How to build a frame house with your own hands

Frame con­struc­tion has recent­ly become more and more pop­u­lar. This is due to the fact that such hous­es are one of the most inex­pen­sive and prac­ti­cal ways to build your own home. Our step-by-step instruc­tions and expert advice will help you eas­i­ly build a house with your own hands
How to build a frame house with your own hands
How to build a frame house with your own hands. Pho­to: pixabay.com

A frame house has a num­ber of advan­tages, but there are also some dis­ad­van­tages that you must first famil­iar­ize your­self with.

Plus­es such struc­ture are:

  • high speed of con­struc­tion — a house with fin­ish­ing can be built in 2 months;
  • low cost, which con­tributes to the spread of this tech­nol­o­gy around the world;
  • con­struc­tion can be car­ried out at any time of the year;
  • envi­ron­men­tal friend­li­ness, since dur­ing con­struc­tion main­ly nat­ur­al mate­ri­als are used;
  • a healthy micro­cli­mate inside the build­ing, as nat­ur­al build­ing mate­ri­als “breathe”;
  • sim­plic­i­ty of design, there­fore, dur­ing con­struc­tion it is not nec­es­sary to use heavy equip­ment;
  • there is no need for a deep foun­da­tion, because the weight of the struc­ture is rel­a­tive­ly small;
  • ease of fin­ish­ing inside the house, as the walls are sheathed with mod­ern slab mate­ri­als, and plas­ter­ing is not required;
  • con­ve­nience in con­duct­ing wiring and elec­tri­cal cable already in the process of con­struc­tion;
  • low ther­mal con­duc­tiv­i­ty due to the use of mod­ern heat insu­la­tors, which saves on heat­ing the house;
  • there is no need to shrink the house, as dry build­ing mate­ri­als are used;
  • high seis­mic resis­tance, since the frame house can with­stand fluc­tu­a­tions up to 9 points;
  • resis­tance to tem­per­a­ture changes, because the house retains heat well, and it can be heat­ed peri­od­i­cal­ly.



To short­com­ings frame house include:

  • high flam­ma­bil­i­ty;
  • low noise insu­la­tion, which requires the addi­tion­al use of spe­cial sound­proof mate­ri­als;
  • in the process of inte­ri­or dec­o­ra­tion, it is dif­fi­cult to hang heavy objects on the walls;
  • in damp cli­mates, mold and mildew may occur.

Step-by-step instructions for building a frame house

Step 1. Preparatory work

First of all, you need to clear a place for con­struc­tion. To do this, all debris and veg­e­ta­tion is removed, the site is lev­eled. It is also impor­tant to pre­pare a space for the entry and turn of equip­ment.

After that, mark­ing is car­ried out. The exist­ing build­ing plan is trans­ferred to the site with the help of dri­ven pegs, on which the rope is pulled. It will show the loca­tion of all exter­nal and inter­nal walls. The angles between the future walls must be strict­ly 90 degrees, oth­er­wise the build­ing will be unsta­ble.

Step 2. Laying the foundation for a frame house

In order to prop­er­ly lay the foun­da­tion, the fol­low­ing con­di­tions must be observed: deter­mine the type of soil on the site, the approx­i­mate weight of the future house, the height of the ground­wa­ter, snow and wind loads.

The great advan­tage of a frame house is that almost any type of foun­da­tion is suit­able for it. The most com­mon are pile-screw, slab and shal­low tape types.

The pile-screw foun­da­tion is used most often, since it is quite sim­ple and cheap. In addi­tion, you can build it with your own hands. Such a foun­da­tion involves the instal­la­tion of piles that are screwed deep inward. It is suit­able for almost all soils except rocky ones. The pile-screw foun­da­tion is espe­cial­ly effec­tive for water­logged soils, where oth­er types of foun­da­tion are expen­sive, since the dense soil rocks are deep enough.

The slab foun­da­tion is cre­at­ed from rein­force­ment and con­crete. The result­ing slab should be at least 30 cm high. It deep­ens into the ground by 10–20 cm. Such a foun­da­tion, despite the increased cost, has sev­er­al advan­tages: it is stronger and more durable, it can be used as the basis for the floor with­out spend­ing addi­tion­al funds.

A shal­low strip foun­da­tion is a con­crete strip about 70 cm high, which is buried in the ground to a depth of 10–40 cm. A sand “cush­ion” is cre­at­ed in a dug trench, met­al rein­force­ment is laid and con­crete is poured. The cost of such a foun­da­tion is rel­a­tive­ly small, it can be cre­at­ed on its own, but the instal­la­tion tech­nol­o­gy must be strict­ly observed.

Step 3. Construction of the floor

In the case of a con­crete floor, the slab foun­da­tion is already the foun­da­tion. When the strip foun­da­tion is installed, addi­tion­al work is required to pour the con­crete floor. In this case, light types of con­crete are used, for exam­ple, expand­ed clay con­crete.



The con­struc­tion of a wood­en floor on a pile-screw foun­da­tion requires more com­plex work. Ini­tial­ly, it is nec­es­sary to tie the foun­da­tion. It is per­formed using a beam mea­sur­ing 150 by 150 mm or 150 by 200 mm. Strap­ping is need­ed to give strength to the foun­da­tion, even­ly dis­trib­ute the load on it and cre­ate sup­port for the future floor.

The cor­ners of the beams are con­nect­ed using the “half-tree” method (half of the thick­ness of the beam is cut off) or “half-paw” (the beam is cut so that the con­nec­tion ele­ments are at an angle to each oth­er). After that, the strap­ping angle is attached to the foun­da­tion with bolts.

The next step after strap­ping is the instal­la­tion of the log. Logs (beams of appro­pri­ate length) are attached to the har­ness using fas­ten­ing angles and nails at a dis­tance of about 60 cm from each oth­er. Such a dis­tance is nec­es­sary so that a floor insu­la­tion can be placed between the lags.

The final work on the con­struc­tion of the floor is asso­ci­at­ed with water­proof­ing and insu­la­tion. From below, a board is attached to the lags with the help of self-tap­ping screws. A water­proof­ing coat­ing is laid on it, and a lay­er of insu­la­tion 15–20 cm thick is already on it. A vapor bar­ri­er is stretched over the insu­la­tion, which is cov­ered with ply­wood or board.

Step 4. Installing the walls of the frame house

The frame of the house is assem­bled from boards mea­sur­ing 50 by 150 mm or 50 by 200 mm, which are attached to each oth­er and to the beams using met­al cor­ners and nails.

The walls are assem­bled on the fin­ished floor of the frame house. Ini­tial­ly, the low­er strap­ping is done. Details for the walls are pre­pared in advance, and the whole process is some­what rem­i­nis­cent of assem­bling a chil­dren’s design­er. Usu­al­ly col­lect each wall sep­a­rate­ly. It con­sists of ver­ti­cal, top and bot­tom ele­ments, which are called tem­plates. On top of the wall, anoth­er strap­ping is made, which is nec­es­sary for installing the roof rafters.

Bevels and braces. These ele­ments are need­ed to give sta­bil­i­ty to the wall. The slopes are installed from the inside in the case when the wall will be sheathed with slab mate­r­i­al. In the process of such sheath­ing, the slopes are removed. If the wall is sheathed with clap­board, then per­ma­nent braces should be installed. They are attached to each pair of racks, 2 at the top and bot­tom.

Angles. They play an extreme­ly impor­tant role in the frame of the house, since they have a large load. There­fore, it is cus­tom­ary to assem­ble them from sev­er­al boards in order to increase the strength of the struc­ture. Usu­al­ly two racks are installed in the cor­ner, and the result­ing space is filled with a heat insu­la­tor.

Prosten­ki (inter­nal par­ti­tions). They are assem­bled in the same way as exter­nal walls, from sep­a­rate tem­plates, after which they are installed entire­ly in the struc­ture of the house. Since inter­nal par­ti­tions do not car­ry a spe­cial load, they are made of light­weight boards. The insu­la­tion inside the walls per­forms the func­tion not so much of ther­mal insu­la­tion as sound absorp­tion.

Upper har­ness. After installing the walls, a board up to 150 mm thick is nailed on top around the entire perime­ter. This is done for strong adhe­sion of the cor­ners, com­bin­ing all the ele­ments of the frame walls into a sin­gle whole and for dis­trib­ut­ing the load. To fur­ther strength­en the struc­ture of the house, ply­wood or OSB boards are used, which are nailed to the frame over the entire sur­face of the house.



It is inter­est­ing

Tim­ber house: an alter­na­tive to a do-it-your­self frame house

Step 5. Building the roof of a frame house

The roof of a frame house is not much dif­fer­ent from the roofs of stone and con­crete hous­es, and its fas­ten­ing to the walls is eas­i­er to imple­ment.

First of all, you should decide on the type of roof struc­ture. Most often choose a gable or mansard roof. If the house is being built with your own hands, then it is bet­ter to stop at the first option, since it is eas­i­er.

The slope angle of the roof slopes should be in the range of 30–45 degrees, which pro­vides the best way for water and melt­ed snow to drain. The roof frame forms a set of rafters that are sup­port­ed by strap­ping beams. It is nec­es­sary to cal­cu­late in detail the required num­ber of rafters, their cross sec­tion and length, method of attach­ment and instal­la­tion step. On top of the truss struc­ture, a dry board crate is mount­ed — the basis for installing insu­la­tion and roof­ing mate­r­i­al.

The roof is one of the most impor­tant ele­ments in the house, pro­tect­ing from any bad weath­er. Pho­to: pexels.com

Step 6. Warming

In a frame house, every­thing should be insu­lat­ed: walls, floor, ceil­ing. As a heater, min­er­al wool, basalt wool, poly­styrene foam and expand­ed poly­styrene are most often used. When choos­ing a heater, you need to take into account the fea­tures of the tree with which it will be com­bined in the best way.

The process of warm­ing is car­ried out as fol­lows. Out­side, a spe­cial water­proof­ing mem­brane is stretched over the OSB-boards. Inside the house, the insu­la­tion is laid between the racks with an over­lap at the junc­tion of the pre­vi­ous one. The amount of insu­la­tion depends on cli­mat­ic con­di­tions and wall thick­ness.

The floor is insu­lat­ed in a sim­i­lar way. It is bet­ter to start insu­lat­ing the ceil­ing from the attic. The vapor bar­ri­er film is attached from below to the ceil­ing beams and hemmed with ply­wood or board. After the insu­la­tion is laid, a vapor bar­ri­er film is stretched over it, pro­tect­ing it from mois­ture from the inside of the house. Next, sheets of ply­wood or OSB boards are attached, on top of which the final inte­ri­or dec­o­ra­tion is car­ried out.

Step 7. Interior and exterior decoration

The final stage in the con­struc­tion of a frame house is the inte­ri­or and exte­ri­or dec­o­ra­tion. Inte­ri­or dec­o­ra­tion can be done using the fol­low­ing mate­ri­als: lin­ing, OSP-plate (with fur­ther wall plas­ter­ing), dry­wall or gyp­sum fiber (with sub­se­quent wall paint­ing or wall­pa­per­ing).

The sequence of fin­ish­ing works is as fol­lows:

  • all joints between the plates are elim­i­nat­ed by put­ty;
  • a primer is applied for future paint­ing of walls or glue for wall­pa­per;
  • wall­pa­per­ing, wall paint­ing, draw­ing, etc.

Exter­nal fin­ish­ing can be with or with­out a ven­ti­lat­ed facade. Most often, a ven­ti­lat­ed facade is cho­sen, which allows you to cre­ate addi­tion­al space for warm­ing the house. Mate­ri­als for exte­ri­or dec­o­ra­tion are very diverse: imi­ta­tion tim­ber, wood pan­els, plas­tic and met­al sid­ing, facade tiles and ther­mal pan­els.



Expert advice

  1. In the process of lay­ing the foun­da­tion, it is bet­ter to use piles that have an extend­ed “heel”. This design of piles increas­es the bear­ing capac­i­ty of the foun­da­tion sev­er­al times. In addi­tion, this design will effec­tive­ly coun­ter­act the heav­ing of the soil.
  2. To fix the strap­ping beam, spe­cial studs should be pre­pared in advance, which will con­nect the base of the house with the foun­da­tion. The more often these studs are installed, the stronger the struc­ture of the frame house will be.
  3. For strap­ping, you can use a beam mea­sur­ing 150 mm by 100 mm, but its cost is quite high. It is bet­ter to use sev­er­al boards of small­er thick­ness, con­nect­ed togeth­er, which will sig­nif­i­cant­ly increase the strength of the strap­ping.
  4. In the event that the logs are very long, then a trans­verse beam is used, on which jumpers are nailed to increase the strength of the struc­ture.
  5. To reduce the cost of build­ing a frame house and at the same time sig­nif­i­cant­ly increase its strength, you can use the tech­nol­o­gy of pre­fab­ri­cat­ed racks, when each rack is assem­bled from two boards fas­tened with nails.

Popular questions and answers

How to reduce the cost of building a frame house?

First of all, you should clear­ly deter­mine the opti­mal area of ​​the build­ing, its num­ber of storeys, the pres­ence of an under­ground garage, attic, etc. You can also buy build­ing mate­ri­als in win­ter when they are cheap­er.

Accord­ing to Tim­o­fey Tesin, devel­op­ment direc­tor of the con­struc­tion com­pa­ny “Terem”, the main thing that can help against over­spend­ing dur­ing the con­struc­tion process is a com­pe­tent project, cal­cu­la­tion of mate­ri­als that should be used for con­struc­tion, and strict con­trol over the imple­men­ta­tion of this project. At the stage of enter­ing the con­struc­tion site, it is not worth sav­ing in the esti­mate on the qual­i­ty of mate­ri­als, as well as on the tech­nol­o­gy of erect­ing a frame house. An archi­tect or tech­nol­o­gist at the project stage can tell you how to com­pe­tent­ly build a build­ing or objec­tive­ly not inflate the esti­mate.

Alexan­der Kor­shunov, DIY seg­ment devel­op­ment man­ag­er at ROCKWOOL Rus­sia, notes that wood­en frame struc­tures are ini­tial­ly the most eco­nom­i­cal in terms of mate­r­i­al con­sump­tion and labor inten­si­ty — they require 1.5–2 times less wood than log and block-beam struc­tures. Unlike chopped, framed walls do not shrink and can be fin­ished imme­di­ate­ly after instal­la­tion. In addi­tion, com­pe­tent insu­la­tion will not only ensure com­fort in the house, pro­tect it from mold and fun­gus, but also save mon­ey dur­ing oper­a­tion. How well the struc­tures are ther­mal­ly insu­lat­ed depends on how much the home­own­er will pay for heat­ing.

What is better to entrust to specialists?

Even when a frame house is being built with your own hands, you can’t do with­out the help of spe­cial­ists. Con­struc­tion requires ver­sa­tile knowl­edge and skills. For some, it may be dif­fi­cult to inde­pen­dent­ly lay the foun­da­tion, install plumb­ing or install elec­tric­i­ty.

But there are oth­er jobs that are best left to pro­fes­sion­als. It is often rec­om­mend­ed to involve pro­fes­sion­als at the design and cal­cu­la­tion stage of the house, since only a spe­cial­ist can tell if you have saved on some­thing vital for the facil­i­ty.

Par­tic­u­lar atten­tion is paid to the ther­mal insu­la­tion of frame struc­tures. It is impor­tant to under­stand all the nuances of the choice of mate­ri­als, since wood­en hous­es have a reduced weight and increased fire haz­ard. There­fore, it is nec­es­sary to use a light­weight, fire-resis­tant mate­r­i­al with opti­mal ther­mal and mechan­i­cal char­ac­ter­is­tics.

Are there standards for the construction of a frame house?

Alexan­der Kor­shunov cites the fol­low­ing stan­dards for the con­struc­tion of frame hous­es based on SP 31–105-2002 “Design and con­struc­tion of ener­gy-effi­cient sin­gle-fam­i­ly res­i­den­tial build­ings with a wood­en frame” and SP 64.13330.2011 “Wood­en struc­tures”.

The exist­ing reg­u­la­tions aim, first of all, to pro­tect the res­i­dents them­selves. For this, the fol­low­ing require­ments must be met:

- The frame of the house should be made of edged boards and conif­er­ous tim­ber, sub­ject­ed to high-qual­i­ty dry­ing and treat­ed with anti­sep­tics;
- When cladding frame hous­es, it is rec­om­mend­ed to use OSB boards or ply­wood;
- It is bet­ter not to use mate­ri­als con­tain­ing asbestos, which has car­cino­genic prop­er­ties;
- The roof must be cov­ered with light roof­ing mate­ri­als (met­al tiles, cor­ru­gat­ed board, bitu­men, ondulin);
- For ther­mal insu­la­tion, refrac­to­ry mate­ri­als should be used: min­er­al wool, fiber­glass.