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How To Measure & Cut Parts For Outside Walls

How To Build Your Own Home e-book available

Before You Begin

Tools Of The Trade

Designing Your Home

Building Permit Plans

Excavating Home Site

Laying Drain Pipes

Prepping For Slab

Pouring The Slab

Installing Sill Plate

Building Outside Walls

Framing & Raising interior Walls

Exterior Wall Sheathing

Cutting Out Openings

Wrapping The House

Preparing For Roof Trusses

Gettin Roof Trusses Ready

Raising Roof Trusses

Sheathing The Roof

Preping For Shingles

Shingling The Roof

Selecting Doors/Windows

Installing Doors/Windows

Preparing For Siding

Types Of

How To Select Siding

Siding The House

Siding Soffits & Trim

Installing Strapping


We have finished laying the Sill Plate, creating nailing surface for the outside walls. The next step is to measure and cut parts for the outside walls.

You will need a Chop Saw, Compressor, Framing Nailer, 16p 3 1/2" Round Head Nails, measuring tape, Square, Reciprocating Saw, Hammer, and Framing Plans.

  • How to calculate the dimensions of studs

  • How to cut all studs to size accurately

  • How to calculate the size and placement of rough openings for windows and doors

  • How to cut rough opening parts

  • how to cut top and bottom plates

  • how to mark off top and bottom plates 16" on center

  • How to mark off window and door location.

  • How to fit sole plates (bottom plates) over sill plates

  • how to fabricate corner studs (Intersection Box.)

Outside Wall Section

Rough Openings For A Door And A Window

  1. How to calculate the dimensions of wall studs.

    • First you will need to figure out how high you want your ceilings to be inside the home.

    • Once you have that measurement, add 1/2" for sheetrock, and 1 1/2" for strapping. This will give you an exterior wall height.

    • Now that you know how tall your exterior wall will be, its time to calculate the length of your studs.

    • To do this you must subtract the height of the sill plate, bottom plate, and both top plates, from your total wall height.

    • The result will equal the length of your studs.

      Outside Wall Section

      Total Wall Height Is Equal To Both Sets Of Top Plates And The studs

  2. How to accurately cut studs to size.

    • Your best bet is to cull all of the studs for your house at once. This will ensure even studs throughout and will reduce the wave effect on ceilings and roofs.

    • Square off all of your stud lumber on the Chop saw. This involves cutting off a thin piece of each stud to create a straight end.

    • Set up a jig on your chop saw table, measuring the exact length of your studs.

      • A jig is a setup that will enable you to cut many boards to the same measurement without measuring each one.

      • First make a box out of boards on either side of the chop saw. The box should align evenly with the chop saw surface.

      • Next measure a stud to length and cut it.

      • Lock the blade in the down position on your chop saw.

      • Place the cut stud snuggly against the blade surface.

      • Once the stud is lined up, take a block of wood and screw it down into the box behind the cut stud. The block must sit snuggly against the stud.

      • You now have a block to place each piece of lumber against. This will ensure the same measurement for all cuts.

    A Miter Saw Jig Is Very Useful For Cutting Many Pieces Of Lumber To The Same Length

  3. How to calculate the size and placement of your window, and door, rough openings.

    • How to calculate the size of rough openings

      • Measure the height and width of the window or door, then add 2" to each.

      • If your window is 3' x 5', then your rough opening will be 3' 2" x 5' 2".

      • Rough openings are larger than the actual size of the window or door, to leave a little room for play during installation. Also new buildings have a tendency to settle and move over time.

    • How to calculate the placement of rough openings.

      • You must first figure out how high you want the top of your windows to be off the floor in your home.

      • This measurement will be the top measurement of your window rough openings.

      • Next, you must figure out where on the wall each window is to be placed.

      • Once you have found the placement of each window, mark off the height and width of each plus 2".

    • Doors are slightly different because the door assembly sits on the floor.

      • Measure the height of the door and add 2" to that measurement from the floor.

      • Do the same for the width of the door.

    Rough Openings Are 2 inches Taller And Wider Than The Actual Size Of The Window Or Door

  4. What are the rough opening parts?

    • Studs, Trimmer studs, Headers, Rough Sills, Cripple Studs.

  5. How to measure the dimensions of rough opening parts.

    • Trimmer studs will run from the bottom plate to the header / the top of the rough opening.

    • Headers will rest on top of trimmers and against studs.

      • They will therefore be 3" wider than the rough opening dimensions.

      • The thickness of the header must be constructed to equal the exact width of your studs.

      • The height of the header will depend on the width of the rough opening. The wider the rough opening the wider the lumber. Check your local codes for dimensions.

    • Rough sills will rest against trimmers and will therefore measure the same as the width of the rough opening.

    • Cripple studs support the rough sill. Their measurement will be from the bottom plate to the bottom of the rough sill.

    • Cripple studs above headers will measure the difference between the header and top plate.

  6. Cut all of the rough opening parts you have just measured, to size.

    Rough Opening Parts

  7. How to make a header.

    • Making the header is a little more complicated because it involves a variety of calculations. Headers are constructed of 2x6, 2x8, or 2x10, lumber. Your local building codes may require you to use specific size lumber depending on the width of each rough opening.

    • Once you have chosen the appropriate size lumber, cut 3 lengths for each rough opening (for 2' x 6' walls.) Remember that the header fits over the trimmers so it needs to be wider than the rough opening.

    • Next, you will need to cut out 2 pieces of 1/2" plywood to the exact dimensions of the boards you have just cut.

    • Combine the plywood and boards together to form the header. You can glue and nail them together, or just nail them together. This will form a very strong support for your roof.

    Headers Are Made with Plywood And Lumber

    Header Size Will Depend On The Size Of The Rough Opening

  8. Top and bottom plates

    Marking The Location Of Rough Openings On Both Top And Bottom Plates Of The Outside Wall
  9. How to assemble corner and intersection boxes.

How To Make An Intersection Box

Intersection Boxes Are Used To Join Walls To Each Other


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