Stud Spacing

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Old 10-24-06, 06:38 AM
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Stud Spacing

In the near future I'm going to help my father-in-law finish the basement of his new house. We are going to stud the exterior walls and maybe add an interior wall to divide the room.

My question is about the spacing of those studs. I understand that walls usually use a spacing of 16" on center. Is that the same thing for walls that are not actually supporting anything but sheetrock?

The exterior walls will be 2x6's and the interior walls will be 2x4's. The exterior walls will be insulated and all walls will be covered in drywall.

We are only asking because the space is pretty large and there could be a substantial lumber savings if the spacing doesn't need to be as close.

Thanks.
 
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Old 10-24-06, 06:58 AM
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Lost here some. You say new home. OK.
The exterior walls will be 2x6's???? Dont you now have that wall up????.

2X4 - 24" on center is ok for all the other walls. Dont forget to hang a 6 mil poly on the cement wall first and use a P/T 2X4 for the bottom plate

In fact lots of new home 24"on center is used for the outside walls,

ED
 
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Old 10-24-06, 07:09 AM
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Thanks Ed.

The house is brand new........the basement has a block wall exterior. My father-in-law wants to frame it with 2x6s so he can get some thick insulation in there.

Does that make sense now?

Can we do 24" on center on those exterior (not really exterior since the concrete block is there but you get the point) walls?

Thanks again.
 
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Old 10-24-06, 07:25 AM
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FWIW - You "Can" space your studs on 24 inch centers. But (the voice of experience here) - is it worth it to save $10.00 per eight feet of wall (2 studs)? When you get around to hanging your drywall - it is easier to have "more studs" rather than less to attach to - especially odd sized pieces/sheets. On top of that, if you plan to hang cabinets, etc., on the wall - it's nice to have a few more studs to be able to find/hang those on. 24 inch centers is acceptable in this day and age of cutting corners - but I don't like the feel of bumping into a wall and feeling it flex. Were it me, and money was a serious issue - I would consider using 2X4's for the entire project - and if insulation is the issue, building the "outside walls" a couple of inches off the masonry, anchored at the top and bottom with bracing to the blocks - but using more of them.
 
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Old 10-24-06, 07:44 AM
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The cost of this kind of lumber is minimal compared to the hassle of hanging sheetrock, flexing walls and not being able to find a stud for hanging something on the walls down the road. Go for the 16" oc.
 
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Old 10-24-06, 08:34 AM
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My father-in-law wants to frame it with 2x6s so he can get some thick insulation in there.
I dont think it will pay. most of the walls are below grade. stay with the 2X and a R13 paper side to the room,
 
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Old 10-24-06, 09:01 AM
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Wow!

Thanks for pointing out the negatives.

I'm going to pass this info on to my father-in-law and let him make the judgement since it's his money & house.

Thanks for the guidance.
 
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Old 10-24-06, 10:35 AM
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Stud Spacing

2x6's in a wall for insulation in a basement is a gross waste of space and money.

In many colder climates, the insulations requirements only call for a portion of the wall to be insulated.

Tell you father that the floor adjacent to the basement wall is the same temperature as the wall. Does he plan on insulating the floor too?

Dick
 
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Old 10-24-06, 12:36 PM
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The floor should be warmer than the walls.......he has a pretty elaborate radiant floor heating system under the concrete. Of course, maybe that heats up the concrete block as well......I don't know.

I take it that you guys think 2x6's on the exterior are overkill? I think that as well, but I wonder how I'm going to convince him of that.

Keep in mind that we will be routing plumbing & electrical through these walls.

Thanks.
 
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Old 10-25-06, 10:45 AM
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I have a number of thoughts on this project....

1) I would not build the wall firmly against the concrete block.

2) I would consider using steel studs as they are prefectly straight which will aid you in hanging drywall later. Having a perfect wall to hang drywall on is a wonderful thing. If steel studs are too expensive then I would go the next best route which is to build the wall a few inches off of the concrete block. That will give you the ability and space to plumb each stud as you work down the wall creating that perfect plane to attach your drywall to.

3) If the majority of this exterior wall is below grade I wouldn't worry about extra insulation.....R13 would be sufficient, but if he wants it there isn't a real compelling reason not to use the thicker stuff.
 
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Old 10-25-06, 11:16 AM
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No need to move the wall out

There is no need to move the stud wall out away from the block wall as Grigsby suggests. Unless the block wall is sooooo uneven, which is usually not the case in new homes.

The end result of moving the stud wall out is just a loss of several inches in room.

As many others have suggested, I would stick with the vapor barrier against the block wall, then a 2x4 wall with insulation. 2X6 is overkill, plain and simple.
 
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Old 10-25-06, 02:09 PM
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Stud Spacing

It sounds like your father-in-law is very concerned with insulation and comfort. He may even hit the net and find out some well-lost information. Unless you really read the manual closely it is easy to only look at advertising.

Because of that, do not bring up the steel studs since they do not let you get your moneys worth out of the fiberglass. If you use rigid extruded polystyrene, the stud material and spacing is not a factor. Your R13 insulation in a steel stud wall probably gives you a R11 or so. If you use 6" R19 fiberglass with studs at 12" the R19 gives you a wall of R11-R12 or so. The rigid cuts off the "thermal short circuit" of the steel.

If you do not do ALL the exterior walls, the level of insulation is not very important since you do not have insulation in the interior walls between the insulated and uninsulated area/rooms.

Dick
 
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Old 10-25-06, 09:28 PM
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I would reconsider the plastic vapor barrier

I would strongly reconsider a plastic vapor barrier. If during the summer any hot/moist air enters the cool air space between your finished wall and foundation water will condense out of the warm/moist air into the wall cavity.

Plastic vapor barriers have a perm of about 0.1. That moisture will not be able to escape into the conditioned room through the wall and you will have a good chance of growing some mold in that wall.

If you live in a climate that is cold year round that is the only time I'd even consider plastic vapor barrier in a basement. Truth be told even then I'd use paper backed insulation, which has a perm value of 1.0. Still useful as a vapor barrier but more breathable.

I am finishing my basement now in NJ. We have a complicated set of conditions having very hot summers and very cold winters. I am using 1" XPS foam insulation directly against the foundation wall and then I'll be framing inside of that. This way I can be assured no warm air will get to the cold wall in the summer. Since the XPS is breathable it will also allow any water vapor to pass through to the drywall and through the latex paint into the conditioned space.

Using plastic vapor barrier against a basement wall creates a double vapor barrier situation below grade since the outside of the wall below grade has a very low perm value (the soil).

There is a lot of debate on this issue. I'm not an expert on this issue, I'm a mechanical engineer and a guy whose done a lot of research on this over the past year. I will also tell you that my brother just had a mold issue on the front of his house with brick veneer and the builder used the plastic vapor barrier on the inside of the house. Conditions *can* be similar to the brick veneer in a basement finish.

That's just my two cents on the issue.

- Mark
 
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Old 10-26-06, 10:21 AM
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You guys really know how to make a guy nervous. I too have done my homework on the vapor barrier topic. My combination consists of a poured foundation wall, 1/2 pink foam, 2 x 4 studded wall, 16" OC cavities filled with R13 unfaced fiberglass bats. 2 X 4 wall is then covered with a layer of 6 mil poly, and now I'm currently starting to hang my rock. I'm nervous because I can't begin to count how many times I've second guessed this combination. But I second guess every combination I've come up with and can find arguements against each. I guess I'm thinking about it more so now than ever because this coming weekend I will be hanging the majority of the rock. Actually I'm doing the blue board/plaster. Once this stuff is up, I'm stuck with my decision.
 
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Old 10-26-06, 10:37 AM
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Sounds to me like you done good!!! I know my building inspector would probably give you a hug.
 
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Old 10-26-06, 10:56 AM
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Actually, I just had my first visit from my bldg inspector and she said everything looked good. The same day I also had the electrical and hvac/plumbing inspectors in as well and there were only a couple minor write ups that were corrected that same day. I guess if my combination wasn't good, the bldg inspector would've said something. THAT was a good feeling.
 
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Old 10-26-06, 08:10 PM
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I just don't know what the point of the plastic vapor barrier in a basement would be.

In a house in an extremely cold environment any moisture from the inside of the house could diffuse through the sheet rock and into the wall cavity and condense. This is why a vapor barrier is recommended. In the past most builders were using paper backed insulation for the vapor barrier, as I said above perm of 1.0.

Then about 5 or 6 years ago builders moved to the plastic vapor barrier.

Now recently many larger builders are moving back to paper backed insulation. Makes you wonder doesn't it.

No experts I talked with recommend plastic with a brick veneer, and I think a basement is very similar to a brick veneer.

The temperature difference from the basement foundation to the conditioned space is even less than upstairs so I see no need for the plastic "mega" vapor barrier.

If it's not too late I'd reconsider. A building inspector would never make a recommendation on something like that since both are within code. He/She knows they could be responsible if something happened down the line. If what you are doing is within code that's good enough for them they won't expose themselves to any unnecessary liability.

- Mark
 
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Old 10-27-06, 10:29 AM
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Mark,

I wish my arguement was as strong as yours, but it's not. I'm not an expert on this matter. I arrived at my combination by reviewing numerous strings from this forum on the subject and getting some local feedback from others in my area who have done similar projects, then formed my own opinion and went with it. At this point, it is too late to reconsider. Reconsidering would mean pullying down the poly, pulling out the unfaced batts of insulation, purchasing and installing faced insulation. It's not worth the time and money and I think that what I have in place is going to work without any condesation issues. Again, I'm not disagreeing with you as I am not knowledgeable enough on the subject. That's why I appreciate this forum so much. It helps the do it yourselfer get through tasks they normally wouldn't be able to.

It's opinions like yours that educate the rest of us.
 
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Old 10-27-06, 10:52 AM
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For over 30 years now have did the basements With a 6 mil poly on the cement walls stapled to the sill plate. The P/T bottom plate then 2X4 R13 paper to the room side . A 4 mil poly over all of this then drywall or panel. Have been back in many and no mold are anything. Have did it this way in some earth contact homes . Dont forget a R 19 block put into each joist space all around the home on the sill plate.

ED my .02 cents
 
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Old 10-31-06, 02:31 PM
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Ed,

That's good to know that you haven't had any problems with poly in 30 years of finishing basements. I think if there is a water problem in the basement you are going to get mold one way or another.

But if there isn't a water problem to the extent of leaking on the floor, only dampness on the walls I think it could be possible that the poly could stop outgassing of the vapor into the conditioned space and the resulting decrease in humidity levels behind the walls.

If the basement walls are bone dry then you won't have a problem with poly. It may be that the basements you've finished have been properly graded outside so there have been no water problems.

But if there is some moisture in the basement wall the extra permeability of not having the plastic vapor barrier could be the difference between mold and no mold.

I remember reading a very good government study on this a while back with actual testing. Their recommendation was no plastic vapor barrier, actually no paper vapor barrier. Their first choice was XPS insulation. I don't want to take down all of my foil based insulation and use XPS but I'm going to because it's going to be a big job and my family will be spending time down there. I want to do all I can to make it a safe environment.

- Mark
 
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