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A typical wall section in platform framing
  1. Cripple
  2. Window header
  3. Top plate / upper wall plate
  4. Window sill
  5. Stud
  6. Sill plate / sole plate / bottom plate

A plate or wall plate is a horizontal, structural, load-bearing member in wooden building framing.

Timber framing

A plate in timber framing is "A piece of Timber upon which some considerable weight is framed...Hence Ground-Plate...Window-plate [obsolete]..." etc.[1] Also called a wall plate,[2] raising plate,[3] or top plate,[4] An exception to the use of the term plate for a large, load-bearing timber in a wall is the bressummer, a timber supporting a wall over a wall opening (see also: lintel). These are common in Australia.

The terms sole plate or sill plate are used for the members at the bottom of a wall at the foundation but are most often just called a sole or sill without the word plate. Other load-bearing timbers use the term plate but are not in the wall such as crown plate, a purlin-like beam carried by crown posts in roof framing, and a purlin plate which supports common rafters.

Platform framing

In platform framing there are three types of wall plates and are located at the top and bottom of a wall section, and the two hold the wall studs parallel and spaced at the correct interval. Each type continues in a piecewise fashion around the whole perimeter of the structure.


  1. ^ Moxon, Joseph. Mechanick exercises, or, The doctrine of handy-works. The 2nd ed. London: Printed and sold by J. Moxon, 1693, 1701. 163. Print.
  2. ^ Oxford English Dictionary Second Edition on CD-ROM (v. 4.0) Oxford University Press 2009
  3. ^ Sturgis, Russell. Sturgis' illustrated dictionary of architecture and building: an unabridged reprint of the 1901-2 edition. 1901. Reprint. Mineola, N.Y.: Dover, 1989. 159. Print.
  4. ^ a b Sherwood, Gerald E., and Robert C. Stroh. Wood-frame house construction. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, Forest Service :, 1989. 54. Print.