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Should I use 2x4's or 2x6's to frame a wall?

Answered by Brett ~ February 20, 2012 ~ No Comments » | Respond to this question

I want to build a small tool shed next to my house. Should I use 2x4 or 2x6's to build the walls. Also what about the roof rafters, its a sloping, single pitch roof with a span of about 12'? Thanks

Bailey ~ Norwalk, CT

Brett Kulina

Bailey, you can use 2x4's or 2x6's to frame the walls of your shed, as both sizes of stud are typically used in standard residential construction. One determining factor that you may want to consider is whether or not you plan on insulating the walls of your shed, and if so, what is the overall R-value that you want for the structure. One advantage of framing your walls with 2x6's is that you create a 5 1/2" deep wall cavity in which to install the insulation, which would equate to a higher R-value than the smaller 3 1/2" deep wall cavity created by a wall framed with 2x4's. Of course a possible downside of thicker walls is that they eat up more floor space than thinner walls (although not much more).

I usually frame my walls with 2x6's, which allows room for plenty of insulation in the wall cavity, as well as adequate room for plumbing vents, electrical boxes, and wiring. If your tool shed is going to be uninsulated and without plumbing, then you might just consider using the 2x4's. 2x4's are slightly less expensive than 2x6's and because they are lighter, your newly-framed walls will be easier to lift into place. Before you buy any lumber or begin any construction, you should carefully review the local building codes in the Norwalk area so that your project is designed and built to code compliant standards.

Likewise, when trying to determine the rafter sizes for your project, you will need to consult your local building codes, as well as determine the length of the rafter span and the pitch of the roof slope. Keep in mind that you can increase the size of your roof rafters if you need more cavity depth for greater amounts of insulation. I'm guessing that 2x8 rafters would be structurally adequate for a 12' span, but again without knowing more specifics of your project it is difficult to say for sure. If you have other general lumber questions, you may want to consult a salesperson at your local yard or home improvement warehouse.

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