So you’re ready to begin your do-it-yourself framing project. GOOD FOR YOU. Here are several tips for the first time do-it-yourself (DIY) framer.
Tip One: GET HELP
Because you’re DIY doesn’t mean you should work alone! All framing projects go much easier and faster with an assistant, preferably someone with some experience with tools, though this is not essential. Because framing jobs usually include cutting lumber to lengths up to 16’, just having someone to hold the end of your tape measure will help to ensure that you get accurate measurements. Having an extra pair of hands to hold pieces for nailing, or to steady them for cutting, makes the job easier. Raising a wall into place, or lifting a 4″ x 12″ header into place is much easier with two than it is one.
An assistant also gives you someone to blame when a mistake occurs. (Just kidding!) This person is often referred to as “The Holder of the Other End”, so no technical skill is really needed here. Actually, it’s a great way to get your kids involved with a building project.
Tip Two: PLAN AHEAD
Having a drawing available to refer to as you build your project will speed the process and minimize mistakes. There is usually a logical sequence to follow when framing a wall or room. This is particularly important when remodeling or working indoors. Many the expert framers have done a great job framing up a wall, only to discover that the wall is too big to maneuver into position. Remember the old adage: ‘measure twice, cut once.’ If you cut a piece too short the first time, cutting it again will not help the situation.
Tip Three: WEAR PROPER SAFETY EQUIPMENT
When using power tools, the do it yourself framing project will create a lot of noise (though not all the noise will be coming from the tools) and dust. Even though it may seem like overkill, wearing earplugs, safety goggles, and sometimes particle masks will make the job more bearable. Many first time DIY’s are surprised at the amount of noise and dust created by construction projects. If you are using pneumatic tools, the concussive air pressure can become very irritating after a long day’s work. You may also find that the project goes much faster if you are not stopping to get saw dust out of your eyes every couple of minutes.
Tip Four: PICK THE PROPER MATERIALS
Since lumber is the main item in any do it yourself framing project, take time to get the best lumber you can find. This may mean sorting through a large pile of lumber, picking out the pieces of lumber individually, choosing only straight, true pieces. Many 2×4’s are warped, bowed, or curved because they were not properly cured at the mill. Working with straight lumber makes any framing job easier. Slightly bowed plywood or OSB sheeting can be straightened by nailing or screwing, but pass-up severely warped or twisted pieces.
Do it yourself framing projects need not be complicated. With the proper tools and a little basic knowledge on framing, you can quickly put up a straight wall that you will be proud of for years to come.