How to Save Money and Energy with Advanced Framing [video]

Frame of a house at night - How to save money and energy with advanced framing

The following text has been transcribed from the Creative Commons-licensed YouTube video directly above.

Narrator (Tom Mills):

Now, you might think that the wood part of the home, the framing, is the area where you can have the least amount of innovation. But that’s not necessarily true. There are actually some advanced techniques that can be used to reduce the amount of wood that goes into a house, and that’s going to save you money on construction costs. At the same time, it’s gonna allow you to put more insulation into the wall cavity, and that’s gonna save you money on energy.

What are some of the advanced framing techniques you’ve used at the house here at Serenbe?

Luis Imery of Imery Group

The simplest advanced framing technique that you can use is your stud spacing. So by doing this, you’re increasing your area of insulation, which in turn is going to make a better building envelope, and perform better because you’re reducing the amount of lumber on that exterior surface.

California Corners

Luis: Another technique that we use here is California Corners. Again, this is a cross-section; if you go like this [holds two boards together], then it allows you to spray foam insulation behind that corner.

Tom: The California Corner eliminates a stud from the standard corner assembly, to allow insulation deeper into the corner.

The Two-Stud Window

Luis: This is a two-stud window framing which, basically, what we’re doing is getting this cripple stuff all the way to here, putting the window seal and then stacking it, stacking your other one like this, and then setting your header here, and then you come with a king stud…

Tom: The standard window framing uses cripple, jack and king studs. The two-stud window stacks a shorter jack stud, and the sill on the cripple stud, eliminating material.

Luis: Again, you eliminated one extra stud of this framing assembly.

Recessed Headers

Tom: For a six-inch wall assembly, the typical header stacks three two by sixes. The advanced framing method removes one two by six and pushes the header to the outside, allowing for an inch and a half of foam insulation inside the header.

Luis: We’re able to push the headers back to the outside and allow for an inch and a half of insulation to be placed on front of the header [Tom gestures above: In that space, yeah], again reducing that thermal bridging.

Interior T-Walls

Luis: This is another advanced framing technique that you implement on your interior walls—that “T” to exterior walls—and basically, what you’re trying to achieve is to have insulation behind this member [points at frame]. If we assume that this is the exterior of the house, it’s typically to have, you know, a solid block of lumber like that, OK, and this is your sheeting. That way you can nail and save your T-walls. So then you suddenly have a massive block of lumber behind this and then your exterior. So that’s a weak spot.

Tom: A standard T-wall assembly uses three studs at the junction: in this case, two by sixes. The advanced framing technique uses two two by fours, with the wide side in. This provides for a continuous nailing surface, plus three and a half inches of foam insulation behind the junction.

Luis: Imagine this is the bottom plate, OK, and then your sheeting is here, so suddenly we gain, in our case, three and a half inches of insulation behind this member.

Non-Solid Headers

Luis: The other advanced framing technique is on your non-load-bearing walls, you see non-solid headers to frame your door openings.

Tom: For non-load-bearing walls, the standard double two by eight or engineered wood header is replaced by a single two by four for a significant materials savings.

Luis: If this wall is not bearing any load, you really don’t need that two by eight to distribute the weight around the open. And on this home, we have many other advanced framing techniques, the interior wall are all spaced 24 and centred as well. It’s all about paying attention to those little details, and how to reduce lumber and maximize the use of insulation on your exterior walls.

image: Paul VanDerWerf

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