Today most two or three story
homes are constructed using platform framing. Platform framing replaced
balloon framing decades ago as the predominate multistory framing technique
due to three major factors. First, balloon framing had a history of fire
concerns, as balloon framing used very long exterior wall studs to create
multiple floors. The long wall studs effectively created long bays, or
chimneys, that allowed fire to travel quickly from basements to upper level
Second, due to the fact that balloon
framing required very long wall studs, the walls were extremely heavy to lift
creating hazardous work conditions for framing crews. Finally, very long studs
were difficult to find and more expensive from a cost/foot perspective.
Consequently platform framing has become the framing method of choice when it
comes to building 2 story and 3 story homes.
Platform framing involves the
construction of walls and floors by using single story wall studs to form the
exterior walls, and attaching floor joists to the top of the walls to create
To more specifically describe the
platform framing method it is best to start from the ground up. First, a floor
is constructed on top of the basement wall sill plates using floor joists. The
floor joists are then sheathed with 3/4th inch tongue and grooved plywood or OSB
(Oriented Strand Board).
Single story walls are then built on
the first floor using single story wall studs and sheathing. The framed walls
are fabricated using vertical wall studs and two horizontal boards that form the
sole plate and top plate that tie the vertical wall studs together.
The walls are then stood up and
nailed into place along the exterior of the home.
The second story floor joists are
then attached to the top plates and then sheathed to create the second story
floor. This process is repeated for additional floors.
It is this stacking of floors and
single story walls that constitutes platform framing. Platform framing produces
a structurally strong home that reduces the risks of fires spreading quickly
from the basement to upper levels. And because the walls are shorter and
lighter they are less expensive, and easier and safer to construct and erect.
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