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2x4 vs 2x6 Exterior Walls for New Home Construction

Why do people choose to use 2x6 construction over 2x4?  Well, in most areas 2x4 construction is sufficient.  2x4 construction will easily support a home's structure and weight.  The main reason 2x6 construction is attractive is for the extra insulating value.  However, with the blown-in-insulation available today, most homes can pass the Mec-Check, (Model Energy Code) with 2x4 construction.  Most of the heat loss occurs through windows and doors, as well as the attic.  If you were concerned about conserving energy, I would recommend putting more insulation in your attic and upgrade your south and western facing windows to a low-E- type window.  My opinion of why people choose 2x6 construction is based more on fear than on fact.  Lumber companies and insulation companies have pushed the 2x6 construction because they make more money.  Realtors have bought into the 2x6 hype because it gives the home a slight selling advantage. 

There are certainly some advantages of building with 2x6 construction, but there are disadvantages also.  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.

Another thing to consider is house plans are measured from outside to outside of walls.  Therefore, room sizes will be two inches less.  A 2400 sq foot home plan would actually be 33 square feet less on the interior. With homes costing about 100 a square foot, that is $3,300 .

The bottom line is 2x6 construction costs more and gives you less house.  However, some think it is worth the sacrifice.  I build homes with both, but I kind of think it is a waste of resources and money to use 2x6 construction.  I don’t care what you choose, but I want you to know why you choose it.


Happy home plan Hunting


2x6 vs 2x4

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