My local store has a limited selection and for framing an exterior wall my choices are using 1-1/4" x 6" and somehow double them or 2-1/4" x 10" and cut each of them at the 6" width. Using 1 x 6 would be much easier so my question is if it's possible and what would be the best way to do that. Just double them at 16", maybe fasten together? I would prefer not to build 2 x 10 exterior walls to save some space inside the house. These would be exterior load bearing walls, 8' high. Thanks.

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    Also, a 1x6 isn't one inch thick. It's 3/4". What you're describing is actually closer to a 2x6, which is normally 1-1/2" x 5-1/2".
    – isherwood
    Commented Nov 20, 2017 at 15:45
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    I've never seen wood sold in those dimensions. Where do you live?
    – JPhi1618
    Commented Nov 20, 2017 at 15:58
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    You have to find standard dimensional lumber, even if you have to have it brought in. Please get some help on designing and building your house. there are tons of books available.
    – Paul Logan
    Commented Nov 20, 2017 at 17:00
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    You have to follow recognized and tried and true practices. Standard building lumber has been around and successfully used for over 100-years. Also, 1x material is made out of white pine and spruce. They don't have enough strength.
    – Paul Logan
    Commented Nov 20, 2017 at 17:03
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    2x_ framing lumber is standard and it's properties understood and regulated by code. If you use something else, then it will be a guess as to its structural integrity and longevity. Would it pass an inspection? If you double thinner boards, how will you fasten them together? Nails and adhesive? When attaching sheathing on the outside and drywall on the inside won't nails and screws have to the driven into the middle of each board? This would require extreme precision in the nailing/screwing process. Commented Nov 20, 2017 at 17:21

2 Answers 2


Buy the 10" boards and rip them in half for two 5" studs for the least amount of waste, or to 3-1/2" if you want readily available windows and doors to fit in your openings which is going to be your next problem. Since the wood is spruce, follow IRC building codes for 2x4 SPF load bearing/exterior walls. At 8' tall and 16" on center spacing you can support most roofs, but don't support both a floor and a roof on it without asking us or reading up on it first. Use closed cell sill sealer to separate the bottom plate from direct contact with concrete/masonry, or just find pressure treated lumber for the bottom plate instead.

  • Thank you for the reply Jeff. I will just cut them into 2x4 and 2x6 since I will need the 2x4 for interior walls anyways. Great advice with the closed cell sill since that's not pressure treated lumber.
    – Nicu Hutu
    Commented Nov 21, 2017 at 14:16

The Code allows for “Alternative materials, design and methods of construction.” (See ICC 104.11.) However, the Building Official “May require supporting data when necessary to assist in the approval.”

I wouldn’t be concerned about using 1 1/4” x 5” studs. You’ll need to be careful about your nailing patterns as @JimStewart mentioned.

I can tell you that residential construction is grossly over-designed. That is to say, most materials do not reach their “working stress” limits. Using studs that are slightly less thick (and slightly less wide) than a standard stud, is of little concern for strength and stability.

If you’re not using the Building Department for inspections, then you’ll need to be vigilant in adequate and proper framing practices, (i.e.: lapping double top plate, nailing of sheathing, etc.)

Thickness of the stud is not as critical as the width. (Until a few years ago, we used 2x4 at 24” oc construction. Yes, some of the really old construction used 2”x4” studs, but the sheathing was lap boards.)

Some other issues you maybe consider: 1) standard batt insulation is designed for 5 1/2” deep x 16” oc (or 24” oc) stud space. Compressing it in a 5” space will reduce its thermal resistance AND the studs will be 1/4” further apart, so the insulation will not completely fill the width of the stud space allowing a thermal “gap”, 2) you may want to use a double trimmer for bearing at headers, and 3) you may need two trimmers for stiffness to secure door jambs in lieu of single trimmer.

Generally, framing is not one of the big costs of construction. The savings may not out weigh the hassle. ..but it all adds up.

  • Thank you Lee! A very good analyse of the aspects that might rise ahead if using 1 1/4 x 4. I was planning to use them even closer that 16" inch apart if I don't double them even if there will be extra cutting for each OSB and drywall to fit the dimensions and to accommodate the insulation. My main concern was not just the price but the time wasted to cut the 2x10's. I cannot up-vote your answer yet but this is exactly what I was looking for. My thought is to go with cutting the 2x10" and end up with 2x4 and 2x6 mostly because of the nailing the OSB concern. I appreciate your detailed reply!
    – Nicu Hutu
    Commented Nov 21, 2017 at 14:12

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