In this video, Ask This Old House general contractor Tom Silva shows host Kevin O’Connor and Mark McCullough how to frame walls while rebuilding Mark’s chicken coop.
Before You Start
When framing any structure, it’s important to work off of plans so you know the building is secure.
Anatomy of a Stud Wall
- Studs – the vertical 2x6” boards, usually spaced 24” on center apart
- Plates – the horizontal boards that sandwich the studs together on top and bottom
- Headers – the additional structure that frames the top of an opening for a window or door
- Sills – the additional structure that frames the bottom of an opening for a window
- Jack Stud – a stud that supports the header on the inside of the opening
- King Stud – a stud that supports the jack stud and runs the entire length of the wall top to bottom
- Cripple Stud – a stud that supports the framings of openings both on top and underneath the opening
- Sheathing – the plywood that closes the walls in
Going off the plans, you can cut all the different studs and plates using a circular saw or miter saw and lay everything out on the ground to ensure everything has been cut perfectly.
How To Frame a Shed
- Measure the lengths of the foundation walls and cut pressure-treated lumber to length. Attach it to the foundation by drilling through the pressure-treated lumber and into the foundation, securing them in place with concrete anchors.
- Cut the top and bottom plates for each wall to length. The long walls will run all the way through from corner to corner of the foundation, while the shorter walls will be between them.
- Stack the top and bottom plates together and mark them for studs spaced 16 inches on center. For full-length or “king” studs, mark the locations with Xs. For shorter studs that support headers (“jack” studs), make the locations with Os. Mark header locations for windows and doors on the top plate, as well.
- Starting with one of the long walls, spread the top and bottom plate apart on the shed’s floor. Place the king studs on the Xs and jack studs on the Os. Each header needs to consist of 2 2x8s cut to the appropriate length (the distance between king studs), with a piece of ¾-inch plywood sandwiched between them. Place them in their locations.
- Holding the headers in place, use the framing nailer to nail through the top plate and into the top of the headers. Drive two nails every 6 to 8 inches.
- Drive two nails through the top plate and into each of the king studs. Also, nail through the sides of the jack studs and into the king studs and through the sides of the king studs into the sides of the header.
- Repeat the process with the bottom plate, driving two nails through the bottom plate and into the king and jack studs. Also, at each end, nail an additional stud turned perpendicular to the other studs to form an inside corner.
- With help, lift the wall from the top and position it on top of the pressure-treated lumber. Using the framing nailer, nail through the bottom plate and into the pressure-treated lumber. Use scrap lumber nailed to the side of the wall to steady it.
- Repeat the process with the other long wall and then with the two shorter walls. Nail through the last stud on each end of the shorter walls and into the inside corners of the longer walls.
To frame the new barn, Tom and the rest of the team used a combination of 2x4” stock framing lumber for the studs and 2x6” stock framing lumber for the roof rafters. To secure the boards together, the team used a variety of framing nails with a nail gun. All of these items are at home centers and lumberyards.
C.R. O’Neill Company provided expert assistance with this segment in Lexington, MA.