Q: What are some different type of wall structures to consider when building or remodeling a home?
A: The standard wall structure in our area is a 2” x 6” spaced 16” apart with either OSB (oriented strand board) or plywood on the exterior and 5/8” sheetrock on the interior wall. The insulation by code is R-21. Most often a batten fiberglass product is used. Typically, this wall structure will have a sill sealer at the bottom plate to help with air loss.
You may hear about builders “value engineering” their plans. This is done by switching from 16”spacing to 24” spacing. This will help save some lumber.
Building Science has been applied to see if this wall structure can be improved in order to give the home owner the best performance for the money.
One key weakness of the standard wall structure is thermal heat loss. The 2” x 6” that connects both walls is a conductor for hot and cold. This time of year it is easy to see this happening on homes. Early in the morning you can look at sides of homes and see condensation. You can see lines on the side of the home. These lines represent heat transfer via the 2” x 6”.
To eliminate this you can use a “staggered stud” approach. You can build the wall structure so that there is no direct contact between the exterior wall and interior wall. A blow in insulation is used rather than the batten product (R-24 is achieved). This technique will virtually eliminate the thermal heat loss transfer between the interior to the exterior. Sealants can be used at the bottom and top of the wall to all but eliminate air infiltration.
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Next week I will discuss about different types of wall structures.
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