Platform Framing vs Balloon Framing

The framing of a house.

Balloon framing is one of the earlier wood construction methods. Light frames of wood are constructed around studs that run continuously from top to bottom of a building. The roof is a truss structure that consists of horizontal ceiling joists and sloping rafters. Platform framing is a more modern approach in construction. It utilizes plates to enable the upward extension of a building. Floor joists for each story are supported by the top plate of the floor underneath.

The main difference between the two types occurs at the floor lines. To help you, here are the advantages and disadvantages of both.

Platform Framing Advantages

It is a simpler construction process compared to balloon construction. The technique involved also makes it a quicker method of construction. One structure is constructed and is well supported by a foundation. Builders then use the first level as a platform to project the next floor. The process continues until the desired number of floors is achieved. Rafters and roof joists are erected on the final tier of walls.

Platform framing utilizes less wood. Additionally, smaller pieces of wood can be used on the wall frames. No fire stopping is necessary because the stud spaces are enclosed by the floor platforms. Because walls can be fabricated down on the floor, the safety level for workers is higher with platform framing.

The technique also requires less labor. This helps to keep construction costs within reasonable limits.


Structural problems may occur after completion of the house. This is because the joists and headers experience interruption from the sub-floor. Vertical shrinkage is likely when the wood dries. This may destabilize siding materials, resulting in frequent maintenance.

Balloon Framing Advantages

You can expect fewer problems once construction is complete. Drywall cracking is unlikely, which adds to the durability of the building. Balloon construction is useful in situations where a vaulted ceiling, tall chimney, or two-story open foyer is desired.

You will also have more flexibility in window design. Angled or arched window tops are easier to achieve when using this method. Large or vaulted windows are also more workable with the balloon technique than platform framing. The technique creates a structure with a higher resilience due to the longer wall frames that are used. In turn, it means the building will be better able to withstand high speed or gusty winds.


In the event of a fire, the building is likely to be destroyed more quickly. This is because the structure provides an easy path for fire to travel from one floor to the next. This means you will have to install fire stops on each level.

Balloon framed buildings don’t have insulation between a room and its exterior walls. This will contribute to higher energy bills in the future. Additionally, the long framing members used in construction pushes up construction costs.

Walls constructed turn out to be very heavy. To raise these walls, more labor, skill, and specialized equipment is required. It also increases the risk during construction.

When choosing between platform and balloon framing, there are many distinctions that will likely make one option more advantageous for you. The decision will be much easier now that you have this guide!