Interest in energy-efficient construction has brought more attention to advanced framing techniques, now outlined in a booklet from APA—The Engineered Wood Association.

Advanced framing didn’t catch on when it was introduced in the 1970s, says Bob Clark, senior engineered wood specialist with APA. “We think the time for this approach is now because of more stringent energy codes and more builders trying to meet Energy Star guidelines. Advanced framing really provides more options for builders to get out there and meet codes by doing something different with the walls.”

The concept works to reduce thermal bridging, boost wall insulation levels, and optimize resource and energy efficiency by eliminating unnecessary framing.

“Some people think that by taking out a portion of the framing, you’re lowering the integrity of the structure,” Clark says. “In actuality, these walls are often stronger and have higher whole-wall R-values.”

Advanced framing isn’t an all-or-nothing approach. You can phase-in the techniques for incremental cost and energy savings. APA suggests:

  • Use 2x6 studs to increase cavity insulation depth and help meet new energy code requirements.
  • Change framing modules from 16 inches on center to 24 inches on center.
  • Use energy-efficient headers and single-member framing around openings.
  • Eliminate double top plates, aligning rafters, joists, and studs between floors.
  • Use three-stud corners and ladder blocking or metal connectors at wall intersections to allow for greater insulation volume.

With understanding of the techniques at all levels of the company, contractors and their clients can see cost savings on the materials side as well as better energy efficiency performance.
For more information, download the free PDF of the Advanced Framing Construction Guide at —Lauren Hunter, senior editor, REMODELING.

06/17/13: Having trouble on the jobsite explaining proper building techniques to your crews? Now you can enlist your smartphone or tablet as a teaching aid. APA–The Engineered Wood Association has created a mobile format for its Builder Tips series. The series features easy-to-read instructions and diagrams on such subjects as building squeak-free floors, preventing nails from popping, and keeping subfloors from buckling. Free at