spacing of 2'x6' studs, new home


Old 11-28-03, 07:19 AM
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spacing of 2'x6' studs, new home

I was talking to a builder about a new home in PA. he spoke of placing 2'x6' studs(outside walls) on 24" centers rather than the usual 16" for the purpose of better insulation quality, less wood area to act as a conductor of heat and cold. It was always my understanding that wood is one of the best insulators around? Am I wrong about this? I can understand using 24" centers on 2"x6" studs in that the additional 2" adds enough strenth to the wall to warrant this spacing. and of course you would save on the cost of less lumber. Thanks for any info you may have.
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Old 11-28-03, 08:09 AM
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Wood is a very good insulator but not as good as insulation. The contractor is correct when he said that this type of contruction improves the thermal efficiency of the wall.

However there is one even better than that one and it is known as staggered wall construction. Here 2 x 3's are installed 16 inches on center (o.c.) on the outer wall. Then another wall is install against this wall using 2 x 3's where the first stud is 8"o.c. and then 16"o.c. This offset, places all the interior studs in the center of all the exterior studs and places a stud every 8"o.c. However there is not one stud that connect all the way through the wall from the inside to the outside. The two walls are tied together through the sole plate and top plate.

The staggered wall is far superior in thermal efficiency than any other wall. On top of that, it is the one that provides the least amount of sound transmittion. It is easier to run wires, ducts and pipes through this type of wall because in most cases you do not have to drill holes through studs and if you are running ducts they will go through the interior wall providing you with amost 3 inches of insulation behind it on the exterior section of the wall. What I like about that is you can install a plastic vapor barrier to the inside of the interior wall cavity which not only improves the thermal efficiency but also makes it air tight and prevents air leakage and infiltration in the cavity which happens to be a major moisture problem when running ducts in exterior walls.
Old 11-28-03, 10:46 AM
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Wood is only about R-1 per inch. Not very good compared to fiberglass (around R-3) or some of the foams that can approach R-8 per inch. For all practical purposes metal is R-0, and glass an unimpressive 0.2 per inch, so in normal thickneses, also R-0.
Old 11-28-03, 11:54 AM
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Just so I understand what your saying correctly. The 2"x3" would be attached to a 2"x6" soleplate and topplate allowing you to place 16"x 3" bats of insulation between the studs of "both" walls?
Old 11-28-03, 03:13 PM
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You are correct, essentially each 3 inch batt would fit in each cavity and they would be staggered. The edge of each batt should fall in the middle of the other staggered wall cavity.
Old 12-25-03, 11:06 AM
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I noticed a contractor hasn't responded to this thread.

I think I know why.

Most walls are built on the deck of the house and then tilted up into place. A staggered stud wall as described would be a royal pain to construct. When all framing members are the same size it's easy enough to have them lined up correctly before nailing.

However, if the plates are 6" and the studs are 3", the alignments become messy. Don't forget about the penetrations such as windows and doors.

My guess is the only people who do exactly this way are DIYs.
If you insist on having your house built this way, I don't suggest appearing on the jobsite and introducing yourself to the carpenters.

To most carpenters in the U.S., more time means more money, but thinking harder or working harder is only that.

It would be easier to build two 2x3 walls, stand them up separately and space them 1/2" , with the second top plate being a 2x6 . Don't stagger the joists and do use 6" insulation.
Old 12-25-03, 01:47 PM
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Lightbulb Studs

We have found the cost for a 2x6 outside wall is just not worth it. With windows doors and all We go 2X4 and add a nother sheet of insulation board of some type on out side before the house wrap this way we end up with a R 20 or more for the home. The only time we stager the studes is for a sound wall ED

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