Simple And Easy Guide On How To Frame A Window

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People mostly frame windows during the construction of their home or building site. But if you want to renovate your home then you certainly need to place a new window or replace it with one with a different window size by following building codes.

If the building has a brick wall, then to change the frame you need to get an expert who can dig locator holes in it as per the building home code official. During the entire project make sure that the structure is a flat face for the wall. You need to fix the adjacent pieces entirely with each other.

However, knowing how to frame a window requires great care and skill. This article will give more information regarding how to frame a window in a proper way.

Things to know regarding how to frame a window

The frame of a window consists of a head and jambs that create a perfect space for the particular window sash.

Framing Windows

This similar hack can be applied to the window frame as well, cutting down the utility costs and bringing great comfort to your home site.


  1. Double Top Plate – The double top plate helps evenly distribute the load to the stud combo below.
  2. Cripples – The window and door cripples are mere wall studs that fill the space above the header and below a sill. These are nailed to sill layout marks and the jack studs support these.
  3. Header – These are the load bearing beams that transfer the load above, or the can be called support weight of rafters, ceiling, and floor joists from above. The sizes of various headers depend upon the structural loading and capacity but a header should be built three inches longer than the window rough opening width.
  4. King Jack – This runs adjacent to the jack stud from the top plate down to the bottom plate.
  5. Jack Stud – The purpose of this is to transfer the load from the header down to the bottom plate. Depending upon the size of the window opening and door openings, it can have a few as one on either side with a large rough opening that carries more heavy loads.
  6. Window Sill –  This also called a saddle creates the bottom of the window openings. It varies from a single piece to a double piece. Many builders also use a double sill to improve the width of the nailing surface for the window flanges. The length of the window sill is the same length as the window header and is nailed to the bottom of the trimmers.
  7. Bottom Plate – This is a single piece of framing material that transfers the stud weight down the foundation.
  8. King Stud – This runs from the bottom to the top plate and is nailed on both ends of the header.
  9. Trimmers – Trimmers are nailed to the inside of the king stud and under both the sides of the header. These are cut to the same length as the window opening height.

Tips on Window framing

Several parts need to be assembled but without good planning and a properly planned action plan a lot of time would be lost and efficiency would be compromised.

Materials and power tools needed for the project

In this case, prepare a diagram showing the location of framing components and then collect the measurement tools accordingly.

  1. Stud finder
  2. Level
  3. Hammer
  4. Nail set
  5. Measuring tape
  6. Flat pry bar
  7. Reciprocating saw
  8. Framing square
  9. Drill
  10. Screwdriver kit
  11. Combination square
  12. 16-D and 10-D nails
  13. 2 to 3-inch deck or wood
  14. Staples
  15. Stapler
  16. Handsaw
  17. Plywood
  18. Shims

How to frame a window

The following steps are the best ways put forward by carpenters to increase efficiency and reduce chances of errors regarding the project.

Inspect the studs and prepare the workstation

The very first step in the window framing process is to prepare the working area by covering the floor with drop cloths and blocking the doors to keep the dust out.

You can also keep a fan on the adjacent window and face it outside. Then use the current wall stud on one end and on the other side a two by two or two by four cleats connect to another stud and offer a surface for mending the dry wall especially after installing the window.

Compared to cutting the dry wall through the center of a stud this comes as a tedious but straightforward option.


Fix the studs

In this step, you need to get a single new stud that has the same length as the current ones. When you make cuts on two cripple studs the sill drops on their heads.

Consider installing studs on top as the window sill will stay between it and the cripple stud. Then push the fastener within every 12 inches in a varying pattern.

The wedge and stud between the top and bottom plates as such will install a combination of the cripples and king studs.

If you further want to frame the cavity, head to the back of the dry wall, drive the cripple stud midway into it, secure it with screws or nails. This task might change the position of the stud offset by 1/4 of an inch.

Make the markings

At the bottom plate, create a mark that shows a spot for the king studs.

You need to choose a level above the jack stud and place a mark across the studs that will show the bottom of the header. Then measure upwards and mark the spot for the top of the header.

You also need to mark at a position around 1/8 higher than this measurement. Then follow up by making cuts around 1/8 from underneath.


Mark the center of the stud for cutting

The fourth step includes marking the center that you will cut at the bottom. While marking them use the required rough opening size with an extra 3 inches for double bottom plates or 1 1/2 inches (for a single bottom page).

Next, take a square and cut lines across each stud. Before creating these marks prepare a temporary platform on the walls for this purpose.

Score the lines

In this step, you need to bring out a circular saw and adjust it to its full depth. After that confirm if the blade lies square with the base plate of the saw. To test this, cut an unwanted piece.

When you reach this stage of learning how to frame around a window use safety wear. Then complete the cuts by working with a handsaw or reciprocating.

Build and then attach the header

This can be done by cutting two pieces of 2 × 6 or 2 x 8 as that is header size. All these items should have the same size as the width of the cavity while also having extra 3 inches. For spacers, build strips from half-inch plywood.

Then find the direction to which the 2xs bend upwards at the center. For this task, place the materials (2xs) upon each other and check if the crowns face the same direction.

Keep a spacer at 8 – 10 inches, place the other 2x at the top and fasten it with triple 3 – inch screws.

As the crown faces upwards, position the header on the jack studs. For additional security, hit it with a hammer. Then you can install this with 3 – inch screws or nails.

Building the Sill

For this, you can start by cutting a maximum of two pieces to length. Secure the ledge with a nail and then inspect the opening for the square.

If the cavity width and height exceeds the window by 1/2 inch the opening the opening should measure 1/4 inch out of the square.

Then complete the check by placing the window in the cavity and carefully looking for the square.

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Image credit: Kitchen Infinity Photo

Make the Cuttings

Some walls at home might not allow you to patch them with ease. If you have this issue, you will have to slip in the new window frame.

For this cut the size of the completed walls that fits the opening. Then grab a reciprocating saw and score through the lower and upper studs. Cut the studs until you reach halfway and pry them out. Since you want to make room for the sill and then clean out open spaces.

Fixing the sill and header

Push the header into the cavity and make it stand by inserting a jack stud on both ends. Then bring in the wall sill and connect the framing pieces with screws.

Next, put the new window structure into the wall space and ensure it fits. You can also treat your windows for extra privacy and protection from harmful radiations from the Sun.


With the steps in this article above you can carry out the windows framing process of various categories in a more convenient way in the home. Now you can go ahead and add some curtain and blinds on your windows to make them more aesthetically pleasing.

Jim Spencer

Jim Spencer

Jim has been in the construction business for over 12 years with plenty of experience working on client projects, from start to finish. From kitchens to bathrooms and backyard spaces, he writes on a wide variety of topics surrounding home improvement.

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