Are 2x6 walls worth the extra expense?

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by oz in SC, Mar 11, 2005.

  1. oz in SC

    oz in SC Well-Known Member

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    We are in the VERY beginning stages of planning the building of a panelised home on our land and we provided a floorplan we like to the builder.

    The estimate came back higher than their in house plans(to be expected) and the designer suggested to lower the cost we could go with 2x4 walls...

    What do y'all think? :confused:

    The BIGGEST expense was the windows-added $17,000 to the price!!! :eek:

    Now these were some osrt of expensive windows(Marvin Integrity brand.. :confused: ) and the windows are tall but the price works out to be over $1000 a window!!!!

    Anyway any thoughts would be helpful.
     
  2. SteveD(TX)

    SteveD(TX) Well-Known Member

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    I would get less expensive windows before I went to 2x4 walls. There is a place near us that sells surplus building materials. Nice new good quality windows of nearly every shape and size for about half the price of Lowe's or HD.
     

  3. WanderingOak

    WanderingOak Well-Known Member

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    If the land is in SC, you really shouldn't need the extra insulation that 2X6 walls allow for. It would be different if you were in the Great White North. I don't know what to say about the windows- sounds pretty pricey to me. When I get around to bulding my own place, I plan on doing much of the work myself, with my own timber, and recycled doors and windows. It's your house. If you don't like how much the builder is charging, go someplace else.
     
  4. wy_white_wolf

    wy_white_wolf Just howling at the moon

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    I would consider that in the future, Cheap windows can be replaced, Cheap walls can't.
     
  5. MikeD

    MikeD Well-Known Member

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    I'm missing something here... If it's a "panelized home" (SIPs?) other than increased structural integrity I wouldn't be too concerned about 2x4 vs. 2x6 framing. Will this be a stick frame skinned with panels for insulation purposes? If so, all of the necessary insulation should be contained within the panels and you should be looking at at least an R value of 26 I believe. Roof panels should be R-36 minimum from everything I've read.

    Now if I'm wrong, and it's NOT stick framing skinned with SIPs then I would by all means go with 2x6 framing. Increased integrity and deeper walls equal greater insulation allowances.

    As for windows, that DOES sound a tad high even for Marvins - depending on the actual window. You may want to price out Pella or Andersen as they are two other big industry names.

    Now that I've gone and run off at the mouth, anyone that knows what they're talking about feel like correcting me? :haha:
     
  6. oz in SC

    oz in SC Well-Known Member

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    The home would be in NC in an area colder than here but still not the frozen white north... :haha: I CANNOT imagine how people live up there.

    Anyway recieved an email listing prices and no wonder it is so high...

    The French Doors at the entrance are almost $2400!!! :eek:

    Needless to say we would be providing our own doors-we bought two regular doors and a set of French Doors for less than $1000 locally from a builder for this house.

    If we provided the doors it would be $7700 less off the bat.

    As to buying windows,once we have the sizes we have a ReStore(Habitat for Humanity) store here in town that we could try...even Lowes or Home Depot would be cheaper.

    The designer also stated 2x6 walls add about 8-9% per window to the cost.

    Thanks for the replies.
     
  7. oz in SC

    oz in SC Well-Known Member

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    The company we are talking to is:
    http://www.kinbury.com/

    I am going to take the list of windows/doors to Lowes today and get a price for 'regular peoples' windows..LOL
     
  8. bearkiller

    bearkiller Well-Known Member

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    Oz,

    Bear in mind that Marvin windows are premium windows and will provide an enormous energy advantage. This is most important if you are faced with heating with gas, electricity, or fuel oil. On the other hand, if you will heat with wood, such windows are overkill in my opinion. I've been changing windows in homes for many years. The usual considerations are these: Single glazed windows have an approximate insulation value of 0.85 which has been described as "a hole in your wall the wind cannot blow through", but which I've frequently found the wind DOES blow through many of them. The low E coated insulated glass filled with argon gas can get the insulation factor about up to 3.9. That effectively eliminates any drafts and makes the building more energy efficient.

    The bottom line is vinyl windows with low E + argon are typically sold here in Calif on an installed basis for about $450 to $500 per opening. Add in the fact that most all of these vinyl windows perform about the same regardless of price and the conclusion I have come to is the premium windows you are considering are a waste of money.

    Regarding Wandering Oak's suggestion to go with recycled windows, I suggest you look at an alternative since you are still in the planning stages. All window companies end up with mis-measures and errors for a variety of reasons. One of the companies I worked for ended up with so many new vinyl windows cluttering up their shop that they GAVE THEM ALL AWAY. I suggest you contact all your local retrofit window companies and ask them about these windows. Most will sell them gladly for very little because for the most part they are a dead loss otherwise. All you need is a list of APPROXIMATE sizes you need.

    Regarding the 2 X 4 vs 2 X 6 argument there are many options. Here in Calif. the building codes require a minimum energy efficiency for new construction. That is met by 2 X 6 framing and R-19 insulation. Alternatively, many builders here frame with 2 X 4 and then use 2 inches of styrofoam insulation outside. In most cases the home is then coated with stucco. If you wanted wood siding, the styrofoam would require 12d or 16d hot dip nails to get adequet penetration of the framing.

    I used 2 X 6 framing on my own house, but compare costs where you are.

    bearkiller
     
  9. Jolly

    Jolly Well-Known Member

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    If I had it to do over again, I'd go 2x6 walls in a heartbeat.

    In the South, A/C is the utility bill killer, and every little bit of insulation helps...
     
  10. Hermit

    Hermit Active Member

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    I've built with both 2x4 and 2x6 framing, and I always felt that a 2x6 framed building was sturdier. I also felt a difference in high winds or cold weather.

    I would go with 2x6 just for the peace of mind - it would make me feel more snug. Now I'm saying all this without doing the price comparison. I guess you'll have to decide that one for yourself.

    No chance of getting someone to cut the required lumber with a bandsaw mill, is there?

    Hermit
     
  11. oz in SC

    oz in SC Well-Known Member

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    Well true enough the easiest thing would be to ask for an estimate with 2x4 walls and compare....Duhh...

    As to windows,there is one window above master bath tub that because of codes runs $1100...so if that was deleted it would be quite a saving.

    Thanks for the help and please any advice is appreciated.
     
  12. Hermit

    Hermit Active Member

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    Maybe you could make the cost back by putting a coffee can outside the window and publishing times of your daily ablutions? Just a thought... :haha:
     
  13. antiquestuff

    antiquestuff Well-Known Member

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    Someone mentioned vinyl windows-stay away from them! I have some experience living with them....fine for maybe the first several years (there are new ones where I am now, and they are fine for right now, but one is already starting to stick..and whatnot.), like ten or so, but I noticed that windows around me 10 or more years old made of vinyl are terrible-they leak, they don't work easily, etc. Vinyl expands and contracts at a different rate than glass does-or so I've read, and large vinyl windows simply will not last. Wood looks a lot better anyways...

    Maybe you can get less efficient wood windows that are well made and put "storm" windows on them? That raises the efficiency good, and maybe you can find good used ones...
     
  14. Kris in MI

    Kris in MI Well-Known Member Supporter

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    oz,

    Two thoughts: 1)what kind of insulation are you having? 2x6 walls filled with insulation designed for 2x4 walls is just wasted space and $$$ (we went with 2x6 here in MI but had to change insulation plans because first choice was only going to fill the 4" cavity, not 6"--we went with spray foam on all exterior walls)

    2)is the bathroom window 'required'? We have two bathrooms in our house with no windows because we didn't want a window in the shower or right next to the toilet. Sure, these bathrooms require electric lighting and fans for ventilation, but that's no biggie for the small amount of time we actually spend in them. If we had gone with windows they would have been required to be the expensive tempered kind.
     
  15. oz in SC

    oz in SC Well-Known Member

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    Hermit, first thing,I doubt ANYONE would be willing to PAY to see me in the bathroom... :haha:

    As to is the bathroom window required,I doubt it.

    The floorplan also might be able to be adjusted to where the window is not above the tub.

    Insulation I wil have to find out more because as you say,it makes little sense to not have the wall fully filled with insulation.

    The windows quoted were vinyl outside/wood inside....
     
  16. VALENT

    VALENT Well-Known Member

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    You will lose far more insulative properties through cheap windows than using 2x4 construction. If the insulative properties are most important to you, I would decrease the number of openings (windows and doors) as they are the biggest gaps in your house "envelope". Most people like windows and doors so use good ones. It will make a much bigger difference than the 2x6s. Another option would be to use 2x4 walls and extra foam sheet insulation on the outside of the walls.
     
  17. Blackthorne

    Blackthorne Member

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    The original section of our house is 2x4 const. The new part is 2x6. Both are insulated correctly for the 2xs used. We installed all new Pella windows, vinyl out & wood in. The windows are terrific. Up here in the frozen north we not only worry about heating but, believe it or not, we also have to keep this old barn COOL in the summer and the 2x6 does come into play at both extremes. I would definitely go 2x6 const AND good windows (but yours sound way too expensive) and just go without things like heated towel bars :haha:
     
  18. Stush

    Stush Well-Known Member

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    OZ,

    I just purchased, in the last month, 25 Marvin Inegrity line windows for my house. The Integrity line is NOT Marvin's top of the line window. They are still better than many others on the market though.

    My breakdown was as follows:

    11 3' X 4' Double Hung Windows

    8 1.5' X 4' Awning Windows

    2 5' x 4' Picture Windows

    2 Custom made Pentagon Polygon Units

    The last two were the most expensive and they cost just under $500. My total bill for all 25 windows was less than $5K. Someone is trying to fleece you good. Run like hell from this deal.

    My sidewalls on my timber frame are structural panels and they are 4.5" - the same thickness of a traditional 2X4 wall. The R-value, however is almost double that of at 2X4 wall. In my case, the finished wall will exceed R-30. A 2X4 studwall is hard pressed to get to R-16. What is the R-value of your 2X4 wall? That information will make it easier to answer the question for you. If it is r-25 or above, I can't see any benefit to a thicker wall in your climate.
     
  19. Stush

    Stush Well-Known Member

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    All of the Marvin Integrity windows I have seen are wood inside and FIBERGLASS clad on the exterior. I don't think that they come in vinyl.
     
  20. Gary in ohio

    Gary in ohio Well-Known Member Supporter

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    The county south of us gives you no option. Exterior walls MUST be 2x6. Based on cost of 2x4 and 2x6's. I would go with the 2x6. More options for insulation. Regardless of heating or cooling savings extra insulation is always good.