A row of Tstuds with the text "Tstud" superimposed on top

Courtesy of TStud.com

The Tstud is a new engineered-framing product generating plenty of chatter in the construction industry. While some think it’s the future of frame-building, others have reservations. 

So, what are the pros and cons of Tstuds? And in what instances would you be wise to consider them?

Tstuds are interesting framed-building materials that sustainability-minded homeowners would do well to learn about. This article will explore the pros and cons to help you decide whether the material is suitable for your sustainable home.

You should consider Tstuds because they have the benefit of producing strong, soundproof, and energy-efficient buildings. Homeowners may qualify for energy rebates when they build with them. However, Tstuds are expensive, and many building contractors are unfamiliar with the technology.

The Pros of Tstuds in Construction

The Tstud is a newly engineered building product that consists of a pair of lumber members connected by a system of dowels in angled positions. The product can come with the space between the wood members empty or prefilled with insulation foam.

The Tstud is meant to replace regular framing lumber, particularly the 2 x 6 (0.6 x 1.8 m) and 2 x 8 (0.6 x 2.4 m) studs. The product was invented by Brian Iverson and is code-compliant across North America.

Wall studs have always been a weak link in building energy-efficient framed houses. Tstud technology attempts to tackle this problem by removing the thermal link of the standard lumber stud. As a result, it offers even more benefits that can save money and protect the environment.

Here are a few reasons you may want to build with Tstuds:

Breaking the Thermal Bridge for Energy-Efficiency 

The standard lumber stud provides an energy bridge, which allows for the temperature exchange between the inside and outside environments of the house. However, this property works against you when you want to control indoor temperature. 

Tstuds break that barrier due to the space between the lumber members. As a result, They block the temperature outside from transferring into your house. 

A section of a tstud next to one of standard lumber
Courtesy of TStud.com

Similarly, it blocks the temperature inside from transferring outside. Tstuds help maintain a consistent, comfortable inside temperature regardless of outside conditions by breaking the energy bridge in the walls.

Since Tstuds can be used on the wall, floor, and roof, they offer significant energy-efficiency potential.

Saving on HVAC System Costs

The energy efficiency of Tstud homes means you can potentially install smaller HVAC systems, as long as you tackled air sealing and insulation correctly.

As a result, you can save significantly on heating and cooling equipment purchases. In addition, since a more petite HVAC system will consume less energy, you can save on utility bills. Heating and cooling operations are major electricity cost drivers for many households.

Besides the savings on your electricity bill, the low energy consumption through heating and cooling means a reduced carbon footprint for your home.

A Soundproof House at No Extra Cost

Tstuds’ design allows them to reduce sound transmission. The foam mass in the middle of the insulated studs absorbs noise and prevents sound waves from traveling through the walls.

As a result, building with Tstuds will give you a quieter house. That will save you the extra cost of undertaking a separate soundproofing project for your home.

Stronger and Taller Buildings

Tstuds are joined by strategically placed dowels to enhance their structural strength. As a result, they produce much stronger structures than standard lumber studs. Therefore, you can count on your Tstud home to withstand heavy wind loads and hurricanes.

A multi-story industrial building using tstuds under construction
Courtesy of US Engineered Wood

Moreover, the material’s superior strength means you can build higher walls than regular studs can allow. Additionally, Tstuds can support more building stories than standard studs.

Saving Money on Building Material and Labor Costs

Tstuds are almost four times stronger than conventional studs. The superior structural strength of these engineered building materials means you’ll use less lumber in your construction project overall.

For example, Tstud structures can be built at 24-inch (61-cm) on-center instead of the standard 16-inch (41 cm) spacing. As a result, a Tstuds home will consume fewer materials and require less labor in the fastening segment.

Additionally, Tstuds are consistently straight, which can make framing easier and reduce material waste.

Besides saving you money, reducing waste is also great for the environment. This characteristic offers a simple way to save money on material and labor costs for a homebuilding project.

Multiple, Complementary Product Options

Tstuds come in several varieties, allowing you to choose the suitable form for your project.

Tstuds are available in these product forms:

  • BareNaked Tstud – this product is ideal for wall, roof, and floor studs. It has a broad application in the construction industry. As the name implies, this BareNaked Tstud variety comes without insulation between the lumber members.
  • HeavyTimber Tstud – this variety is ideal for builds that require heavy-duty columns. As a result, it can be a suitable option for high-walled or multistory structures.
  • MiniTstud – the product form to go for if you’re building a modular home or undertaking remodeling.

You also have the option to mix the different product forms in your project if that produces better results.

Choose Your Favorite Insulation

You may go for the insulated R19 Tstud or the BareNaked Tstud without insulation. The BareNaked Tstud variety allows you to choose your favorite insulation type. 

It supports the following options:

  • Fiberglass
  • Mineral wool
  • Cellulose
  • Closed-cell spray foam
  • Spray-on open foam 
A picture of un-faced pink fiberglass insulation batts in the wall, with a man installing it

While BareNaked Tstud offers flexible insulation choices, the R19 Tstud variety offers the best thermal energy bridge. However, both materials boast over 95% more thermal break capability than conventional studs.

Energy Rebate Eligibility

Building with Tstuds may make you eligible for various energy rebate programs. In addition, governments offer various incentives to encourage the transition to sustainable homes.

The Tstud is recognized as a sustainable building solution. As a result, homeowners who build with the material can offset some of their project costs with tax rebates. Homeowners in Minnesota and Michigan have been offered thousands of dollars in energy rebates. Incentives may be available in more places as Tstud’s market expands.

Effortless Installation

Tstuds can be assembled almost as fast as conventional studs, if not faster. As a result, you won’t have to wait longer to move into your more robust, energy-efficient, soundproof Tstud home.

Moreover, a quick assembly time means you can avoid adverse weather events that could delay projects or lead to cost overruns.

Cons of Tstud Construction

With all their many benefits, Tstuds are not without downsides. 

Here’re a few reasons some builders and homeowners have hesitated to embrace them:

High Cost

If you’re looking to invest the least amount of money upfront in your homebuilding project, look beyond Tstuds. A Tstud home will cost a few thousand dollars more than a standard framing build. The average cost of building with them is around $2,000 more than a regular stud system.

However, while Tstuds cost more upfront, they pay for themselves in the long run with their high energy efficiency. Additionally, they give you a more substantial house that can withstand extreme weather events and last longer. You reduce waste and protect the environment, so their benefits may outweigh the high upfront costs.

Dowel Breakage Limit

The superior structural strength of Tstuds is partly supported by the dowel system that connects the lumber members. The angled positioning of the dowels is critical to maintaining the material’s strength and stability.

As a result, a piece of Tstud should retain as many dowels as possible for the material to maintain its structural integrity. Therefore, cutting two consecutive dowels can compromise the material’s strength.

The interior of a home under construction using tstuds as vertical support beams
Courtesy of Carl Calabria

The maker of Tstuds advises cutting no more than one consecutive dowel. As a result, building with Tstuds requires a careful approach to avoid mistakes that could undermine its stability.

Additionally, the restriction dowel cuts can pose challenges during renovation works if you bring a contractor unfamiliar with the material.

However, the Tstuds maker has provided a detailed installation and configuration guide to reduce the risk of unnecessary dowel cuts. As a result, the risk of hitting too many dowels is low.

Limited Familiarity

Since the Tstud is a new technology, many builders and homeowners are still unfamiliar with it. As a result, some builders may be reluctant to work with them for fear that they may be more demanding to frame than regular studs.

However, contractors who have built with Tstuds are excited about it since the material can even be faster to install than standard studs.

Product Availability

Tstuds aren’t yet widely available as conventional studs. As a result, deliveries may require a longer wait for framing materials.

As Tstud’s manufacturing volumes increase, the product should be more broadly available. Moreover, large-volume manufacturing generates economies of scale that could result in better prices for the product in the future.

How Much Does a Tstud Cost?

Tstuds cost about $2.50 per foot (30.5 cm). So they’re nearly five times more expensive than standard studs, which cost around $0.50 per foot (30.5 cm). As a result, these energy-efficient building materials require a higher upfront investment in a homebuilding project.

Where To Buy Tstuds for Energy-Efficient Homes

This engineered building product is sold through distribution, lumber yards, and retail channels across North America.

You can order Tstuds online directly from the manufacturer, US Engineered Wood Inc. Since pricing can change or vary by quantity, you’ll receive customized price details after you send an order request.

Apart from ordering Tstuds directly from the manufacturer, you may buy the materials through lumber distributors and retailers such as Building Products, Inc. (BPI), LBM Advantage, and Northwoods Lumber Co.

Final Thought 

The Tstud has benefits and downsides that are worth considering if you’re looking for a suitable material for sustainable home construction.

This product’s greatest advantage is energy efficiency, which enables many cost-saving opportunities. Building with Tstuds also reduces material waste, which helps protect the environment. They are also easy to install and allow you to choose your favorite insulation option.

However, a Tstud home will require a more considerable upfront investment than conventional framing builds. And when you’re ready to make a move, your builder may be reluctant to use it, or material availability challenges may require long waits.


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