For a residence, normal 2x4 studs are used to frame 8 ft tall exterior wall.

How do you build exterior walls over 8 ft tall?

What kind of studs? 2x6 or steel posts?

What do the codes say? (Houston, TX area)

Would it be a lot more expensive, percentage wise? 

  • For a residence 2x6 has been required for years. You frame the wall the same way but with longer studs.
    – Ed Beal
    Jun 11, 2020 at 16:02
  • "What the codes say?" Hard to tell. We don't know where in the world you are. Even within a single US state, there can be some variation on code requirements and requirements in one state will vary from another. Edit some additional detail into your post to help us help you.
    – FreeMan
    Jun 11, 2020 at 16:17
  • 2
    "OT" is Off Topic, and "SE" is Stack Exchange. Have you done any research on construction techniques on the internet or in books ? There is no way for us to answer about the costs. A 2x4x8 is about $5.00 and a 2x6x8 is about $7.80 ( where i live ) Walls consist of more then studs. ( plus labor ) How tall is "over 8 ft ?
    – Alaska Man
    Jun 11, 2020 at 17:34
  • 1
    @AlaskaMan must live in AK - that's some pricey lumber! (And a good example of why pricing is off-topic - a 2x4x8 is about $1.50 where I live)
    – FreeMan
    Jun 11, 2020 at 17:41
  • 1
    @ngungo - no, lumber isn't normally sold in 9' lengths. Usually it's in 2 foot increments from 8 - 16' long. You can get longer if needed, but it gets really pricey after that. If you need a 9' stud, you buy 10-footers and cut them down. Actually, you're probably going to end up cutting down just about everything you buy because it's exceedingly rare that the lumber you buy will be the exact dimension you need it to be.
    – FreeMan
    Jun 11, 2020 at 18:20

1 Answer 1


You buy longer lumber (2x4, 2x6). I can go in big box and find 10' lengths, and sometimes 12'. Any decent lumber yard I use sells these up to 12' in high quantity.

This isn't part of your question but I have worked on new homes over the past 20 years. We have gone from mostly 2x4 exterior framing to 2x6. Honestly unless you are in hurricane land there isn't a huge difference save for the fact of insulation.

Some people say you must do 2x6. No you must not. You can insulate a house better from the outside rather than inside the framing (I am not suggesting no insulation inside framing - I am suggesting insulation in framing and exterior sheething in extreme climates).

But but... I have had engineers that proved break points in framing with 2x4s and it is around 9-10'. This is where you start seeing a degradation in foundation rigidity. Sorry I do not have research for this but I saw this on multiple reports where we had plans for 10-12' ceilings. So basically we were made to move to 2x6s.

I wanted to mention that because in fact I think for most moderate houses in moderate climates, 2x6 is overdoing it. But when you start talking about higher ceilings there becomes engineering needs.

  • Thanks for the answer. When you say "we were made to move to 2x6s" because the codes say so? If not in Houston, I rather go with 2x4 because it's cheaper. Can I frame 2x6 24 OC, or it has to be 16 OC?
    – ngungo
    Jun 11, 2020 at 20:21
  • @ngungo - we were made because of engineers recommendation. Following code we could have gone to 10' based on our local ordinances. You are in hurricane alley. There is no way you can go 2x4 24 OC. These really aren't decisions home owners get to make, you have to have an engineer draw up plans and the city to OK them. I doubt you will be using 2x4s there.
    – DMoore
    Jun 11, 2020 at 20:24
  • :) My wife wants high ceilings and I want it cheap.
    – ngungo
    Jun 11, 2020 at 20:42

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