The Future of Framing is Here

Framing the American Dream

Is there a better way to frame?

Framing the American Dream conducted two controlled experiments to allow for apples-to-apples framing comparisons. In 1995, the project built two identical 2600 square foot, two-story houses. In 2015, two identical 2900 square foot ranch-style houses with a walk-out basements were framed side-by-side.

The only difference between the two homes in both experiments was one house was entirely stick-framed, while the other home was framed using structural components, including roof trusses, wall panels and floor trusses.

What Did We Learn?

  • A crew can frame two and a half homes with structural components in the time it takes to stick frame one house (watch this time-lapse video of two side-by-side houses getting framed).
  • It requires 25% more wood product to stick frame a structure than framing it with structural components.
  • Stick framing a house generates 30 times more jobsite waste than framing a house with structural components.

Roofs, Floors & Walls

The Framing the American Dream study suggests that installing roof trusses, wall panels or floor trusses completes the task of framing in less time, requires less framer skill and experience, uses less material and ultimately results in a more reliable structure.

After the two homes were fully framed and dried-in, the thousands of images collected were analyzed to determine the man-hours it took to complete each discreet framing task and how much waste was generated in the process. The results of the Framing the American Dream study are conclusive: The component-framed house required 152.1 man-hours to complete, whereas the stick-framed house required 373.5 hours

The Best Way to Frame

Structural components make framers more efficient, allowing builders and framers to build more houses with the same crews.

Side-by-Side Time-lapse Video of Stick-Framed vs. Component-Framed House

More About Materials

The Framing the American Dream study shows a clear difference in material efficiency between the two framing methods. The stick-framed house used 20,643 board feet of lumber and EWP while the the component-framed house used 15,052 board feet of lumber and EWP.

That means the component-framed house used 25% less wood product.

The component-framed house produced very little jobsite waste, only half a cubic yard. That’s equivalent to three standard 32 gallon trash cans. The stick-framed house resulted in significantly more waste, approximately 15 cubic yards, or roughly 102 standard 32 gallon trash cans (or a 15 yard dumpster).