Wooden light frame construction was the first building system unique to early America. Developed in the first half of the 19th century, builders recognized that the closely spaced vertical members that were used to fill in walls of a heavier building frame were sufficient enough to remove the heavy timber post system altogether.

To further drive down costs, the invention of water-powered sawmills made wood, at this time, inexpensive. Along with machine-made nails becoming cheaper than hand-forged, light frame construction became the standard housing method.

At Steve Allen Construction of Ocala, Fla. we deliver high quality construction using the best building methods available. Read further to learn more about the history of light frame construction.

Balloon Framing

Balloon framing is one of the earliest wooden construction methods. It consists of light wooden frames constructed around studs, which run from the top to the bottom of the building. A truss structure constructs the roof and consists of horizontal ceiling joists and sloping rafters.

There are a lot of benefits to using this design. Such as drywall is unlikely to crack and increases the building’s durability. Due to the high resilience of the structure with longer wall frames, the building is better able to withstand high speed winds. Balloon construction becomes useful when vaulted ceilings or a tall chimney is preferred. This method also allows more flexibility in window design because of angled or arched framing.

History of Light Framing

Platform Framing

Platform framing is the next evolution after balloon framing. This method utilizes a floor box and joists, creating the platform, and is fastened down to a supporting structure such as sill plates, headers or beams. Once the boxed floor platform is leveled and squared, then a subfloor, walls, ceilings and the roof are built on top of the initial platform. The use of plates enables the upward expansion of the building where floor joists for each story are supported by the top plate of the floor underneath.

The benefits to platform framing are that it’s a simpler and quicker technique. It is also a safer method for workers because walls can be fabricated down on the floor. Having the stud spaces enclosed by the floor platforms reduces the risk of fire spreading and does not require fire stops, unlike balloon framing. Platform framing requires less labor and less wood, which helps drive down overall costs.

When you are thinking about your next framing project, contact us at Steve Allen Construction in Ocala, Fla. We have been servicing the Central Florida area for over 35 years. Connect with us on social media to see what our experience can offer.

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