Typical framed wall components and descriptions

Bottom Plate (or Sole Plate)
The bottom, horizontal structural member of a stud framed wall. The bottom plate sets on the subfloor, nails through the subfloor into floor joists.

Small pieces of wood or metal strapping placed in an X-pattern between the floor joists at midspan to prevent the joists from twisting and squeaking.

Cap Plate (Top Plate)
The upper top plate, horizontal structural member of a stud framed wall.

Compound Miter
A miter (angle) cut with the saw blade sloped at a specified angle (i.e. 22°, 45°).

Corner Braces
Diagonal braces placed at the corners of framed walls to stiffen them and provide extra strength.

Corner Post
The wall stud and spacer blocks that create an interior nailing surface for drywall at a framed corner.

Cripple Stud (or Trimmer Stud)
Short studs placed between the header and a top plate or between a sill and sole plate.

The upward bow, curve or rise along the length of a board. Deck boards are set on end with the crown up. Over time, the crown will sag and the board will straighten.

Usually referring to outside projects, the lumber that forms the floor surface. Decking fastens directly over the floor joists.

Girder (Beam)
A larger beam of wood or steel used as the principle support of concentrated loads at points along its span.

Driving a nail perpendicularly through the width side board (i.e. straight, 90-degree angle)

The visible flat front board that caps the rafter tail ends and fly rafter edges.

Floor Joists
The main subfloor framing members that support the floor span. Joist are usually made of engineered wood I-beams or 2x8 (or larger) lumber.

Fly Rafters
The end rafters that form the outside edge of the roof's rake (overhang).

A beam placed perpendicular to wall suds above doors, windows or other openings to carry the weight of structural loads.

Parallel framing member installed horizontally to support floor and ceiling loads.

Joist Hangers
Metal brackets designed to hold joist ends. Using hangers is usually faster and easier than toenailing joists.

Ledger Board/Strip
A strip of lumber nailed to a beam, girder, or rim joist on which the floor joists rest for support.

Load-bearing Wall
A wall that supports structural weight above it. Identified by having overlapped or butted ceiling joists running perpendicularly above it.

Rake cross-bracing between the fly rafters and end gable rafters that the soffit nails to.

An angled cut, usually 45°. Unlike a compound miter cut, the saw blade remains straight at 0°.

Non Load-Bearing Wall
A wall that supports no load other than its own weight.

On Center (O.C.)
The term used to define the measured spacing between studs, joists, rafters, etc. O.C. measurements are taken from the center of one member to the center of the adjoining member.

A term applied to nails that originally meant the price per hundred. Today, it indicates nail length and is abbreviated with the letter "d," the English sign for one cent.

The term used to define a vertical element that is perfectly perpendicular to a level surface above or below.

A piece of wood made of three or more layers of wood veneer laminated together with glue.

The angle of the roof slope, measured as "X" inches per 12" (x/12). Roof pitches commonly range from 4/12 to 8/12. To calculate a roof's pitch, place a carpenter's level positioned level on roof line, measure out 12" on the level, from that 12" point measure down to the roof line. This figure (i.e. 4" to 8") is the first number of the pitch.

Rough Opening
The framed-in opening, slightly larger than the actual window/door, that replaces wall studs to support the structure and accommodate a window/door.

The structural covering applied over studs, rafters or roof trusses.

The piece of structural wood forming the lower side of a window opening.

Sill Plate
The horizontal wood member that is anchored to the foundation masonry to provide a nailing surface for floors or walls built above.

The underside board of eaves and rakes. Soffits are often vented to draw air into the attic.

Sole Plate
The bottom horizontal structural member of a stud framed wall.

Spacer Blocks
Short 2x4 or 2x6 blocks nailed to corner studs. A wall stud is nailed to the spacers that creates a new nailing surface.

The distance between the structural supports in floors, ceilings and roofs.

Assembling framing one member at a time on the job site, instead of raising prefabricating walls or trusses as a unit.

A 2x4 or 2x6 vertical framing member used to construct walls and partitions.

Boards or plywood installed over joists on which the finish floor is laid.

A temporary nailer. An object it "tacked" into place to assist in positioning, measuring, handling, etc.

Starting a nail at an angle or slant in one framing member and driving it through into a second (usually perpendicular) framing piece.

Top Plate
The top horizontal framing members of a framed wall.

The inward angle of two sloping roof sections. Framing consists of a doubled valley rafter in the middle that extends from a top plate corner to a second ridge board, with angled jack rafters for support.