2x6 Stud Framing
Wall studs. Every home has them, but how often do you actually stop to think about them? Probably not often; wall studs are a necessary, but unseen and unglamorous, part of the home's structure. But if you're considering a green home, it may be worthwhile to give them just a little bit of consideration. Doing so may help your new home be even more energy-efficient.
In this article, you'll learn more about wall studs than you could ever have possibly imagined (don't worry, it's a good thing.)
The Great 2x6 vs. 2x4 Stud Debate
OK, maybe not a 'great' debate, but there has been a lot of discussion over whether using 2x6 wall studs contributes to a more efficient home than the more traditional 2x4's.
Like most things in life, there is no black or white answer to this question. But here at Green Home Source, we believe in designing the most efficient structures possible; as part of that belief, all of our ETHOS green home plans are designed with 2x6 wall studs. Let's look at the reasons why…
2x6 Studs: Part of an Overall Efficient Design
It's worth noting that the choice of wall stud is only one part of the puzzle; a home's overall efficiency depends on all pieces of this puzzle working together to contribute to low energy usage.
2x6 Studs: More Insulation
The main reason for choosing 2x6 studs over 2x4's is the fact that the wider 2x6 stud allows for installation of thicker insulation. A 2x4 stud wall is only 3.5 inches deep, allowing for 3.5 inches of insulation, which can be up to R-15 with fiberglass batt insulation or R-13 with cellulose.
A wall built with 2x6 studs is 2 inches deeper, 5.5 inches of room for insulation. This extra space allows for up to R-22 batt insulation, or R-20 cellulose insulation. In areas with extreme temperatures (hot or cold), this extra insulation will really help maintain a comfortable indoor temperature with less energy.
The use of 2x6 framing studs, and the additional insulation this allows, makes them an ideal choice for homes in climates with extreme temperatures. In areas where temperatures get very cold, or very hot, a thicker wall packed with more insulation is always going to make heating (or cooling) the indoor air much less energy-intensive.
2x6 Studs: Things To Look For
Some builders may be resistant to using 2x6 studs due to perceived higher costs. While 2x6 studs are usually more expensive than 2x4's, the energy savings will more than cover the difference in cost. Labor costs may also be a bit higher, due to the additional time needed to cut each stud to size. (Unlike 2x4's, most 2x6 studs are not typically available pre-cut).
Another added cost may come from trimming out around doors and windows. The thicker walls will make for thicker door frames and windowsills. However, the long-term savings from the increased energy-efficiency of the home will help offset these potentially higher up-front costs.
We feel that the benefits of the thicker insulating capabilities of a wall built with 2x6 studs is worth the extra effort; that is why our ETHOS green home plans use them exclusively.
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