How Much Does a Frame House Cost?

Before your home becomes a home, it would have to go through several construction stages. One of those stages is framing.

The frame, usually constructed using lumber, serves as the skeleton of your house. It outlines the shape of your home, the height of the walls and ceilings, and the positions of the doors and windows. The framing, in layman’s term, would be your guide when it’s time to “dress up” your house.

frame house example

Of course, you won’t be able to erect the skeleton if you don’t have the lumber and people constructing it. You’d have to shop for these components. With that said, how much does a frame house cost?

Average House Framing Price

According to, the average labor cost in framing a house runs from $6 to $8 per square foot. The cost of materials, on the other hand, could range from $5.5 to $14 per square foot. As we are basing the prices by the square foot, it logically follows that the larger the area size, the more you have to pay for the framing installation.

For instance, if you’re planning on building a 2,000-square foot house, you would likely spend around $12,000 to $6,000 in labor cost, and another $11,000 to $28,000 for the materials. Combined, that would result in an average house framing price of $23,000 to $34,000.

On the other hand, a 3,000-square foot house would cost you $16,000 to $24,000 in labor and $16,500 to $42,000 on materials, bringing the average price to around $32,500 to $66,000.

Note that the following prices are only estimates. The exact cost to frame a house would depend on how much your framing contractor or rough carpenter charges for the installation. Often, installers are subcontractors working for a general contractor and charge by labor.

Also, the exact cost to frame a house would depend on your choice of framing materials. Most framing installation makes use of lumber as it is more affordable.  If you have enough budget, though, you could opt for other materials such as steel, brick, and concrete that are more expensive than their wooden counterpart. You would also spend more on labor cost if you choose the said frames as the installation of such materials requires special equipment and skilled professionals.

Cost of Materials

As said earlier, most residential constructions make use of lumber, particularly light structural lumber, for house framing. The components of a house frame include the studs, headers, roof trusses, and floor joists, among others.

Others may also opt for engineered lumber. Although expensive, an engineered wood is strong and facilitate large spans without requiring large trees.

To give you a better idea of the cost of materials, let’s take a look at the prices of lumber from United Builders Supply. The company, based in Richmond, Rhode Island, sells materials for Doug fir, Spruce, and pressure treated framing. The list of sample prices for each material is as follows:

Doug Fir (price per unit)

  • 2×10- 8’ Premium $11.04
  • 2×10- 10’ Premium $13.80
  • 2×10- 12’ Premium $16.56
  • 2×10- 14’ Premium $19.32
  • 2×10- 16’ Premium $22.08
  • 2×10- 18’ Premium $24.84
  • 2×10- 20’ Premium $27.60
  • 2×12- 10’ Premium $14.24
  • 2×12- 10’ Premium $17.86
  • 2×12- 12’ Premium $21.36
  • 2×12- 14’ Premium $24.90
  • 2×12- 16’ Premium $28.78
  • 2×12- 18’ Premium $32.04
  • 2×12- 20’ Premium $35.60

Spruce (price per unit)

  • 2×10- 8’KD #2&BTR $8.17
  • 2×10- 12’KD #2&BTR $12.27
  • 2×10- 14’KD #2&BTR $14.32
  • 2×10- 16’KD #2&BTR $16.27
  • 2×10- 18’KD #2&BTR $19.75
  • 2×10- 2-‘KD #2&BTR $21.67

Pressure Treated (price per unit)

  • 4×4-8’SYP MCA #1.25 $14.70
  • 4×4-10’SYP MCA #1.25 $17.02
  • 4×4-12’SYP MCA #1.25 $19.22
  • 4×4-16’SYP MCA #1.25 $27.60
  • 4×6-16’SYP MCA #2.25 $25.34
  • 4×6-16’SYP #2 MCA .25 $31.87
  • 6×6-16’SYP MCA GC .15 $48.17

Another home improvement store is Menards which has more than 300 branches located in different locations including Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, Wisconsin, and Wyoming. The company prides itself with the low costs of its lumber and boards. Here’s a sample of some of their online prices:

Dimensional Lumber

  • 2” x 6” Pre-cut Stud $6.99
  • 2” x 6” MSR SPF 2400 $14.99
  • 2” x 8” #2 & Better Douglas Fir $12.19
  • 2” x 10” #2 & Better Douglas Fir $16.12
  • 2” x 12” #2 & Better Douglas Fir $27.56
  • 2” x 6” #2 Southern Yellow Pine $28.99
  • 2” x 10” #2 Southern Yellow Pine $69.99
  • 2” x 12” #2 Southern Yellow Pine $78.99

Treated Dimensional Lumber

  • 2” x 2” Above Ground AC2 Pine $3.57
  • 2” x 3” Above Ground AC2 Pine $4.09
  • 2” x 6” Ground Contact AC2 Green Pressure $12.99
  • 2” x 12” Ground Contact AC2 Green Pressure $32.99
  • 2” x 4” Ground Contact AC2 Cedar Tone $7.09
  • 2” x 8” Ground Contact AC2 Cedar Tone $24.19
  • 2” x 12” Ground Contact AC2 Cedar Tone $40.69

Hiring a Contractor

As a frame house cost could be expensive, you should give careful consideration on who you will hire for the job. As a rough carpenter is usually a subcontractor of the general contractor, you could verify with the latter if the former is licensed, bonded and, insured. Make it a point to emphasize that you need a framing carpenter that does his work well. After all, a framing that has many faults would affect your house after some time.

You could also visit home improvement websites to find your rough carpenter. For instance, Home Advisor has a list of framing contractors based on your location. What you only need to do is to fill out a form by first entering your zip code and then answer some queries. After that, you could contact contractors and request a cost estimate from them.

Most framing contractors would require you to place a deposit that is 10-50% of the total cost of installation. After the project, pay the remaining labor fee except for a 10% contingency. Only pay the remaining price once the contractor’s framing passes inspections. Of course, this system of payment should be agreed upon by you and the contractor through a written labor contract.

Good luck on shopping for a contractor and the materials for your next framing project!

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