Part 1 of this Construction Guide to High-Performance Walls in Climate Zones 3-5 provides time-proven, practical, and cost-effective strategies for constructing durable, energy-efficient walls. It addresses walls constructed with 2x6 wood frame studs, wood structural panel (WSP) exterior sheathing, and a cladding system installed over WSP sheathing in low-rise residential buildings up to three stories high. Walls with exterior board insulation are addressed in Part 2 of the Guide.
The 2x6 advanced framing technology enables a straightforward transition from conventional 2x4 wall construction to a more energy-efficient wall system, requiring only a minimal change from tried-and-true framing practices. In addition to deeper cavity that provides space for more insulation, 2x6 studs have significantly higher compression and bending capacity that allow for increased stud spacing and reduced number of jack and king studs at openings. The use of fewer studs per a unit of length of wall leads to reduced framing factor (leaving more room for insulation), material cost-savings, resource efficiency, and labor savings during framing as well as installation of utilities. In addition to familiar advanced framing practices, new techniques are included such as the rim header and continuous drywall at interior wall intersections, which further optimize framing and increase energy efficiency.