Framing Our Off Grid Cabin Walls In Just 3 Days!

Here's Day 1 of 3 Framing

Today is the first of three days that it took us to frame the off grid cabin walls.

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.

The_Off_Grid_Cabin_Calendar_May_1_to_May_15

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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.

Our Cabin's Framing Design

Our cabin is built using regular dimensional lumber and we made every effort to build it according to our residential building codes.

Meaning, it’s built just like a regular home on the grid but with a few special changes that allow for solar, water harvesting, and propane heating.

All our 2′ x 4′ (interior and exterior) walls were constructed 16″ on center however, we really beefed up some the end wall of our main living area.

We used 2′ x  6’s instead of 2′ x 4’s and we’ll detail exactly why further down and in some upcoming posts.

You’ll also discover that our unique truss design is one that most builders have never seen before.

It’s a rare technique that I’m extremely happy my dad decided to incorporate and one we’ve seen several folks use after we’ve shared it here.

Stay tuned for more about that roof design coming up in our Ultimate Roof & Rafter Guide.

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In our last post we had just completed the floor joists, putting down the sub floor and building the front deck.

Today let’s get started with the framing!

Framing 101: An Intro To Framing

Our cabin is built using regular dimensional lumber and we made every effort to build it according to our residential building codes.

All our 2′ x 4′ (interior and exterior) walls were constructed 16″ on center however, we really beefed up some the end wall of our main living area.

We used 2′ x  6’s instead of 2′ x 4’s and we’ll detail exactly why further down and in some upcoming posts.

You’ll also discover that our unique truss design is one that most builders have never seen before.

It’s a rare technique that I’m extremely happy my dad decided to incorporate and one we’ve seen several folks use after we’ve shared it here.

Stay tuned for more about that roof design coming up in our Ultimate Roof & Rafter Guide.

Here’s a quick run down of the basics of framing to get you oriented if it’s a first time for you.

None of this is difficult and it was my first time building anything.

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

Here is one of our favorite YouTube builders Shannon from HouseImprovments giving a complete run down on framing.

Our Cabin Floor Plan

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.

You can see our complete floor plan post here.

Framing The Cabin Walls

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.

Framing-the-Off-grid-Cabin-First-Wall

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

Framing-the-Off-grid-Cabin-First-Wall-2

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.

Framing-the-Off-grid-Cabin-First-Wall-Raising-the-wall

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.

Framing-the-Off-grid-Cabin-First-Wall-4

Framing-the-Off-grid-Cabin-Second-Wall-2

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-the-Off-grid-Cabin-Second-Wall

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

Framing-the-Off-grid-Cabin-Second-Wall-3

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.

Framing-the-Off-grid-Cabin-Second-Wall-Raising-the-wall

Framing-the-Off-grid-Cabin-Third-Wall

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.

Framing-the-Off-grid-Cabin-Third-Wall-End-of-day

Framing-the-Off-grid-Cabin-Third-Wall-3

Framing-the-Off-grid-Cabin-Third-Wall-2

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.

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.

Ready To Check Out The Next Step Of The Build?

Day Two Of Framing The Walls
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Framing the off grid cabin in 3 days day 1