How House Framing Works

Learn about the structural elements behind construction framing: load paths, internal forces, external forces, why these factors make a house stand strong, and how they apply to almost anything you build.

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  • Train with a Pro

  • Spanish Subtitles Available

  • Mobile Access

  • 11 In-depth Lessons

  • Certificate of Completion

  • Practical Resources

Lesson Plan

11 Video Lessons · 1H 12M

  • 1. Introduction

    Your instructor, Jordan Smith, is a professional builder and president and owner of the design-build firm Smith House. Jordan shares what he loves about framing: It’s the perfect mix of physics and craftsmanship.

  • 2. External Forces

    Jordan reviews the three external forces that a building encounters—dead loads, live loads, and environmental loads—and how each of these forces physically interacts with a structure.

  • 3. Internal Forces

    There are five types of internal forces: tension, compression, shear, bending moment, and torsion. Learn how these forces act on a structure, and which common construction materials are associated with each type of force.

  • 4. Assemblies

    Walls are an essential construction assembly that go into framing. Jordan takes you through the ways in which walls are reinforced with cross bracing, shiplap, and sheathing, and how they resist the external forces of compression, tension, and shear.

  • 5. Bending Moments

    Jordan reviews how bending moments impact various framing structures, like door frames and windows. Also, learn how door frames and windows brace against bending moments using studs and beams.

  • 6. Resisting Torsional Forces

    Jordan discusses the fundamental framing elements that resist torsional force, such as bracing in the foundation, beam to post applications, and wall to roof applications. He also reviews how jack studs help areas with large gaps of space—for example, how garage doors resist torsional forces.

  • 7. Trusses

    Trusses are triangular structures that utilize tension and shear to create stable, strong framing. Learn how trusses are applied to roofing, ceilings, and beams.

  • 8. Roofs and Windows

    Jordan uses a framing structure model to identify key components like the rafters, headers, beams, and studs. Then, he tracks the load paths throughout the roof and windows, marking the areas experiencing compression and tension to show how the structure resists external forces.

  • 9. Front of the House

    Jordan walks you through the front of the model and explains how the load paths move through the front door, garage door, sole plates and top plates in the walls.

  • 10. Interiors

    Jordan takes you inside the model to show how load paths move through the cathedral ceiling, ceiling joists, and load-bearing walls. He also explains the structural differences between a load bearing and non-load-bearing wall, and how to identify either one in a home.

  • 11. Conclusion

    Ultimately, framing should be durable, functional, and beautiful. Jordan reviews that knowing why a structure is built is just as important as knowing how it's built, and will help you become a better construction professional.

Who it's for: This course is designed for those new to the trades or beginner-level framers looking to gain a strong foundation in the basic fundamentals of how construction framing works when building a house.

Key Topics

  • Forces & stresses

  • Loads & load paths

  • Trusses

  • Roofs & windows

  • Assemblies

  • Identifying load-bearing walls

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Common Questions

  • What is MT Copeland?

    MT Copeland helps you further your career in the building industry with expert-led online education that will make you a better, smarter tradesperson.

    Our training courses give you a foundation in construction fundamentals and trade skills with real-world applications and best practices to help you grow on the job.

  • What do courses include?

    Online courses include professionally produced videos taught by leaders in the trades and supplementary learning material such as quizzes, assessments and downloadable materials to help you acquire new skills. Watch anywhere, always at your own pace. We keep lesson videos short so they’re easy to watch after work or on your lunch break. You can finish a course in one sitting, or space it out over a week or two.

  • How does the 30-day guarantee work?

    If you’re not happy with a course, let us know within 30 days for a full refund. Our goal is to provide maximum value for your career. If we haven’t delivered on that promise, let us know.

  • Can you learn with MT Copeland outside of the u.s.?

    Yes! You can take MT Copeland courses from anywhere in the world. Our courses are online, so if you have access to the Internet, you can watch our training videos. Courses are taught in English, with English captions and Spanish subtitles available.

  • Where did the name MT Copeland come from?

    MT Copeland was named after a legendary educator who promoted the idea that training in a specific trade paired with a knowledge of general business principles opens up a whole new world of career possibilities. We believe in the same powerful combination of skills and knowledge.

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