2x4 vs. 2x6 Construction: Does it really matter?
The debate between construction styles can be a very confusing experience for a first-time homebuyer, and perhaps even more confusing for those building their first home. The two construction types at play here are 2x4 construction and 2x6 construction. The most prominent benefit of 2x6 construction is that it leaves you with a wider wall, allowing space for additional insulation. This added insulation helps reduce your cooling and heating bills throughout the warmest and coolest months of the year.
Construction using the 2x6 (2x6x8 feet boards) method is more expensive, and this is where the debate begins. Critics of the 2x6 framing method claim that the added costs to construction outweigh the benefits you’ll receive from improved energy efficiency. There are some significant costs to 2x6 construction, the window and door jambs must be wider, requiring the purchase of a jamb extender which can increase the cost by $12 to $15 per opening. The cost of 2x4x8' studs is 40% less than a 2x6x8’ studs. On top of that, there are the bottom and the two top plates. Then there is the added cost for the extra insulation, as well as, deeper windowsills. Critics state that 2x6 construction is no more effective than a 2x4 construction-framed house that is properly treated.
Jon and I would disagree. Whether purchasing a home, or building your dream house, the benefit of more insulation is long term. It increases energy efficiency, and if combined with 2x6 studs with 24-inch centers, rather than 16 inch, can reduce labor cost, allow for more spacing for insulating around piping, wiring and duct work, and also provide more room for R-19 or R-21 wall insulation. It is far more economical in houses that are in colder/hotter climates, or homes in which windows or doors occupy less than 10% of the total wall area.
We hope this article helped give you some new things to think about, Jon and myself would be happy to answer any of your questions. Please feel free to give us a call today if you are thinking about purchasing or building a new home, so that we can discuss the construction options you have available to you.
Jon & Jeanne Schnoor