As with much of the building industry, wall framing is continually evolving. Our firm, Steven Baczek Architect, keeps an open mind when it comes to new products. For a current residential project, we are using the Tstud as a main component for the exterior wall framing. The house’s small size, simple form, and straightforward framing plan created the perfect proving ground to use the Tstud for the first time. While dimensionally similar to the common 2×6 solid stud, the Tstud provides a substantial reduction in thermal bridging, and has three times the strength a conventional 2×6 stud. Coupled with insulating exterior sheathing (R-9) and blown cavity insulation (R-29), it creates the basis for an exceptionally efficient wall frame with a whole-wall R-value of 30. The benefit of the Tstud is the cavity insulation between the stud chords, which does not exist in solid-stud framing. While the insulating sheathing does provide a thermal break, we chose to use the Tstud to further enhance the thermal break of the wall assembly in its entirety.
Because this was our first time using the product, it was essential to thoroughly consider and review a few typical details. Both an exterior wall rough-framing plan and an elevation plan were drawn to determine the specific areas of interest. As illustrated, the Tstud has different widths for the two chords. However, the dimensions remain the same—one is oriented 90° in relation to the other. The result is that one face yields a 1-1/2-in.-wide surface (the spline), while the opposing face has a 2-1/2-in. surface (the flange). Following conversations with the framing contractor, we decided to use the flange as the exterior face of the framed wall. That size face created a better nailing surface for the exterior sheathing. The wall board subcontractor then used the spline as a recognizable dimension.