studs
(eli minates the need
for c ripple studs in
an 8-f t. wall)
Dou ble LVL or
single LSL header
at sa me width as
1⁄ 2 -in. ply wood or 2x4 wall
wood lath shi ms at
inside sur fac es
(or rigid insulation)

Tri m mer stud

Tri m mer stud

King stud

LSL is not
King stud
as strong as
dou ble LVL.

2x10 Header Double LVL or LSL Header

A 2x4 Bearing Wall B 2x4 Bearing Wall

Dou ble top plate Top plate must be

c ontinuous ac ross

Cripple studs at
sa me spac ing as
c o m mon studs
Cripple studs at
sa me spac ing as 1⁄ 2 -in. CDX ply wood
c o m mon (min.) nailed to one
side of fr a ming with
8d c o m mon nails at
Dou ble flat 2x4 3 in. o.c . stagger ed
1⁄ 2 in. to avoid
split ting fr a ming

Tri m mer stud

Tri m mer stud
King stud

King stud
This header, whic h was
developed by N. A.H. B.
(see R esour c es), c an be
sized to span up to 8 f t.

Flat 2x4 Header Open-Box Plywood Header

C 2x4 Partition Wall D 2x4 Bearing Wall
70 walls

Dou ble top plate Dou ble top plate over laps
at c or ners to loc k t wo
walls together.
Notc h c ripple studs
for 2x header.

2x header at outside
of wall

2-in. or 4-in. spac e

at inside of header
for insulation

2x4 or 2x6
header plate

Tri m mer stud

2x4 studs
at 16 in. o.c .
King stud t ypic al

A Insulated Header 2x4 Corner

2x4 or 2x6 Exterior Wall
B At Double Top Plate

Dou ble top plate C or ner studs built up with

2x4 bloc king bet ween
provides nailing at
Cripple stud at inside c or ner.
sa me spac ing as
c o m mon studs

Built-up header
of 2x’s with
2x3 spac er
bet ween

21⁄ 2 -in.
spac e

2x3 spac er

Sole Note
Tri m mer stud plate This detail wor ks
for both inside &
outside c or ners.
King stud

Insulated Double 2x Header 2x4 Corner

C 2x6 Bearing Wall/Alternative Detail D At Sole Plate
walls 71

Top plate of
intersec ting
Dou ble top plate over laps wall over laps
at c or ners, loc king c ontinuous
t wo walls top plate of
together pri mary wall.

C ontinuous
top plate of
pri mary wall

C o m mon studs
in pri mary wall

Bloc king at 16 in.

o.c . provides
nailing &
allows spac e
for insulation

End stud of
2x6 studs at 24 in.
intersec ting
o.c . or 2x4 studs
at 16 in. o.c . t ypic al

A 2x4 or 2x6 Corner Intersecting 2x Walls

At Double Top Plate
B At Double Top Plate

Extr a stud added perpendic ular to

top plate of
c or ner stud provides nailing at
intersec ting
inside c or ner & allows spac e for
wall over laps
4-in.-thic k insulation at c or ner.
c ontinuous top
plate of pri mary

c ontinuous top
plate of pri mary

c o m mon studs
in pri mary wall

2x6 or 2x8 bac ker

stud provides
Sole 2x4 or 2x6 studs at 16 in. nailing and allows end stud of
plate or 24 in. o.c . t ypic al spac e for insulation intersec tion wall

2x4 or 2x6 Corner Intersecting 2x Walls

C At Sole Plate D At Double Top Plate/Alternative Detail
72 walls

R ake-wall studs
A wall that extends to a sloped roof or ceiling is aligned with wall
studs below ar e
called a rake wall and may be built one of two ways: toenailed to top
plate & to r af ter
Platform framing—Platform framing is commonly (shown with
dashed lines
the method of choice when a horizontal structural for c larit y)
element such as a floor or ceiling ties the structure
together at the level of the top plate or when the top
C eiling joist
plate itself is short enough to provide the necessary
lateral strength (see 72B). Over lapping
dou ble top
Balloon framing—Balloon framing allows for ease plate
of construction and economy of material and stabilizes
a tall wall because the studs are continuous from sole
plate to roof (see 72C). Balloon framing can also be
employed to stiffen a wall that projects above the roof
such as a parapet or railing (see 72D). Balloon framing
is greatly preferred in general from a structural per-
spective where lateral forces are extreme, such as in
high-wind areas.
For details of rake walls with truss-framed roofs,
see 156.

Rake Wall Rake Wall

A Notes
B Platform Framing
single top plate
sloped to matc h
pitc h of roof

fir ebloc king as

Stud wall
r equir ed
c ontinuous
fro m below
stud c ontinuous
fro m sole plate

Fir ebloc k/nailing

bloc k as r equir ed
top sur fac e of
sloped top plate
flush with inside
c or ner of dou ble Sheathing and
top plate Roofing

Roof joists
or r af ters; for
c onnec tions
see 41a & b

Tie c or ner
Fir ebloc k/nailing
bloc k as r equir ed
or metal
Stud wall
str aps.

Rake Wall Parapet Wall Framing

C Balloon Framing D Roof Joists Shown Perpendicular to Wall
walls 73

Fir estopping r etar ds the

spr ead of fir e in wall c avities
& may also serve as bloc king. Fir estopping
see 73b may be
stagger ed for
base of nailing.

Bloc king supports piping &

other utilities within the wall
c avit y. It provides a solid C ontinuous
nailing sur fac e for c hanges in studs
material su c h as wainsc oting
& it also supports c abinets,
plu m bing fixtur es, tri m, towel
bars, balustr ades & other Note
ac c essories that ar e at tac hed C odes vary, but
to the finsh sur fac e of the fir estopping is usually
wall. When possi ble, bloc king r equir ed at stairs alongside the stringers;
is applied flat to allow bet ween floors & bet ween the top floor & the
insulation at exterior walls. at tic in balloon-fr a me buildings (the plates in
platfor m-fr a me buildings auto matic ally provide
fir ebloc king bet ween floors); bet ween wall
c avities & c on c ealed horizontal spac es su c h
as soffits & drop c eilings; in tall walls every
10 f t. vertic ally.
Notc hing base of 2x6 wall
allows elec tric al wir es to Fir estopping is usually 2x fr a ming lu m ber
r un without c o mpr essing but c an also be other materials su c h as
insulation at c enter of wall layers of ply wood or gypsu m wallboar d
(not allowed in 2x4 wall). when approved by loc al c odes.

A Blocking & Notching Firestopping


It is oc c asionally diffic ult or i mpossi ble to C or ner nailing stud Dou bled studs at
c antilever the floor fr a ming to support a at tac hed af ter opening in pri mary
projec tion fro m the building. Wher e loads ar e c antilever ed wall wall; 16d toenails
not gr eat, it is possi ble to support the is nailed or metal fr a ming
projec tion with c antilever ed walls. angles advisable
at top & bot to m
Dou ble studs at
opening in pri mary
C antilever ed
wall is supported
Roof by nailing
through ply wood
to dou bled studs
C antilever ed
in pri mary wall.
ply wood walls

Studs of
Fr a ming detail
c antilever ed wall
see 73d

Extend sheathing
Note down to lap
C antilever ed floor-system
walls should be fr a ming.
engineer ed if they
projec t mor e than Sole plate of
Building c antilever ed wall
2 f t., if they ar e
a x. mor e than 6 f t.
. m apart or if they
2 ft fr a ming
f 6 will support heavy
m a t. snow loads.

Cantilevered Walls Cantilevered-Wall Framing

C D Detail at Base
74 walls

Roof str u c tur e

aligned over
R edu c ed fr a ming in studs allows
str u c tur al headers for single top
wher e they ar e r equir ed plate
see 76

Single top

Balloon-fr a med
r ake walls
Intersec ting walls see 72c
see 75b & d

Joists aligned
over studs allows Eli minate
for single top str u c tur al
plate headers at
wher e they ar e
not r equir ed

Studs aligned
bet ween floors

R i m joist
used as header
eli minating
str u c tur al
headers in
openings below.

Standar d wall c or ner
fr a ming see 75a & c
see 67

Advanced framing—Advanced framing minimizes 7%, but, given that it uses less material than standard
the amount of framing that extends from the interior framing and also helps to conserve a precious resource,
to the exterior of a wall, thus lowering the effect of it should be considered for every framed building.
thermal bridging. By limiting the amount of framing, Details of advanced framing are illustrated on 75–76.
more volume in the wall can be occupied by insulation, The goal when designing an energy-efficient header
which increases thermal performance of the overall is to allow for the most insulation while providing for
assembly. Advanced framing alone can increase the nailing at both the exterior and interior of the opening.
thermal performance of framed walls by only about

A Advanced Wall Framing

walls 75

C ontinuous
Single top plate single top plate
of pri mary wall

Metal str ap
tie t wo walls Metal str ap
together ties t wo walls

Single top plate

of intersec ting

Bac k-up c lips

for gypsu m
wallboar d on
intersec ting
wall leave wall
c avit y bet ween
sutds c lear for

2x6 studs at 24 in. Studs of pri mary

o.c . t ypic al wall

Superinsulated 2x6 Corner Intersecting 2x Walls

A Outside Corner Only at Top Plate B At Top Plate

Bac k-up c lips

Bac kup c lips at inside c or ners leave c avit y
of gypsu m wallboar d eli minate need bet ween studs
for extr a stud, allowing for full c lear for
thic kness of insulation. insulation.

C o m mon studs in
pri mary wall

End stud of
intersec ting

C ontinuous
sole plate of
pri mary wall

Bac kup c lips c an Sole plate of
also be used in intersec ting
2x4 walls. wall

Superinsulated 2x6 Corner Intersecting 2x Walls

C Outside Corner Only at Sole Plate D At Sole Plate
76 walls


Bat t insulation as in
t ypic al wall Bat t insulation for t ypic al
wall c o mpr esed against
Dou ble 2x header for
heavy loading
see 76
2x header adequate
for most openings
21⁄ 2 in. of rigid insulation see 76c

King stud or tri m mer stud King stud

for heavy loads

When a structural header is required over an (see 69D) also provides space for insulation because it
opening in an exterior wall, the header itself occupies uses sheathing as structure.
space that could otherwise be filled with insulation. The elimination of the trimmer studs that usually
Because a deep (tall) header is more effective structur- support a header at its ends also allows for more insula-
ally than a wide one, the header does not usually have tion in the wall. The header can usually be supported
to fill the entire width of the wall. In fact, the taller and by the king stud as illustrated in the two examples
thinner the header, the more space there will be for below. (Backing may need to be added to the king studs
insulation. The headers illustrated on this page provide when wide casings are used.)
both structure and space for insulation. The box header

A Superinsulated Headers

Single top plate

Shingle top plate

Header sized for light

loads let into 2x6 king
Built-up header
stud and nailed
see 70c

King stud
King stud

Manufac tur ed metal

br ac ket supports header
at end eli minating need
for tri m mer stud.

Superinsulated Header Superinsulated Header

B Relatively Heavy Loads C Relatively Light Loads
walls 77
Lateral Bracing

Most wood buildings are sheathed with plywood, Top of br ac e

OSB, or other structural panels that provide the neces- is let into
top plate
sary lateral stability when fastened directly to the stud & fastened
frame (see 78–80). Where lateral forces on walls are sec ur ely.

extreme, such as in areas subject to hurricanes or earth-

quakes, specially designed shear walls are commonly
required to withstand these forces (see 82–87). Notc h stud
& nail or
When neither structural panels nor shear walls are staple br ac e
required, there are two good methods of bracing the & eac h stud.

building for lateral stability: the let-in wood brace (see

77B) and the kerfed-in metal brace (see 77C).
The old-fashioned method of bracing with diagonal
blocking between studs is not recommended because
Bot to m of
the nails may withdraw under tension and the many br ac e is let
joints tend to open up as the blocking shrinks. in & fastened
sec ur ely to
Bracing is often referred to as “corner bracing,” and stud.
indeed, the International Residential Code begins its
discussion of every allowed wall bracing method with Let-in br ac es should be made of str u c tur ally
sound 1x4 or 1x6 lu m ber. They should be
the phrase “located at each end…” While it is true that
the corners are the most effective location for a limited
fro m top plate to sole plate & 45 to 60
fro m the horizontal.
amount of wall bracing, it is also possible to success-
fully brace a building at locations other than the cor-
Let-In Wood Brace
ners. If this were not true, there would be no corner B
windows. Braces may be located anywhere along a
wall, and the bracing effect will be transferred to the Top of br ac e
is nailed
rest of the wall through the continuous top and bottom
sec ur ely in
plates. Increased nailing, stronger sheathing, and other ker f at top
methods can also augment bracing. A good structural
engineer will be able to design walls of just about any
configuration to resist lateral forces.
Ker f stud &
The methods shown here are located at a corner nail br ac e at
only for clarity of illustration. eac h stud.

A Lateral Bracing Bot to m of

br ac e fits in
Notes ker f in sole

Metal br ac ing set in a saw ker f & nailed to
eac h stud is engineer ed to equal the c ode
r equir ements of a 1x4 wood let-in br ac e.
sur fac e mounted t ypes (without ker f) must be
installed in opposing dir ec tions in an “ x” or “ v”
c onfigur ation. all t ypes must be installed at
˚ ˚
45 to 60 fro m the horizontal.

Kerfed-In Metal Brace

78 walls

Structural sheathing performs two functions—it pro- In earthquake or hurricane zones or where walls are
vides lateral bracing, and it forms a structural backing very tall or penetrated by many openings, structural
for siding materials. OSB is currently the most common sheathing may require engineering, or shear walls (see
structural sheathing, but the use of plywood, gypsum 82) may be required.
board (which also contributes fire resistance) and other The capacity of panel products such as OSB and ply-
panel products is also widespread. OSB and plywood wood to span between studs is related to thickness. The
both have a strength axis along the length of the panel following chart applies generally:
because of the orientation of wood fibers, but this axis
is only important in relation to its bending strength
Stud spacing Panel thickness
between studs. The panel’s shear strength—its ability to 3⁄ 8
16 in. o.c. in.
resist lateral forces—is not affected by its orientation. 1⁄ 2
24 in. o.c. in.
Panels may be installed either vertically or hori-
zontally. Vertically applied sheathing does not usually
require blocking because all panel edges are aligned Nails or other approved fasteners should be sized
with framing members. Horizontally applied panels, and spaced according to the following schedule. Verify
if engineered to provide lateral resistance, must have with manufacturer and local codes.
blocking between studs for nailing. Horizontal OSB
Panel Nail Panel edge Field
and plywood panels provide a stronger backing for thickness size nailing nailing
siding than do panels with a vertical orientation. 1⁄ 2 in. or less 6d
6 in. o.c. 12 in. o.c.
over 1⁄ 2 in. 8d

A Structural Sheathing

Panel nailng 8-f t. or 9-f t. panel on

sc hedule sec ond story, depending
see 78a on c eiling height

1⁄ 8 -in. spac ing bet ween

all panel edges

9-f t. panel laps ri m joist

& ties fr a ming to
foundation in high-wind
or earthquake r egions.
In c ertain c ases, su c h as
when most of a wall
is c over ed with doors Alter native 8-f t. panel
& windows, str u c tur al with filler strip at
sheathing must be ri m joist.
professionally engineer ed
as br ac ing. T ype of sheathing,
size & spac ing of nails
and/or tie-downs should
be spec ified.

Structural Sheathing
B Multiple-Story Building
walls 79

Note Panel nailing sc hedule

In r egions not see 78a
su bjec t to high risk
of hurri c ane or
horizontal panels
without bloc king
& with filler strips
at base may be Leave 1⁄ 8 -in. spac e
ac c eptable. bet ween all panel

In high-wind or
high-risk seis mic zones,
use 9-f t. vertic al panel
c ut to extend fro m top
of fr a ming to mudsill.

In other r egions, 8-f t.

vertic al panel to ri m
Mudsill details joist with filler strip
see 12a & b below is adequate.

A Structural Sheathing/Single-Story Building

Distance from Mudsill to Top Plate over 8 Ft.

Stagger vertic al Panel nailing sc hedule

joints bet ween see 78a
str u c tur al panels.
Upper edge of panel
aligns with lower top
When not engineer ed
as br ac ing, sheathing Leave 1⁄ 8 -in. spac e at all
panels may pan bet ween panel edges.
studs without bloc king
depending on stud
spac ing, panel thic kness Bloc king behind
& siding material. panel joints is
3 ⁄ 8 -in. sheathing is
r equir ed when
r ec o m mended for studs horizontal panels
at 16 in. o.c . & 1⁄ 2 -in. ar e engineer ed for
sheathing for studs at later al br ac ing.
24 in. o.c . Verif y span
r ating on panels.

This detail is appropriate
Note only if studs ar e pr ec ut
Horizontal panels at 90 3 ⁄ 4 in. or less & the
shown in this detail su bfloor sits dir ec tly on
may be r eplac ed with the mudsill, see 33c & d,
vertic al panels. Mudsill details or if a slab foundation is
see 79a see 12a & b used, see 22

Structural Sheathing/Single-Story Building

B Distance from Mudsill to Top Plate 8 Ft. or Less
80 walls

In single-wall construction, a single

panel of plywood or composite board
Top of wall
see 80 b & c
siding provides both structural and
weathering functions. This is an inex-
pensive, low-quality type of construction
most appropriate for garages and sheds,
siding but also used for residential construction.
Panels are installed vertically, usually
over a moisture barrier.
C or ner Precut studs (from 881⁄ 2 in. to 923⁄ 8 in.)
see 112 allow 8-ft. panels to cover the framing on
the exterior if the subfloor sits directly on
the mudsill (see 80B) or if there is a slab
floor. Adding trim to the base allows the
use of 8-ft. panels with taller studs and/or
Base details different subfloor connections (see 80C).
see 80 b & c
Taller (9-ft. and 10-ft.) panels are also
Stud wall available.

A Single-Wall Construction
Structural Sheathing

Roof system Roof system

Top of panel Top of panel

fastened to fastened to
top plate top plate

Stud wall Stud wall

C ontinuous C ontinuous
moistur e barrier moistur e barrier
fro m top of panel fro mo top of panel

8 f t.

to below mudsill
8 f t.

to below mudsill

Bot to m of panel Bot to m of panel

laps foundation at or below
1⁄ 2 in. (min.). bot to m plate

Flashing see 105b

Joist- below- mudsill
foundation system, see 33c & d, Wood water table
or laps foundation
slab foundation, see 20. 1⁄ 2 in. (min.).

Single-Wall Construction Single-Wall Construction

B 8-Ft. Panel Typical C 8-Ft. Panel with Water Table
walls 81

Sheathing panels may span

bet ween studs without
bloc king sin c e siding must be
nailed to studs in any c ase.
Groove edge
helps keep 2-f t.
panels in plane
of wall.

2f t. x 8f t.
panels provide
water-r esistant
non-str u c tur al

Stagger vertic al
joints bet ween

panels (4f t.
x 8f t., 9f t,
or 10f t.) Fire-protective sheathings are often required at
c an provide
str u c tur al walls on or near property lines, between attached
dwellings, and between garages and living space.
and/or fir e
r esistan c e. Type-X gypsum wallboard applied directly to the studs
will satisfy most codes. Water-resistant gypsum board
Many sheet materials that can be used for sheathing applied to the exterior of framed walls can also serve as
do not provide adequate lateral bracing. In addition to an underlayment for various siding materials.
providing a base for a moisture barrier and siding, such Gypsum board can also satisfy code requirements
nonstructural sheathings may also provide insulation or for shear strength. In this application, 4-ft.-wide panels
fire protection. may be applied vertically or horizontally (if covered
Insulative sheathings range in thickness from 1⁄ 2 in. with a moisture barrier) and must be nailed at 4 in. o.c.
to 11⁄ 2 in. They include fiberboards, foam plastic, and at the 4-ft. ends and 8 in. o.c. elsewhere. The panels do
rigid fiberglass boards. R-values vary. Verify that the not have to be blocked at edges.
permeability of the sheathing is coordinated with the While gypsum sheathing can provide fire protection,
permeability of the vapor retarder (see 88A). water resistance, and structural strength, it has severe
Siding must be nailed through nonstructural sheath- limitations for the attachment of siding materials. It is
ings directly into the studs beneath them. The need for not a nailing base, so any siding material applied over it
lateral bracing is often satisfied by applying plywood must be connected through the gypsum to the framing
or other structural panels to the corners of a building, behind or to furring strips or another sheathing mate-
with less-expensive nonstructural sheathing elsewhere. rial applied over or under the gypsum.

Gypsum Sheathing NonStructural Sheathing

82 walls
Shear Walls

In most cases, minimum code requirements for let-in dicted, so lateral resisting systems must be designed for
bracing or structural sheathing will sufficiently stiffen the the eventuality of forces in all directions.
walls of a light wood-frame building to resist the typical The lateral force follows a continuous path through
lateral loads of wind or eccentric loading. The stiffened the structure: (1) the force of wind on the windward wall
walls act like the sides of a shoe box working in concert is transferred through studs to the top (and base) of the
with the lid to maintain the overall shape of the box. wall, (2) the diaphragm collects the loads from the top
In more extreme conditions such as zones with of the windward wall and transfers them to the top of
a high risk of earthquakes or severe winds, lateral the shear walls at either side, and (3) the shear walls at
bracing measures beyond standard structural sheathing opposite ends of the diaphragm transfer the loads down
or let-in bracing must be taken. For small simple build- to the foundation.
ings in these zones, codes typically require increased The diagrams on these pages use wind forces to illus-
nailing, strapping, and anchoring, as well as extra trate how lateral forces follow a continuous path through
framing members. diaphragm and shear walls. Although these structural
But it is common to have conditions where even elements are designed essentially the same to resist the
these increased code requirements are not adequate. forces of wind or earthquakes, these two forces act dif-
Such conditions generally involve a building in which ferently on buildings. Simply stated, wind forces act on
numerous wall openings reduce the ability of the wall the top of a building and earthquake forces act on the
to resist the lateral forces. In these cases, more extreme bottom. The relatively light weight of wood-frame build-
measures must be taken to resist lateral loads, and ings works to their advantage in the case of earthquakes,
these usually involve calculations by an engineer to but works against them in the case of high winds.
design diaphragms coupled with shear walls.
Diaphragm—A diaphragm is a horizontal structure
The following diagram summarizes how diaphragms
such as a floor or roof composed of sheathing, framing
and shear walls work together to resist lateral forces.
members, and a structural perimeter. In the case of a
For simplicity, the diagram shows a wind acting in a
floor, the framing members are joists, and the structural
single direction perpendicular to the building wall, but
perimeter is composed of rim joists and/or blocking
in reality, the direction of lateral forces cannot be pre-
(see 32). In the case of a roof, the framing members are
common rafters (or trusses), and the structural perim-
1.) For c e of wind
eter is composed of end rafters (or trusses) and frieze
2.) Load blocks (see 129). A diaphragm acts as a horizontal beam
tr ansfers to top
of shear wall
to collect lateral forces and transfer these forces to the
shear walls.
rigidit y
pr events
deflec tion.

3.) Load Top of shear

tr ansfers to wall holds edges
foundation of diaphr ag m
fir mly in plac e.

Shear Walls
walls 83
Shear Walls

Shear walls—Shear walls are extremely strong of the wall will be in tension while the opposite edge is
framed walls that connect the horizontal diaphragm in compression.
to the foundation. They act like regular braced or Longer shear walls are inherently better because
structurally sheathed walls to resist the action of lat- they have a longer base to resist sliding and because the
eral forces except that they are much stronger. Their hold-downs are farther apart to resist overturning.
greater strength comes from increased nailing, thicker
Connections—Because shear walls involve a large
sheathing, more framing members at their edges, and
number and variety of components and connec-
more substantial anchoring.
tions, it is critical that each connection be designed
Shear walls act as beams cantilevered from the foun-
and constructed to resist the forces that pass through
dation (or upper floor) to resist forces parallel to them.
it. Depending on their location, connections may be
They are connected at their base to the foundation (or
called upon to resist vertical and horizontal forces in
to another shear wall) and at their top to a diaphragm.
several directions. When designing and building to
At their base, shear walls must resist both sliding
resist extreme conditions, it is especially important to
and overturning. Horizontal forces can slide the wall
pay close attention to manufacturers’ instructions for
off the foundation if adequate shear connections are
the installation of connectors. A shear wall is only as
not provided. Sliding forces are resisted by anchor
strong as its weakest connection.
bolts, by nailing, and/or by framing anchors at upper
floors (see 85). Distribution—Shear walls are generally located
within each (principal) exterior wall of a building, but
Later al for c es
may also be located strategically at interior walls. For
fro m diaphr ag m earthquake resistance, shear walls should generally
be balanced on all four sides of the building; for wind
Deflec ted shape
resistance, however, shear walls should be longer (or
stronger, see 85B) at the short walls in order to resist
An c hor bolts,
the larger wind forces imposed on the long walls.
fr a ming an c hors,
and/or nailing
pr event sliding

Shear walls need

Horizontal forces applied to the top of a shear not extend to
c or ners.
wall can cause overturning unless the bottom corners
are adequately tied (with hold-downs) to resist uplift
(see 85 & 86A). While the force is applied, one edge Shear walls
should be
loc ated near
Later al for c es or at the
fro m diaphr ag m peri meter of
the building
Deflec ted shape

Leewar d edge
under c o mpr ession
Hold-down an c hor ed Shear walls should be
to foundation distri buted evenly around
c ounter ac ts tension the building’s peri meter.
on windwar d edge to
pr event overtur ning.

Shear Walls
84 walls
Shear Walls

For gar age portal fr a me, see 87c .

Shear walls
Shear walls c onnec t c onnec t to roof
to floor diaphr ag m. diaphr ag m at eave
see 86b and r ake.
see 86c & d

Dr ag str ut ties
shear wall to
Shear walls at
diaphr ag m.
upper floors
see 87b
an c hor ed to lower
shear walls
see 87a
Lar ge walls on
upper levels may
use standar d
c ode-pr esc ri bed
Shear walls
sheathing to
an c hor ed to
provide later al
foundation at
r esistan c e.
base c or ners.
see 86a

Shear walls ac t S mall projec tions

c ollec tively to may be stabilized
r esist later al Shear walls on by floor and roof
for c es in a upper levels c an diaphr ag ms, and
single plane. be offset fro m thus may not
those at lower r equir e shear walls.
levels to
ac c o m modate
Openings in wall openings.
li mit shear wall
loc ation and size.

Because lateral forces such as wind are assumed apart. For this reason, codes have specified that shear
to act perpendicularly to the walls of a building, they walls must have a height-to-width ratio of 3.5:1 or
can theoretically be resisted by shear walls in each of less. The practical effect of this limitation is a mini-
the four walls of a simple building. Forces acting in a mum shear wall width of approximately 2 ft. for a wall
north-south direction, for example, can be resisted by 8 ft. tall.
shear walls located in the east and west walls of the In a building with more than one floor, the need for
building (and vice versa). When the wind blows on a shear walls is greater on floors nearest the ground. This
diagonal (as it usually does), shear walls in all four walls is because the lower floors are required to resist the
will be in play. forces from upper floors in addition to their own. It is
Because they connect diaphragm to the foundation, not unusual to have a two-story wood-frame building
shear walls cannot be placed where there are openings with engineered shear walls on the ground floor and
in the wall. Therefore, in walls with many openings, standard code-prescribed sheathing on the upper floor.
there may need to be several shear wall segments in The calculation of shear wall values is fairly com-
order to provide ample resistance to lateral forces. plicated—involving different factors for earthquake
Shear walls are most effective when they are wide or wind forces—and is thus usually performed by a
relative to their height and their base anchors are far licensed engineer.

A Shear Walls in Context

walls 85
Shear Walls

Shear wall
dou ble top plate ac ts as a str ut.

Dou ble studs at edges ac t as c hor ds

that stiffen edge and provide thic k
an c hor age for hold-downs
at base.

Bloc king as r equir ed pr events

bu c kling of panel edges.

Hold-downs at base c onnec t to

foundation or other shear walls
to pr event overtur ning.

An c hor bolts pr event sliding.

A Components of a Shear Wall

Once the lateral forces have been determined, there Sheathing strength—The strength of the rated
are seven basic considerations that need to be taken sheathing must match the required capacity of the
into account when designing a shear wall: shear wall. Sheathing on both sides of the shear wall
will double its capacity. All panel edges must be
Proportion—Most codes specify
blocked to prevent buckling of the panel.
a maximum height-to-width ratio
3.5 w

of 3.5:1. This generally means Chord strength—At the boundaries of the shear wall
that shear walls cannot be less than where stress is greatest, chords must be stronger than
2 ft. wide. standard studs. A minimum of two studs is required by
most codes (see 85A).
Hold-downs—Extreme forces at the w

lower corners of shear walls necessitate metal hold- Strut strength—Like chords, struts are at the
downs to connect the shear-wall chord to the founda- boundary of shear walls where stresses are greatest.
tion or to lower shear walls (see 85A & 86A). There are Typical framing (i.e., single sole plate and double top
a variety of types and capacities of hold-downs. plate) is usually sufficient as struts. Splices in struts
should be avoided if possible.
Anchor bolts—To prevent sliding, anchor bolts
are used to connect the base of a shear wall to the Nailing—Size and spacing of nails must be specified.
foundation. At framed floors, framing anchors and More nailing is required at the edges of panels than in
nailing are used to prevent sliding. Hold-downs also the field of the panel. Increased nailing acts to increase
resist sliding but are not generally considered in wall strength (see 78A).
engineering calculations.

B Shear Wall Design Considerations

86 walls
Shear Walls

Dou ble stud or Ply wood floor

4x c hor d diaphr ag m

Spec ified nailing

Metal hold-down at diaphr ag m edge
bolted or sc r ewed
to c hor d
R i m joist
or bloc king

Sole plate Shear wall

sheathing laps
ri m joist,
Fr a ming an c hor
Foundation ties diaphr ag m
wall or floor to shear wall str ut.
str u c tur e

Dou ble top plate

Spec ial an c hor ac ting as a shear
bolt em bedded in wall str ut
foundation and/or
c arried through
floor str u c tur e
per manufac tur er’s
instr u c tions

A Shear Wall Hold-Downs Shear Wall/Floor Diaphragm

Ply wood roof Ply wood roof
diaphr ag m diaphr ag m

Spec ified nailing Lookout

at diaphr ag m edge see 145a

Spec ified nailing

Frieze bloc k at diaphr ag m edge

Alter native frieze End r af ter

bloc k loc ation

Shear wall
sheathing laps
end r af ter,
Shear wall
sheathing laps or
frieze bloc k,
Fr a ming an c hor
or ties diaphr ag m
to shear wall str ut.
Fr a ming an c hor
ties diaphr ag m to
shear wall str ut.

Dou ble top plate

ac ting as a shear
wall str ut
Dou ble top plate
ac ting as a shear
wall str ut

Shear Wall/Roof Diaphragm Shear Wall/Roof Diaphragm

C At Eave D At Rake
walls 87
Shear Walls

Hold-downs Diaphr ag m

T wist str aps

and fr a ming Dr ag str ut
an c hors ties mar ginal
portion of
diaphr ag m to
shear wall.
diaphr ag m

at foundation
Shear wall

When shear walls are required on upper floors, they Drag struts are sometimes required to tie the dia-
must be tied, through the floor diaphragm, to the shear phragm to the shear walls, especially if the diaphragm
walls below. If upper and lower shear walls align, their is not bounded by shear walls at each end. A drag strut
corners may be tied with hold-downs (see 86A) with consists of a long metal strap firmly attached to the dia-
the lower hold-downs inverted. If the shear walls do phragm above the shear wall. The drag strut extends
not align, their edges may be tied to the diaphragm into the diaphragm in a line parallel to the shear wall
with a combination of twist straps (for uplift) and to pull or “drag” the force from the diaphragm to the
framing anchors (for horizontal shear). shear wall.

A Shear Wall/Shear Wall Drag Strut

Tie between Floors

Door header Stiff header

Stiff c olu mn

Shear panel

Shear walls
Str aps tie
c olu mns to
panel & header.

Garages with wide doors and limited walls are

typical of buildings requiring shear walls. These condi- Engineers can design reinforced windows so the
tions are so typical that several companies have devel- window can extend virtually from wall to wall in small
oped proprietary premanufactured walls specifically buildings and building extensions. A shear panel below
for garages. The shear walls are strapped to the door the window opening is strapped to stiff single-piece or
header and work in conjunction with it. Garage shear built-up columns at the corners. The columns effectively
walls are also commonly site-built. cantilever up from the panel, stiffening the entire wall.

Garage Portal Frame Reinforced Window

88 walls
Moisture & Air Barriers

Once the walls are framed and sheathed, they must Coordinating these components is critical to avoid
be protected from moisture. This involves the installa- trapping water vapor in the wall cavity. The principle
tion of a moisture barrier. The moisture barrier must to follow is that the permeability (the degree to which
be coordinated with an air barrier (to control air infil- water vapor will pass through a material) must be higher
tration), a vapor retarder (to control water vapor), for materials on the cool side of the wall (usually the
and insulation. outside) than for materials on the warm side of the wall
A moisture barrier (also called a weather barrier or (usually the inside). For example, foil-faced rigid insu-
water-resistive barrier) is a membrane directly under lation, which has a very low permeability, should not
the siding that prevents any water penetrating the be placed on the exterior in a cool climate. The chart
siding from reaching the sheathing or the framing. An below rates the permeability of common materials.
effective moisture barrier stops liquid water but lets
water vapor through, thereby letting the wall breathe. Material Permeability
A vapor retarder (formerly known as a vapor barrier) (perms per STM-E96)
is a membrane on the warm side of the wall (usually the Foil-faced insulation 0
interior) that retards the passage of water vapor from 4-mil PVC 0.08
the warm inside air into the cooler wall, where it could Extruded polystyrene 0.3–1.0
condense (see 120). 1⁄ 2-in. CDX plywood 0.4–1.2
An air barrier limits the infiltration of air through 1⁄ 2-in. OSB 0.7
the wall. Either a moisture barrier or a vapor retarder Kraft paper 1.8
may be detailed to seal the wall against air infiltration, 15-lb. felt 5.6
thereby becoming an air barrier as well (see 120). 1⁄ 2-in. gypsum board 20
Building or house wraps 88-107

A Moisture, Vapor & Air Barriers


A moisture barrier under the siding is a sensible

second line of defense to prevent water from reaching
the frame of the building. Many products such as 15-lb.
felt and bitumen-impregnated paper (which come in
3-ft.-wide rolls, as shown here) have been used histori-
cally and are suitable for this purpose.
A moisture barrier acting also as an air infiltration
barrier under the siding must retard the passage of air
and be impermeable to water, but allow vapor to pass.
Polyolefin membranes, commonly called building or
house wraps, meet these specifications and are the most
prevalent barriers. They are very lightweight and come
in rolls up to 12 ft. wide, allowing a single-
Over lap 2 in. to 4 in.
story building to be covered in one pass.
at horizontal joints.
Building wraps can provide better protec-
Over lap 4 in. at
vertic al joints. tion against air infiltration than felt and
kraft paper because the wide rolls require
Align bot to m of edge of moistur e barrier with bot to m
edge of sheathing. see spec ific siding t ype for details. fewer joints, and these joints are taped.

Moisture & Air Infiltration Barriers

B Installation
walls 89
Moisture & Air Barriers

Sheathing Note
Rough It is extr emely i mportant
fr a ming to wr ap rough openings
with a moistur e barrier
to protec t the fr a ming
bec ause this is wher e
leaks ar e most likely
to oc c ur. The method
shown her e is adequate
for li mited exposur e
situations bec ause
all layers over lap
to dir ec t water away
fro m the str u c tur al
fr a me of the building.
Si mpler methods may be
employed wher e exposur e
to r ain is not likely
to oc c ur, and mor e
extr eme methods (see
89B) should be employed
1.) Staple moistur e 2.) Staple moistur e 3.) R epeat step 2, but wher e exposur e is
barrier to sill & barrier to ja m bs of for top of rough sever e. For the method
fold 6 in. down, rough opening & opening. Leave outer shown her e, many
extending 6 in. to fold 6 in. over edges unstapled for builders pr efer to use
eac h side. Do not sheathing & 6 in. futur e integr ation thin moistur e barriers
staple lower edge; above & below with wall moistur e that will not build up
it will lap wall rough opening. barrier. with the folds & with
moistur e barrier. sever al layers.

A Window/Door Rough-Opening Wrap


see 93, 94, 95A ROUGH OPENING.



Window/Door Rough-Opening Wrap

B Alternative Details for Severe Exposure to Rain
90 walls

Head C asing at tac hes

ja m b to exterior
fr a me of

Ja m b

ja m b Sash


Head Jamb Ja m b exender

C asing adjusts ja m b
width to wall
thic kness.

Sill see below

C asing
Traditional Window
Ja m b

Modern windows derive from the traditional Sash

wooden window shown above. Older windows have Stop

a wooden sash that holds the glass, which is usually
Ja m b extender
divided into small panes by muntin bars. This sash is Side Jamb
hinged or slides within a wooden frame that is fixed to
an opening in the wall. At the bottom of the frame is a
wood sill, sloped to shed water. The sides and top of the
frame are called jambs.
Stool applied
These components and their terminology have been af ter window
handed down to the modern window, but modern win- installed

dows are better insulated and better sealed, and usually Sash
need less maintenance than the traditional prototypes.
Today’s window is made in a factory and is shipped C asing dies on
top of sill.
ready to install in a rough opening. Several popular
types, classified by their method of operation, include Sill with drip
casement, double-hung, sliding, hopper, awning, and
fixed. Each of these types is made in wood, vinyl, metal, Optional apron
applied af ter
fiberglass, or a combination of these materials. Sizes Sill window is
and details vary with the manufacturer. Double-hung, installed.

sliding, and fixed windows are generally made in larger

Side ja m b
sizes than the hinged types. Optional trim packages are extends below
available with most. sill to support
window on
fr a ming.

Window Terminology
walls 91

Sheathing Wood windows—Wood windows (see 92–95) are

Exterior wall finish pleasing for their warm, natural look. Along with the
Flashing see 103b & c
excellent thermal properties of wood, the aesthetic
appeal of the wood window is its strongest asset.
C asing
The major disadvantages of wood windows are the
Header supplies
str u c tur e to wall
initial high cost and the ongoing need for maintenance.
above window Wood is susceptible to deterioration from the weather,
opening. see 68-70
so periodically refinishing the exterior surfaces is neces-
Insulation fills in
void bet ween window sary. Every effort should be made to protect all-wood
ja m b & rough opening windows from rain by locating them under overhangs.
to insulate bet ter &
to r etar d air Wood windows clad with aluminum and vinyl were
infiltr ation.
developed to minimize maintenance. The cladding
Sash decreases their need for maintenance yet retains the
Support window on aesthetic advantages of wood on the interior.
fr a ming ac c or ding
to manufac tur er’s Vinyl windows—Made of extruded PVC that is
spec ifi c ations.
either screwed or heat-welded at mitered corners, vinyl
Moistur e- barrier
wr ap protec ts windows (see 93B and 94B) have come to dominate the
fr a ming fro m water
window market. Their cost and expected maintenance
leaks around window.
see 89 are low, while their insulative properties are relatively
high. They are available in all typical operating types.
All windows require a coordinated installation in Vinyl windows are not available with exterior cas-
wood-frame walls, as follows: ings, but decorative casings are often added (see 93B).
One disadvantage of vinyl windows is the limited range
Header—Size the header so that loads from above
of available colors. The vinyl cannot be painted, and
do not bear on the window itself, restricting operation.
only very light colors such as white and tan are available
Window wrap—Wrap the framing at the rough because dark colors tend to absorb heat, causing warping.
opening with a moisture barrier to protect it from any
Fiberglass windows—Newly developed fiberglass
leaks around the edges of windows and doors.
windows have none of the disadvantages of competing
Sill pan—At windows exposed to severe weather, add materials, but they are currently quite expensive.
under the window a continuous metal or plastic pan Fiberglass does not deteriorate in the weather like
that drains to the exterior (see 89B). wood and does not expand with heat like vinyl. It is a
relatively good insulator and is so durable that manu-
Shim and support—Shim the window at the sill and
facturers offer lifetime warranties. Fiberglass windows
affix the shims to the framing so that the window is
have factory-applied finishes, ranging from light to very
level and rests firmly on the framing.
dark, and can be painted.
Insulation—Place batt or spray foam insulation
Metal windows—Until recently, aluminum windows
around the edges of the installed window to reduce
were the most common low-cost window. But energy
both heat loss and air infiltration.
codes and the popularity of vinyl windows have virtu-
Air barrier—An air barrier, if used, must be sealed ally eliminated aluminum windows from the residential
to the window unit. The moisture/air barrier may be market except in very mild climates. Aluminum is still
sealed to the window nailing flange at the wall’s outside available for commercial applications. The ubiquitous
surface, or the vapor/air barrier may be sealed to the storefront windows are available in polished aluminum,
jamb’s inside edge at the wall’s inside surface. anodized bronze, and a spectrum of baked-enamel colors.
92 walls

Unclad wood windows are attached to the building Header

through the casing. This is the traditional way that win- Sheathing
dows have been fastened to wood buildings. The nail Siding
holes are typically filled, and the casings painted. It is
Flashing at head
also possible to cover the nails with a dripmold or with
a backband that may be nailed from the side or the
Bac kband
face, depending on the profile of the backband. The
backband is mitered at the corners and dies on the sill. Bac kband nail

When attaching a window through the casing, it is C asing nail

important to support the weight of the window unit C asing
from below. Shim the sill and/or the extensions of the Ur ethane-foa m
or bat t
side jambs below the sill. insulation
Some manufacturers also recommend blocking and
nailing the units through the jamb. In this case, the
nails can be covered by the stops. Note
Bac kband c overs the
c asing nail in thin, flat
c asing & allows various
widths of siding to but t
against it. C over bac kband
nails with siding or fill
Backband nail holes.
Typical Backband Profiles

Header Header

Flashing with drip
Flashing at head (optional)

Wooden drip mold

C asing nail
C asing nail
(fill nail hole) C asing

Ur ethane-foa m
Bric kmold
or bat t
Ur ethane-foa m
or bat t Sash


Note Wooden drip mold
Tr aditional bric kmold c an take the plac e of
c asing has deep profile flashing drip at the head
to allow various widths of windows & doors.
or siding to but t It may also be used
Brickmold Casing Dripmold at Head
against it. in c onjun c tion with
flashing. It is of ten
used with shingle siding.

Wood Windows
A Attachment through Casing
walls 93

Header see 68-70 Moder n windows ar e usually manufac tur ed

with nailing fins that ac t as flashing & provide
Sheathing nailing for at tac hing the window to the building.
Windows with nailing fins c an be used both
Window wr ap with & without c asings.
see 89
Flashing if exposed to Siding
see 103b & c Moistur e barrier
laps nailing fin
C asing at head (fin laps
see 92 moistur e barrier at
sides & sill).

Head Jamb Flashing with drip

Nail through fin

into fr a ming.

Siding Ur ethane-foa m
or bat t insulation
Sheathing Note:
C aulk bet ween
Window wr ap nailing fin Metal, vinyl, or wood
see 89 & moistur e ja m b & sash (c lad
barrier. wood shown)
Nailing Fin
C aulk without Casing
see 106
C asing
see 92

Side Jamb Siding

Flashing with drip

at head

Stool is applied Dec or ative c asing

af ter window is r ab beted over
at tac hed to building. nailing fin

Moistur e barrier
Support sill of wide
laps nailing fin
windows on fr a ming &
at head (fin laps
at tac h through shi ms
moistur e barrier at
fro m below.
sides & sill).

Fit siding into groove Sec ondary flashing

plowed into underside or drip in c asing at
of sill, or apply apron head
on top of siding.
Nail through fin
into fr a ming.
Ur ethane-foa m
or bat t insulation
Window wr ap see 89
Metal, vinyl, or wood
Sill ja m b & sash (c lad
wood shown)
Nailing Fin
with Casing

Unclad Wood Windows Wood, Metal, or Vinyl Windows

A Attachment through Casing B Attachment through Nailing Fin
94 walls

Header see 68-70 Header see 68-70

Sheathing Sheathing

Window wr ap Window wr ap see 89

see 89
Siding & optional
Siding c asing

Nailing fin at tac hed Nailing fin at tac hed

to fr a me of building to fr a me of building

Flashing at head is
Flashing if exposed r ec o m mended if window
to weather is exposed to weather.
see 103b & c see 103b & c

Head Jamb
Ja m b extender with
c asing or interior finish
wr apped to window
Head Jamb


Window wr ap
Window wr ap see 89
see 89
Siding & optional
Siding c asing

Nailing fin at tac hed

C aulk at ja m b
to fr a me of building
see 106

Nailing fin at tac hed

C aulk at ja m b to fr a me of building
see 106

Ja m b extender with
Side Jamb c asing or interior finish
Side Jamb wr apped to window

Siding Shi m window to

bot to m of rough
opening for leveling
& support.

Nailing fin at tac hed

Nailing fin at tac hed
to fr a me of building
to fr a me of building

Window wr ap
Sheathing see 89

Window wr ap Sheathing
see 89
Sill Siding
Siding Sill

Clad Wood Windows Vinyl & Fiberglass Windows

A Attachment through Nailing Fin B
walls 95

Where fixed windows are acceptable, a great deal

Header see 68-70
of expense may be saved by custom-building the win-
Sheathing dows on the job without sash. In this case, the glass is
Window wr ap stopped directly into the window frame, and caulk or
see 89
glazing tape seals the glass to the casing just as it would
to the sash. Ventilation must be provided for the space
Flashing if exposed to by means other than operable windows.
weather see 103b & c
When designing and installing site-built fixed
C asing
windows, the following guidelines are useful:
Dou ble or single
gla zing installed with 1. Allow 1⁄ 8 in. minimum clearance at the top and sides
c aulk or gla zing tape
of the glass.
Interior stop for easy
Head Jamb glass r eplac ement 2. Rest the base of the glass on setting blocks spaced
one-quarter of the width from each end.

3. Glass can be set closer to the interior of the building

than shown in 95A by using exterior stop.
4. Support the sill of wide or heavy windows by
C aulk at jun c tion of shimming it from the framing.
c asing & siding
see 106
Site-Built Fixed Windows
C asing
Storm sash made today are usually fitted to aging
Gla zing
single-glazed windows. The storm sash protects the
existing window from the weather and also improves
Ja m b the thermal performance of the window.
Side Jamb
Usually made of aluminum, storm sash are custom
fit to the exterior face of the existing window. Many are
Stool operable from the interior and are fitted with screens.
Interior stop Depending on how they are installed, storm sash can
Gla zing installed with either significantly extend the useful life of old windows
c aulk or gla zing tape or actually contribute to their deterioration. A proper
Set glass on r esilient installation depends on numerous factors including the
set ting bloc ks at sill.
climate and the detailing of the original window.
Sloped exterior stop New custom wood windows can be manufactured
at exposed loc ations
with single glazing if fitted with storm sash. This can
Sloped sill with drip be useful for historic work or when attempting to make
at exposed loc ations
simple inexpensive sash for a microclimate that requires
Apron them. The storm sash provide the thermal performance
Siding required by code at the same time they protect the most
Sheathing precious part of the assembly—the sash itself—from the
weather. Storms located at fixed sash can be left in place
year-round, while storms at operable windows can be
exchanged for screens during the summer.

Site-Built Fixed Windows Storm Sash

96 walls
ja m b

Header see 68-70

Sheathing wr apped
with moistur e barrier

side Flashing if exposed to

ja m b weather see 103b & c

C asing at tac hes to

exterior fr a me of

R ab beted ja m b
Head Jamb

C asing at tac hed fir mly

to fr a ming

sill R ab beted ja m b sized

to width of wall
Traditional Exterior Door (fr a ming + sheathing
+ interior finish)
Modern doors have been derived from traditional
Add shi m & sc r ew ja m b
prototypes; they are better insulated and better sealed, to fr a ming behind
hinges of heavy doors.
and usually require less maintenance than their ances-
tors. Exterior hinged doors are made of wood (ply- Edge of sill below
wood, composite, or solid wood), fiberglass (fiberglass
Side Jamb
skin over a wood frame with a foam core), or insulated
steel. Wood is the most beautiful, fiberglass the most
durable, steel the most inexpensive. Edge of c asing
Most exterior doors swing inward to protect them Bot to m or r ail of door
from the weather. Nearly all manufacturers sell their
Su bfloor
doors prehung (hinged to a jamb and with exterior
casing attached). Sills and thresholds are the most vari- Finish floor

able elements in manufactured prehung doors. Most Wood or metal

doors come with an extruded metal sill and integral thr eshold with
threshold, which is installed on top of the subfloor
(see 100B). Wood sills must be thicker than metal for Sill with drip see 100a

strength, so they work best with finish flooring materials Siding

that are 3⁄4 in. thick or more (see sill drawing at right).
Because of the torsional forces exerted by the hinges
on the jamb when the door is open, doors that swing R i m joist

need to have their jambs fastened directly and securely

to the building’s frame. The best way to accomplish this
is to nail the jamb directly to the supporting stud, using Finish all edges of
shims to make the jamb plumb. It is common practice Sill exterior doors to
pr event swelling.
to attach a prehung door through the casing with long
screws through the hinge and jamb into the stud.

Exterior Hinged Doors

A Attachment to Walls
walls 97

ja m b Header see 68-70


Door wr ap if exposed
to weather see 89

Nailing fin on
sheathing & under
moistur e barrier

side C aulk see 106
ja m b
Flashing if exposed to
weather see 103b & c

Insulate rough-opening
c avit y.
Ja m b extender to make
ja m b flush with interior
Head Jamb wall finish

Door wr ap if exposed
to weather see 89
Sliding Door
Nailing fin on moistur e
Sliding doors, whether they are wood, vinyl, fiber-
glass, or aluminum, fasten to a building more like a
C aulk see 106
window than like a hinged door. Because the weight
of a sliding door remains within the plane of the wall, Insulate
there is no lateral loading on the jamb of the door unit. c avit y.
Sliding doors are therefore supported on the sill and
Side Jamb
can be attached to the building like windows—through
the casing or with a nailing fin. As with sliding windows, Sliding door

most sliding-door manufacturers recommend not

Fixed door
fastening the nailing fin at the head because header
Sc r een door
deflection can impede door operation.
Sliding doors are trimmed to the finish materials of
Finish floor
the wall in the same way as swinging doors and win-
dows (see 92–94). Su bfloor c arries
weight of door unit.

Seal below sill.


Wr ap sill unless
protec ted fro m weather.
see 89


Sliding Doors
A Attachment to Walls
98 walls

ja m b
see 68-70

Interior finish

C asing

Ja m b with applied stop

side see below
ja m b

Head Jamb

Interior finish

C asing

Ja m b with applied stop

sized to width of wall
(fr a ming + +
2 interior
Interior Door
Add shi m & sc r ew ja m b
to fr a ming behind
hinges of heavy doors
Because they do not have to be sealed against the or
nail behind stop or
weather, interior doors are much simpler than exterior
hinges of standar d
doors. Interior doors are used primarily for privacy Side Jamb doors.

and to control air flow. The doors themselves are typi-

cally made of wood or composite wood products. They
are 13⁄ 8 in. thick, and have either panels, like the one
shown above, or a flush plywood veneer over a hollow
core or solid core. Edge of c asing
Hinged interior doors are usually prehung on a jamb Edge of stop
without casings. The jamb on the hinged side is first
Bot to m r ail of door
nailed to the frame of the building, using shims to make
it plumb. The jambs at the head and opposite side are Under c ut door for
then shimmed for proper clearance and nailed. c lear an c e & for air
Some doors are hinged to a split jamb that will
expand to accommodate some variation in wall thick-
Finish floor
ness. Interior doors do not have sills and rarely have a
threshold unless the floor material changes at the door. Su bfloor


Interior Hinged Doors

walls 99

ja m b

Header set higher than

standar d to allow
for tr ac k.

side Interior finish

poc ket ja m b
fr a me Ja m b

C asing projec ts below

head ja m b & is fit ted
with tri m to c over
tr ac k har dwar e.

Adjustable tr ac k
har dwar e

Head Jamb

Pocket Door

Pocket doors—Pocket doors slide on a track attached

Interior finish
to the head jamb and are sold as a kit, with the door
and pocket separate and the pocket broken-down for C asing
ease of transport. The pocket is assembled at the site, Poc ket-door fr a me
and the head jamb (which much be set higher than sized to width of wall

6 ft. 8 in. to allow for the track) is leveled, shimmed,

and attached to the frame of the building. Next the
pocket itself and the opposite jamb are shimmed and Standar d width is
4 9 ⁄ 16 in. sized for 2x4
nailed. The heavier and wider the door and the better
wall with 1⁄ 2 -in.
the quality of the hardware, the less likely the door is gypsu m wallboar d

to derail. Pocket doors can’t be made to seal as tightly Side Jamb on both sides.

as hinged doors. The walls are flimsy at the pocket, and

wiring or plumbing can’t be put in this section of wall.

Bypass doors—Bypass doors, such as sliding closet

doors, slide on a track, like pocket doors, but have a
double track and two doors that are not concealed in Edge of c asing

a pocket in the wall. Nylon guides on the floor keep Bot to m r ail of door
the bottom of the doors in line. As with pocket doors,
Under- c ut door
the header of a bypass door should be set higher than for c lear an c e and
normal, and the casing should be designed to cover the for air flow

track hardware. The jambs are like those for hinged

Finish floor
doors but without stops.
Su bfloor
Bifold doors—Bifold doors have two hinged halves
that fold to one side, with a track at the top. Installation Note
So me poc ket doors
notes for bypass doors apply, except that casing trim Sill have guides at the
base of the poc ket.
must be kept above the top of the doors to allow the
doors to fold.

Pocket Doors, Bypass Doors & Bifold Doors

100 walls

C asing (dies on C asing

top of sill)
Side ja m b
Side ja m b

Door Door

Wood or metal Integr al metal

thr eshold thr eshold

Finish floor Finish floor

Su bfloor Su bfloor

Bloc king below

R i m joist
edge of su bfloor

R i m joist Sheathing

Metal or wood sill suppot
sill supported by c on c r ete walk or terr ac e.

Extr uded sills of alu minu m or polyc ar bonate

Tr aditional wood sill with drip slopes at 10 & ˚
r equir es that top of ri m joist & c o m mon joists
ar e the most c o m mon for all moder n doors.
The thr eshold is integr al. The sill must be
be shaved off for installation. Sill extends supported at outer edge. Extr uded sills may
to outside edges of door c asings. also be used in slab-on-gr ade c onstr u c tion.

Extruded Sills
C asing to B
bot to m edge of

ja m b Sheathing
Sole plate

Plastic or Metal pan fits in
Wood or metal door rough opening (use
thr eshold no fasteners through pan).

Finish floor
Interior flange c oor dinates
with sill & finish floor.
Su bfloor

Bloc king below

Bot to m flange of
edge of su bfloor
pan laps sheathing
& door wr ap.
R i m joist

Optional su b-sill extends to

outside edges of c asings.

Flat tened wood sill slopes at 7 & is installed
on top of joist system. Outside edge is flush
Moistur e
with ja m b (shown) or c asing. barrier (not
shown for c larit y)
Notes c ontinuous around
Adjust profile of sills for outswinging sides of rough opening &
doors. laps sides of sill pan, see 89.
Weatherstrip bot to m of door.
Wood sills ar e not c o mpati ble with slab At door loc ations exposed to the weather, a
su bfloors. galvanized metal door-sill pan fit into the door
rough opening will protec t the str u c tur e of
a wooden floor system below.

Wood Sills Door-Sill Pan

walls 101

ja m b Head
roo m
C eiling line

Door in r aised
position Door
side height
ja m b Door tr ac k
t yp.
6 f t. 8 in.
Sec tional door
7 f t.
Gar age slab


Header see 68-70

Garage Door
2x C asing

Ja m b sized to
Residential garage doors have evolved from swinging wall thic kness
and sliding types to almost exclusively the overhead
Stop mold c overs
variety. They are manufactured primarily with a solid- ja m b/c asing joint
& may be fit ted with
wood frame and plywood or particleboard panels. vinyl or r u b ber
Paneled metal, fiberglass, and vinyl doors are avail- seal.

able in some regions. There are two operating types, Gar age door
sectional and one-piece, both which can be manual or Head Jamb
fitted with automatic openers. Tr ac k mounts to
2x c asing
Sectional doors—Sectional doors are by far the more
common (see 101B). They are hinged horizontally— Note:
Verif y side
usually in four sections—and roll up overhead. The c lear an c e for
advantages are that a sectional door is totally protected tr ac k.

by the structure when in the open position, and that it

Stop mold
closes to the inside face of the jamb, making the design
Rollers mount
of the jamb opening somewhat flexible. to gar age door.

One-piece doors—One-piece doors pivot up. The

Side Jamb
door fits within the jamb and extends to the outside
of the building when in the open position. This exposes
Bot to m sec tion
the open door to the weather. The advantage of this of gar age door
type of door over a sectional door is the greater design R u b ber or vinyl
flexibility afforded by the single-piece door. Hardware floor seals
for this type of door is not usually available locally.

Slab edge at
gar age door
see 25a

Garage Doors Sectional Garage Door

102 walls

Intersec tion Head flashing at

with roof windows & doors
see c h. 4 see 103b & c

Abut ting mem bers

su c h as bea ms, Door-pan flashing
joists, open see 100c
r ailings see 105A

Abut ting walls

su c h as solid
por c h r ailings
Wall c onnec tion
see 105B
with por c h or dec k
see 52-60

Adjoining flat
Sealants dec k/roof
see 106 see 56-57

Horizontal joints
in material su c h
as ply wood
edges, water
tables, material
c hanges
see 104

Wood wall c ap
see 105d

Flashing is essential to keeping water away from the many cases, the negative effects of surface tension can
structure and the interior of a building. It is used wher- be avoided by the proper use of a drip.
ever there is a horizontal or sloped penetration of the A drip is a thin edge or undercut at the bottom of
outer building skin or a juncture of dissimilar materials a material placed far enough away from the building
that is likely to be exposed to the weather. Flashing surface so that a drop of water forming on it will not
provides a permanent barrier to the water and directs touch the wall but will drop away (see 103A). Drips
it to the outer surface of the building, where gravity may be made of flashing or may be cut into the building
carries the water down to the ground. Of course, the material itself.
best protection against water penetration of walls is In the case of vertical joints, a sealant may be
an adequate eave, but wind-driven rain may make this required to counter the effects of surface tension.
strategy occasionally unreliable. Except for vertical joints that cannot be flashed effec-
Wall flashing, which provides the first line of defense tively, a well-designed flashing (see 103–105) is always
against water, should be taken very seriously, especially preferable to a bead of sealant.
because walls, unlike roofs, are not intended to be Common flashing materials include galvanized steel,
replaced regularly. Wall flashing is likely to be in place baked enamel steel, aluminum, copper, stainless steel,
for the life of the building. and lead. Because flashing materials may be affected in
Two physical properties affect the flow of water on different ways by different climates, air pollutants, and
vertical surfaces. The first property, gravity, can be building materials, the selection of appropriate mate-
used to advantage in directing water down the wall of rials is specific to each job. It is also important to isolate
a building. The other property, surface tension, cre- different metals when flashing to prevent corrosive
ates capillary action that results in water migrating in interaction (galvanic action) between them. Consult
all directions along cracks in and between materials. In with local sheet-metal shops for appropriate materials
for specific applications.
Wall Flashing
walls 103

Flashing The best head

flashing is solder ed
at the end so that
the end profile
matc hes the side
The detail at right Lower edge of
is pr eferr ed to the flashing extends past
detail at lef t bec ause head c asing at level
it is less susc epti ble of drip.
to physic al da mage.

C asing

Soldered Head Flashing

T wo mor e pr ac tic al
solutions ar e to c ut
the flashing flush
Paint tends to c log flashing with the c asing, or,
drips, but it also tends to seal bet ter, to tri m & fold
the c r ac k bet ween flashing & the flashing on site,
the material the flashing c overs. as shown below.
Flashing su c h as this should
be used only at loc ations with
mini mal exposur e.
Tri m flashing longer
than head c asing &
notc h bac k to c asing
Flashing Drips
A at fold in flashing.


Moistur e barrier

Head Flashing Fold drip bac k against

See 103C side of c asing.

Head C asing

wr ap
see 89

Sheathing Fold horizontal part

of flashing down
over side of c asing.
Moistur e barrier

Head flashing Sur fac e of siding to

be applied later.

Head c asing Folded Head Flashing


Window/Door Head Flashing Window/Door Head Flashing

B C At End of Flashing
104 walls

Siding panel Siding

C ontinuous
horizontal Z
metal flashing
with 2-in. (min.) C ontinuous
over laps at horizontal
joints. flashing with
drip & 2-in. (min.)
Siding panel over laps at
Moistur e barrier
c ontinuous
Isometric horizontal
Bevel (optional)
siding joint
for best
Sheathing (or stud dr ainage
wall for single-wall
c onstr u c tion)

C ontinuous Moistur e barrier

moistur e barrier c ontinuous
over sheathing
Z metal flashing or fr a ming

Siding panels Window or door head

c asing, water table, or
Section other horizontal tri m

Horizontal Wall Flashing Horizontal Wall Flashing

A Z Metal at Panel Joint B Joint between Dissimilar Materials

Step 1 Step 2 Step 1 Step 2

Moistur e Moistur e
barrier on barrier on
sheathing sheathing



Water table
or other
tri m Water table
or other
horizontal tri m

Outside Corner Inside Corner

It is pr udent to c over the vertic al end of the flashing with a s mall piec e of moistur e barrier
or a dab of sealant to mini mize the potential for leaks.

Horizontal Wall Flashing

C Corner Details
walls 105

Any horizontal member such as a handrail, a trellis,

or a joist that butts into an exterior wall poses an inher-
ently difficult flashing problem at the top edge of the Sheathing

abutting members. Where such a connection is likely Moistur e barrier

to get wet, the best approach is to avoid the problem
30-lb. (min.) felt gasket
by supporting the member independent of the wall. A to seal around nail
handrail, for example, could be supported by a column or sc r ew

near the wall but not touching it. A trellis could be

Nail or sc r ew
If a horizontal member must be connected to a wall
in a location exposed to the weather, two things can be
done to protect the structure of the wall. First, do not Horizontal mem ber
su c h as handr ail or
puncture the surface of the siding with the member, tr ellis at tac hed to
sur fac e of siding
and do everything possible to attach the member to the
surface of the siding with a minimum number of fas-
teners. Second, place an adequate gasket, such as 30-lb.
or 90-lb. felt, behind the siding at the location of the
attachment. This will help seal nails or screws that pass
through the siding to the structure of the wall.

Flashing Abutting Members

This horizontal c ap+ Wood c ap with
joint is best 2 in. sloped top
protec ted with 2 in.
a flashing P.T. furring sc r ewed
made to fit to underside of
over the wood c ap
and moistur e
barrier of the Drip
fr a med wall. . 6
in in
4 . Tri m fastened
Width through siding to
of furring & wall
fr a med
wall Siding
Flashing Detail
Moistur e barrier
c ontinuous over
top of wall


Wall fr a ming

This detail has a c ontinuous moistur e
barrier over the top of the wall without
penetr ations. The moistur e barrier may be
Wall c ap r eplac ed with metal flashing.
see 105C

Flashing Abutting Walls Wood Wall Cap

b c
106 walls
Exterior Finishes

Window head
see 103b & c

Top edge
Top edge see 107B
see 107B

Bot to m edge
see 107C

Door head
see 103B & C

see 78-81

Top edge
Details of Vertic al edge see 107B
siding t ypes see 107A
see 108-119

Moistur e Bot to m edge Outside c or ner Inside c or ner

barriers see 107C see 104C see 104C
see 88

Many of today’s common exterior wall finishes have Where the moisture barrier stops—at the edges and
been protecting walls from the weather for hundreds the openings through the wall—special attention must
of years. Others such as plywood, hardboard, and vinyl be paid to the detailing of exterior wall finishes.
have been developed more recently. Regardless of their
Sealants—In this country alone, there are more than
history, when applied properly, each is capable of pro-
200 manufacturers of 20 different types of caulks and
tecting the building for as long as the finish material
sealants. However, the appropriate use of sealants for
itself lasts.
wood-frame buildings is limited for two reasons. First,
If possible, the best way to protect both the exte-
sealants are not really needed—there are 200-year-old
rior finish and the building from the weather is with
wooden buildings still in good condition that were built
adequate overhangs. But even then, wind-driven rain
without the benefit of any sealants. Second, the lifespan
will occasionally get the building wet. It is important,
of a sealant is limited—manufacturers claim only 20 to
therefore, to detail exterior wall finishes carefully at all
25 years for the longest-lasting sealants. Therefore, it is
but the most protected locations.
best practice to not rely heavily on the use of sealants to
The introduction of effective moisture barriers
keep water out of buildings.
under the siding has the potential to prolong the life
However, some situations in wood-frame construc-
of walls beyond the life of the siding alone. While the
tion do call for the use of a sealant or caulk. These are
siding is still the first line of defense against weather,
mostly cases where the sealant is a second or third line
it is possible to view one of its primary functions as
of defense against water intrusion or where it is used
keeping sunlight from causing the deterioration of the
to retard the infiltration of air into the building. In all
moisture barrier, which ultimately protects the walls of
instances, it is recommended that the caulk or sealant
the building.
not be exposed to the direct sunlight.

Exterior Wall Finishes

walls 107
Exterior Finishes

A vertic al edge is a likely plac e for At the upper edges of wall finishes
water to leak around the exterior wall (at eaves & r akes, under windows &
finish into the str u c tur e of a building. doors & at other horizontal br eaks),
A c ontinuous moistur e barrier behind dir ec t moistur e away fro m the top
the verti c al joint is c r u c ial. A sealant edge of the finish material to the
c an help deter the moistur e, but will fac e of the wall.
deterior ate in the ultr aviolet light
unless plac ed behind the wall finish,
wher e it will be protec ted.
Drip in sills
See 90 & 100a

Window or door Sealant Drip

c asing or other see 103A
vertic al tri m Wall str u c tur e

Moistur e barrier
c ontinuous
behind siding &
vertic al tri m
Horizontal Sills, Eaves
Material & Other
Siding Change Overhangs
Plan Section
A sec ond bead of sealant
may be useful at outer edge
if siding is to be painted.

A Exterior Wall Finishes Exterior Wall Finishes

At Vertical Edges
B At Top Edges

The bot to m edge of the wall finish is mor e

likely to get wet than the top. Allow water
to fall fro m the bot to m edge of the wall
finish in a way that avoids c apillary ac tion.


Por c h
or dec k

Foundation Roof
or other

Exterior Wall Finishes

C At Bottom Edges
108 walls
Exterior Finishes

Tri m at horizontal top

At inside c or ners, squar e c or ner boar d
edges r ab beted to fit over
wider than deepest part of siding for ms
But t siding top edge of siding
sur fac e for siding to but t against.
to verti c al
c asings & other or
tri m with sealant
see 107A Furr ed-out tri m laps over
top edge of siding.
Outside c or ners tri m med
with t wo-piec e c or ner
boar ds at least as
deep as deepest part of

Metal c or ners also
available for most bevel
t ype horizontal siding


So me profiles may be
miter ed.
R ab bet at bot to m of siding
for ms drip at bot to m edge.


R ake tri m

Spac er as
thic k as
thic kest part of

Drop Shiplap T&G Bevel Clapboard
Horizontal Siding Profiles

Elevation Section
Types—Siding joints may be tongue and groove,
Rake Details rabbeted, or lapped. Common profiles (names may
vary regionally) are illustrated at bottom right.
Horizontal wood siding is common in both historic
and modern buildings. The boards cast a horizontal Application—Boards are typically applied over a
shadow line unique to this type of siding. moisture barrier and sheathing, and should generally
be back-primed before installation. Boards are face-
Materials—Profiles (see below right) are commonly
nailed with a single nail near the bottom of each board
cut from 4-in., 6-in., and 8-in. boards. Cedar, redwood,
but above the board below to allow movement. Siding
and pine are the most typical. Clear grades are avail-
is joined end to end with miter or scarf joints and
able in cedar and redwood. Many profiles are also
sealant over a stud.
made from composite hardboard or cementboard.
These materials are much less expensive than siding Finish—Horizontal wood siding is usually painted or
milled from lumber and are almost indistinguishable stained. Clear lumber siding is sometimes treated with
from it when painted. a semitransparent stain.

horizontal Siding
A Wood, Hardboard, Cement Board
walls 109
Exterior Finishes

Furring strips stop vertic al furring strips furr ed out tri m at top
above horizontal c r eate air spac e bet ween of wall maintains gap
flashing to c onnec t air spac es siding and moistur e barrier for ventilation of air
spac e

c ontinuours
c orr ugated
sc r een/ vent
at eave
or r ake
weather barrier
laps horizontal

c ontinuous
c orr ugated
sc r een/ vent
at base of
felt paper wall
c overs
furring strips

Rain Screen Siding—Rain screen siding strategy outer layer is usually made with horizontal wood siding
recognizes that some moisture will penetrate the wall (clapboards), but can be made of any material that
and provides an easy path for this moisture to escape sheds water and is capable of spanning between the ver-
the wall assembly. A rain screen wall can be understood tical furring strips. Screening is required at the top and
as two layers of protection with an air space in between. bottom of the wall to keep insects out of the air space.
An outer layer sheds most of the weather, and an inner
layer takes care of what little moisture gets through. Application—Materials are applied with nails or
The critical element—one that is not present in (most) staples as with standard siding materials. Special care
other siding systems—is the air space between the two should be taken that materials lap properly to shed
layers. This air space provides a capillary break and water. The inner layer, called the drainage plane, must
promotes the rapid escape of moisture with a clear path be especially carefully detailed and constructed to keep
to the base of the wall for water to drain by gravity and moisture out of the framing. Back-priming and end-
by allowing ventilation to remove moisture in the form priming of wood siding materials is very important to
of water vapor. prolong the life of the material and of the finish.

Materials—The inner layer can be made of the Finish—Rain screen siding can be finished with any
same materials as the moisture barrier in most siding paint or stain designed for use on standard siding.
systems: tar paper, building wrap, or rigid foam insula- Because the system breathes and does not trap mois-
tion in conjunction with flashing (and tape or sealant). ture within the wall, finishes will typically outlast the
The air space is created by vertical furring strips, usu- same finish applied to a standard wall.
ally 3⁄ 8 in. to 1⁄ 2 in. thick aligned over the studs. The

Rain Screen Siding

110 walls
Exterior Finishes

Lap inside c or ners. First Tri m may be eli minated

piec e may be held away at horizontal top
fro m c or ner to allow edges if siding is c ut
for moistur e barrier. c ar efully to fit under
sills or eaves.
Siding but ts
to vertic al
c asings &
Matc hed siding
other tri m
may be tri m med
with sealant.
with sec ond
see 107A
layer, or boar d
siding with
Outside c or ners
bat ten.
l a pp ed


Bot to m edge projec ts

below sheathing to
with lapped
for m drip at foundation.
battens in
boar d
& bat ten or

Rabbet or bevel
on rear side
for ms drip at
sur fac es.

Vertical wood siding falls into two major groups.

Roofing or
One group, such as the tongue-and-groove and channel overhang
patterns shown below, has its side edges rabbeted or
R a k e t ri m
grooved and lies flat on the wall, one board thick. The
Spac er as
other group, including board and batten, has square
thic k as
edges and uses a second layer to cover the edges of the thic kest
part of siding
first layer. The thicker patterns in the second group
may require careful coordination with casings and trim. Siding

Both groups require 5⁄ 8-in. (min.) plywood or OSB

sheathing or horizontal nailing strips to strengthen the Elevation Section
wall. Where end joints occur, siding is sealed and joined
with a scarf joint or a miter joint sloped to the exterior.
Rake Details

c hannel tongue and groove boar d and bat ten r everse boar d and
flush (shown) and bat ten

vertical wood Siding

walls 111
Exterior Finishes

Vertic al edges (c asings) All siding piec es ar e at tac hed Top edges (soffit tri m, eave
ar e tri m med with side through slots that allow for tri m & under sills) tri m med
c hannel installed expansion & c ontr ac tion. Loc ate with under sill tri m into whic h
befor e siding & into ;
nails in the c enter of the slot nail siding slides. Spec ial tool
whic h siding slides (r ake loosely so piec es c an move with pun c hes tabs at c ut top
ri m med with sa me c hannel). temper atur e c hanges. ;
edge of siding tabs loc k
into tri m, whic h may need to
be furr ed depending on
loc ation of horizontal c ut
in siding.

Siding hooks
on piec e

Starter strip
Outside c or ners provides
ar e a variation of c ontinuous
the basi c c hannel & an c hor age for
c over the ends of bot to m row.
the siding.

Inside c or ners ar e
tri m med with dou ble
c hannel installed The basic piec e hooks over the piec e
befor e siding & below & is nailed at the top edge. Sides,
into whic h siding tops & r akes ar e tri m med with J-shaped
slides. c hannels into whic h the siding slides.

Vinyl sidings were developed in an attempt to elimi- impact, especially when cold. Most manufacturers also
nate the maintenance required of wood sidings. Most make vinyl soffit material, and some also make decora-
aluminum-siding manufacturers have moved to vinyl. tive trim. Vinyl produces extremely toxic gasses when
involved in a building fire.
Material—There are several shapes available. Most
imitate horizontal wood bevel patterns, but there are Installation—Vinyl has little structural strength,
some vertical patterns as well. Lengths are generally so most vinyl sidings must be installed over solid
about 12 ft., and widths are 8 in. to 12 in. The ends of sheathing. Proper nailing with corrosion-resistant
panels are factory-notched to allow for lapping at end nails is essential to allow for expansion and contrac-
joints, which accommodates expansion and contraction. tion. Because vinyl trim pieces are rather narrow, many
Color is integral with the material and ranges mostly architects use vinyl siding in conjunction with wood
in the whites, grays, and imitation wood colors. The trim, as suggested in the isometric drawing above.
vinyl will not dent like metal, but will shatter on sharp

Vinyl Siding
112 walls
Exterior Finishes

Top edges ar e so meti mes lef t

without tri m bec ause they
c an easily be c ut to a c lean
squar e edge that is but ted
against a soffit, eave, or
other horizontal sur fac e,
or tri m may be added.

Horizontal joints bet ween siding panels or

bet ween panels & other material should be
bloc ked if they do not oc c ur over a plate
or floor fr a ming.


Bot to m edges at the base

of a wall extend 1⁄ 2 in. (min.)
below the sheathing to
for m a drip.
see detail at right Drip

Lap panels to for m But t panels and

a drip edge or flash with metal
Z flashing,
see 104A
Outside c or ners have
one panel r ab beted if
c or ner is not c over ed Vertic al joints bet ween siding panels should
with c or ner boar ds. always fall over a stud.

Inside c or ners may be But t joint c over ed Manufac tur ed

but ted & c aulked or have with bat ten lap joint
c or ner boar ds added.

Materials—Plywood siding is available in 4-ft.-wide installation. It is wise to plan to have window and door
panels, 8 ft., 9 ft., and 10 ft. tall. Typical thicknesses are trim because of the difficulty of cutting panels precisely
3⁄ 8 in., 1⁄ 2 in. and 5 ⁄ 8 in. The panels are usually installed around openings. Fasten panels to framing following
vertically to avoid horizontal joints, which require the manufacturer’s recommendation.
blocking and flashing. Textures and patterns can be cut
Single-wall construction—Since plywood, even in
into the face of the plywood to resemble vertical wood-
a vertical orientation, will provide lateral bracing for a
siding patterns.
building, it is often applied as the only surface to cover
Installation—Manufacturers suggest leaving a a building. This is called single-wall construction and
1⁄ 8-in.gap at panel edges to allow for expansion. All has some unique details (see 80 and 113).
edges should be treated with water repellent before

Plywood Siding
walls 113
Exterior Finishes

Most of the details for double-wall plywood con-

struction also apply to single-wall construction. But
with single-wall construction, the moisture barrier is
applied directly to the framing, making it more difficult
to achieve a good seal. The wide-roll, polyolefin mois-
ture/air infiltration barriers work best (see 88B). Also,
the bottom edge of the plywood is flush against the
foundation, so a drip detail is impossible (see right).

No sheathing beneath
Mudsill ply wood, so ply wood
does not for m drip at
bot to m edge. Sealant
may be bet ter than
nothing in so me

Flashing—Windows and doors that are attached

through the casing and need head flashing because of
exposure to rain or snow are very difficult to flash. As
shown in the drawings below, a saw kerf must be cut
into the siding at the precise location of the flashing.
The flashing and siding must be installed simultane-
ously before the door or window is attached.

Header Ply wood


Rough Saw
opening ker f Header see 68-70

Window or door
Step 1 Step 2 wr ap see 89

Single-ply siding
sec tion

head flashing

Head flash Installed

& furring window
at head or door Ply wood furring
with head
flash Window or door
c asing see 92-93
Step 3 Step 4

Flashing a Header Section

Single-Wall Plywood Siding

114 walls
Exterior Finishes

C over horizontal edges with Note

tri m fastened to a spac er. Loc ate Short horizontal edges su c h as aprons may be
shingle fasteners very high on c over ed with a piec e of tri m fastened to the sloped
last c ourse. sur fac e of the shingles. For r ake tri m. see 115a & b

Shingles Fasteners 1 in. (min.)

but t to above c ourse level
verti c al of next c ourse
tri m.

Joints bet ween shingles

offset 11⁄ 2 in. (min.) for
thr ee adjac ent c ourses.

1⁄ 4 -in. spac e

bet ween
adjac ent
Dou ble
shingles in
bot to m
field (not
c ourse
at c or ners
projec ts
or edges) 1⁄ 2 in. below

sheathing to
for m drip.

Outside c or ners ar e
woven so alter nate rows Inside c or ners ar e
have edge of shingle exposed. woven like outside c or ners.
Edge is tri m med flush with adjac ent Shingles ar e tri m med to but t against
shingle on opposite fac e of c or ner. shingle on opposite fac e. Top shingle alter nates
C or ner boar ds c an also be used as fro m row to row. C or ner boar ds c an also be used
tri m at outside c or ners. see 110 as tri m at inside c or ners. see 110

Shingles are popular because they can provide a coursing allows nail or staple fasteners to be concealed
durable, low-maintenance siding with a refined natural by subsequent courses. With shingles there is less waste
appearance. Shadow lines are primarily horizontal but than with other wood sidings.
are complemented with minor verticals. Material costs
Finish—Enough moisture gets between and behind
are relatively moderate but installation costs may be
shingles that paint will not adhere to them reliably.
very high.
Left unfinished, they endure extremely well, but may
Materials—Shingles are available in a variety of sizes, weather differentially, especially between those places
grades, and patterns. The most typical is a western red exposed to the rain and those that are protected.
cedar shingle 16 in. long. Redwood and cypress shin- Stains and bleaching stains will produce more even
gles are also available. Because shingles are relatively weathering.
small, they are extremely versatile, with a wide variety
Preassembled shingles—Shingles are also avail-
of coursings and patterns.
able mounted to boards. These shingle boards increase
Installation—Shingles are applied over a moisture material cost, decrease installation cost, and are most
barrier to a plywood or OSB wall sheathing so at least appropriate for large, uninterrupted surfaces. Corner
two layers of shingles always cover the wall. Standard boards are required at corners.

Wood Shingle Siding

walls 115
Exterior Finishes

C edar shingles Miter top

tri m piec e.

C edar shingles
Sec ond piec e
over laps first.
Equal sized
tri m piec es
ripped fro m 2x
c edar lap at
bot to m
Start at bot to m
of r ake with boar d
ripped to thic kness
of but t end of
shingles. Top end
is c ut level & fits
under shingle
(see iso metri c at
Elevation Isometric
One method of finishing the top edge of a shingle wall is to
lap the shingle c ourses with tri m piec es ripped fro m a c edar
2x. If the c oursing is equal, all the tri m piec es, exc ept for the
miter ed top piec es, will also be equal.

Shingle Siding at Rake

A Lapped Trim

Spac er The base layer is not

exposed & ther efor e
c an be a lower-gr ade

1x tri m laps Finish-layer shingle

top edge of projec ts about 1⁄ 2 in.
shingles. below base layer to
R ip shingles
to desir ed for m a drip.
width & apply
at sa me
c oursing as Nailing must be
body of wall. exposed for this
c oursing.

For pr epainted or
pri med shingles,
leave no spac e
bet ween finish
1x Trim layer shingles.

Dou ble c oursing, an alter native c oursing

method, c alls for t wo layers applied at the
sa me c ourse. A pr epainted or pri med shingle
Shingled Trim c alled sidewall shake is c o m monly used.

Shingle Siding at Rake Double-Coursed Shingles

B Shingled & 1x Trim C
116 walls
Exterior Finishes

Bri c k & Siding

C or ner see 117a

Fasc ia Soffit

Top of wall is detailed to keep water off the

horizontal sur fac e of the top bric k. This c an
usually be ac c o mplished with the detailing of
the roof itself. C over the joint bet ween bric k
& roof with wood tri m. C aulk the joint as for
vertic al joints, below.

R ake tri m
laps bric k.

At tac h to fr a ming
with lookouts.

C or ners see 117a

Sealant bet ween
Foundation wall Window & door wood & bric k
see 117b openings see 117c
R ake is usually tri m med with wood
suffic iently wide to c over the stepping of bric k
c aused by slope. Detail as for top of wall.
Brick veneer covers wood-frame construction across
the country. Where it is not subjected to moisture and
severe freezing, it is the most durable exterior finish.
Materials—Bricks come in a wide variety of sizes,
Air spac e
with the most common (and the smallest) being the
modular brick (21⁄4 in. by 35⁄ 8 in. by 75⁄ 8 in.). These Bri c k

bricks, when laid in mortar, can follow 8-in. modules Bac ker rod
both horizontally and vertically. Colors vary from cream
and yellows to browns and reds, depending on the clay
color and method of firing. Bricks should be selected Vertic al c asing or
tri m of wood or
for their history of durability in a given region. other material

Installation—Bricks are laid in mortar that should be Vertic al joints su c h as window & door
c asings and at tr ansitions to other materials
tooled at the joints to compress it for increased resis- must be c ar efully c aulked to seal against
the weather. Bac kpri me wood c over ed by or
tance to the weather. Because both brick and mortar
in c ontac t with bric k.
are porous (increasingly so as they weather over the
years), they must be detailed to allow for ventilation
and drainage of the unexposed surface. A 1-in. air
space between the brick and the wood framing, with
weep holes located at the base of the wall, typically suf- Finish—A number of clear sealers and masonry
fices (see 117B). It is important to keep this space and paints can be applied to the finished masonry to
the weep holes clean and free of mortar droppings to improve weather resistance, but reapplication is
ensure proper drainage. required every few years.

Brick Veneer
walls 117
Exterior Finishes

Both inside & outside

c or ners c an be made Sheathing
si mply with the bric ks
themselves. 15-lb. Felt over laps
Brick Corner
1-in. air spac e

Steel angle lintel

Head flashing
Air spac e
C asing pr epri med
Bric k
if wood
Head Jamb

Bric kmold


Outside Corner Inside Corner

Brick and Siding Corners
1-in. air spac e

Sealant bet ween

Brick Veneer c asing & bric k veneer
A Corners
C aulk bet ween c asing
and moistur e barrier.

C asing pr epri med

if wood
Masonry ties Side Jamb
at 16 in. o.c .
vertic ally &

1-in. air spac e

bet ween bric k
& moistur e
Sill pr epri med on
underside if wood

Sealant bet ween sill
and bric k.

15-lb. Felt Rowloc k bric k

moistur e sloped at angle
barrier laps of sill
Flashing c ontinuous
Flashing to bac k of sill
c ontinuous
under bot to m Sheathing
bric k
15-lb. Felt
Foundation wall Eli minate mortar
see 11c & d to provide weep
Sill 1-in. air spac e
hole at head
joints every 6 f t.

Brick Veneer Brick Veneer at Window/Door

B Wall Construction C Attachment to Casing & Sill
118 walls
Exterior Finishes

Tr ansition to other Inside c or ners T wo c asing beads C asing bead at top,

materials made with ar e made with or used to make an side, bot to m, or
c asing bead at top, c ontinuous expansion joint r ake edges. Also
side, or bottom edges stu c c o see inside corners.

C ontrol joint
C aulk oriented horizontally
or vertic ally &
loc ated over
str u c tur al mem bers
& diaphr ag ms br eaks
stu c c o panels into
18-f t. (ma x.) di mensions
(or length-to-width
r ation of 2.5 1).

Self-furring galvanized
17-gauge 11⁄ 2 -in. mesh stu c c o
wir e (shown) or galvanized
expanded metal lath

15-lb. felt bond br eak

Moistur e Barrier/Dr ainage Plane

Solid sheathing strong

enough to r esist pr essur e
of stu c c o applic ation

at outside c or ners, wr ap with

Weep sc r eed at base
use a c or ner bead or c ontinuous
of wall laps over
wher e a sc r eed is stu c c o.
sheathing to for m drip
r equir ed.
Stu c c o c ontinues to
below gr ade

Stucco is made of cement, sand, and lime. It is usu- break so that the inner layer will remain intact to pro-
ally applied in three coats, building to a minimum tect the framing. The inner layer performs best if it is
thickness of 3⁄4 in. Cost may be moderate in areas with thick, with drainage channels.
high use, but high where skilled workers are few.
Application—The first (scratch) coat has a raked
Materials—Reinforcing materials through which finish, the second (brown) coat has a floated finish,
the plaster is forced are either stucco wire or metal and the final (color) coat may have a variety of finishes.
lath. This reinforcing is fastened either to sheathing Applying stucco takes skill, so stucco is the least appro-
or directly to the framing (without sheathing). When priate of all the exterior wall finishes for owner-builders
sheathing is used, it must be rigid enough to remain to attempt.
stiff during the process of applying the stucco—5⁄ 8-in.
Finish—Textures ranging from smooth to rustic are
plywood is typical.
achieved by troweling the final coat. Color may be
A double-layer moisture barrier between the rein-
integral in the final coat or may be painted on the sur-
forcing and the framing is important because the stucco
face. Stucco is not very moisture resistant and must be
will bond with the outer layer of barrier, destroying
sealed or painted.
its ability to repel water. The outer layer forms a bond

Stucco Wall System

walls 119
Exterior Finishes

Top or side edges Adjac ent material C asing bead at top,

at tr ansition to side, or r ake edges
adjac ent materials
sealed with bac ker Bac ker rod or
rod & sealant. & sealant
Wr apped base c oat
EIFS with with fi ber glass mesh
wr apped
base c oat Finish c oat with integr al
or c asing c olor
Base c oat with em bedded
fi ber glass mesh

R igid insulation
with grooved bac k


Standar d rigid insulation on

plastic lath dr ainage mat

Moistur e barrier lapped

to dr ain

Starter tr ac k
with weeps

Both outside & inside Ply wood or OSB

c or ners ar e wr apped sheathing
with c ontinuous stu c c o.

Built-up For barrier EIFS, standar d
profiles made with rigid insulation is glued
layers of insulation dir ec tly to sheathing so ther e
or wir e- c ut insulation. is not need for a moistur e
barrier or starter tr ac k.

Synthetic stucco looks like traditional stucco but is base made of acrylic cement reinforced with fiberglass
really a flexible acrylic coating applied over rigid insu- mesh. An acrylic finish coat with integral color provides
lation. Called EIFS (Exterior Insulation and Finish moisture protection.
Systems), synthetic stucco is more flexible than stan-
Application—All systems start with an effective mois-
dard stucco and more moisture resistant. This moisture
ture barrier applied to the wall sheathing. The next
resistance, which certainly is a strength of the system,
layer is a drainage plane that provides a clear path for
worked against early versions of its application when
moisture to escape. This drainage plane can be a sepa-
imperfect detailing led to moisture being trapped inside
rate plastic drainage mat or vertical grooves integrated
the wall behind the impermeable EIFS layer. With
into the back side of the rigid insulation, which is the
updated water-managed EIFS, it is now assumed that
following layer. The base coat of stucco is troweled
some moisture will penetrate the surface, and therefore
directly onto the insulation, reinforced with mesh,
a drainage path is provided for this moisture to escape.
and then another layer of base coat. The final coat is
Materials—There are several manufacturers of water- troweled over the hardened base coat.
managed EIFS. Each starts with rigid insulation, fas-
Finish—There are a variety of common troweled
tened to the framing with nails fitted with large plastic
finish textures. Color is integral in the final coat, so
washers designed to prevent crushing of the insulation.
painting is unnecessary, but inspection and repair of
The insulation is protected from impact by a stucco
sealant joints every few years is highly recommended.

Synthetic Stucco (EIFS)

120 walls

Insulated headers Walls used to retarder goes on the inside of the wall. But in mixed
see 76 vent roofs
& dec ks
climates the migration of vapor can reverse in the
see 205 summer. For this reason, building scientists recom-
mend against using low-permeability materials on the
inside of air-conditioned walls.
Insulation &
c ontinuit y of vapor
The location of the vapor barrier may be adjusted in
r etar der & air upgraded applications provided that two-thirds or more
infiltr ation barrier
at floors see 60-61 of the insulative value of the wall remains to the cold
side of the barrier.
C old side of wall

Wall insulation
2 ⁄ 3 of R-value of
Framing for at foundation
insulation see 62 wall (min.)
at c or ners
see 70,
Vapor r etar der
71, 75

1⁄ 3 of R-value of

wall (ma x.)

Air barrier—An air barrier is intended to control the

migration of air through the insulated envelope of a
Wall insulation is typically provided by fiberglass
building. Standard construction practices allow voids
batts. Building codes in most climates allow 2x4 walls
and breaks in the building envelope that can leak up
with 31⁄ 2 in. of insulation (R-11) or 2x6 walls with
to two times the total air volume of the building per
51⁄ 2 in. of insulation (R-19).
hour—accounting for up to 30% of the total heat loss
Vapor retarder—Vapor retarders are installed in con- (or gain) of the building. Upgrading the envelope can
junction with wall insulation. The purpose of a vapor cut this air leakage to one-third of an air change per
retarder, a continuous membrane located on the warm hour and can thus have significant consequences for
side of the insulation, is to prevent vaporized (gaseous) energy bills in most climates.
moisture from entering the insulated wall cavity, where An effective air barrier combines a continuous mem-
it can condense, leading to structural or other damage. brane with tight seals around openings such as windows
Common vapor retarders Vapor C ool
where the membrane is penetrated. It may be made of
include 4- or 6-mil polyeth- migr ation a variety of materials and may be located either inside
ylene film applied to the inside or outside of the insulation. When inside the insulation,
of framing or specially formu- the barrier may be drywall, rigid insulation, or the same
lated paint or primer applied film that forms a vapor retarder. Outside the insulation,
to the surface of drywall. building wrap, rigid insulation, or sheathing may be
Rigid insulation with taped Vapor used. In each case, joints are taped or overlapped and
r etar der War m
joints may also be used. caulked, and tight seals are made with floor and ceiling
Various vapor retarder materials have different rates of air barriers. Windows, doors, electrical, plumbing, and
permeability (see 88A), and, because moisture can enter other services that penetrate the membrane are sealed
a wall assembly from either side, it is wise to use the most with expansive foam, caulk, and/or special tape.
permeable material proven to be effective in a given It is important to consider that the reduced ventila-
region so as not to trap moisture within the assembly. tion rate due to control of air leakage can lower indoor
The vapor retarder should always be located on the air quality. The provision of controlled ventilation with
warm side of the insulation. In a cold, dry climate the simple energy-saving devices such as air-to-air heat
exchangers can alleviate this problem.

A Standard Practice
walls 121

Unfaced batts—The most common method of In climatic zones with extremely cold or hot weather
insulating walls is to use unfaced batts that are fitted (or high utility rates), there is special incentive to insulate
between studs. A vapor retarder is applied to the warm buildings beyond code minimums. A decision to super-
side of the wall in the form of a vapor retarding paint or insulate affects the construction of walls more than floors
primer or a 4-mil polyethylene film. Properly detailed, or roofs because walls are generally thinner (being
this vapor retarder can serve as the air barrier. constructed of 2x4s or 2x6s rather than 2x10s or 2x12s).
Walls are also in direct contact with the ambient air
C old side
because they do not have a crawl space or attic to inter-
C ontinuous vapor r etar der vene as a buffer.
War m side
The most direct way to increase the insulative capacity
of walls is to make them thicker. A 2x4 framed wall
upgraded to 2x6, for example, will increase from a com-
Faced batts—Batt insulation is often manufactured
bined (batt plus framing) R-value of 9.0 to a value of
with a paper facing that, in cold climates, serves as both
R-15.1. But increasing wall thickness alone is only effec-
vapor retarder and means of attachment. For attach-
tive to a point because a significant part of the wall (about
ment, the facing material has tabs that are stapled in
9% of a wall framed at 24 in. o.c.) is composed of studs,
place between the studs.
plates, etc., which conduct heat at about three times the
rate of insulative batts. When headers and other extra
framing are considered, walls often have as much as
20% of their area devoted to framing. The conductance
Fac ing
of heat through this framing is called thermal bridging.
There are two strategies for decreasing the effects of
To use the facing as a vapor retarder, it is better to
thermal bridging. The first is to reduce the quantity of
staple the tabs to the face of the studs to make a better
framing members and is called advanced framing (see
seal. However, this interferes with the installation
74). The second strategy is to insulate the framing mem-
of interior finish materials because the tabs build up
bers that remain so that they do not “bridge” between the
unevenly on the face of the studs.
cold and warm sides of the wall. Several ways to insulate
Rigid insulation—In framing members are discussed on the following pages.
standard construction, rigid
Rigid insulation—Rigid insulation added to the
insulation is generally used
exterior or interior of a framed wall can typically add
only in extreme situations where wall depth is limited
an R-value of 7 to 14 at the same time that it interrupts
but a code-prescribed R-value is required. Examples of
thermal bridging (see 122).
such situations include headers (see 76A & B) and loca-
tions where heat ducts, vents, or plumbing must be in Strapping—Horizontal nailing strips are attached to
exterior walls. In upgraded framing systems, however, the inside of a stud wall. Insulative values of R-25 are
rigid insulation is used extensively (see 122A). easily attainable (see 123).

Spray-foam insulation—It can cost many times as Staggered-stud framing—A double offset stud wall
much as competing insulations, but spray-foam insu- framed on a single, wide plate. Combined insulative
lation can equal the R-value of the best rigid foam, values of R-30 are common (see 124).
double as a vapor retarder, and fully fill the most awk-
Double wall framing—A duplicate (redundant)
wardly shaped framing cavity. Except for its high cost,
wall system with R-values of up to 40 is easily reached
it is a nearly ideal insulating material for mixed climates
(see 125).
where warm and cold sides of the envelope reverse
during the year.

Insulation Upgraded Insulation

A Standard Practice B
122 walls
R igid insulation Roof or upper floor
str u c tur e with
insulation and
c ontinuous air/ vapor
Sheathing barrier see 197 or 63

2x6 stud wall

at 24 in. o.c .
R igid insulation over
with bat t
sheathing or other
later al br ac ing

Bat t insulation in
2x6 stud wall

Furring sa me thic kness

as rigid insulation
at window & door
openings and as
Vapor r etar der r equir ed for nailing
of siding

Rigid insulation, with a potential R-value approxi- Vapor r etar der

loc ated at interior
mately double that of batt insulation, is a very attractive fac e of 2x6 stud wall
alternative for upgrading the thermal performance of
walls. The material is easy to install in large lightweight
Floor str u c tur e
sheets, has sufficient strength to support most siding with insulation and
and interior finish materials, and can double as an air/ c ontinuous air/ vapor
vapor barrier in some cases. Its disadvantages are high see 61-62
cost and potential for toxic offgassing in a fire.
Rigid insulation is most effective when used on the
exterior of the building because it covers the entire skin
of the building continuously without the interruption
of floors or interior partitions. It can act as the backing
R igid insulation may be
for siding but does not provide the strength to act as c ontinuous over wall
structural sheathing. Alternative methods of bracing the or foundation below

building, such as structural sheathing (see 78A) or let-in

bracing (see 77B & C), must therefore be used. Hybrid practicality of specific types of insulation with local
systems, in which structural sheathing is used only at professionals.
necessary locations with rigid insulation elsewhere, can Used on the interior of a building in a cold cli-
also provide cost effective insulation upgrades. mate, rigid insulation can perform three functions at
When applied to the exterior of buildings in cold cli- once: insulation, vapor retarder, and air barrier. To
mates, the low permeability of rigid insulation can trap accomplish this, a foil-faced insulation board carefully
vapor in the stud cavities, causing structural damage. taped at all seams and caulked and/or gasketed at top,
The reverse can be true in warm climates. It is there- bottom, and openings would be used.
fore advisable to carefully coordinate the use of rigid The use of interior rigid insulation requires deep
insulation with a high-permeability vapor retarder electrical boxes and the need for extra-wide backing at
based on the specific climatic zone and to verify the corners and at the top plate.

Rigid Insulation
walls 123

Roof or upper floor

str u c tur e with insulation
and c ontinuous air/ vapor
Sheathing barrier see 197 or 63

2x6 stud wall with

bat t insulation
Single 2x6 top plate

Str u c tur al sheathing

or other br ac ing

Bat t insulation in
2x6 stud wall

Str apping for nailing

around openings

Horizontal 2x3 str apping

at 24 in. o.c . nailed to

Horizontal bat t
insulation bet ween
str apping

Vapor r etar der loc ated

Vapor r etar der at interior fac e of
2x6 stud wall
Horizontal 2x3
str apping with wiring and plu m bing
horizontal insulation loc ated within
str apping layer

Strapping consists of horizontal nailing strips

dou ble str apping for
attached to the inside of a stud wall. The strapping base tri m nailing
touches the studs only at the intersection between
the two, so thermal bridging is virtually eliminated. Floor str u c tur e with
insulation and
Strapping is used extensively in energy-efficient c ontinuous air/ vapor
buildings. With 2x6 studs and 2x3 strapping, an R-25 barrier see 61-62

value can be achieved.

The advantages of the system are that it is simple
and straightforward and uses a minimal amount of
extra framing materials. With two-thirds of the insula- Extra strapping is usually required for nailing at cor-
tive value in the (2x6) stud cavities, an air/vapor barrier ners, at window and door openings, and at the base of
can be located at the inside face of the framed wall, the wall (see drawing above). In addition, vertical blocks
thus eliminating the need to puncture it with services. are required for the attachment of electrical boxes.
In addition, the plumbing and electrical work itself Strapping may also be applied to the exterior of
is simplified by the creation of horizontal chases on a building. In this case, the strapping is more easily
the walls. installed, but the advantage of a horizontal chase inte-
Strapping must be fastened securely to the studs rior of the vapor retarder is lost. Furthermore, the
to prevent rotation, but interior finish panels will ulti- strapping insulation must be installed from the exterior,
mately tie the strapping together to keep it in place. exposed to the weather.

124 walls


2x4 studs at Roof or upper floor

24 in. o.c . with str u c tur e with
bat t insulation insulation and
and aligned with c ontinuous air/ vapor
outer edge of barrier see 197 or 63

Single top 2x top plate

Ply wood gusset ties

stud walls at openings

2x4 studs at 24 in. o.c .

with bat t insulation
aligned with inner
edge of plate & offset
fro m outer studs

Vapor r etar der

Stagger ed 2x4 stud
2x8 or 2x10 plate walls filled with bat t

Staggered-stud framing is essentially a double stud

Vapor r etar der
wall framed on a single wide plate with the studs offset
loc ated at interior
from one another so that there is negligible thermal fac e of inner fr a med
bridging. The system is appreciated by builders for its
minimal deviation from standard frame construction. Single 2x sole plate

Staggered-stud framing is substantially the same as

platform framing, and subcontractors are sequenced Floor str u c tur e
in the same order as standard construction. With this with insulation and
c ontinuous air/ vapor
technique, insulative values of R-30 or more can be barrier see 61-62
attained. A 2x8 or 2x10 plate with staggered 2x4 studs
at 24 in. o.c. is most common.
Because there are effectively two separate walls,
this system offers a special opportunity at windows and
doors to splay the opening. By increasing the rough-opening size at the “inner
wall,” the opening will be more generous from the
inside and reflect light better into the room.
Ply wood gusset The disadvantages of the system also stem from its
on c ha mfer ed
similarity to standard platform frame construction.
Unlike strapping systems or double wall systems, stag-
Finish wall gered-stud systems have the air/vapor barrier located
on the inside (warm) face of the wall, with the atten-
Window or
dant problems of sealing perforations of the barrier
door with tri m
from plumbing and electrical services.

Staggered Stud Framing

walls 125
Sheathing Insulation

2x4 stud wall with

Roof or upper floor
bat t insulation
str u c tur e with
insulation and
c ontinuous air/ vapor
barrier See 197 or 63

Shi m so that roof (or

upper floor) str u c tur e
bears on outer wall.

Ply wood gusset ac ts as

fir estop and ties walls
at top plate.

Ply wood gusset ties

stud walls at openings
for alter native detail
See 124

Bat t insulation

Vapor r etar der C avit y bet ween stud

walls filled with bat t
2x4 stud wall with insulation
bat t insulation

Vapor r etar der

Double wall framing is capable of achieving the loc ated at exterior
of inner fr a med wall
highest insulation values of all the upgraded framing
techniques. Values of R-40 are common. Slightly
Wiring and plu m bing
more framing materials and considerably more labor loc ated in inner stud
(than strapping or staggered stud) are required for the
increased performance.
Floor str u c tur e
The outer framed wall is most commonly used as with insulation and
the bearing wall. This strategy has two advantages: The c ontinuous air/ vapor
barrier See 61-62
insulation and the inner wall can be installed under the
roof out of the weather, and the shear walls are most
easily installed and logically located at this (outer wall)
location. However, finish detailing at the wall/ceiling
joint is complicated if the inner wall is nonstructural,
and the continuity of the air/vapor barrier is somewhat its continuity because plumbing and electrical services
difficult to achieve at the wall/floor intersection. can be located within the inner wall without having to
Less common (and not illustrated) is the use of the penetrate the barrier. To get the air/vapor barrier into
inner wall as the bearing wall. This system avoids the this position is simple with an interior bearing wall, but
minor disadvantage of the outer bearing wall system, somewhat involved with an exterior bearing wall. It can
but has two major disadvantages: it requires support of be accomplished, however, by fastening the barrier to
the outer wall beyond the edge of the foundation and the (outer face of the) inner wall before it is tipped into
the outer wall and the extra insulation must be installed place. The cavity can be filled with horizontal batts tied
from the outside of the building, exposed to the weather. to the exterior wall before the inner wall is positioned
The ability to locate an air/vapor barrier at the out- or insulation can be blown in afterward through holes
side surface of the inner wall contributes significantly to predrilled in the top plywood gusset.

Double Wall Framing

126 roofs
roofs 127


he roof is the part of the wood-frame structure THE SHAPE OF ROOFS
that varies most widely across the country. This Roof shapes tend to have a regional character that
is because the roof plays the most active role reflects not only climatic variation, but also historical
of all the parts of a building in protecting against the and material influences. All roof forms are derived
weather, and in the United States, variations in weather from four basic roof shapes shown below: the flat roof,
are extreme. Some roofs protect primarily against the the shed roof, the gable roof, and the hip roof.
heat of the sun; others must shelter the inhabitants
under tons of snow.


One of the most obvious variations of roof form has to
do with the slope or pitch of the roof. The main factors
affecting the slope of a roof are stylistic considerations,
the type of roofing material to be used, and the space
desired beneath the roof. The climate also has a strong
influence on roof slope. Areas of significant rainfall Flat Shed

have roofs pitched to shed the rain, while warm, arid

climates tend to favor flatter roofs.
The slope or pitch of a roof is measured as a propor-
tion of rise to run. A roof that rises 4 in. in 1 ft. (12 in.)
is said to have a 4-in-12 pitch (or 4:12). The second
number in the roof-pitch proportion is always 12.

12 IN.
4 IN. Gable Hip

4-in-12 pitc h

12 IN.

12 IN.

12-in-12 pitc h
128 roofs

Stick framing— One advantage of stick framing is

that the space within the roof structure can become
living space or storage. Vaulted (cathedral) ceilings,
half-story living spaces on upper floors, and true
storage attics are all examples. A second advantage is
Dutc h Gable Ga m br el
that complex roofs may be stick-framed more economi-
(Hip +
Gable) (2 Slopes of Gable) cally than truss-framed. For owner-builders who need
not include the cost of labor, stick framing is especially

Stic k-Fr a med

Half Hip Mansar d
(Hip +
Gable) (2 Slopes of Hip)

Virtually any roof form may be made by combining

Truss framing—Trusses can span much farther than
the four basic shapes with the connections illustrated
stick-framed roofs, leaving large open areas below them
in this chapter. Some of these composite shapes are
or permitting partition walls to be relocated without
so common they have their own names. For example,
consideration for the roof structure above. Trusses go
the hip and gable shapes can combine to form a Dutch
up quickly, usually resulting in a cost saving over stick-
gable. Two different slopes of gable roof can combine
framed roofs on simply shaped buildings. A big disad-
to form a gambrel roof. A shed dormer may be added
vantage of trusses is that the truss roof is almost impos-
to a gable roof, and so forth. Four common combina-
sible to remodel, since trusses should never be cut.
tions are shown above.

Roofs are constructed either with rafters (stick-framed
roofs) or with trusses. Stick-framed roofs are usually
Tr uss Roof
made with dimension lumber but may also use com-
posite materials such as I-joist rafters (see 151-154).
Stick framing originated before the development
of balloon-frame construction in the 19th century.
Antecedents of the modern stick-framed roof can be OTHER CONSIDERATIONS
seen on ancient roofs around the world, and modern In addition to the choices about pitch, shape, and
stick-frame roofing remains popular because it is the structure discussed above, many other decisions con-
most flexible roof-framing system and the materials are tribute to the overall performance of the roof. These
least expensive. include selection of sheathing, underlayment, and
Trusses are made of a number of small members roofing material; eave, rake, and flashing details; gutters
(usually 2x4s) joined in a factory or shop to make one and downspouts; and insulation and ventilation of the
long structural assembly. Only in very simple buildings roof assembly. All of these issues are discussed in this
does the labor savings of a truss system compete with chapter.
stick framing.
roofs 129

R idge
see 131b & c
Roof pitc h
Valleys c hange
see 137 see 133b

Roof openings
see 135-136 R ake or fas c ia
dies on roof
see 149d

R af ter dies
on roof C ollar ties
see 149b see 130

C eiling
see 132

R af ter/
c onnec tion
see 133a, 150
see 138

Roof adjac ent Ab br e viated

to wall see 134a eave see 141,
Over hanging
eave see 141-
143, 159b Ab br eviated r ake
Pur lins Flat roof see 141, 150a & b
see 130 see 139 Eave/R ake
I-joist r af ter Shed roof intersec tion Roof abut ting
see 140-141 wall str u c tur e
fr a ming see 130, 134b
see 151-154 Over hanging see 134, 150c & d
Roof sheathing r ake see 141,
Tr uss roofs see 162-166 144-149
see 155-159

Rafter sizes are usually 2x6, 2x8, 2x10 or 2x12, and

spacing is usually 16 in. or 24 in. o.c. Species of wood
vary from region to region. Rafter sizing depends pri-
marily on span, spacing, roof loads, and sometimes on
required insulation depth.
For a rafter-span table, see 131A.

A Roof Framing
130 roofs

Stick-framed rafters may be supported by the walls of R af ter support at

top of r af ter
the building, by a structural ridge beam, or by purlins. see 131a & 143b

Simple-span roof—The simplest sloped roof—the R af ters with insulation

shed roof—has rafters that span from one wall to

another, as shown at right. These rafters must be strong
R af ter support
enough to carry the dead-load weight of the roof itself at eave
and subsequent layers of reroofing, plus the live-load see 133a & 142

weight of snow. The rafters must usually be deep

enough to contain adequate insulation.
The total roof load is transferred to the ends of the
rafters, where it is supported by the walls. In the simple
example at right, each wall carries part of the roof load.
Nonstr u c tur al r idge
Triangulated roof—Common (full-length) rafters boar d see 133b
C ollar tie
are paired and usually joined to a ridge board, as shown
in the drawing at right. Each rafter spans only half R af ter
the distance between the two walls (the gable roof,
shown in the drawing at right, is the simplest version). R af ter support
Horizontal ties—either ceiling joists or collar ties— at eave see 131a

form a triangle with the rafters. Ceiling joists are gener-

ally located on the top plate of the walls but may also C eiling
be located higher to form a partially vaulted ceiling. joist with R af ter span R af ter span
Collar ties are usually nailed near the top of the roof see 132, 198-199
between opposing rafters and spaced at 4 ft. o.c. Collar
ties are not sufficient by themselves to resist the out-
ward thrust of the rafters. Purlin—A purlin is a horizontal member that sup-
Rafters in triangulated roofs are shallower than ports several rafters—usually at midspan. Purlins were
those in shed roofs of equal width because they span commonly used to help support the long slender rafters
only half the distance of the shed rafters and because of pioneer houses and barns. Today they are also used
they do not usually contain insulation. occasionally to reduce the span of a set of rafters, but
the purlins must themselves be supported by the frame
Structural ridge beam—The horizontal ties that are
of the structure, as shown in the drawing below.
required in a triangulated roof may be avoided if the
rafters are attached at the ridge to a structural ridge
beam (or a wall), which effectively changes the triangu- R af ters Pur lins
lated roof into two simple-span roofs, as shown in the
drawing below.

Str u c tur al
r idge bea m Pur lin
see 131c support to
C eiling
joist str u c tur e
R af ter support below
at eave
see 133a Note
R af ter span R af ter span The na me “ pur lin” is also given to a mem ber that spans
R af ters with
ac ross r af ters to support roof dec king, see 150c

Stick Framing
A Terminology
roofs 131

Roof sheathing
Allowable rafter Spans in Feet
R af ters nailed to r idge
Rafter size, Joist spacing (ft.) boar d with 16d nails
species, and grade 12 in. 16 in. 24 in.
o.c o.c. o.c. 2x R idge boar d deeper
than plu m b c ut of
2x6 spruce-pine-fir #2 12.1 11.0 9.0 r af ters
2x6 Douglas fir #2 12.6 11.3 9.2
2x8 spruce-pine-fir #2 15.9 14.1 11.5 R ip r idge boar d if
inter ior finish meets Common Rafters
2x8 Douglas fir #2 16.5 14.3 11.6 at r idge.
2x10 spruce-pine-fir #2 19.9 17.2 14.0
2x10 Douglas fir #2 20.1 17.4 14.2 Slightly under c ut
9.5 x 2.06-inch I-joist 21.4 19.4 16.8 R idge boar d the plu m b c ut on
(beyond) bar ge or ver ge
2x12 spruce-pine-fir #2 23.0 19.9 16.3 r af ters if lu m ber is
2x12 Douglas fir #2 23.4 20.2 16.5 ;
gr een the boar ds
will shr ink to meet
11.9 x 2.06-inch I-joist 25.5 23.1 19.0 at c enter line.

This table compares two species of sawn lumber and Nail into r idge boar d
near bot to m of
one I-joist for use as rafters on a roof with a 30-psf live ;
r af ters upper nails
load. The table is for estimating purposes only. For a may be added af ter
lu m ber dr ies.
roof-sheathing span table, see 163. Barge or Verge Rafters

Rafter-Span Comparison Table Rafter/Ridge

A B Nonstructural Ridge Board

Roof sheathing Roof sheathing

R af ters at tac hed to R af ters lapped &

eac h other with metal nailed to eac h other
str ap at top or sides
of r af ter or with
ply wood gussets Bir d’s- mouth c ut in
r af ters, see 133a ;
Bir d’s- mouth c ut in r af ters nailed or
r af ters, see 133a ; bolted to bea m.
r af ters nailed or
bolted to bea m
Roof sheathing

Roof sheathing

2x bloc king nailed R af ters lapped &

to r idge bea m nailed to eac h other
bet ween r af ters & to r idge bea m ;
r af ters ar e c ut to
R af ters nailed to length in plac e.
bea m & to bloc king

Note Note
As an alter native, use metal r idge hangers ;
R af ters in these details lap at r idge so
for s mall r af ters up to 7-in-12 pitc h. at the end r af ters, fur out inner r af ter to
align with outer r af ter.

C Structural Ridge Beam: 4 Alternatives
132 roofs

Ceiling joists are very similar to floor joists. In fact, The joists can function as ties to resist the lateral
the second-floor joists of a two-story building act as the forces of rafters. For this purpose, it is important to
ceiling joists for the story below. Ceiling joists are dis- attach the joists securely to the rafters.
tinguished from floor joists only when there is no floor
(except an attic floor) above the joists.
R af ter with
Ceiling joists are sized like floor joists. The span of bir d’s- mouth c ut
the joists depends on spacing and whether the attic see 133a

above the joists will be used for storage.

C eiling joists nailed
R af ter system to r af ters r esist
out war d thr ust of
r af ters.

C eiling-joist
system Stud wall with
Join joists to sheathing
c ontinue str u c tur e
to opposing wall Note
see 36a C hec k c odes for nailing r equir ements &
angle nails through joists into r af ters
towar d c enter of building.

Span of c eiling joists The underside of ceiling joists is often furred down
with a layer of 1x lumber to resist plaster or drywall
Bear ing
Bear ing cracking due to movement of the joists. The drawing
below illustrates furring parallel to the joists to resist
cracking along a beam that interrupts the continuity of
the joists. Furring perpendicular to the joists, usually
Allowable ceiling joist Spans in Feet called strapping, is also common.

Joist size, Joist spacing (ft.)

species, and grade 12 in. 16 in. 24 in. Disc ontinuous c eiling joist hung
o.c o.c. o.c. fro m str u c tur al bea m flush at top
2x6 spruce-pine-fir #2 12.9 11.7 10.2 for floor above

2x6 Douglas fir #2 13.5 12.2 10.7

2x8 spruce-pine-fir #2 17.0 15.4 13.5
2x8 Douglas fir #2 17.8 16.1 14.1
2x10 spruce-pine-fir #2 21.7 19.7 17.2
2x10 Douglas fir #2 22.7 20.6 18.0
9.5 x 2.06-inch I-joist 22.8 20.6 17.9
2x12 spruce-pine-fir #2 26.4 24.0 20.6
2x12 Douglas fir #2 27.6 25.1 20.8
11.9 x 2.06-inch I-joist 27.2 24.6 21.4 Fur r ing on bot to m
of joist to flush
out with bot to m of
This table is based on a light attic load of 20 psf and bea m if r eq’d
a deflection of L/360. The table is for estimating pur-
C ontinuous fur r ing
poses only. nailed to underside
of joists li mits
c r ac ks along bea m
in finish c eiling

Rafters/Ceiling Joists
roofs 133

At walls or beams that support them at the eave, Wherever the pitch of a roof changes from shallow
rafters are cut at the point of support with a notch to steep (as in a gambrel roof) or from steep to shallow
called a bird’s mouth. (as in a shed dormer) the two ends of the rafters must
be supported. If the pitch change occurs over a wall,
Bir d’s mouth the wall itself will provide the support.
Roofing & c ut
If the pitch change does not occur over a wall, the
support will have to be provided by a purlin or a beam
R af ter (header).

Eave stud
For eave wall
see 142-143 Roofing & sheathing

Low-pitc h & high-pitc h

The width of the bird’s mouth is equal to the r af ters lap/ both bear
width of the sheathed stud wall (or unsheathed wall if on support.

sheathing is to be applied later). The underside of the

rafters should meet the inside corner of the top of the Bea m, pur lin, or wall
wall. This is especially important if the ceiling is vaulted
and a smooth transition between wall and ceiling is
desired (see below). Roofing & sheathing

Bloc king pr events Low-pitc h & high-pitc h

rotation of r af ters r af ters lap; both bear
& allows ventilation R af ter with bir d’s on support.
of roof. mouth c ut

Bea m, pur lin, or wall

C eiling joists
Pitch Changes with Support Below
see 132

Stud wall with


Roofing & sheathing

Flat Ceiling
Low-pitc h r af ter
R af ter with bir d’s nailed to header
Bloc king pr events
mouth c ut Dou ble 2x header
rotation of
r af ters & allows
ventilation of Up-slope r af ter
roof. Slope of
r af ters c r eates on joist hanger
c eiling plane.
Finish c eiling
Stud wall with
Pitch Changes without Support Below
For r af ter
support at r ake
Vaulted Ceiling wall, see 134c .

Rafter/Eave Wall Roof Pitch Change

A Bird’s Mouth Cut B
134 roofs

Stud wall The end rafters of a gable or a shed roof are sup-
c ontinuous to
below roof ported by the walls under them, called rake walls. The
framing of the rake should be coordinated with the
detailing of the rake. Of the three drawings below, the
Siding first example is the simplest method of support and is
used with all types of rake, often in conjunction with an
Bloc king
follows pitc h unfinished attic. The second example is best for sup-
of roof.
porting lookouts for an exposed or boxed-in rake. The
Step or third example provides nailing for a boxed-in rake or
an exposed ceiling. Elements from the three examples
see 171 may be combined differently for specific situations. For
rake-wall framing, see 72A, B & C.

Roof sheathing Roofing

C o m mon r af ter Roof sheathing

End r af ter R ake tr i m see 146-147

nailed to studs
End r af ter

Balloon or
A Rafters Parallel to Wall
platfor m-fr a med
r ake wall see 72b


Wall sheathing Roof sheathing

Flashing Lookouts to support

over hang notc hed
Nailing bloc k into r af ter or set
on dou ble top plate
see 145a
Roof sheathing

Roofing Balloon-fr a med

r ake wall
2x ledger nailed see 72c
to studs
R af ter
Roof sheathing

Exter ior r af ter

for boxed-in r ake

Sa me as above but with

Boxed-in r ake see 147d
ledger let into studs

Inter ior r af ter

R af ter laps stud.
for inter ior finish

Note Balloon or platfor m-

For ventilation, fr a med r ake wall
see 150d. see 72b & c

Shed Roof/Wall Rafter/Rake Wall

B Rafters Perpendicular to Wall C 3 Alternatives
roofs 135

Framing the elements that project through the Dormers are often more than three rafter spaces
roof of a building—skylights, chimneys, and dormers— wide so their structure cannot be calculated by rules of
begins with a rectangular opening in the framing. thumb. The opening in the roof may be structured to
For openings in a single roof plane framed entirely support all or part of the loads imposed by the dormer.
with common rafters, framing is relatively easy. An The dormer walls and roof are framed like the walls
opening three rafter spaces wide or less can be made and roof of the main building.
by heading off the interrupted rafters and doubling
the side rafters, as shown below. Obviously, it is more
efficient if the width and placement of the opening cor-
respond to the rafter spacing. Larger openings should
be engineered. Openings that straddle hips, valleys,
or pitch changes must have special support, special
framing, and special flashing.

R idge

Dou bled Details

c o m mon r af ter below
at sides of

If the dormer walls do not extend below ceiling

Top & bot to m level, the roof structure at the edge of the opening
r af ter header must support the dormer.
(of ten dou bled)

Dor mer wall supported

on roof fr a ming

Headers for simple openings are, in most cases, Roof sheathing

either plumb or perpendicular to the rafters, as shown Engineer ed r af ters
in the drawing below. Plumb openings require a header at side of dor mer
deeper than the rafters.
Rough opening

Roof sheathing
If the dormer has side walls that extend to the floor,
Plu m b header r ipped the floor may be used to support the dormer, and the
fro m mater ial deeper
than r af ters rafters at the side of the opening may be single.

Roof sheathing
Bloc king
R af ter
C eiling Rough opening details
see 134a.
Per pendic ular header
made fro m sa me Dor mer wall
mater ial as r af ters supported on
su bfloor
For dor mer openings see 135b. Floor system
For skylight openings see 136a & b. supporting
For c hi mney openings see 136c . dor mer wall

Roof Openings Dormer Opening

A General B
136 roofs

Roofing R af ter

Sheathing 2x heading

R af ter Roof rough


2x Headers
2x header

See 175b & c , 176
Dou bled
r af ter at
Insulated sides of
stud wall opening
bet ween roof
opening &
c eiling rough
opening Dou bled
c eiling
joist at
C eiling joist 2x headers sides of
opening C eiling
rough opening
line of finish
c eiling Framing Isometric

A Skylight Opening
Light Well

Roofing C hi mney flashing Masonry flue

Sheathing see 173b, 174 with liner
R af ter
2-in. air spac e
bet ween masonry
Skylight & fr a ming
see 175b & c , 176

2x header Plu m b 2x header


Tie masonry to
fr a ming with r igid
Roofing metal str aps.


R af ter
Ver if y
Skylight manufac tur er’s
see 175b & c , spec s for
R af ter
176 c lear an c e &
Splayed at tac h ment of
2x header metal flues.
Plu m b 2x

Skylight Openings Chimney Opening

B Vaulted Ceiling C
roofs 137

The inside corner of two intersecting roof planes is

called a valley. In most cases, valleys are supported by
a valley rafter that extends from the outside wall of the
building to the ridge or to a header. These valley rafters R idge R idge
support large loads and should be engineered. Jack raf-
Jac k
ters support the area between the valley rafter and the r af ters
ridge or header. Valley
r af ter
Top edge of jac k
faf ters align with
c enter of valley
r af ter.

Bot to m edge of
valley r af ter must
be flush with bot to m
of jac k r af ters
when inter ior
sur fac e is to be
finished Valley Rafter
Supported by Ridge

It may projec t
below jac ks when
R idge
no inter ior finish
is r equir ed, or if
jac k r af ters ar e Dou bled
fur r ed. header

As shown at right, valley rafters can be supported

at the top by a ridge or by a header. The ridge support
system is more practical when the ridges of the inter- Dou bled
secting roofs are close together; however, the header c o m mon
r af ters
support system is better when the lower ridge inter-
sects the main roof near or below the center of the Valley
rafter span. r af ter
Valley Rafter
Where headroom is not required between intersecting Supported by Header
roofs, a simpler “farmer’s valley” or “California valley”
may be constructed. This valley is made without a valley
rafter. One roof is first built entirely of common rafters C o m mon
without any special valley framing. Then 2x sleepers are r af ter

installed over the rafters or over the sheathing of the first

2x sleeper
roof, and jack rafters are attached to the sleepers.
Jac k 2x Jac k
r af ter sleeper r af ter

C o m mon
r af ter
Farmer’s Valley

Valley Framing
138 roofs

Hip r af ters R idge

Dou ble top


Bir d’s mouth

C o m mon r af ters
Bir d’s mouth
in hip r af ter

Jac k r af ters

T ypic al sec tions

at intersec tion
of hip and jac k
r af ters, see below.

A hip is the outside corner where two planes of a Sheathing

roof meet. It is composed of a hip rafter at the corner
Hip r af ter projec ted
and jack rafters from the hip to the eave. The hip rafter below jac k r af ter
is supported at its lower end by the wall at plate level
Jac k r af ter
(or by a post) and at its upper end by the ridge (or
by a wall).
Most codes require that the hip rafter project below
the bottom edge of the jack rafters (see the top drawing
at right). This is not very logical because, unlike a valley
rafter, a hip rafter does not support much roof load. Hip r af ter shallower
than jac k r af ter
The extra depth presents no problem in an attic space,
but if the inside face of the roof is to be made into a Jac k r af ter
finish ceiling, the hip rafter will have to be ripped to
Finish c eiling
allow the planes of the finish ceiling to meet (middle
drawing at right). If codes will not permit ripping the
hip rafter, furring may be added to the underside of the
jack and common rafters to allow the finish ceiling to Sheathing
clear the hip rafter.
Hip r af ter
The top ends of the jack rafters may be cut off
Jac k r af ter c ut off
to permit venting at the top of the hip roof (bottom
at end to allow
drawing at right). roof venting

A Hip Framing
roofs 139

The framing of a flat roof is more like a floor than it A traditional framing method for a cantilevered
is like a pitched roof. The joists are level or nearly level corner without a beam is with joists that radiate from a
and support the ceiling below and the live loads above. doubled central diagonal joist, as shown below. A strong
Connections to walls are like those for floors (see 32), as fascia board is advisable here, as with all framing using
are the framing details for openings (see 38B) and canti- cantilevered joists.
levers (see 39A). As for floors, the structure of a flat roof
may be a joist system (dimension lumber or I-joists), a Engineer ed
header joist
girder system, or a truss system. Blocking and bridging
(see 38A) must be considered at the appropriate locations.
Flat roofs are unlike floors, however, in that they are
not really flat. They might be more properly called “low-
slope” roofs because they must slope at least 1⁄4 in. per
ft. in order to eliminate standing water. This minimal
Roof joist
slope may be achieved in several ways:
Bloc king

1. The joists themselves may slope if the ceiling

below does not have to be level, or if the ceiling is
furred to level.

2. Trusses may be manufactured with a built-in slope.

A third option for framing a cantilevered corner is
3. Shims may be added to the top of the joists.
shown below. All methods illustrated should be engi-
4. Tapered rigid insulation may be added to the top neered by a professional.
of the sheathing. Par apet
5. The joists may be oversize and tapered on top. see 72d
Roof joist
6. Sloped rafters can be scabbed alongside level
ceiling joists. Engineer ed
The easiest and most direct way to support an overhang joist
at the corner of a flat roof is with a beam below the joists
cantilevered from the top of a bearing wall, as shown in
the drawing below.

Eave details
Bloc king
see 142a & d
at wall
C antile ver ed
Insulation &
bea m
ventilation see 205a

Bloc king Roof Joist Note Note

Use r af ter-span table Follow br idging
for flat-foor joist standar ds for
spans, see 131a. floors, see 38a.

Flat-Roof Framing
140 roofs

Designing the basic shape of the roof and designing

the configuration of eaves and rakes are the most crit-
ical tasks in roof design. Stylistically, the selection of
eave and rake types should complement both the roof
C onnec tion of
form and the roofing material. eave to r ake
Functionally, the eave and rake should help protect see 148

the building from the elements. The shape of the roof

will suggest certain eave and/or rake shapes (see 140B),
and certain eave types work best with particular rake
types (see 141).
R ake
Eave—The eave is the level connection between the
roof and the wall. Eaves are common to all sloped roofs Eave
and often to flat roofs. There are four basic types of
eave (see 141). For eave details, see 142 and 143A & B.

Rake—The rake is the sloped connection between

the roof and the wall. Only shed and gable roof types
and their derivatives have a rake. There are three basic
types of rake (see 141). For rake support and rake
details, see 144–147. The way in which one edge of a

A Eaves & Rakes


The basic shape and structure of a roof system need

to be coordinated with the finish of the roof at the
edges. The shape of the roof affects the treatment of Hip roofs have only eaves,
whic h may be ab br eviated,
the edges, and vice versa. A hip roof, for example, is boxed, soffited, or exposed
easier to finish with a soffited eave than is a gable roof. with almost equal ease.

The basic roof shapes are best suited for the following
finish treatment at the edges: Hip Roof

Shed roofs have both a r ake &

Flat roofs have no r akes.
an eave. All eave t ypes exc ept
Over hanging eaves c an be
for soffits c an be c o m bined
detailed with a soffit or with
with all r ake t ypes. A spec ial
exposed r af ters. When ther e
eave detail is r equir ed for the
ar e o over hangs, ther e is an
top edge. see 143b
ab br eviated eave or a par apet.
see 72d
Flat Roof
Shed Roof

Gable roofs, like shed roofs,

have both eaves & r akes. Exc ept
for soffited eeaves, all eave & C o m bination roof t ypes
r ake t ypes c an be c o m bined. A usually have both r akes
spec ial detail is r equir ed at the & eaves. They follow the
r idge, wher e the t wo r akes meet. guidelines of the individual
see 131b & 144c roof t ypes.

Gable Roof Combination Types

Roof Shape & Eave/Rake Selection

roofs 141

roof is finished affects the detailing of the other edges. start with the eave, because all sloped roof types have
For example, a soffited eave on a gable-roofed building eaves, but not all have rakes.
is easier to build with an abbreviated rake than with an There are four basic sloped-roof eave types. All four
exposed rake. The designer should attempt to match types are appropriate for hip roofs, and all but the sof-
the level edge of the roof (the eave) to the sloped edge fited type can make a simple and elegant transition
(the rake). from eave to rake on gable and shed roofs. The eave
In examining the details of the eave and rake, there- types and their most appropriate companion rakes are
fore, the two must be considered as a set. It is logical to diagrammed below.

R akes Over hanging R akes see 141-147

Exposed Rake Boxed-In Rake Abbreviated Rake

see 146; 147a, b, d; 148 see 147d see 150

Overhanging Eaves
see 142 Very c o m mon; Awkwar d to Not c o m mon,
si mple to build. detail & build. but c ould be
Exposed Eave see 146, 147a, b, c built with si mple
see 142a
Goes with shed,
gable, hip roofs
equally well.

Less c o m mon; C o m mon & C o m mon

Soffited Eave easier to build fair ly si mple c o m bination;
see 148 c onstr u c tion, c an be built in
see 142b & c & slightly less but not elegant. t wo basic ways.
Wor ks best on hip c lunky than see 148b see 148a
(or flat) roofs soffited eave
with no r ake; with boxed-in
of ten used on r ake.
gable roofs as

Awkwar d to Very c o m mon Not c o m mon,

Boxed-In Eave detail & build. for this t ype of but c ould be
see 142d eave; very si mple built with si mple
Goes with shed, c onstr u c tion. details.
gable, hip roofs
equally well.

Abbreviated Eave Awkwar d to Awkwar d to Very c o m mon;

see 143a detail & build. detail & build. si mple
Goes with shed, c onstr u c tion.
gable, Hip roofs see 150 b
equally well.

a Eave/Rake Combinations
142 roofs


Roofing Roof sheathing

Roof sheathing
Bloc king as r equir ed with
Alter native fr ieze bloc k spac e for ventilation
with vent loc ation
2x soffit joist nailed
Fr ieze bloc k with
to r af ters
s c r eened vent see 202a
C ontinuous
su bfasc ia
Gut ter
see 193-196
Gut ter
See 193-196

C ontinuous
fasc ia
fasc ia
Alter native fasc ia
C ontinuous soffit of
exter ior ply wood or
Solid T&G sheathing
other exter ior-r ated
or exter ior ply wood at
exposed portion of eave

C ontinuous sc r eened
Stud wall with Exposed r af ter tail vent
sheathing & Stud wall with See 202B
finish Tr i m sheathing & finish C ontinuous ledger
for soffit joists

Exposed Eave Soffited Eave


Roofing Roofing

Roof sheathing
Roof sheathing

R af ter
Bloc king as r equir ed
with spac e for vent Dou ble su bfasc ia
if nec essary

Level- c ut r af ter tail

with 2x4 bac king Finish
fasc ia
C ontinuous
sc r eened vent
see 202B, c & 203A

Exter ior ply wood or

1x4 or 1x6 other exter ior-gr ade
Solid T&G sheathing or
exter ior ply wood Stud wall with C ontinuous sc r eened
sheathing & finish vent
Stud wall with see 202B, C & 203A
sheathing & finish Note
No gut ter shown. Hang gut ter fro m str ap
Note see 195c
This detail wor ks well on steep roofs, or use vertic al fasc ia on plu m b- c ut r af ters
wher e a fasc ia may appear too bulky. to ac c o m modate standar d gut ters.

Soffited Eave Boxed-In Eave

C Alternative Detail D
roofs 143


Roof sheathing
Roof sheathing

R af ter
Flashing with dr ip

Gut ter
Tr i m
see 193-196

Fasc ia

C ontinuous fasc ia
C ontinuous
sc r eened vent
C ontinuous
sc r eened vent
with tr i m Tr i m
see 202b
Bloc king as r equir ed
with spac e for
Stud wall with ventilation
sheathing & finish
R af ter with Stud wall with
insulation sheathing & finish
see 197a

Abbreviated Eave Shed-Roof Eave

A B Top of Rafter at Wall

Note Roofing Roofing

Du m my r af ters ar e
r elatively short, R af ter Roof sheathing
so a high gr ade of
mater ial may be used. Roof sheathing R af ter
C onsider using them nailed to top of
Bloc king
if the exposed part of du m my r af ter tails
the r af ter is to be a T&G Sheathing or
differ ent size than 2x du m my r af ter exter ior ply wood
the unexposed part of tail aligned with at exposed eave
the r af ter or tr uss; r af ter
or if exposed r af ters 2x fas c ia
ar e desir ed when 1x fas c ia
Gut ter
ply wood I-r af ters ar e see 193-196
used for the roof
Gut ter
str u c tur e, see 151-
see 193-196
153, for ab br eviated
eaves, the entir e eave
assem bly may be shop- 1x soffit with
built in lengths up to c ontinuous Du m my r af ter glued
about 16 f t. sc r eened vent & nailed to c o m mon
or jack rafter lap ;
1x6 or 1x8 boar d equals 11⁄ 2 x over hang
s c r ewed to du m my
tails & top plate Fr ieze bloc k with
sc r eened vent see 202a

Abbreviated Eave Exposed Eave

Dummy Rafter Tail

144 roofs

When an overhang is required at the rake, the over- The roof sheathing can assist in supporting the barge
hang is made with barge rafters, which stand away rafter along its length, as shown below.
from the building and need support. There are several
ways to support barge rafters. The roof sheathing alone
may be strong enough to support the barge rafters (see
144B), or the ridge board or beam can be designed
Sheathing c ontinuous
to support the barge rafters at their upper ends (see to c o m mon r af ter
144C), and the fascia may be extended to support the helps support bar ge.

barge rafters at their lower ends (see below). Lookouts

or brackets may be also used to support an overhanging
rake (see 145A & B).

End First Bar ge r af ter

r af ter c o m mon
(last r af ter End r af ter
inter ior
r af ter) Extended
r idge boar d
or bea m
see 144c

Overhanging Rake
B Supported by Sheathing

Alter native c ut in Bar ge r af ters

r idge boar d allows meet at c enter line
for boxed-in of r idge.
over hanging r ake.

Bar ge
r af ter

Fasc ia
helps to
bar ge C o m mon r af ter
r af ter at
its lower Sheathing R idge boar d or R idge boar d may
end. provides r idge bea m be c ut at any
support see 131 angle or shape
for bar ge that allows for
Note r af ter. at tac h ment of
Ver ge r af ter see 144b bar ge r af ters
not shown; Stud wall
without having
for details under end
end exposed
see 146. c o m mon r af ter
below them.

Overhanging Rake Overhanging Rake

A Methods of Support
C Supported by Ridge Board or Beam
roofs 145

If the ridge, the fascia, and the sheathing together Brackets attached to the face of the wall framing can
do not provide sufficient support for the barge, look- support the barge rafter by means of triangulation.
outs may be added. Lookouts extend from the barge
rafter to the first common rafter (or truss) inside the 4x4 hor izontal
notc hed for
wall. The lookouts are notched through the end rafter vertic al leg &
diagonal br ac e
at the top of the wall or, alternatively, bear directly on
the wall. The size and spacing of lookouts depend on 4x4 diagonal leg
into vertic al and Bolt
rafter spacing and live loading. hor izontal legs

2x4 vertic al
notc hed for Bolt
diagonal br ac e.

R idge Typical Bracket

First Attaching the bracket to the inside of the barge

c o m mon
r af ter
rafter avoids problems of weathering.

End or ver ge Roofing

r af ter
Roof sheathing

Bar ge r af ter

2x or 4x lookouts
Bar ge r af ter


Wall sheathing
Fas c ia
Bloc k for support
at base of br ac ket

c o m mon The alternative bracket connection to the barge
r af ter
rafter shown below is common on Craftsman-style
buildings. With this detail, moisture collects on top of
the bracket, and this contributes to the decay of the
bracket and the barge rafter.

Bar ge
r af ter

A ladder of lookouts
the sa me di mension
as r af ters & at 16 in.
or 24 in. o.c . provides
str ength and nailing
for boxed-in r ake.
see 147d

Overhanging Rake Overhanging Rake

A Supported by Lookouts B Supported by Brackets
146 roofs

C o m mon
r af ter Wall
Notc h ver ge r af ter; sheathing
if lookouts ar e
r equir ed, see 145a.

Sec tion
see 146c
r af ter
c ut flush
with fr ieze
bloc k

Ver ge r af ter applied

over sheathing &
Fr ieze bloc k
c ontinuous to fas c ia Lookout
see 142a & b
see 145a

C or ner detail Fasc ia may be squar e

see 146b c ut (as shown) and Ver ge
c over ed with bar ge tr i m r af ter
Exposed roof sheathing must be exter ior-r ated or it c an be miter ed
panel or solid (T&G) mater ial. Bar ge
For alter native detail with tr i m boar d, see 147a & b. C or ner of building r af ter

Exposed Rake with Verge Rafter Exposed Rake with Verge Rafter
a Framing B Corner Framing

C oor dinate flashing Roof sheathing
Roofing & tr i m with gut ter fastened to top
and fasc ia. Roofing of bloc king

Exter ior-r ated roof

C o m mon sheathing at exposed Flashing & tr i m
r af ter portion of roof c oor dinated with
gut ter & fasc ia

1x r ake projec ts
below boxing
to for m dr ip.

End 1x or weather-
r af ter r ated c o mposite
Lookout Bar ge r af ter boxing

Ver ge r af ter 2x bloc king

c ontinuous to fas c ia at 24 in. o.c .
End r af ter stops
at fr ieze bloc k. Note
Du m my r akes, like 1x6 or 1x8
Note Siding tr i m med to du m my ab br eviated boar d s c r ewed
Ver ge r af ter may ver ge r af ter; tr i m eaves, see 143c , to bloc king &
also be fur r ed out. miter ed to fr ieze may be shop- built in to end r af ter
see 150a tr i m. long lengths.

Exposed Rake with Verge Rafter Dummy Rake

C Section D
roofs 147

C o m mon End r af ter Roofing

sa me as Flashing & tr i m
r af ter
c o m mon c oor dinated with
Roof gut ter & fasC ia
r af ters



Bar ge r af ter
C o m mon
Fr ieze bloc k Lookout r af ter
see 142a & b Tr i m boar d r ipped
see 145a
to depth of r af ters
extends fro m r idge
Tr i m boar d to c or ner bloc k.
Fasc ia squar e-
(not shown) see 147c
c ut (as shown) &
see 147c
c over ed with bar ge
tr i m, or miter ed to End r af ter
bar ge r af ter Bar ge sa me as
r af ter c o m mon Tr i m at top of siding
C or ner of walls r af ters meets tr i m boar d.

Exposed Rake with Trim Board Exposed Rake with Trim Board
A Corner Framing B Section

Edge of wall
End sheathing
r af ter Flashing & tr i m
c oor dinated with
Roof gut ter & fasc ia
Fr ieze R ake tr i m sheathing
bloc k boar d

C o m mon
r af ter

End Bar ge r af ter

r af ter projec t below
boxing mater ial
C or ner tr i m to for m dr ip.
bloc k thic kness Siding tr i m med to boxing
equals sheathing ;
mater ial boxing mater ial
C or ner of plus r ake tr i m on nailing str ips is r ated
building boar d (min.). for exposur e to weather.

Exposed Rake with Trim Board Boxed-In Rake

C Detail at Eave D
148 roofs

The transition from soffited eave to rake can demand When the soffit extends beyond the plane of the end
some carpentry heroics. Only when the soffit is ter- wall, the rear side of the soffited space (opposite the
minated at the plane of the end wall is the detailing fascia) must be finished as well as the end. As shown
reasonably direct, requiring only that the end of the in the drawings below, this may be accomplished most
soffit space be finished. This situation may occur with elegantly with a Greek return, or with a simpler soffit
an abbreviated rake (see below) or with an overhanging return.
rake (see below and 148B). As shown below, the end
of the soffit space may be finished with a pork chop or
with a layered gable—a continuation of the gable-wall Bar ge r af ter
dies on roof.
finish over the end of the soffit. See 149B

Por k c hop with ab br e viated Gr eek r etur n extends

r ake (also used with soffit around c or ner
over hanging r ake) ver ge of building & c overs it
r af ter or tr i m boar d laps with a s mall hip roof.
por k c hop. C hop c overs end Fasc ia miter ed at c or ners
Fr a ming
of soffit spac e. follows edge of hip roof
& dies into end wall.
See 149a

Por k c hop
at end

Soffit mater ial c overs

r ear of soffit spac e.

Layer ed gable with

ab br eviated r ake (also used Soffit r etur n takes the
with over hanging r ake); dir ec t approac h to c over
gable-wall finish extends to both the end & r ear of
c over end of soffit spac e. the soffited spac e. This
Ver ge r af ter or tr i m boar d detail may be used with
laps finish & finish may lap boxed-in or with exposed
sec ond wall finish below. Fr a ming r ake.
See 149C

Soffited Eave/Rake Transition Soffited Eave/Rake Transition

A Abbreviated or Overhanging Rake B Overhanging Rake
roofs 149

Bar ge r af ter Note

r ests on finished This situation usually oc c urs when a bar ge
roof. See 149B (or ver ge) r af ter dies on top of a roof sur fac e.

Fasc ia Bar ge r af ter

End r af ter
Bar ge tr i m

Air spac e to
Wall sheathing pr event dec ay
joist Bar ge tr i m Valley

Bar ge r af ter

Fas c ia
C ut r af ter above
level of roofing. Sheathing
C or ner of Fas c ia r etur ns
walls to wall Support r af ter on
below sheathing. flashing so that
on main roof
water may pass
Section under it.

A Greek Return Rafter Dies on Roof


end r af ter Dou ble top Sheathing

plate of wall

sheathing C o m mon r af ter

C ut on fasc ia is Roofing
bar ge
made at pitc h of on main
r af ter
roof & above roof
level of roofing;
fasc ia is supported
by r af ters & Sheathing

Air spac e to
pr event dec ay


Roofing on
Por k Soffit joist
main roof Fasc ia
c hop
Fasc ia Sheathing
Extend soffit
ledger provides
support to r ake.
Section A-A

Soffit Return Fascia Dies on Roof

C Framing D
150 roofs

Roofing Roof sheathing

End r af ter C o m mon
r af ter
c o m mon Edge flashing
r af ter

Ver ge r af ter
or tr i m boar d Wall
c ontinuous to sheathing
fasc ia
Fur r ing
c ontinuous
Fur r ing allows behind
ver ge r af ter or ver ge r af ter
tr i m boar d to See 150a
ac t as dr ip. Dou ble
top plate
End r af ter
Ver ge
Siding tr i m med r af ter or
to c ontinuous tr i m boar d
fur r ing
C or ner of walls Fas c ia shown
End stud wall Exter ior wall below miter ed to ver ge;
finish it may also be
squar e- c ut &
c over ed with tr i m
Wall sheathing or gut ter.

Abbreviated Rake Abbreviated Rake/Eave

A B Corner Framing

Siding Siding

Wall sheathing Wall sheathing

Flashing Nailing bloc k

Nailing bloc k C ontinuous

manufac tur ed
vent str ip
Roof sheathing
venting &

2x ledger
nailed to studs Roofing sheathing
held bac k fro m
wall allows
c ontinuous
2x pur lins
venting fro m
per pendic ular to
r af ter spac es.
r af ters provide
11⁄ 2 -in. air spac e
for later al R af ter
Note air movement. Note
For insulation & Provide intake & For insulation
roof ventilation, exhaust vents. & ventilation, Roofing
see 197˘205. See 201 see 197˘205.

Top of Rafter/Wall Top of Rafter/Wall

C Shed Roof with Purlins D Shed Roof with Continuous Vent Strip
roofs 151

I-joist engineer ed lu m ber I-joist r af ter

r af ter hips r af ters & headers valleys
See 153D See 153C See 153c

I-joist r af ter
r idges
See 153a & b

I-joist r af ter
at c eiling joist
See 152d

For other
c o m mon I-joist
c onnec tions
See 43b & 44d.

I-joist r af ter
eave details
I-joist r af ter See 154c
at eave
See 152a, b & c

The strength, precision manufacturing, and long This means that roof loads must usually be carried
lengths that make engineered lumber appropriate for down to the foundation through the core of the building.
floor framing (see 43A) also indicate its use for roof The cost/benefit ratio for framing roofs with engi-
framing. I-joists used as rafters constitute the bulk neered lumber favors its use only for simple gable or
of engineered lumber used for roof framing; and they shed roof forms. However, many builders have found
are stiffer, stronger, and lighter than their solid-sawn ways to combine the advantages of both solid-sawn
counterparts, but they also cost more, and their appear- and engineered lumber on the same building. In these
ance is not generally satisfactory if exposed. hybrid roofs, engineered lumber is used for the basic
Despite the many advantages, engineered lumber as forms, and solid-sawn lumber is employed for the
roof framing has not seen the explosive growth that has smaller-scale parts and the more complicated forms.
been the case with floor framing. Part of the reason is This mixing of materials is practical for roof construc-
that roof framing with engineered lumber is hardware tion where differential shrinkage is not usually a signifi-
intensive. Virtually every connection must be made cant problem.
with a metal connector, and most also require the The general framing principles that apply to roof
addition of two web stiffeners, one on each side of the framing with solid-sawn lumber also hold true for
I-joist rafters. This adds considerable time and labor engineered lumber. To perform as designed, however,
cost to the task of roof framing. engineered lumber roof components must be installed
Another difference between framing roofs with completely in accordance with the individual manufac-
solid-sawn or engineered lumber is that engineered turer’s instructions. The drawings in this section there-
lumber almost always requires a structural ridge beam. fore emphasize roof framing conditions that are specific
to engineered lumber.

A I-joist Rafters
152 roofs

Web stiffener at eac h

I-joist side per manufac tur er’s
r af ter spec s for deep r af ters I-Joist R af ter Web stiffener
at eac h side per
manufac tur er’s
Note spec s for deep
Bloc k all I-r af ters r af ters
with I-joist or LSL
fr ieze bloc k.

Dou ble top

plate of
stud wall

Var iable-slope metal

Dou ble top
Beveled bear ing plate c onnec tor eli minates Note
plate of
eli minates need for bir d’s need for bir d’s mouth Bloc k all r af ters
stud wall
mouth and is pr efer r ed on r af ters up to 12: 12 with I-joist or
c onnec tion for heavy loads. slope. LSL fr ieze bloc king.

I-joist Rafter at Eave I-Joist Rafter at Eave

A With Beveled Bearing Plate B With Metal Connector

Web stiffener at
I-Joist eac h side r equir ed
r af ter over bir d’s mouth
Note Web stiffener at
Bloc k all r af ters with r af ter provides
I-joist or LSL fr ieze bloc k. nailing sur fac e
C eiling joist
r esists for c eiling
out war d joists.
Extend web stiffeners into
eave as r equir ed for str u c tur e thr ust of
r af ters.
See 130

Dou ble top plate

of stud wall
r af ter

Most I-joist manufac tur ers do not support
this detail.

Bir d’s mouth in lower Note

c hor d of r af ter Bloc k all r af ters with I-joist or LSL fr ieze bloc k.
must bear entir ely Extend web stiffeners into eave as r equir ed for
Dou ble top
on top plate. str u c tur e.
plate of stud wall

I-Joist Rafter at Eave I-Joist Rafter/Ceiling Joist

C With Bird’s Mouth D
roofs 153

Roof sheathing

R af ters at tac hed to

eac h other with 3 ⁄ 4 -in.
ply wood gussets on
both sides.

Dou ble- be veled wood

filler plate

Str u c tur al r idge bea m

Str u c tur al r idge
bea m Metal str ap
c ontinuous ac ross
top of r af ters & top
Roof sheathing
of r idge boar d

Metal str ap
I-joist r af ter

I-joist r af ter

Web stiffener
Metal r af ter
Metal r af ter hanger hanger

Str u c tur al r idge bea m

I-joist Rafter/Structural Ridge Beam


Str u c tur al r af ter

of LVL, LSL, or
Dou ble I-joists
@ side of dor mer, Solid-sawn
skylight, or other jac k r af ter
roof opening for short

metal hanger
ac c o m modates
a r ange of

Per pendic ular

LSL header
on metal
jac k r af ter

Note Valley (or hip)

Plu m b LSL For position of r af ter of
header on C o m mon jac k r af ters r elative LVL or LSL
metal hangers I-joist r af ter to valley or hip r af ters,
see 137 & 138.

Structural Rafter/Header LVL or LSL Valley/Hip

B c
154 roofs

Roofing I-joist r af ter Roofing

I-joist r af ter

Web stiffeners at Roof

both sides per sheathing
manufac tur er’s Roof Web stiffener at
spec s sheathing both sides per
Nailing bloc k
manufac tur er’s
for su bfasc ia
spec s for deep
r af ters
Fasc ia &
Bir d’s- mouth su bfas c ia
LSL r i m or c ut at lower
bloc king flange of
r af ter must
Bir d’s- mouth have full
c ut at lower bear ing on
flange of plate.
r af ter must Exter ior
have full finish
bear ing on wall with
C eiling
plate. tr i m
Vented soffit
See 132
See 202B, C & 203A
C eiling
joist Dou ble top
Exter ior
See 132 Wall plate of stud wall
wall finish
Dou ble top Bloc k all r af ters with
plate of stud wall I-joist or LSL fr ieze bloc k. Wall

I-joist Rafter I-joist Rafter

A Abbreviated Eave B Soffited Eave

Du m my r af ter
laps I-joist r af ter Align top of
11⁄ 2 x distan c e du m my r af ter
and top of I-joist Roofing
Roof sheathing of over hang.
r af ter.

Roof sheathing

Du m my r af ter (Vented)
nailed to web Fr ieze
stiffeners bloc k I-joist r af ter
See 202A Du m my r af ter
I-joist r af ter nailed to web
Web stiffener
Web stiffener

Du m my
Dou ble top plate
Bir d’s- mouth r af ter
of stud wall
c ut at lower Support bloc k under
flange of du m my r af ter if
r af ter must Exter ior r af ter does not bear
have full wall on dou ble top plate
bear ing on finish

Dou ble top plate Wall Section Parallel to Eave

of stud wall sheathing

I-joist Rafter at Exposed Eave

C Exposed Dummy Rafter
roofs 155

Tr uss hips Openings in

See 157A tr uss roofs
See 158

Tr uss valleys
See 157B

Tr uss eaves
See 159

tr usses
See 156
Tr uss/ wall
c onnec tion
See 159

Roof trusses, like floor trusses, are a framework by the delivery truck and may be positioned and fas-
of small members (usually 2x4s) that are connected tened in a fraction of the time it would take to frame
so that they act like a single large member. They are with rafters and ties.
always engineered by the manufacturer. One major disadvantage of roof trusses is the dif-
Engineered roof trusses can span much greater ficulty of adapting them to complex roof forms. Roofs
distances than the stick-framed rafter-and-tie system. with numerous hips, valleys, or dormers are usually less
Long spans (over 40 ft.) are possible with simple trusses expensive to build if they are framed with rafters.
so that large open rooms may be designed with roof Another disadvantage of roof trusses is that the webs
loads bearing only on the perimeter walls. Interior walls of the truss occupy space that could be available for
may simply be partition walls and may be repositioned storage or as a full-size attic. Furthermore, these webs
without compromising the roof structure. cannot be cut for any future remodeling purposes.
A second advantage of roof trusses is the reduction Five common roof truss types are shown in the
in roof framing labor. Trusses are typically set in place drawings below.

King-Post Truss Mono-Pitch Truss Fink Truss

The si mplest tr uss is a A mono-pitc h tr uss, for Fink tr usses span over 40 f t.
king-post tr uss, whic h c an shed roof buildings, spans
span about 25 f t. about 25 f t.

Parallel-Chord Truss Attic Truss Scissors Truss

Par allel- c hor d tr usses ar e Provides useable spac e The sloping bot to m c hor ds of
for flat roofs; standar d within the tr uss with s c issors tr usses c an in c r ease
spans ar e available up to spans to over 30 f t. inter ior volu me. Spans up to 40 f t.
30 f t. ar e possi ble.

Roof Trusses
A Introduction
156 roofs

A gable-end truss transfers the load of the roof to Roofing

the wall on which it bears through 2x4 struts at 24 in.

Roof sheathing
o.c. The standard gable-end truss is the same size as
a standard truss. A gable-end truss can be used with a
Top c hor d or
rake overhang of 12 in. or less when the barge rafter gable-end tr uss
is supported by the roof sheathing. It can also be used
with flat 2x4 lookouts let into the truss above the struts. Exter ior wall finish
A dropped gable-end truss (see 156B) is shorter than a
standard truss by the depth of the lookouts. Wall sheathing

Standar d
Tr usses Bot to m c hor d of
gable-end tr uss
Dou ble
top plate
of wall
C eiling nailer

Gable-end Inter ior finish

tr uss

Dou ble top plate

Edge of roof Truss/Gable-End Wall

Standard Gable-End Truss


Note Roof sheathing

A dropped gable-end tr uss is shorter than
a standar d tr uss by the depth of the lookouts.
Standar d
Tr usses
Bloc king
Dou ble
top plate
top c hor d of
of wall
gable-end tr uss

exter ior wall finish

Wall sheathing
gable-end tr uss

Lookouts bear
bot to m c hor d of
on top c hor d of
gable-end tr uss
dropped tr uss
to support r ake
over hang.
of roof
See detail on r ight C eiling nailer

Bar ge r af ter
at tac hed to inter ior finish
Du m my r af ter at plane lookouts
of gable wall must be
supported by fasc ia. Dou ble top plate

Truss/Gable-End Wall
Dropped Gable-End Truss
roofs 157

There are several ways to frame a hip roof using C o m mon tr uss
trusses. None is simple, so many builders elect to frame
hips (even on a truss roof) with rafters (see 138). Step-down tr uss
The most common method of framing a hip with
trusses is called the step-down system. A series of Gir der tr uss
progressively shallower trusses with flat tops is
used to create the end roof pitch of the hip jac k tr uss
roof. The last of these trusses is the girder
truss, which carries the weight of short
jack trusses or rafters that complete
the roof.

dou ble top plate

of wall

Fr a me c or ners with lu m ber

hip & r af ters
Line of fasc ia
See 138

Hip Framing with Trusses

A Step-Down System

Framing a valley with trusses

Valley jac k tr uss
is a simple matter of attaching manufac tur ed with bot to m C o m mon tr usses
a series of progressively smaller c hor d r ipped to slop of
main-roof pitc h
trusses to the top chords of the
trusses of the main roof. The
Line of valley
main-roof trusses do not have
to be oversize since the only
Line of
extra weight they will carry is r idge
the dead weight of the jack
trusses themselves. Simple as
this system is, many builders still
prefer to frame these roof inter-
sections as a farmer’s valley (see
137) with solid-sawn lumber.
Intersec ting tr uss
without over hang
bears on dou ble
top plate.

Dou ble top

plates of walls

Valley Framing with Trusses

B Valley Jack Trusses
158 roofs

Rectangular openings for skylights or chimneys the opening and attaching header and mono or other
may be constructed in a truss roof. Small openings special trusses to the doubled trusses. Larger openings
less than one truss space wide may be simply framed (more than three truss spaces wide) require specially
between trusses as they would be in a rafter-framed engineered trusses in place of the doubled trusses.
roof (see 135–136). Openings up to three truss spaces Obviously, it is most efficient if the width and place-
wide are made by doubling the trusses to either side of ment of the opening correspond to truss spacing.

Header tr uss
supported by
dou bled tr usses

Mono or other spec ial

tr usses at tac h to
Header tr uss header tr uss.

Mono or other
spec ial tr usses

Dou bled tr usses

C o m mon adjac ent to
tr usses opening in roof

Dou ble top


Openings in Truss Roof

A Headers between Double Trusses
roofs 159

Roofing Roofing

Roof sheathing
Roof sheathing
Ventilation c hannel
as r equir ed
Top c hor d of tr uss See 201

Top c hor d
over hang
Ventilation c hannel
as r equir ed
See 201 C ontinuous
fasc ia
Bloc king allows for

C ontinuous fas c ia
or tr i m with vents
See 203b

Siding Vented fr ieze

bloc k bet ween
tr usses See 202a

Fr a med wall Fr a med wall

with sheathing with sheathing

Truss with Abbreviated Eave Truss with Overhanging Eave

A B Exposed or Boxed-In Eave


Engineer ed heel tied to web system of Roof sheathing

tr uss allows deep c eiling insulation
See 198-199
Roofing Ventilation c hannel
as r equir ed
See 201
Roof sheathing
Top c hor d
over hang
Top c hor d
Fasc ia and
C ontinuous su bfasc ia
fasc ia

Vented soffit
See 202b & c & 203A
Vented soffit
See 202B & C , 203a

Fr a med wall Fr a med wall

with sheathing with sheathing

Truss with Soffited Eave Truss with Soffited Eave

C Cantilevered Truss D Overhanging Truss
160 roofs

Because roofs are the highest part of a building and To resist the force of high winds on roofs, several
are the least weighted down by other parts of the build- strategies may be employed. Some involve design
ing, they are the most vulnerable to the effects of wind. decisions to minimize the impact of high winds in the
In areas prone to high winds, the design and detailing of first place, others involve strengthening what is built to
roofs is one of the most critical concerns for the longevity minimize damage.
of a building. The bracing of buildings to resist lateral
Design strategies—One basic strategy to increase
wind forces is discussed in Chapter 3 (see 77 & 82).
a roof’s chance of survival in high winds is to keep the
Wind generally moves horizontally to impose lateral
roof pitch low. High-pitch roofs extend higher into the
forces on buildings, much as earthquakes do. But wind
sky, where wind velocity is greater, and present a greater
flows in complex shifting patterns around a building,
surface area than do low-pitched roofs. Pitches between
creating pressures on some surfaces and suction on
2:12 and 7:12 are recommended for high-wind areas.
others. Thus it can create vertical forces that actually
The shape of the roof also has a large impact on its
lift the roof off a building.
durability in a windstorm. Generally, hip roofs fare the
These vertical forces can be created in three ways.
best because their geometry makes them self-bracing,
First, they may be produced as a negative pressure
and they have low eaves with no tall walls. Gable roofs
(suction) if developed on the leeward side of a building.
present a weak point at the gable end itself, which is a
In the case of a pitched roof, this condition theoreti-
tall vertical surface.
cally occurs whenever the
The width of overhangs at both eave and rake are
pitch of the roof is 7-in-
important considerations for high-wind zones. Many
12 or more.
buildings have been destroyed by winds that catch the
underside of the eave and lift it off the building. Eaves
of 8 in. or less are recommended for high-wind areas
unless special measures are taken to anchor them.

Anchoring strategies—Assuming the building is

A second way for wind to exert a vertical force on a roof shaped appropriately to withstand the force of high
is for the wind to catch a protrusion such as wind, it is still necessary to reinforce it beyond typical
an eave or rake overhang. In this code standards. Framing members must be anchored
case, the force of the wind to resist uplift and overturning, sheathing must be
is localized at the stronger, and fasteners must be increased. These mea-
edge of the roof. sures are illustrated on the following page.

Finally, wind can lift the roof structure from the inside
of the building. This generally occurs as a weak point
in the shell of the building such as a window or garage
door giving way to the pressure of the wind. The wind
suddenly enters the
structure, pressur-
izing it and forcing
the roof up.
Ar eas within 4 f t. of roof edges
r equir e mor e nails in high-wind zones.

Roof Framing for High Wind

roofs 161

Fr a ming an c hor 2x6 bloc king

Roof sheathing
Dou ble at eac h lookout bet ween lookouts
nailed per c ode to
top plate
dou ble top plate
2x6 lookouts Roofing
Roofing at 24 in. o.c .
Bar ge r af ter

8 in.
ma x. 24 in. ma x.
Fr a ming Sheathing
an c hor at nailed per
shear wall 2x bloc king at
c ode to
24 in. o.c .
lookouts Bar ge r af ter
Studs c ontinuous
to sole plate Bloc king at panel
Dou ble top
C eiling Bloc king at panel plate Studs c ontinuous
diaphr ag m edges to sole plate
if r equir ed
Wall sheathing C eiling
nailed per c ode diaphr ag m wall sheathing
if r equir ed nailed per c ode


A High-Wind Rake High-Wind Rake

Balloon Frame to Sheathing
B Balloon Frame with Lookouts

Roofing Roof sheathing Roofing

nailed per c ode
to tr usses
Roof sheathing
Top c hor d of
engineer ed
tr uss Bar ge r af ter Engineer ed roof
tr uss or r af ter with
c ollar ties

8 f t. 2x4 at approxi mately

5 f t. o.c . nailed to top Fr ieze bloc k with
8 in.
of bot to m c hor d sc r eened vent
ma x.

Fr a ming an c hor ties roof

2x bloc king
fr a ming to wall sheathing
Bot to m c hor d of 24 in. o.c .
to pr event uplilf t
engineer ed tr uss

Engineer ed
metal str ap 3 f t. total eave
ties tr usses to width ma x
wall below
Bloc king
wall sheathing Toenailing (or mor e fr a ming
below str ap
nailed per c ode an c hors) tie roof fr a ming to
STUD WALL dou ble top plate to r esist shear
Dou ble WITH SHEATHING for c es par allel and per pendic ular
top plate Siding AND FINISH to wall.

High-Wind Rake High-Wind Eave

C Platform Frame D
162 roofs

Roof sheathing attaches to the surface of the raf- also be constructed of solid-wood tongue-and-groove
ters or trusses to form the structural skin of the roof. boards. Tongue-and-groove sheathing, however, does
It spans the rafters to support the roofing and, in the not act as a diaphragm, so other methods of providing
case of panel sheathing such as plywood or OSB, it acts lateral-load stability, such as diagonal bracing, must
with the walls to resist horizontal loads. Roof-sheathing be employed.
material must be coordinated with the roofing itself,
Open sheathing—Open sheathing, also called skip
since each type of roofing has special requirements.
sheathing, is composed of boards spaced apart (see
At exposed roof overhangs, the sheathing must
166). This type of roof sheathing is used under wood
be rated for exposure to the weather. The everyday
shingles and shakes, which usually require ventilation
sheathing used on the body of a roof is not rated for
on both sides of the roofing material. Open sheathing
weather exposure, so when exposed eaves and/or
may also be chosen for economic reasons, but only if
rakes occur at the perimeter, a different (more expen-
used with roofing systems such as metal or tile, which
sive) weather-rated grade of plywood or OSB must be
have the structural capacity to span between sheathing
used. Solid board sheathing may also be used at these
boards. Alternative methods of providing a roof dia-
exposed locations.
phragm, such as diagonal bracing, must be used with
Sheathing must
open sheathing.
be weather r ated Combinations, of course, are also possible and often
if exposed at
eave, r ake, por c h, appropriate. For example, solid sheathing at exposed
etc . overhangs is often combined with open sheathing on
the rest of the roof.

Recommendations—Sheathing recommendations
for roofs by roofing types are as follows:
Composition and built-up roofing must be applied to
solid sheathing because these roofing materials do not
have the structural capacity to span between the boards
of open sheathing.
Wood shingle and shake roofing is best applied over
open sheathing because the spacing between the open
The two basic types of sheathing are solid sheathing
sheathing allows the roofing to breathe from both sides,
and open sheathing.
prolonging its life. Shingle and shake roofs may also be
Solid sheathing—Solid sheathing provides a con- applied to solid sheathing at exposed eaves and rakes
tinuous surface at the plane of the roof. This type of and similar locations. In some regions, the common
sheathing is necessary for composition roofing and practice is to place a moisture barrier over open
built-up roofing, which have no structural capacity sheathing to keep out wind-driven rain. In very windy
themselves. Metal, tile, and shingle roofing may also be areas, solid sheathing is often used. Consult with local
applied to solid sheathing. For economic and structural codes and builders for the accepted practice.
(lateral-load) reasons, solid sheathing is almost always Metal and tile roofing may be applied to either
plywood, OSB, or other structural panels (see 163). solid or open sheathing. Both roofing materials have
The structural panels act as a diaphragm to transfer the strength to span across open sheathing, but there
lateral loads at the plane of the roof to the walls. When is no advantage for either in having them breathe
an exposed ceiling is desired, solid sheathing may from both sides.

Roof Sheathing
A Introduction
roofs 163

APA-r ating
sheating-gr ade
panels (unsanded)

Long panel di mension

per pendic ular to supports.

protc t edges of panels

against exposur e to
see 169c

Panel edge c lips Most manufac tur ers
bet ween r af ters spec if y a 1⁄ 8 -in. spac e
provide edge bet ween the edges of
end joints
support, or use panels to allow for
of all roof
T&G panels or expansion. Panels sized
bloc king. for this spac ing ar e
see below available. The gap may
be o mit ted in very dry
c li mates; c hec k with
Lower edge or panels bear loc al c odes & builders
on fasc ia. So me may r equir e for ac c epted pr ac tic e in
nailing at fasc ia. See 142 & 164 your ar ea.

Use APA exter ior or exposur e at gr ade panel for exposed eave,
r ake, or soffit. For APA r ating sta mp, see 48.

Panel installation—Low cost and ease of installation Roof-sheathing spans

make plywood or OSB panels the sheathing of choice APA rating Thickness Maximum span
for most modern roofs. The system provides a struc- 5 ⁄ 16
12 / 0 in. 12 in.
tural diaphragm and is appropriate for all but wood 5 ⁄ 16
16 / 0 in. to 3⁄ 8 in. 16 in.
shingle or shake roofing, which requires ventilation. 24 / 0 3⁄ 8 in. to 1⁄ 2 in. 24 in.
The standard panel size is 4 ft. by 8 ft., so rafter or truss 32 / 16 15 ⁄ 32 in. to 5⁄ 8 in. 32 in.
spacing that falls on these modules is most practical. 48 / 24 23⁄ 32 in. to 7⁄ 8 in. 48 in.
Care must be taken to protect panel edges from the
weather by the use of trim or edge flashing (see 169C).
Sheathing at exposed overhangs must be exterior or
exposure 1–rated and must be thick enough to hold a Notes—Values in the table above are based on APA-
nail or other roof fastener without penetration of the rated panels continuous over two or more spans with
exposed underside. the long dimension of the panel perpendicular to sup-
ports. Verify span with panel rating. (For the APA
Recommended fastening—Recommended fas-
rating stamp, see 48.)
tening is 6 in. o.c. at edges and 12 in. o.c. in the field
Spans are based on a 30-lb. live load and 10-lb. dead
(6 in. in the field for supports at 48 in. o.c.). For
load, the minimum rated by the APA—The Engineered
sheathing spans greater than 24 in., tongue-and-
Wood Association. Check local codes and with design
groove edges, lumber blocking, or panel edge clips are
professionals for higher loading such as greater snow
required at edges between supports. Use two clips for
loads or higher dead loads of concrete tiles or other
spans of 48 in.
heavy roofing. These ratings are minimum. For a more
solid roof, reduce spans or increase thickness.

Solid Roof Sheathing

A Plywood & Non-Veneered Panels
164 roofs

Joints may be made at mid-span for so me
end- matc hed dec king. Ver if y nailing with
manufac tur er’s spec s. Toenailing at mid-
span is r equir ed for longer spans. Ver if y
with manufac tur er.

T wo nails (min.)
per support

Stagger joints Exposed Wir ing must be r un exposed
over supports. dec king on the sur fac e of the c eiling,
at eave in a c onduit through the
See 165 insulation above the dec king,
or in a c hannel in a r af ter.
Loc ate joints over
supports for appear an c e.

T&G sheathing (decking) is most often used for Exposed T&G decking spans
exposed ceiling applications. It can also be used selec-
Nominal thickness Approximate span
tively at exposed eaves or overhanging rakes. Rafters
2 in. 6.0 ft.
are spaced at wide centers since the decking will span
more than 24 in. in most cases (see the table at right). 3 in. 10.5 ft.

Because this sheathing material does not provide a dia- 4 in. 13.5 ft.

phragm at the plane of the roof, other means of bracing 5 in. 17.0 ft.
the roof against horizontal loads must usually be
employed. For example, the roof may be braced with
metal straps applied to the top of the sheathing or with
a layer of plywood or OSB over the decking. of insulation (rigid or batts) requires adding a second
Insulation for an exposed ceiling must be located level of structure above the decking to support the roof.
above the sheathing. Insulation will vary with climate This table assumes a 30-lb. live load for Douglas-
and with roofing material. Rigid insulation is usually the fir or southern pine species. The table is for com-
most practical because of its thin profile, but it is more parison and approximating purposes only. The actual
expensive than batt insulation. Batts are often chosen span capacity depends on roof pitch, species, live-load
for colder climates, where the thickness of either type values, and end-joint pattern.

Solid Roof Sheathing

A Exposed T&G Decking
roofs 165

Roofing R igid insulation over Roofing Fur r ing over r igid insulation
temper atur e- c ontrolled spac e nailed to dec king

T&G exposed dec king R igid insulation over

temper atur e- c ontrolled spac e

Vapor bar r ier bet ween T&G exposed dec king

insulation & dec king
c ontinuous to inside of Vapor bar r ier bet ween
wall & c aulked around insulation & dec king
r af ters. c ontinuous to inside of
wall & c aulked around
r af ters.
Fur r ing str ips
and/or ply wood Fur r ing str ips
sheathing over over Eave at
exposed eave sa me spac ing
as fur r ing over
Fr ieze bloc k

T&G dec king T&G dec king

exposed at eave exposed at eave

Insulation Insulation

Fr ieze bloc k
Nailing bloc k
for finish wall Nailing bloc k for finish wall

Metal or composition roofing may be applied Wood or tile roofing requires another layer of mate-
directly over rigid insulation on T&G sheathing. For rial over the insulation. In some cases, it may be more
this construction, fasteners must be sized to penetrate economical to substitute nonrigid insulation.
through the insulation but not through the decking.
Wood shingles or shakes—Wood shingles and
Preformed metal roofing—Preformed metal shakes last longer it they are allowed to breathe from
roofing may be applied directly to the insulation over both sides, so they should be raised on furring strips
a layer of 15-lb. or 30-lb. felt. If the insulation is more above the level of the insulation. The furring strips
than 31⁄ 2 in. thick, wooden nailers equal to the thickness may be nailed through the rigid insulation to the
of the insulation and parallel to the decking are recom- decking, or they may be attached directly to the
mended to provide a stable surface for roof fasteners. decking between rows of insulation. The spaces and
Nailers should be located 3 ft. to 5 ft. o.c., depending cracks between the shakes or shingles will usually
on the profile of the metal roofing. provide adequate ventilation.
Despite the advantages of breathing, shingles should
Composition roofing—Composition roofing may
be installed over solid sheathing and underlayment in
also be applied directly if the insulation board is strong
areas with extreme wind-driven rain or snow or if the
enough to withstand the rigors of the roofing process.
roof pitch is as low as 3-in-12 or 31⁄ 2-in-12.
Most asphalt-shingle manufacturers, however, will not
honor their warranty unless the shingles are applied to Ceramic or concrete tiles—Ceramic and concrete
a ventilated roof. Unventilated shingles can get too hot tiles, like shingles, commonly require furring strips.
and deteriorate prematurely. The addition of vertical The furring strips should be spaced according to the
furring strips and sheathing over the insulation with length of the tiles (see 187B, 188, and 189).
vents at the top and bottom of the assembly will satisfy
the requirement for ventilation.

Exposed T&G Decking at Eave Exposed T&G Decking Eave

A Metal or Composition Roof B Wood or Tile Roof
166 roofs

Stagger ed joints
over supports

R af ter or tr uss spac ing

up to 24 in. for most
1x4 or 1x6 sheathing

Diagonal br ac ing Note

engineer ed in seis mic All boar ds must be
or high-wind zones c ontinuous through
(see below). t wo or mor e spans.

Spac ing bet ween Many roofers pr efer thr ee
T wo nails (min.) sheathing boar ds or four rows of solid
per boar d at depends on t ype of sheathing at the eaves
eac h support roofing (see below). for starter c ourses.

Open, or skip, sheathing is usually made with supports depends on the spacing and on the type of
1x4 or 1x6 boards nailed horizontally to the rafters roofing applied over it. Check with local codes and with
with a space between the boards. Since this sheathing roofers for accepted local practices.
material does not provide a diaphragm at the plane of Wood shingles or shakes require spacing equal to
the roof, other means of bracing the roof against hori- the exposure of the shingles or shakes—usually about
zontal loads must be employed. Let-in wooden bracing 5 in. for shingles to 10 in. for shakes. The sheathing is
or metal strap bracing applied to the top or bottom usually 1x4.
surface of the rafters will suffice in most cases. This Concrete tiles, depending on the type, may be
bracing must be engineered in seismic or high-wind installed on open sheathing spaced in the 12-in. to
zones or for very large roofs. Bracing may sometimes 14-in. range. The roofing material is heavy, so 1x6 or
be omitted on hip roofs because the shape of the roof 1x8 or 2x4 sheathing is practical.
provides the bracing. Preformed metal roofing is lightweight and runs
Spacing for open sheathing depends on the type of continuously in the direction of the rafters. In most
roofing. The ability of the sheathing to span between cases, 1x6 sheathing at 24 in. o.c. is adequate.

Open Roof Sheathing

roofs 167

R idge flashing
See 203c & d
C hi mney flashing
Valley flashing See 173b & 174
See 170
Pitc h- c hange flashing
Skylight flashing See 173a
See 175b & c , 176

Sidewall & step

See 171
Roof jac ks
& vents Level-wall/
See 175a roof flashing
See 169d

Eave flashing R ake

& ic e-da m flashing
c ontrol See 169c
See 169a & B

Hem med edges &

Inside c or ner Outside c or ner fasteners
flashing flashing See 168
See 172b See 172a

Flashing is a necessary component of most roofing flashing will be easy to replace at the time of reroofing
systems. Flashing makes the roof watertight at edges, if the original roof is removed. This flashing may be
openings, and bends in the roof where the roofing made of material with a life span equivalent to the roof
material cannot perform the job alone. itself.
Flashing materials and details must be coordinated The flashing and its fasteners must be compatible
with the roofing material to make a durable and water- with each other and with the roofing material itself. For
proof roof. Although design principles are transferable example, flashing and fasteners for metal roofs must be
from one type of roofing to another, proportions of compatible with the roofing metal to avoid galvanic cor-
materials may vary. For example, the details drawn in rosion. Flashing may be isolated from other materials
this section show a thin-profile roofing material such with 30-lb. felt or bituminous paint.
as asphalt or wood shingles, but flashing for thicker The basic principle of roof flashing is to have the
roofing materials such as tile or shake will have dif- roofing, the flashing, and other materials overlap one
ferent proportions. Some of these special flashings can another like shingles. Water running down the surface
be found with the details for the particular roofing type. of the roof should always be directed by the flashing
You may want to use different flashing materials across the surface of the roof. Gravity will then work
for roofs than for walls, because roofs are constantly to direct water down the roof, away from the gaps cov-
exposed to the weather and, in most cases, are replaced ered by the flashing. This way, only wind-driven rain
much more frequently than walls. (For a discussion can force water through the roofing to the waterproof
of wall flashing materials, see 102.) Moreover, roof underlayment (see 177), which acts as a second line
flashing itself is not always replaced at the same time of defense. Each detail may have local variations to
as the roof. Chimney or wall flashing may not be easily account for such weather-related factors. All flashing
changed when the building is reroofed, so it should be materials, therefore, should be discussed with local
made of materials like copper or stainless steel, which sheet-metal contractors or roofers.
can last as long as the building. Valley or pitch-change

Roof Flashing
A Introduction
168 roofs

Hemmed edges—One very important detail for roof Turned down and lapped over roofing, the hemmed
flashing is the hemmed edge, which folds back on itself edge creates an air gap under the flashing that discour-
about 1⁄ 2 in. ages capillary action. The hemmed edge can also form
a seal on smooth surfaces such as skylight glass, which
is only made more complete by the presence of water
adhering by surface tension to the two surfaces.
This fold makes the flashing thicker at the edge,
which, aside from forming a stronger and neater edge Flashing with
hem med edge
when exposed, helps control the flow of water on roofs,
as shown in the drawings on this page. Tucked under
1⁄ 8 -in.
roofing, the turned-up hemmed edge creates an air gap
that prevents moisture from migrating between the air gap

roofing and flashing by capillary action.

Flashing with
hem med edge
Roof sheathing
Roofing & under lay ment

1⁄ 8 -in.

air gap
Fasteners—Flashing is usually nailed to the struc-
ture. Nails are located at the edge of the flashing to
Roof sheathing avoid punctures in the flashing where it is designed to
& under lay ment
keep moisture from entering. Care must be taken to
select nails that will not cause galvanic corrosion.
Another method of attaching flashing is the cleat,
A hemmed edge also works when it is horizontal, as
a small metal clip usually made of the same material
in sidewall flashing (see 171A & B), where the hemmed
as the flashing itself. Cleats fasten flashing to the roof
edge not only resists capillary action but also forms a
without puncturing the flashing and allow for expansion
barrier to water running down the flashing and thus
and contraction of flashing metal without dislodging of
keeps it from running onto the roof sheathing.
fasteners. Cleats may also be used to make concealed
connections of flashing.
Wall sheathing
Siding & moistur e bar r ier lap
C leat at bot to m edge
of flashing

Flashing with hem med edge

C leat at top edge

of flashing

C on c ealed c leat
8 ⁄ 16 -in. (approx.) air gap at bot to m edge of
Roof sheathing & under lay ment

Roof Flashing
A Hemmed Edges & Fasteners
roofs 169

C ontinuous bitu minous
water proofing mem br ane
Felt under lay ment extends 1⁄ 4 in. past metal edge.
laps over metal
eave flashing.

Sheathing Standar d metal

eave flashing
Metal eave flashing
with dr ip laps fasc ia
(& gut ter).

Gut ter
C ontinuous mem br ane
See 196
extends 24 in. (min.) beyond
inner fac e of insulated wall
Fasc ia : :
(36 in. for 3 12 to 4 12 roofs).

R af ter

This eave flashing is r equir ed by c ode in many ar eas
T ypic al eave with c old winters, but should be c onsider ed a
flashing bac kup str ategy bec ause ic e da ms c an be pr evented
profiles with with adequate insulation and ventilation.
dr ip edge See 197 & 200

A Eave Flashing Eave Flashing

B Cold Climate

Sheathing Wall sheathing

Felt under lay ment Flashing nailed to

wall to 3 in. (min.) above
level of wall finish

R ake flashing laps Exter ior wall finish

over bar ge r af ter held 1 in. (min.) above
& under lay ment. bend in flashing.

Roofing laps
Flashing extends
4 in. (min.) onto roof,
depending on roof
Bar ge r af ter mater ial & pitc h.

Hem med edge

tur ned down for
T ypic al r ake best seal. See 168
profiles with
dr ip edge Roofing
This flashing is used Roof sheathing
Note at the top of a roof
Metal & tile roofs have spec ial r ake flashings. wher e the roof abuts
See 189B & c or 191c a vertic al wall.

C Rake Flashing Level Wall Flashing

170 roofs

Valleys on roofs, like valleys in the landscape, col- Cleats at 2 ft. o.c. fasten valley flashing to the roof
lect the runoff of all the slopes above them. To handle without puncturing the flashing and allow for expansion
such a concentration of water, valleys must be carefully and contraction of flashing metal without dislodging
flashed. Except when using roofing materials that can fasteners (see 168). Without cleats, flashing is wider
bend, such as asphalt shingles or roll roofing, valleys are and is nailed at the outer edges.
usually flashed with metal flashing.
Open valley flashing is the most common and may
be used with virtually all roofing materials. An open
Roofing Valley
valley allows the runoff water to flow within the con- flashing
fines of the exposed metal flashing rather than over the with hem med
roofing material itself.

Note Valley
Bitu minous sheet flashing
Bitu minous
water proofingsheet
laps extends full
valley proofing in laps length of
loc ationsflashing
with severin e valley. C leat
loc ations
weather. Seewith sever e
sec tion
A-A at lowerSee sec tion
r ight. Under lay ment
A-A at lower r ight. Roofing Under lay ment
over laps c ontinuous
flashing under flashing
4 in. (min.) if r equir ed for
Valley r af ter

In loc ations with

sever e weather,
bitu minous sheet
water proofing is
lapped over valley
A A c lear an c e
flashing at both
bet ween
sides for length of


Roof sheathing
1-in. c r i mp in
flashing if roof
Valley bet ween roofing is wider at eave than planes disc har ge Valley
at top, espec ially in ar eas of extr eme c old. unequal amounts r af ter
T ypic al valley is 5 in. to 6 in. wide at top and of r ainwater due to
in c r eased at 1⁄ 8 in. per linear foot of valley. unequal pitc hes
or unequal ar eas
Notes of watershed.
For valley flashing of asphalt shingles,
see 183b & c .
Section A-A
For roll roofing without flashing, see 181b.

Valley Flashing
roofs 171

Sidewall flashing is a single-piece flashing installed

Wall sheathing
before the roofing to create a flashing channel against
the wall (see 171B). This type of flashing is adequate
Finish wall and moistur e
for most situations and allows easy reroofing. bar r ier lap flashing at
Step flashing is a multiple-piece flashing that is wall.

woven in with the courses of roofing material (see Maintain gap bet ween
siding and roofing to
171C). This flashing is best for severe weather condi- avoid soaking siding.
tions. It may present some reroofing difficulties,
Keep roofing
especially if the type of roofing nails out of
material is changed.

Hem med edge

for ms c hannel.
Flashing (shown
without wall


Sidewall or
step flashing

A Sidewall & Step Flashing Sidewall Flashing


Wall sheathing Flashing laps Flashing extends

2 in. (min.) at 3 in. (min.) up wall
Flashing sidewalls. and 4 in. (min.) onto
Finish wall and
moistur e bar r ier lap Step
flashing at wall. flashing
(befor e it
Keep siding nails out is c over ed
of flashing to allow by next
vertic al adjust ment c ourse of
when r eroofing. roofing)

Nail near top edge
above pr evious

Roof c ourses laid

Roofing over eac h c ourse
of step flashing
Step-flashing piec es ar e 2 in. longer than roof c oursing
exposur e and ar e installed with the roofing mater ial,
one c ourse at a ti me. Exter ior wall finish and moistur e
bar r ier will lap step flashing. Flashing di mensions
depend on roofing mater ial and pitc h.

Step Flashing
172 roofs

Note Site- bent top

Lap flashing with Roofing (not Lap flashing with edges of step
moistur e bar r ier shown) laps moistur e bar r ier or sidewall
and wall finish sidewall or and wall finish flashing lap
(not shown). step flashing. (not shown). onto top wall.

Level wall
see 169d,
notc hed
for step or

of o

ro ope

of o

ro ope
Roofing Level wall
flashing laps

Bot to m edges roofing and
Vertic al leg of shown)
of flashings step or sidewall
step or sidewall laps
lap roofing. flashing.
flashing extends sidewall
below c or ner, or step
Step or sidewall flashing.
as allowed by
flashing laps
wall flashing.

Lapped Flashing for Lapped Flashing for

Moderate Weather Moderate Weather

Solder ed c or ner
Solder ed Lap flashing with flashing laps
Lap flashing with
c or ner moistur e bar r ier and sidewall or step
moistur e bar r ier
flashing wr aps wall finish (not shown). flashing, wall
and wall finish
level wall flashing, and
(not shown).
flashing. roofing.

of step
solder ed Sidewall or
c or ner step flashing
flashing. See 171