by • July 10, 2015 • Framing & DecksComments (7)10826

4 Reasons to use Super Studs – Framing with 2×6 LSL’s

One word that I consistently hear from people who tour my firms’ completed homes is “Crisp”.  What does it mean to build a “Crisp” house?  It means the reveals are tight, the walls are dead flat & straight, and the paint finishes are flawless.  It’s a “Crisp” house.

So, how do you achieve that?  It all starts with a well framed house, and my secret weapon is to frame using man-made studs.  These Laminated Strand Lumber (LSL) studs come from the factory perfectly straight & flat.  There is no cull in the stack, now crowning, and very little frame checking before sheetrock to ensure flat walls.  There are a few manufacturers of these but my favorite is Weyerhauser’s Timberstrand LSL studs.

Hallway to Master Bedroom before roof

Hallway to Master Bedroom before roof

The same hall after roof showing huge glass that would reveal any imperfections.  Perfect place to use LSL's.

The same hall after roof showing huge glass that would reveal any imperfections. Perfect place to use LSL’s.

So, here’s my top 4 Reasons to Frame with LSL Studs:

#1  Modern Houses with Smooth Sheetrock

I often build with Architects who design very contemporary houses and this type of house is very unforgiving to errors in the frame stage.  This style house often has large flat walls of smooth sheetrock & tall windows with raking light that will show off every flaw!  LSL’s are a must for this type of house.

#2  Great Rooms & 2 story spaces

The longer the 2x faming member, the greater chance it’ll arrive warped or will warp over time.  These tall walls are the original intention of LSL studs.  They excel at this application and there really isn’t a better alternative.

#3  Cabinetry & Tile intensive houses.

When I first started using LSL’s I substituted standard pine 2x’s with Timberstrand LSL’s in the kitchen & master bathrooms.  I needed dead flat walls to ensure tile backsplashes were straight & bow-free and to have cabinet installs scribed to walls evenly.   Once I started using these man-made studs in these applications it was an easy jump to go to a whole house application.

#4  Reduced SR callbacks & warranty work

I’ve been using Timberstrand LSL headers for 15 years now and that one switch alone has saved huge warranty dollars in avoiding the spider cracks at window heads from traditional 2x header shrinkage.  I’ve seen the same reduction overall in nail pops, movement, and cracking.  These LSL studs arrive straight and stay that way.  If you are building tight tolerance houses for demanding Clients & Architects these are a fantastic product.

PS> Big thanks to the super talented Architects at AlterStudio who designed the house I’m showing off in the video.  This fantastic project is nearing completion and has been so fun to build.  Stay tuned for future posts about this amazing house and it’s spectacular Architecture.


Matt Risinger

Risinger Homes in Austin, TX

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Risinger Homes is a custom builder and whole house remodeling contractor that specializes in Architect driven and fine craftsmanship work. We utilize an in-house carpentry staff and the latest building science research to build dramatically more efficient, healthy and durable homes.

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  • Drew

    Matt, do the LVLs have an impact on how a house fire might behave?
    Drew V.

    • Drew, I’m not sure I’m totally qualified to answer this, but my sense is that it would be a 1-1 swap with a pine 2x in terms of reaction. Maybe someone from Weyerhauser reading this could comment too??? Matt

    • Gary Schweizer

      Drew – Testing has shown that TimberStrand LSL reacts similarly to sawn lumber in a house fire since the product is primarily composed of wood fiber. The adhesives used in TimberStrand do not impact flame spread ; and, do not have different smoke toxicity than ordinary wood. TimberStrand LSL has demonstrated char rate, flame spread, and smoke similar to sawn lumber. For more
      information, see the Trus Joist Fire-Rated Assemblies and Sprinkler Systems
      guide (
      Gary Schweizer, PE

  • Brad

    For interior walls, wouldn’t steel studs be just as straight as LVLs and a lot cheaper?

    • Brad, Very true steel studs are less cost and super straight. The down side is they are non-structural, they require a different set of tools, and often require expensive conduit to run electric wires through them. These LsL studs are a one to one swap with a structural 2x stud. It’s easy all around for the crews onsite.
      Thanks for commenting. Matt

  • Daniel Becker

    My house is undergoing a full renovation and I want to specify the timberstrand LSL’s. The cost in S. Florida is $1.32 per linear foot for LSL vs. $.43 for a standard stud. I don’t have experience using them, so I can’t make a judgment call if they are worth the premium cost. What do you think? The house is going to be modern style and lots of natural light from big windows.

    • I think they are worth the investment in key areas. Areas with Level 5 smooth drywall, raking light, and cabinets can all benefit from LSL studs. In the end you need to justify yourself if the crisp finish is worth the investment. Hope this helps! Best, Matt