Framing Your Window
Framing, from the earliest days, has been the joining together of various parts to provide shape and support to a building structure. Framing materials used are typically wood, masonry steel, or concrete. While wood may be the most common framing material throughout history, steel has also been a popular choice. Concrete is typically used for the supporting elements of buildings constructed with steel framing systems.
Framing techniques can be either internal or external. Internal framing techniques require that the structure be constructed inside of a building by using bracing to hold the supporting elements in place. Internal framed structures are commonly single stories or storehouses. External framing techniques are those that allow the structure to be framed around a wall or post. External framing techniques are commonly used to support a roof, as well as to allow for landscaping or other architectural features to be incorporated into the building. These are typically constructed using lumber, but advancements in technology have made it possible to utilize other materials such as stainless steel, aluminum, and steel.
The methods of framing vary significantly depending on the structure, but most systems are designed with two main techniques in mind. Most systems have two braced members that are connected to each other by a series of horizontal posts or columns. Sometimes these posts are fixed in place and at other times they are bolted to each other. Internal framing may use straight pillars, curved columns, or a combination of fixed and bolt posts. Most modern structures employ the use of flexible and hollow components called “balloons.”
The most efficient and least expensive form of framing is known as “light-frame construction.” This method incorporates beams and trusses that are suspended by ropes from the ceiling or floor, and are placed over the foundation. Due to the beams and trusses being suspended in midair, they do not require the accurate measuring techniques common to conventional framing. Light-frame framing can often save more money for homeowners than traditional methods of framing because they are less prone to mechanical problems.
Framing is also accomplished with two types of framing members. Framing members can either be horizontal or vertical. Horizontal framing members are often used to support a wall panel, or bottom plate, and horizontal framing members can also be used as tiebacks or to provide bottom plates for windows and doors. The disadvantage of the vertical framing members is that they are more difficult to install and cost more money than their horizontal counterparts.
Another important aspect of framed structures is the use of the two ways method. The two ways method is designed to determine the location of the frame’s ends based on the location of the first framer. The result is that a beam or a post that ends up one frame away will cause the rest of the frame to shift toward the door or window opening by one frame length. To solve this problem, the second framer positions his or her framer on the end of the beam. The beam can then be adjusted to zero the frame so that it aligns with the door or window opening. This adjustment, which is often referred to as the zero-length bracket, can allow for greater freedom in installing a door or window.