Do you have 2×6 walls?………..My Favorite question
Do you have 2×6 walls? I would say that is a question I hear every day. Clearly what the customer is trying to ask if, “are these quality homes” while at the same time making it clear that they know enough about construction to know that 2″x6″ walls studs are better then 2″x4″ so that I don’t try to pull the wool over their eyes. Sadly, this question fails to do either of these. Every house built in our area has 2×6 walls, so the answer they are always going to get is yes. It is the code minimum so you could not get a building permit to build with less that 2×6 so it is by no means a distinguishing characteristic.
That said, it is not for the reason everyone asks and there is a debate going on right now in the residential home construction industry about 2″x4″ walls actually being better. You see everyone thinks we use 2×6 because they are stronger. They are not, the crush strength of a 2×4 is exactly the same as the crush strength of a 2×10 in vertical load which is what walls support. 90% of all the 200+ year old houses in this world were built with 2×4’s and are still standing. We changed to 2×6 not for strength but for a larger cavity for more insulation so we could improve energy efficiency. That said every stud is a thermal break and a 2×4 wall with 2″ of foam on the outside plus R-13 in the cavity would actually be as strong and better insulation.
Could you imagine if my answer some day is, No!…. we use 2×4’s because they are better. Now that would throw some people off.