What is a Framer?

A day in the life of a framer.

Framing carpenters put together the wooden structural parts of new houses and other mainly residential structures. It’s a collaborative profession that demands skill, strength, creative problem-solving abilities and communication between framers.

An early sstart
An early start

Framers usually arrive at the jobsite around 6-7am, beating rush-hour traffic. There, they are joined by fellow framers and other tradespeople – electricians, plumbers, HVAC installers, etc. – each playing a specific role in bringing a new building to completion.

Work hours
Work hours

Most framers work a minimum of 40 hours a week. If your employer is busy, you may be asked to work 12-15 hour days and even weekends – for which you’ll collect higher overtime pay. While the long hours are physically demanding, the job satisfaction is top-notch. With good overtime, a framer who has completed their four-year apprenticeship can easily make a six-figure annual salary. Not too shabby for someone in their early twenties.

The great outdoors
The great outdoors

Contrary to office workers, framers spend their day outdoors, selecting, measuring, sawing, fitting and hammering together wood joists, studs, planks, trusses and panels. As a team, they periodically lift and fasten floor and wall assemblies into place. Framers also collaborate with other trades to facilitate efficient builds.

It's not all work!
It’s not all work!

Jobsites tend to be informal and lively, with constant back-and-forth banter and joking among co-workers. It makes the day go fast and keeps the job fun, varied and exciting. Those with a sense of humor are highly valued!

Skills you’ll master as a framer include

  • Basic math
  • Ability to read and follow plans/blueprints
  • Measuring and planning
  • Knowledge of building codes
  • Ability to lift and carry heavy pieces of material or structures
  • Use of saws, nail-guns and other power tools
  • Use of various hand tools
  • Forklift and work truck operation

Tools you’ll need

Framers are responsible for buying and looking after their own tools.
These typically include:

  1. Framing Hammer
  2. Tape Measure
  3. Nail Puller
  4. Eye Protection
  5. Level
  6. Carpenter’s Square
  7. Hard Hat
  8. Work Gloves
  9. Safety Boots
  10. Carpenter’s Pencil
  11. Utility Knife
  12. Chisel

The total cash outlay for these ranges between $200-$300.
Be sure to invest in quality gear.