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Tracing The Loads From The Roof To The Ground


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by J.D. Grewell

Having performed framing (pre-drywall or close-in) inspections for 30 years, I recently became aware of confusion regarding the newer floor framing systems. It appears some of it can be traced to foremen and site superintendents who are tasked to the maximum, have limited authority on the job site, and often have only minimal understanding of architectural plans, especially related to the floor framing systems.

Another factor may be a practice that is commonplace in my area. Often builders have one approved master plan for each floor plan they sell, and do not change the plan or correct it to as built after rooms are added or made larger to please the client. This practice creates a problem for those who are trying to build the structure, as well for those hired to evaluate it.


As a youngster, my grandfather taught me what I needed to know about framing. I learned a point load is the concentration of the weight of the structure above an area. For instance, consider the framing above a wide doorway. Generally there will be two 2" x 10" headers. The ends of the headers must be supported. In most cases there will be a minimum of two 2" x 4" studs. What lies below these stress points?

To understand the load in relation to roofs and walls, step back and ask; “What holds this up and where does all the weight (load) end up?â€

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