How to Estimate a Framing Job? A Step-by-Step Guide


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How to Estimate a Framing Job

Do you know that the average cost to frame a 1300 to 1600 square feet home in the United States is between $11,200-$48,000? Likewise, framing a commercial building costs significantly higher than this. Are you a framing contractor from the US? Then certainly you must be conscious about your investment as you cannot afford failure on this huge investment.

Are you thinking how you can get 100% ROI? Here, I have come up with a solution. Getting estimating services is the best way to make your framing project successful. I know estimation is a time-consuming and difficult task to do by yourself. But don’t you worry? I will tell you how to estimate a framing job. So, let’s stick to this blog.

Steps to Estimate Framing Job

Framing estimation is the method to get the estimated cost to frame a house or a building. This cost includes the material costs, labor costs, equipment costs, and any other cost that is needed to complete the framing job.

To get the accurate cost for the framing job, you must first perform a detailed framing takeoff: process to get the exact quantity of framing material. After quantifying all the framing materials, you can get their costs from some reliable wood vendors. Below, I will give you a list of all the steps to perform a framing takeoff.

➢   Start with a Rough Plan/Sketch

The first step in estimating a framing job is to start with the construction plans. But if the construction plan is not ready yet, you can use the initial rough plan or sketch of the building. From this rough sketch, you can easily figure out the total length and height of the wall.

How to Estimate a Framing Job

Besides this, with these rough drawings, you can identify the size of the door and window openings. Moreover, you also need on-center wall stud spacing and distance between two studs that you can easily find out from these drawings. Below I have given a table in which stud spacing is mentioned for different building types.

Building Structure Type Stud Spacing (In Inches)
Residential 16
Commercial 24
Industrial 48

➢   Calculate the Number of Studs

Now you know the stud spacing and the on-center wall spacing. The next step is to calculate the number of studs for each wall. To calculate the number of studs, follow the below-mentioned steps:

  • Multiply the total length of the wall with 75.
  • Add 3 additional studs for a 90-degree corner
  • Add 4 studs for the 45-degree corner
  • And add 2 studs for intersectional walls
  • If you have an opening that is wide 5 feet or less add 2 additional studs in the calculation and if this opening is more than 5 feet add 1 stud
  • Now you have the total number of studs, multiply the total count by 15 to add material waste.

Tip: I recommend adding an extra 1 or 2 studs in your total stud calculation as sometimes there are some poor quality studs mixed with the material that can affect your material calculation at the time of framing work.

Estimate Header Material

When quantifying the framing material, don’t forget the header material. The header material for standard doors and windows is constructed on two 2*12 timber plates between a half inch of plywood to cut the same size as the header. In simple words, the total thickness of the header for a 3*4 wall must be 3 ½ inches to match the width.

Moreover, to get the total estimate for the header material for each window and door opening, add 7 inches to the total width of the opening. Let’s say your door opening is 29 inches. You need header material 36 inches wide.

Estimate Supporting Plates

The next step is calculating the supporting plates for the walls. For a standard load-bearing wall, consider 1 single bottom plate and 2 top plates. To get the total length of the plate, multiply the wall length by 3 and add 10% for wastage. Suppose your wall length is 10 feet, so you need linear footage of 30 feet with 1 foot for the wastage.

Estimate a Framing Job

Pro Tip: I will recommend you use pressure-treated lumber plates if the foundation of your wall is made with concrete or cement.

Estimate Sheathing

The last step of framing takeoff is the sheat estimating. For the wall framing, you need 4-by-8-foot sheathing. Follow the below-mentioned steps to get an estimate for sheathing.

  • Find the total area of the wall by multiplying the length and height of the wall
  • To measure the area of the opening, multiply the length and height of the opening
  • Subtract the opening area from the total wall area
  • Divide the new area calculation by 32
  • Now, round up the answer to the nearest whole number

The answer will be the total number of sheathings that are needed for a single wall. You can calculate the number of sheathing for all walls by following these steps.

Understand this calculation by a simple example. Consider your room wall is 10 feet long and 6 feet high, so the total area of your wall is 60 feet. The window opening is 3-by-4-foot, and the area of the window opening is 12 feet. The total area will be 60 – 12 = 48. Divide 48 by 32. The answer will be 1.5. By rounding the answer, you get to know that 2 sheathings are required for your room wall. 

Key Measurements in Framing Takeoff

In the framing takeoff, four key measurements are used. I am going to provide a brief overview of these measurements.

1. Area

Area measurements help to determine how much framing will be required for the project completion. Additionally, this measurement is essential for the roof decking, wall sheathing, and subfloor. As your wall stands up, you need wall sheathing to keep out elements and roof decking to support the roof material.

How to Estimate a Framing Job

So, you need accurate area calculation to determine the amount of material that is needed which eventually leads to precise cost estimation.

2. Dimensions

In framing work, there are some areas where you can get multiple framing members from a single board. For instance, you need to know how many eight-foot studs you will need. How many eight-foot joists are required for the flooring? You need to calculate the length of the materials that you will need for your takeoff.

3. Count

After knowing the area and the dimension the next measurement that you need is the count. You must know how many flooring components you need for the job. For example,  you need to know how many nails you require to secure the ends of the studs. You count the number of the components like screws, fasteners, nails, or sheets to get an accurate estimate.

4. Volume

Volume is the measure of the materials that are required to fill a specific area. Generally, this measurement is not required for framing jobs. But sometimes a smaller project volume is required for piers or footers calculations.

Software Use to Estimate Framing Takeoff

What if extra framing material is being picked up or delivered for your framing work? This extra supply would certainly put you in hot waters as this is a complete waste of material. So, at the time of framing takeoff, you must be careful.

Whether you are searching for a way to increase the accuracy of your framing estimates or improve your overall project efficiency, the usage of advanced software can save you time and energy. For framing takeoff, I recommend the following software:

  • Planswift
  • Trimble
  • Bluebeam
  • RsMeans

Regardless of the size and complexity of your project, this software helps you in preparing 100% accurate framing cost estimates.

Read More: What is s4s Lumber?

Tricks to Maximizing Profitability in Framing Takeoff

Accurate and comprehensive framing takeoff is an integral part of the framing project’s success. However, performing a takeoff doesn’t give you a guarantee for the project’s profitability. You must follow some tricks and tips to get better results.

How to Estimate a Framing Job

  • I recommend you to use the modern takeoff software. These software are the game-changers for improving the accuracy and efficiency of the takeoff process. These tools help to reduce human error and save your time in the long run.
  • Thoroughly understanding the scope of your project is the second key to getting a comprehensive takeoff report. Don’t hesitate to double-check your understanding or to get help from some experts.
  • Considering material wastage and overages is another crucial aspect of getting maximum profit from your framing takeoff. It is a common practice of estimators to add 10%-15% material wastage to compensate for cutting errors, damage, or for unforeseen damages.
  • The framing industry is a dynamic industry that has evolved with time. These trend changes impact significantly the cost of the project. That’s why during the takeoff process, ensure that you use up-to-date cost data for the materials.
  • The construction industry is ever-changing with time, and so is the framing industry. You must be well aware of the new material and method introduction.

Consider Using a Professional Framing Takeoff Company

Above I have provided you with a step-by-step guide to perform framing takeoff. Aside from this, I have mentioned some software and tools from which you can get help in your takeoff process. And above all, I have recommended some tricks to enhance the profitability of your framing takeoff.

But if you are still confused about whether you must prepare framing takeoffs by yourself or not then I recommend you to hire a professional framing takeoff company to get 100% ROI.

The United States framing industry is worth $174.4 billion in 2023. To serve this huge industry, numerous framing estimating and takeoff companies are opened all across the US.

From them, I recommend you to get services from Lumber Estimator. This is the leading framing estimation company in the US. With many years of experience and extensive industry knowledge, their professionals can provide 100% accurate and precise framing estimates and takeoff reports. So, waste no time and reach them now.


No matter what type of framing project you are going to start, you can get an accurate estimate for it as you know how to go around the framing takeoff. Here, I have mentioned a detailed guide to performing framing takeoffs that help you to make your framing project successful.

With this, you can get help from advanced takeoff software to ensure the accuracy and precision of your prepared takeoff reports. I know this process is not simple, but if you follow my recommended steps, it will open more doors for new opportunities.

Read More: How To Order Lumber From A Lumber Yard?


What factors can affect the final cost of my framing job?

Many factors can influence the final cost of the framing job including fluctuation in the material costs, amount of material waste, and quality of framing material.

How long does it take to complete a framing job?

The total time for framing work depends on the size and complexity of the project. However, on average a framing job takes 7 to 15 days to be completed.

What tools are necessary for wood framing?

Chisels, SAW, bench planes, utility knives, drills, clamps, miter saws, timber frame tools, carpenter squares, and sanders are some tools that are used during wood framing work.

Is estimating a framing job difficult?

Framing job estimation is the most challenging yet crucial aspect of the construction project. To prepare an accurate cost estimate for a framing job you can hire some professional or use our guide.