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2x4 vs. 2x6 Construction: Does it really matter?

by The Schnoor Team

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.

"Green" Building in New Mexico

by The Schnoor Team

I recently attended a green-building seminar that was very intriguing.  Already familiar with the green building process, I was interested in furthering my knowledge on the subject so that I could put it to work for my clients.

The green-building process is an environmentally sensitive practice that aims to conserve energy and other resources during construction as well as throughout the life of the home. 

Contrary to popular misconception, the green-building “revolution” is anything but.  The green-building process is founded in prehistoric times, when necessity forced people to make the most out of the natural materials they had available to them.  Living habitats were geographically selected according to location…with the occupants searching for the location that would best utilize the warming and cooling trends given off by sunlight. 

So why is green-building still relevant to homebuyers today?  The cost of energy is predicted to go up dramatically in the near future, simply because the infrastructure currently in place struggles to support people, while at the same time balancing the scarcity of natural resources.  Each year consumption among developed countries increases while more and more developing countries enter the game as well.  And let’s face it; we all want to see our environment stay as clean as possible and not use up all our natural resources if other alternatives are available. 

The instructor showed a home here in Albuquerque that is completely sustainable on solar power alone.  And the family has all the amenities we all have!  The solar power that we have now is really something we should harness here in New Mexico because we have so many days of solid sunlight! 

So is a green-built home something you are interested in?  There are so many levels of “green” to be had.  From more efficient homes that make the most out of the energy we currently use, to homes that are completely sustainable on solar power alone.  Please give Jon or myself a call if you are interested in learning more about what the green-building process in New Mexico has to offer you.

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