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Platform Versus Balloon Multi-Story House Framing

Part 1

Platform Framing

When framing a multi-story home there are two choices of construction techniques - platform or western framing and balloon framing.

Platform framing is the most common of the two construction methods used today for multi-story residential home construction.

As the name implies, a platform, the floor, is first constructed over the foundation. Walls are then erected to the height of the second story, where a second platform, second story floor, is constructed. Walls for the second story are then added and if their is a third story, a platform, third story floor is built.

Figure 1 shows basic multi-story platform wall construction and Table 1 shows the associated structural components.

Platform multi-story house framing

Figure 1 - Platform multi-story house framing

Structural Components of Platform Multi-Story House Framing

  • A - 1st Floor - Floor Joist
  • B - 1st Floor - Sub-Floor
  • C - 1st Floor - Bottom Wall Plate
  • D - 1st Floor - Wall Stud
  • E - 1st Floor - Upper Wall Plate
  • F - 1st Floor - Top Wall Plate
  • G - 2nd Floor - Floor Joist
  • H - 2nd Floor - Sub-Floor
  • I - 2nd Floor - Bottom Wall Plate
  • J - 2nd Floor - Wall Stud
  • K - 2nd Floor - Upper Wall Plate
  • L - 2nd Floor - Top Wall Plate

From a construction standpoint, platform house framing is much easier, and hence, less labor intensive than balloon house framing.

  • The walls can be conveniently built on the floor and then raised into position.
  • It is much easier to locate the placement of windows and doors.
  • Smaller lengths of lumber ( 2 x 4) are less expensive.
  • Separation between floors acts as a fire stop.

Continue to Balloon Framing - Part 2