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An Overview of Wood Framing: An Interview with Ivan Zimmerman of Ontelaunee Builders

By Ivan Zimmerman

Tell us a little bit about your company and its foundation.

Ontelaunee Builders is a Carpentry Contracting business located in Hamburg , PA and all our crew construction workers are from Berks County PA. Ontelaunee Builders was founded in 2002 by 2 brothers , myself ( Ivan ) and brother Joshua Zimmerman. We took on the framing portion of what had been a framing and excavating company owned by our previous employer who sold us the framing equipment when he chose to focus on excavation. Josh was 20 years old and I was 22 when we started this company as a 5 man (mostly Dutch speaking) residential framing crew.

What are some of the services your company provides?

The main service provided by Ontelaunee Builders is working as a subcontractor constructing the wood framing portions of any wood frame project. We wood frame anything from small house additions to wood framed Banks ,& police stations, to four story wood framed motels & apartment buildings. We also do start to finish projects such as pole buildings , decks , and agricultural projects.

Please explain wood framing and what it means to be a framing contractor:

Wood Framing Contractors typically construct only the main wood structure of a building after others have completed the excavation and concrete foundation work. The Carpentry Scope usually includes all wood framing , stair installation , installation of roof felt and building wrap , and installation of exterior doors and windows . A framer working in carpentry contracting frames long days - year round thru snow - rain - and 100 degree heat , usually arriving at the jobsite 7 AM and leaving at 5 or 6 PM. Scheduling our wood framing jobs is very challenging at times since we can be very affected by weather in our own framing scope, and job start dates are at times set back by permitting issues , or excavator & concrete contractors delays needing warmer or dryer weather to get their work ready for us. Each of our 4-5 man crews have a hi reach all-terrain lift on each job site to assist in material handling. Our crews usually frame a 2,000 sq ft home in 7 to 10 days.

What is the process of framing a home?

The framing of a typical home is as follows: On arrival the first step is to check concrete foundation and layout to see if it is per print. We then snap lines and install a sill seal foam and pressure treated 2X6 sill plates with masonry anchors into the top of the concrete foundation walls , followed with the 1st floor 2X10 or engineered wood floor joists and 3/4 inch tongue and groove floor underlayment sheathing. Walls are usually hand framed on the floor with 2X4 and 2X6 wood studs and sheathed with 1 layer plywood , a few men then work together to lift the wall and set & nail it in place. On a 2 story house the floor and wall framing is repeated while skids of plywood and lumber are lifted to 2nd floor with our high lift. On large homes we hire a crane to lift the roof trusses in place , the roof is then sheathed with plywood and 1 layer of roof felt paper is installed. The framing crew then installs the exterior doors and windows. Our crews have completed the Tyveck Certification to ensure correct installation of the building wrap and window flashing. The house is then broom swept and ready for the next trades such as electricians and plumbers.

Are framing contractors hired by the homeowners or a construction company?

Framing Contractors do most of their work as a subcontractor working for a builder. At times a homeowner who wants to manage his own project will hire a framer directly.

What are the benefits of hiring a framing contractor?

A framing contractor who specializes in carpentry usually gets the job done in a much shorter and professional way then a crew who does everything from framing to painting and flooring. When hiring a framing subcontractor make sure he is insured , it is also important to know you can trust the quality of his workmanship. You also need to know you can depend on his crew to complete the project in a time sensitive manner.

What's the best way for people to get in contact with you?

Need a good framing contractor ? Call me at the office or send an email:

Ivan R Zimmerman

  • Office: 610-562-6779
  • Cell: 610-587-1085
  • Fax: 610-562-2003
  • Email: ivan@ontelbuilders.com
  • Website: www.ontelbuiders.com

121 Ontelaunee Trail
Hamburg , PA 19526

15 Pitch Roof & Zip Sheathing

15 Pitch Roof & Zip Sheathing

This house features a 15 pitch roof as well as a short tower that serves as a shower room. We constructed it with Zip sheathing. Zip System sheathing panels are structural panels with built-in protective overlays that eliminate the need for housewrap or felt. The seams get taped with specially designed Zip System tape.

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