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Well, we're finally going to build our house next year and we're planning on doing much of it ourselves. As far as framing goes, we have been discussing the costs of 2x6 construction vs. 2x4. I would like to use the 2x6 construction but it adds so much cost into the building process and I would have to scale back on some of the ammenities. 2x4 construction would allow us to splurge in other areas of the house, like the kitchen appliances or a higher quality woodstove.

Opinions/comments needed!!!
 

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Really depends on your spans. There are load bearing charts that you can find on the net that will give you your maximum span, but IIRC it’s only about 9 foot for 40 pounds of weight with 2x4’s on 16” centers. Personally, I tend to over build, so I’d shoot for a 60 pound weight anyway.

You can’t go wrong spending a few bucks extra on the “basics”, like the frame, foundation, plumbing and electrical of the house. Cheap out on stuff that is easy to change or upgrade later, like fixtures, windows, siding or the roofing. A solidly built house will last for centuries. A weakly built house only a few decades. Is 20% of the cost worth an extra 100 years? I’d say so.

If you want to save on framing, find a sawmill that will sell you “rough cut” lumber. It costs quite a bit less than kiln-dried lumber, around half as much. It is the standard lumber in most any home built before the 1950’s. The difficulty is that they are not “as standard” as kiln dried wood. You’ll have to use furring strips to even out the frame before you can drywall. Strips cost about nothing, ($5 for a 40 pound bundle) it’s just a few days of extra work on an entire house.
 

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We're doing double 2x4 walls, offset, to get the higher R value we want (plus insulating the * out of the ceiling). The kitchen appliances can wait a bit in our case because we can temporarily recycle what we have. I don't want to settle for something less than what I want in the house itself, or the kitchen...but the kitchen goes in the house and the house comes first.
 

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2x4s at 16" o.c. vs. 2x6s at 24" o.c. - seems to be a trade off. Another thought is the energy savings if you make that 2x6 on an 8" thick wall, each stud projecting 2" beyond the other. Weave the 6" batt insulation between the studs for a continuous insulation blanket. Standard construction has interior face of wall conduct heat through stud to outside. The weave method, though costing a bit more in materials, saves energy in the long run. And really add attic insulation - that is where heat and cold really lose. The standard down here used to be R-11 (4") in walls and R-16 (6") in ceiling. Now R-16 in walls and R-31 (two layers of R-16, offset batt edges) is very common.

Also, design on grid system. If 4' grid is used, walls would be 4', 8' 12', rather than 7-8 or 10'7. Since most wall materials are 48" wide, less labor to cut, and much less materials used, since builders rarely save that sheet that was ripped before - hello landfill (and wasted building material).

I hope this helps.
 

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When using 2X4 lumber you have to place them 16" OC vs. 2X6 every 24" OC. If you do the math, that is only a few more dollars on an average size house that will be recouped in the first 6 months when heating and cooling the house.

Ed




Joy in Eastern WA said:
Well, we're finally going to build our house next year and we're planning on doing much of it ourselves. As far as framing goes, we have been discussing the costs of 2x6 construction vs. 2x4. I would like to use the 2x6 construction but it adds so much cost into the building process and I would have to scale back on some of the ammenities. 2x4 construction would allow us to splurge in other areas of the house, like the kitchen appliances or a higher quality woodstove.

Opinions/comments needed!!!
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks for the quick responses! 2x6 construction would be 16"oc just like the 2x4 construction. We decided against a basement which would have cost $$$ more, so it would be wise to stick with the 2x6 and have a more rigid and well insulated home.

It's going to be a wonderful and challenging process ahead!
 

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Joy in Eastern WA said:
Thanks for the quick responses! 2x6 construction would be 16"oc just like the 2x4 construction. We decided against a basement which would have cost $$$ more, so it would be wise to stick with the 2x6 and have a more rigid and well insulated home.

It's going to be a wonderful and challenging process ahead!

The best thing you can do is have a well insulated house with an excellent vapor barrier system. Use the 2x6 studs. It will pay for itself in the long run.
 
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Dont know where you are, but some of the Amish will cut you lumber alot cheaper than buying retail. Also, sawmills will do it cheaper. I had went to a lumber mill here in MO. and it was a third of the cost of retail.





Joy in Eastern WA said:
Well, we're finally going to build our house next year and we're planning on doing much of it ourselves. As far as framing goes, we have been discussing the costs of 2x6 construction vs. 2x4. I would like to use the 2x6 construction but it adds so much cost into the building process and I would have to scale back on some of the ammenities. 2x4 construction would allow us to splurge in other areas of the house, like the kitchen appliances or a higher quality woodstove.

Opinions/comments needed!!!
 

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Baroness of TisaWee Farm
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j.r. guerra in s. tx. said:
Another thought is the energy savings if you make that 2x6 on an 8" thick wall, each stud projecting 2" beyond the other. Weave the 6" batt insulation between the studs for a continuous insulation blanket.
J.R., if you use 2X6's on an 8" thick wall, I'm assuming that you nail them between 8" headers (or whatever you call them) staggered. Then you weave the insulation.

My question is: Does that mean that you only have studs touching the drywall every 32" (or 48")? How do you fasten the drywall or interior walls?

I'm confused. :(
 

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There are several saw mills in the region here, just outside of Spokane, WA. I wasn't sure if the county building department would allow rough cut lumber for framing. I would love to do that! Extra thickness, though I would have an issue of inconsistency. Not too sure of how big of an issue that would be.
 

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I recently read an artile about a home framed in the mountain region in this state. They used 2x6 studs 24" oc on the outside and then they came back an did 2x4s 24" oc horizontally. The drywall was attached to the horizontal 2x4s.

Interesting, huh?
 

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Don't even think about 2 X 4 framing - the utilities continue to rise and it will look like the cheapest smart move you made before very long.
 

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My current home is studded on the exterior walls with 2x6. The added insulation makes for a terrific energy saver and well as additional soundproofing. I found that I was able to buy these 2x6's at a discounted price when I bought them by the bundle. The additional cost of using the 2x6's really wasn't that much. You do realize that all windows and exterior doors will have to have extensions added to the jambs, don't you? I ripped a few of the best 2x6's that I saved for the material to extend the jambs. Offset these filler strips about a 1/4 inch and that method will work fine.
 

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I went through all our building receipts to see the cost difference. We used 2 X 6 x 92 5/8 spruce dimensional lumber on 16 inch centers. Using spruce instead of pine was 20 cents a board more. Using the 2 x 6 lumber vs the 2 x 4 lumber cost about $1 per board more. Our house is 1040 sq ft downstairs and 300 sq ft upstairs for the loft. It took 316 dimensional studs and 70 2 x 6 x 14 studs, and 120 2 x 4 studs for the interior wall framing. So, in reality, it cost about $400 additional for the nicer studs and 2 x 6 vs the 2 x 4. You get R19 with a 2 x 6 wall vs R13 for a 2 x 4 wall and over time the added insulation will be more economical on utilities-------especially with utility costs rising.

If $400 makes that much of a difference in your budget, you are in trouble!!!!!! Total money for framing studs amounts to only about 10% maximum of the cost of building.
 
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If you are going for an airtight house, make sure none of the materials you're plannning to use will end up creating a sick house. That means the tighter the house, the more you want to avoid OSB for sheathing. The outgassed formaldehyde from the glue in that stuff stays in the house. As far as the building code having a hissy fit over rough cut lumber. Building codes address safety issues not quality of construction.
 

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Oops, sorry CC Rider - I forgot to mention the spacing for the weave. Those 2x6s would be at 12" o.c.. You buy an extra stud for every 4' of hoizontal run - or 12 more studs for 48' of perimeter.

BUT . . .

you gain an air space which does not transmit directly through the wall.

That make more sense?

ALSO: Go ahead and spend the extra money on hurricane ties, the steel connections between the top wall plate and the roof rafters. Every other rafter is great, but for the extra safety - why not every one. Also, panel clips on the roof deck really carry a lot of load - don't neglect these either.
 

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Almost forgot. Lumber cut at the sawmill has not dried. The reason that lumber is not a full 2 x 6 or 2 x 4 is the shrinkage. If you decide to go that way, be sure to allow it to dry, stickered, out of the weather at least 2-4 months. Your wood will shrink in diameter and not length. The best you can hope for by drying this way is getting the wood down to 20% moisture content. Once in the wall of your home, it will continue to dry and shrink, so sheetrock and plaster is not possible for wall coverings.
 
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Maybe you can find someone to plane the lumber. Its cheap to do here, especially with alot of board footage. I dont know about the codes either, but as far as rough cut lumber lasting. Here in MO we have alot of rough cut barns that have lasted for over 100 years with nothing protecting it from the weather. In Illinois I help take a barn like that apart and except for where a tornado damaged it, it was in very good shape. All of this depends on alot of factors as to how well any lumber will do.

Joy in Eastern WA said:
There are several saw mills in the region here, just outside of Spokane, WA. I wasn't sure if the county building department would allow rough cut lumber for framing. I would love to do that! Extra thickness, though I would have an issue of inconsistency. Not too sure of how big of an issue that would be.
 

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In fairness MUDWOMAN (I love that moniker) wrote "If $400 makes that much of a difference in your budget, you are in trouble!!!!!! Total money for framing studs amounts to only about 10% maximum of the cost of building."

The additional inches of insulation as well as some finish trim (as mentioned above) will add to the cost - still worth it in the long run - FOR SURE!
 
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