When you think of a house, what comes to mind? If you picture something that looks like a home you would see on a farm, then you’re not alone. Many people believe that because a vernacular, or “framing” house is built using simple materials and techniques it must be less expensive to build than more contemporary designs. However, as with most things in life, the truth is not as black and white as we would like it to be. While there are some situations in which a framed house can save money and time, they are not necessarily cheaper to build overall. It all depends on the unique circumstances of your project. Let’s take an in-depth look at if and how framed houses are cheaper to construct than contemporary designs.
Are Frame Houses Cheaper To Build?
The cost of building a framed house depends on several factors, including the size and shape of your home, the materials you choose, and local labor rates. The most important factor in determining the cost of your framed house is how much material you need to buy. For example, if you’re building a small, square house using simple materials like wood boards or concrete blocks, the cost will be significantly less than that of a large, custom-designed home built with expensive materials like granite countertops and hardwood floors.
What Is A Framed House?
1. The Basic Construction of a Framing House
While there are many different styles of framed houses, they all share the same basic characteristics. A framing house is made up of a wooden frame and cladding. The frame is constructed using simple materials such as wood or metal, and it supports the weight of the building. The cladding is then attached to the frame to protect it from the elements, add insulation and provide a finished look. Some people also refer to framed houses as “stick” homes because many of them have a stick-built appearance. However, this term can also be used to describe any house made with wood or other natural materials that do not include any type of concrete framework.
2. Framed Houses Can Be Cheaper to Build Than Contemporary Designs
When you take into consideration the cost of materials alone, framed houses can be cheaper to build than contemporary designs like modular homes or prefabricated houses. The reason for this is that framing lumber costs less than other types of building materials such as brick or stone. Another reason why framing houses can be cheaper than other types is that they tend to use less material overall. While this may seem contradictory at first glance, it makes sense when you consider how these houses are built: Framing lumber is used in place of more expensive exterior siding and interior walls because it provides an attractive finish while still protecting against weather and pests.
Cost of Materials
The most obvious place to start when looking at how framed houses are cheaper to build is the cost of materials. While there are a number of factors that go into the price of framing materials, such as the size, quantity, and quality of the lumber used, in general, they are less expensive than many other building materials. According to the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), a 2x6x16′ board will run you about $1.25 per foot while a 1x4x8′ board costs just $0.47 per foot. In comparison, vinyl siding can run as much as $7.00 per square foot and interior doors can cost up to $100 per door. When you consider that framing lumber makes up about half of your total building costs, it’s easy to see why it’s important to keep these prices as low as possible—especially if you plan on using them for more than one project.
Cost Savings on Labor
Another way framing saves money is by reducing labor costs associated with construction projects overall. While there is some debate over whether or not framers earn more than other craftsmen, they definitely get paid more per hour. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), carpenters earned an average hourly wage in 2016 of $26.34 while framers made almost twice that at $46.79 an hour. This means that even though framing materials may be cheaper, the cost of paying a framer to build your home will be more than if you hired a carpenter.
Cut Your Material Costs in Half
If you have ever built a house before, you have experienced firsthand how much material costs can add up quickly. The good news is that using traditional framing techniques can cut your material costs in half—or even more depending on your project! Framing designs use space more efficiently and eliminate waste by using materials only where they are needed. In addition, many builders choose to use recycled materials to reduce their impact on the environment as well as their overall cost of building a home. Finally, many framing techniques require less material than other building methods because they make better use of the space available. For example, 2x6s come standard at 16′ long while 2x4s come standard at 12′ long. That means that each 2×6 frame uses just two pieces of lumber instead of four and each 2×4 frame uses four pieces instead of eight! In addition, some framing techniques like post and beam require no studs at all which cuts down on material costs even further.
Easier to Build
While framed houses may not be cheaper to build overall, they are often easier for builders to construct than contemporary designs – especially if they have little experience working with new construction materials. Framing designs do not require advanced skills or training and most contractors are familiar with them since they have been around for so long.
Is A Framed House Cheaper To Build?
Framing is Easier to Do
Because framing houses are built using simple materials and techniques, they are easier to build than contemporary homes. This means that you will spend less time and money on training for your workers and the education of your crew. If you choose to hire subcontractors for any part of your project, they will have a shorter learning curve as well. This can save you money on the labor costs alone.
Framed Houses Can be Built with Minimal Materials
The materials that go into framing houses are generally less expensive than those used in contemporary designs. A framed house uses more wood, which is cheaper than many other building materials like stone or concrete. They also use fewer unique pieces of trim and other decorative elements, which reduces the cost even further because you won’t need to buy them from specialty shops at higher prices. The lower costs of framing materials can also reduce the amount of waste associated with construction projects because there will be fewer things left over after the job is done.
Framed Houses Require Fewer Man-Hours
Because framed houses use simpler materials and construction techniques, they require fewer man-hours overall to complete the job than contemporary designs do. This saves money both in labor costs and in lost productivity on the jobsite because your crew won’t be there as long doing work that requires less skill or effort on their part; they will move faster through all phases of construction compared to a contemporary home with its more complicated build.
Framed Houses Can be Built with Fewer Design Changes
Since framed houses have fewer unique materials and construction techniques involved, there are fewer design changes that need to be made during the planning and building process. This can save you money on the overall cost of your home because you won’t need to spend as much time making decisions about things like the layout or floor plan. It can also save you money by reducing the amount of time that you and your subcontractors spend on the job. You will spend less time deciding which materials to use, where they should go, or how they should be put together. You will also spend less time reworking areas that don’t turn out right as a result of these decisions. All of this means less lost productivity on your jobsite.
Framed Houses Cost Less Upfront
Because framing houses are generally easier to build than contemporary designs, they require less upfront capital in terms of materials and equipment costs and training for your workers and subcontractors who are doing the building work for you. This means that framing houses cost less in both materials and labor to build compared to most contemporary homes, regardless of whether or not they include a basement foundation or crawlspace as part of their design requirements.
When Does A Framed House Save Money?
- If you’re building in a rural area, with lots of access to raw materials and cheap labor, then yes, a framed house can save money. Framing is an extremely efficient way to build. With that said, the amount of money saved by using framing will depend on what type of materials you use. If you’re working with lumber that is inexpensive, to begin with and has a lot of it on hand, then framing will be quite cost-effective.
- If you’re looking for a fast construction schedule, then framing may just be your best bet. By simplifying the design process and using common techniques and materials throughout the entire house, framing allows for a very quick build time. Depending on how much work you want done off-site (i.e., foundation), framing can easily shave off months from your construction schedule.
- If you want a traditional look for your home, then look no further than framing! In fact, if we were to design our homes without any constraints other than budget and time constraints we would likely end up with something very similar to this method of construction. The reason why this method is so prevalent throughout history is that it works well in many different climates and environments.
- Framing can save money if there are plans to add on later. Whether they are additions or separate buildings altogether (garage/workshop/shed), by building them as part of the original structure they can be built at once instead of paying for another contractor to come in and do the work later.
- If you’re looking to build a home that is lower cost but still meets modern building code requirements, then framing could be your best bet. By using common materials and techniques throughout your entire house there is little room for error on the part of contractors and builders. As a result, it’s much easier to keep costs down when building with framing.
- If you’re working with an older property, where the existing structure has been severely compromised by time or weather, then it may make sense to simply rebuild the entire thing from scratch. In this case, a framed house would be the most cost-effective way to go because it allows you to take advantage of modern building techniques and materials while still maintaining a traditional look.
Don’t let a preconceived notion that framed houses are inherently cheaper than conventionally framed houses keep you from considering a framing design. As with most things in life, the truth is that it depends. While there are some situations in which framed houses can save money and time, they are not necessarily cheaper to build than a conventionally framed house. It all depends on the unique circumstances of your project. If you’re in the market for a new house and want to know if framed houses are cheaper than conventionally framed houses, then you’ll want to consider the cost of framing materials in your region and the complexity of your design.