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Community and Q&A

Suggestions for wall structure

Eggschillin | Posted in Energy Efficiency and Durability on

I’m not a general contractor but am building a personal home in the Upstate of South Carolina, and will be acting as the general pulling all the permits.  My want is to have a real firewood burning fireplace in living area of home.  trying to educate myself on this but subscribing to Fine Homebuilding for years, I have read that having an energy efficient home and having a fireplace are mutually exclusive.  However, given we live in a fairly temperate climate, what would you experts suggest in home wall layers be?  Exterior walls will be 2×6 and at this time I plan on a spray foam in attic on second floor but using standard fiberglass insulation in walls. Siding will be a Hardy plank.  Windows will be the Marvin essential line.   If you were building this house, what would be wall layer solution given fireplace but also trying to achieve best efficiencies? I appreciate your help.

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  1. Expert Member


    Leaving aside questions of efficiency and pollution, the main problems with incorporating a fireplace in a new air-tight home are supplying combustion air, and sealing the unit off when not in use.

    Neither of those has any effect, or is solved by, what wall design you use. The two are completely independent of one another.

  2. Expert Member
    RICHARD EVANS | | #2


    If I lived where you do, then I would probably opt for a 2x4 wall with 2" of exterior polyiso and a rain screen gap. I would dense-pack the stud bays with cellulose and use a ductless/ed heat pump.

    As for the fireplace, I would add it to a large, furnished screened-in porch so you can keep it out of the enclosed envelope. Im sure you could make this into the family's favorite room with some creative thinking/designs.

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