2×6 Framing Versus 2×4

Question

Which is the better choice–in terms of quality and structural integrity–for building my house:
2×4 framing or 2×6?

2x6 Framing Versus 2x4

By Chuck Tripp

Actually, this is a very good question and there is a good bit of debate, amongst both builders and homeowners, as to which is the better choice and value.

Structural Stability

First off, it is not really a structural issue, per se. Both 2×4 and 2×6 provide comparable structural integrity and there is no major difference between the two in terms of stability and longevity. Although some builders will argue that 2×6 is stronger and more durable, we haven’t seen any hard evidence to suggest that. Any true structural differences seem to be minimal.

Insulation Benefits

There are a number of builders and homeowners who believe that 2×6 provides better insulation because of the wider size—since it will hold more insulation. The wider wall that the 2×6 provides gives builders more space for additional insulation. The benefit, some builders suggest, is that it is a long-term value that will reap rewards for years to come in terms of effectiveness and efficiency.

Cost Benefit

This is what most of the debate centers around: is it more cost effective to build with 2×4 or 2×6 framing? Granted, the upfront costs for using 2×6 are greater. Not only does it cost more, but using 2×6 requires wider window and door jams—and the purchase of a door jam extender—which translates into additional upfront costs.

Some builders argue that using 2×4 framing gives you the same quality and stability at a cheaper price point. Not only is it less expensive, it requires less insulation as well. On the other hand, most builders agree that 2×6 framing offers the best long-term value because the extra insulation saves energy and reduces costs for years to come. They argue that the long-term savings far outweigh the initial upfront costs.

Bottom Line:

Both 2×6 and 2×4 are valid options for building your house. Structurally, there is minimal difference between the two. Homeowners should take into account how long they plan on staying in the house, as well as the year-round climate, particularly during the winter months. Although 2×6 is more expensive on the front end, its main benefit, according to most builders, is that it is a more energy efficient option that will reduce your gas or electric bill month after month. Homeowners should consider all these variables before making a decision to ensure that your dream home fits within your budget and delivers quality and value for the long haul.

 

To learn more about the pros and cons of building with 2×6 or 2×4 framing, visit dongardner.com or call one of our professional DAG representatives to ask specific questions or discuss options: 800.388.7580.

 

2 comments on “2×6 Framing Versus 2×4

  1. Gary on

    A 2×6 exterior wall give you a better sound barrier from the outside and is easier to meet energy codes in Michigan.

    Reply
  2. Cheryl Harless on

    Benefits in the Desert

    I live in the high desert in Southern California. I always thought that, coupled with a good whole house fan, 6 inch walls and more insulation would afford the best relief to outlandish energy bills in a stick built house. Electricity costs are very high in California, and when summer weather lasts for 6-9 months, $300+ bills/month in a 1300 square foot home take a great toll. While the rest of the country (save perhaps AZ and FL) groan for an end to winter we have been in the high 70’s and 80’s for all but a few weeks. Granted, we DID start the New Year with snow, a very rare treat, or trial depending on your view.

    I also learned the importance of interior walls being insulated. My parents were advised not to insulate the interior walls when they built their house. Not sure what idiot gave them THAT advice! This was a HUGE mistake. Every noise can be heard throughout the house. God forbid someone sleep in while someone else is cooking in the kitchen.

    Another advantage, which you mention as more of a negative… I really love deep window sills. I love putting plants and vases of flowers in windows that are not otherwise frequented by pets. Of course the pets like them as a place to bask in the sun!

    Reply

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