/How To Frame a Cabin or Tiny House
  • How To Frame A Cabin Day 1

3 Days to Frame The Cabin Walls

Here’s Day #1 of Framing

It took two of us just three days to frame all the walls, doors, windows and even start to Tyvek the cabin.

In fact, we built our entire off grid cabin in just 15 days. Click the calendar below to see the exact build schedule.


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That’s from the start of clearing/leveling the land on May 1st to making the cabin weather tight on May 15th.

We went with typical dimensional lumber and followed our local building code. All our walls were build 16″ o.c. and we really beefed up some walls using 2′ x  6’s instead of 2′ x 4’s which is explained below and in our future framing posts.

You’ll also see our truss design is something something most builders have never seen before. It’s a rare technique that I’m extremely happy my dad decided to incorporate and one I expect to see more frequently used in the cabin designs that our followers have been sharing with us. Stay tuned for that post!

Also, if you’d like I can send you a weekly update that includes a newest completed phase of the build.

Simply Subscribe Now! and you’ll join a rapidly growing band of fellow off grid builders who have decided to watch and learn as this build unfolds!

In our last post we had just completed the floor joists, putting down the flooring and building the front deck. The day before we had just built the foundation pads and supporting beams.

Framing 101

In a quick framing 101 it helps to know the names of the wall components.

Headers run horizontally across the top of door and window rough openings. These support the weight of floor joists, ceiling joists, and rafters. Each header has a king stud nailed to either end with a cripple nailed under each end. If the header is longer than 5 feet then the cripple must be doubled up. Standard height of door and window headers is 6′ 10 7/8″. Of course this can vary depending on your design.

Typical Wall Framing

Framing Corners

Remember when framing corners to allow for a nailing surface on both side of the corner for your drywall. Here are a few different methods for framing in that nailing surface.

Corner Framing Techniques 1 Corner Framing Techniques 2 Corner Framing Techniques 4

Framing Intersecting Interior Walls

Like the corner, when you frame an intersecting wall remember to allow for a nailing surface on both side of your corner.

Corner Framing Techniques 5

Wall Layout

You can see the complete floor plan design in this post but below is a quick reminder if you haven’t seen it.

The Off Grid Cabin-Floor-Plans

TIP: We used a free app on the iPad called Roomle to draw up a 2D and a 3D rendering of the cabin.

Our first end wall is 16’ long and has one window for the bathroom. This exterior end wall is build with 2’X4′ 16″o.c.
However, the opposing end wall will be constructed with 16″ o.c. 2′ x 6″ instead of the standard 16″ o.c. 2′ x 4’s as the living room will have a cathedral ceiling. This outside end wall will need to support the full weight of two floors as well as the roof and it’s winter load.


That DeWalt cordless nail-gun was by far the BEST tool on the site!

TIP: The ONLY way we were able to frame  this cabin in 3 days and build it completely in 15 days came down to…

  1. We had a clear plan from the start.
  2. The Dewalt cordless nail gun

This easily shaved of an entire week off the build which would have been spent hammering and recuperating from sore forearms.

If I could recommend one tool to make your life a lot easier this would be it hands down!

DeWalt 20V Max XR Brushless Dual Speed Nailer


In the background is our Lifetime Plastic tool storage box. We use it today to store our firewood!

Wall bracing is required while we frame to not only keep the wall up and steady with just two people but it allows us to finely plumb and square the wall before nailing it down.


Putting up temporary wall bracing.

Wall bracing is required to not only keep the wall up while framing the second wall but it allows you to finely plumb and square the wall before nailing it down.



Another must have in order to build this cabin in such short order was this DeWalt double bevel sliding compound miter saw.

It was fast to cut through even the largest of our lumber, was quiet, ran off our Champion 3250 Watt generator and ensured every cut was perfectly square.


Framing half of the rear wall. You can see our access road in the background.


TIP: Always ensure that the wall are both square and plum using a large framing square in the corners as well as a long (preferably 4′) level.

The back wall will be 20’ long in total but we built in two sections for ease of lifting.



Half of the front wall with the door opening and kitchen window header.

We built the front wall (20’) in two 10′ sections as well for ease of lifting.




The front wall framing will have an opening for a kitchen window, the front door, and two living room windows. We went with two living room windows for a few reasons. On, it was MUCH cheaper to buy two windows than one large one. Both windows still allow the same amount of light in and provide just as good a view than one large one. Second, we wanted to be able to open the front windows (especially near the wood stove) and Home Depot didn’t have a window large enough that slides open.

We’ll give you all the window and door sizes, as well as a full cost write up in a future post once we have them all installed.

With the end wall and two half walls up that was it for day one of framing and day six over all.


Tomorrow we’ll finish up the back wall, put up some more plywood sheathing to continue closing in the cabin and also get a head start on the upper floor joists. Remember the living room (the walls that aren’t framed yet) will have a cathedral ceiling above so there sill be no floor joist above them. It’s a busy day for sure!

We hope you’ve enjoyed the build so far and look forward to having you back again real soon for days 2 and 3 of framing the off grid cabin.

Ready To Check Out Tomorrows Build?

Framing The Cabin Walls In 3 Days (Day 2)

To get caught up on the entire build you can head here to our building section and join us right on day #1.

OK Your turn…

If you’ve enjoyed this post do us a solid and share it with the buttons you see on the side. Your the reason it gets out there 🙂

We also always make a Pinterest photo for those avid pinners out there!

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Framing the off grid cabin in 3 days day 1

2018-08-14T21:55:29+00:00By |Building The Cabin|5 Comments

About the Author:

After being physically and mentally disabled by cancer a highly decorated Air force helicopter pilot overcame the odds to regain his health and began an off grid odyssey that has helped change the lives of thousands. During his recovery he launched The Off Grid Cabin and today over 1 million people have seen his posts and read his blog every month. Read Steve’s inspirational comeback story here.


  1. Max January 17, 2018 at 10:20 pm - Reply

    Hi There,

    First off, I want to say that this blog you’ve put together is just amazing. Thanks you so much for putting forth the effort on this project. It’s incredibly inspirational and educational, thorough yet easy to grasp. I have two questions if you’re around though.

    The gentleman you’re working with puts together the walls and lifts them square/plumb. He puts in a support to steady them one at a time with a floor placeholder and also covers the base with OSB across the bottom.

    1) I don’t see a drill. Did he use a nail to steady the support and how does one get it out later?
    2) Why the use of OSB across the bottom prior to the full sheathing phase?

    Thanks again!

    • theoffgridcabin January 18, 2018 at 10:12 am - Reply

      Hey there Max!

      Thank you for the kind words! We’re so glad to hear that you are enjoying the build so far 
      To answer your questions…

      1) There is only 2 of us on the build and so once we raised one wall perpendicular (2 of us lifting), one would hold it there while the other put one nail (with the cordless nail gun) through the top of a 2×4 (placed aprox ¾ up the side of the raised wall) to create a 45 degree angle.

      Then we drive one nail through the bottom of the 2×4 into a scrap piece of blocking. Now we plumb the wall (as close as possible) and drive a wood screw through the top of the blocking on the floor to hold it. If we have to “fine tune” the plumb later we partially unscrew the block and tap it (not the wall) until we’re plumb. This is a much better technique than the usual method of knocking off the top of the 2×4 and trying to re-nail it plumb. When we’re done, we simply knock the 2×4 off and unscrew the wood block.

      2) Our floor incorporates a sandwich technique. Here’s what I mean… We build the floor joist, then cover it with OSB, build and raise all the walls as you see here. Later, once we’re finished with the framing, roof closed in, windows/doors all installed THEN we’ll put down FOAMULAR CodeBord Extruded Polystyrene Rigid Insulation – 48 Inch x 96 Inch x 1 Inch Ship Lap Edge and then another layer of OSB. Next we cover that with CGSB Approved Vapour Barrier (6mm POLY) and lastly we’ll be putting down our laminate flooring.

      The FOAMULAR core acts as a thermal break between the inside and out and is a highly effective method used in arctic homes. In addition, the first layer of OSB gets pretty mucky during the build and it’s nice to put that laminate flooring down on clean, undamaged OSB.

      Thanks for some really great questions Max. We’ll be cover every bit of all this in upcoming posts so stay tuned.



      • Max January 18, 2018 at 10:08 pm - Reply

        Hey Steve,

        1) Alright, gotcha. Sounds like you just pound out the support beam and then unscrew the support block when you’re ready to square/plumb. Get all your walls close to perfectly straight, the unscrew as needed. Cool, I thought there had to be a screw in there somewhere. Looked kind of tricky nailing all that stuff in.

        2) I don’t think my question was articulate enough on this one. I wasn’t meaning the floor but the piece of ply nailed to the bottom half of each frame. What’s the strategy in that? Why is that useful before anchoring them up? Please forgive me if I’m missing something.

        Thank a bunch!

        • theoffgridcabin January 20, 2018 at 11:26 am - Reply

          You got it Max.

          The OSB along the bottom gets nailed on after we’ve gotten at least three exterior walls plumb and square. Sometimes folks will get only two interesting exterior walls plumb and square, nail them together and then knock off the bracing only to find by the time they put up the third wall everything is off and required bracing again. This is just an extra step we took to avoid that happening. As well, we’re framing the loft floor joist before completing the rest of the main floor framing and that requires the additional rigidity provided by the OSB for working up top. You’ll see that in this post here. Hope that answered your question and hey… maybe I answered someone else’s question with that first reply LOL!

          Thanks Max!


  2. Roland Leveille February 7, 2018 at 12:16 pm - Reply

    Hi Steve, It’s been a while and I thought I’d come back for another look at your amazing cabin. I haven’t seen it this finished and you’ve done a great job!

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