If you are building a new home or renovating your house, you may have already heard your contractor or foreman mention “hog trough framing.” This term refers to the supplemental house framing or bracing used during construction on walls, ceilings, rafters, and floors. Hog troughs are a common bracing method in residential house framing. Although this method exclusively uses wood, it can also be helpful to narrow down options when picking your house framing material.

    If you are unfamiliar with the term, this article explains hog trough framing, its uses, and its benefits.

    What Is a Hog Trough?

    A hog trough is a type of stiffener or bracing that provides structural support and reinforcement. It’s also referred to as a strongback. Although it resembles an angle iron, it’s made of wood instead of metal.

    To construct a hog trough, nail two pieces of lumber together, usually 2×4 or 2×6, lengthwise to create an L-shaped or V-shaped beam. Then, cut the two legs to equal lengths. Attach the hog trough to the surface needing reinforcement using nails or drywall screws. Ensure one leg lies flat against the structure while the other sticks out at a 90-degree angle.

    Hog troughs come in varying sizes and lengths depending on the required span. The name comes from the resemblance to a feed trough for pigs during the building process.

    Uses of Hog Troughs

    Typical uses for hog trough framing include:

    • Attaching and reinforcing flats at right angles
    • Bracing rafters, joists, floors, and walls to improve impact resistance
    • Framework for furniture such as tables, chairs, and beds
    • Secondary support for added stability, strength, and load-bearing capacity
    • Walls, floors, ceilings, platforms, and staircases in home or commercial construction

    Structural components are less likely to bend, bow, or buckle with hog trough reinforcement when weight or force is applied. The L-shape and 90-degree angle provide two-directional rigidity.

    Benefits of Hog Troughs

    Compared to other building materials, hog troughs offer several key advantages, like being a cost-effective way to reinforce without sacrificing structural integrity. They’re also versatile for framing, bracing, and general support needs. On top of that, they’re available in a range of sizes and lengths.

    Hog trough framing is lightweight yet durable and compact for accessibility. It’s simple enough for DIY projects with basic tools and skills. As for the cherry on top, it’s less expensive than metal bracing while still adding critical reinforcement to your home.

    Constructing a Hog Trough

    Hog troughs are a straightforward DIY framing option for the average homeowner using basic carpentry techniques. Here are some step-by-step tips for installing hog troughs:

    • Anchor adequately into the structure with fasteners (nails, screws, etc.)
    • Cut two boards to the required length
    • Join the pieces into an L shape at a 90-degree angle
    • Press one leg securely against the surface being braced
    • Select quality 2×4 or 2×6 lumber without defects
    • Space multiple troughs at regular intervals for long spans
    • Use nails, screws, or glue to firmly fasten the two legs

    Proper installation according to building codes is key for structural effectiveness.

    So, Is it Worth Building Hog Trough Framing?

    Installing hog trough framing is an affordable way to reinforce critical structural points prone to buckling or failure under loading. In walls, floors, roofs, and framing, hog troughs provide economical supplemental bracing, and you can install them yourself. When properly positioned and fastened, they improve structural soundness without the higher cost of metal bracing.

    For adding supportive bracing during construction, hog troughs made of wood can significantly reduce costs when comparing wood and steel framing. The straightforward installation and budget-friendly materials make hog troughs ideal for most home builders rather than steel.

    Choosing quality lumber and securely fastening the troughs ensures optimal structural benefits. Steel bracing may still be preferable for absolute stability in certain critical locations. Consult with building experts for guidance when needed. However — for many residential and commercial projects needing cost-effective reinforcement — hog troughs present an accessible solution using ordinary tools and techniques. Their simple design suits most builders seeking to improve structural integrity on a budget.

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    FAQs About Hog Trough Framing

    What lumber size works best for hog troughs?

    Typical lumber choices are 2×4 or 2×6 — 2×6 provides more rigidity, but 2×4 can be sufficient depending on the span length. Opt for straight, high-grade boards.

    How far apart should hog troughs be installed?

    For walls and roofs, space four to eight feet apart for adequate reinforcement. Closer spacing increases rigidity. Exact spacing depends on expected loads.

    Can hog troughs be oriented horizontally, vertically, or diagonally?

    You can install hog troughs in any orientation necessary to provide optimal bracing and support.

    What is the best method for fastening hog troughs?

    Securely fasten into adjoining framing using nails or screws. Pre-drill pilot holes to prevent splitting the wood. Follow relevant building codes.

    What span lengths can a hog trough handle?

    Hog troughs can span 12 feet or more but may require intermediate bracing. Limit 2×4 troughs to eight feet or less under heavy loads. Consult a building professional for long spans.

    Editorial Contributors
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    Mitchell Layton

    Mitchell Layton is a former professional mover who currently lives in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Mitchell spent years packing and moving for REAL Rock N Roll Movers, a commercial and residential moving company based in Los Angeles that’s primarily staffed with up-and-coming musicians. That gave him plenty of experience navigating box trucks up and down the winding streets of LA. In addition to moving hundreds of happy customers into new homes and apartments all across Southern California, Mitchell has also performed corporate moves on company lots for Nickelodeon, Warner Bros, Universal Studios, Paramount, and more. After pouring blood, sweat, and tears into his profession, Mitchell has all the helpful tips you need for your next move.

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    Jeff Zoldy

    Jeff is a writer, editor, and marketer based in Charlotte, North Carolina. He has been editing on the Home Solutions team for over a year and is passionate about getting homeowners the information they need when they need it most. When he’s not working, Jeff can be found at baseball games, golfing, going to the gym, reading, watching movies, and playing video games.

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