I’m in the process of framing a house using 2×6 studs. If you’ve discovered this post through a search engine, I’m going to assume you just realized how heavy a 2×6 wall frame is – or even worse, a 2×8 – and you’re looking for a way to make it easier to erect.
If, like me, you are building by yourself or with limited assistance, raising up a heavy wall frame and getting it square, level, and plumb, is precarious at best. If the frame falls away from you, it can break; and if it falls towards you, you could be injured.
A typical 8’x8′ section of a 2×6 wall frame with 24 o/c spacing – seven full length studs in total – weighs between 100 and 120 lb, depending on the wood species and its moisture content.
You could use a tool called a wall jack – basically like a car jack for walls – but a decent full-sized pair typically costs over $1,000; or you can buy a couple of the small, sort of DIY kind that cost about $160 a piece. Instead, I came up with a simple tool to make this process a whole lot easier and safer.
It braces the frame so it can’t fall away from you. It also helps you square and plumb the frame. You only need a few studs and some screws to make it, and when you’re done with it, you can take it apart and repurpose the studs. Check it out in the video below…
Additional Tips for Lifting Heavy Wall Frames
- Work in small sections. I work in wall lengths of 8′ or less. If you try to lift a wall frame that is 12′ long, 16′, etc… you’ll find it virtually impossible, if not entirely impossible.
- Remove framing members that can be added back after the frame is up. For example, if you have a frame that contains rough openings for doors and/or windows, all of those extra jack studs, headers, etcetera are going to add a lot of weight to the frame. Rather than trying to lift that all at once, insert the rough opening frames after the rest of the wall has been stood up and fastened.
- Before lifting the frame, make sure your tools and some extra braces are within an arm’s length so you can easily grab them without having to take both of your hands off the frame. I always have my impact driver, level, rubber mallet, and a couple of 2x’s for bracing right where I need them before I lift the frame.
- If you’re fastening with screws, drive your screws halfway into the studs before you lift the wall so you can easily finish fastening them with one hand once the wall is in position.
- Always wear good work gloves. Gloves give you a better grip, and you’re less likely to get a splinter or a scratch that may cause you to drop the frame.