What is Furring in Construction? A Comprehensive Guide

July 9, 2024

Furring is a critical process in construction that involves attaching strips or frames to structural surfaces to create a level, insulated, and ventilated surface for finishing materials. But what is furring in construction specifically? Essentially, furring strips are thin strips of wood or metal used to level or raise the surface of another material, ensuring that the final construction work is smooth and solid.

What is Furring in Construction?

what is furring in construction
"Frame Furring" by Cate Wagstaffe is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0. To view a copy of this license, visit https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/.

Furring, often called furring strips, can be made from wood or metal. Wood furring strips are usually 1 x 2 or 1 x 3 inches in size, and can be laid out perpendicular to studs or joists, or set vertically against an existing wall surface. Metal furring strips, also known as "hat channels," are predominant in commercial projects needing fire-proof supports. The term “furring” refers both to the actual strips and the process of installing them onto surfaces.

Types and Applications of Furring Strips

There are different types of furring strips available for various applications. The two main types are:

1. Wood Furring Strips: These are commonly used in residential applications for leveling out uneven wall surfaces, installing insulation, or creating an air gap between wall finishes.

2. Metal Furring Channels: These are used in commercial projects where fire resistance is necessary. They are also popular in places where metal framing is advantageous, such as basements or commercial buildings.

The Origins and Evolution of Furring

The concept of furring has its roots in an old carpentry practice. The term originated from the practice of attaching fur strips for added warmth in clothing, eventually evolving to its current meaning in the carpentry and construction industry. Historically, furring was also used in shipbuilding in the 16th and 17th centuries to widen and raise the beams of ships. This method, although criticized as a makeshift correction, was necessary to remedy design flaws in narrow ships.

Benefits of Furring in Modern Construction

Furring strips are essential in modern construction for several reasons:

- Leveling Surfaces: They help create a smooth and even surface for final finishes.

- Insulation and Ventilation: Furring strips allow for the installation of insulation materials and promote air circulation between structural surfaces.

- Soundproofing: They enhance soundproofing by creating a barrier that can reduce noise transmission.

- Versatility in Design: They provide a solid base for attaching finishing materials, accommodating various design requirements.

Installing Furring Strips

Furring strips can be easily installed using nails or screws. The method of installation can vary depending on the type of wall or ceiling and the finishing material to be applied. Proper spacing of furring strips is crucial to ensure the integrity of the final surface. For instance, the spacing might differ when transitioning between materials like drywall or paneling.

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