We’re using 2x4s instead of wide lumber whenever possible to save old growth trees and money. Smaller dimension lumber can be obtained from smaller trees, and so it’s more sustainable.

2x4 bucks reduce use of wide lumber

2x4 bucks reduce use of wide lumber

For our rough window and door frames, also called ‘bucks’, we put two 2×4 frames side-by-side. The window hides the joint between frames. In fact, it’s impossible to tell the difference when finished. The finished look is the same as wide lumber, and with just a bit more time and effort, you’ve saved yourself some money and reduced the strain on forests.


Using 2x4s Versus Wide Lumber — 5 Comments

  1. Yes! The window bucks in a wide wall can be expensive. This is a very practical way to do it.
    The window will cover the joint. But be sure you place them in the wall where you want them. Sometimes it’s nice to place your windows far out in the wall so you have those big sills inside for plants and the light to bounce inside.

    • I usually recommend flush mounted windows to reduce risk of moisture problems. However, in this instance we had 4′ wide windows on a tightly curved roundhouse. Centering the windows was the best option for this particular design.

  2. Thanks for the additional information. Sorry I guess I missed the post about sheet metal anchors. This is a wonderful idea to help keep the wall more level and maybe more stable over time. I am loving this method of constructing a home for my family, (not the bank!!). Thanks for all you and Kelly do…


  3. Thanks for another great idea. I noticed it looks like you did not use velcro strips to anchor the windows to the wall. Is this not necessary with the buck rough frame?



    • I’m using sheet metal anchors: http://earthbagbuilding.wordpress.com/2010/04/24/sheet-metal-anchors/

      This works best for us, but you could use plywood, etc. with nails through it (which is what some people call ‘velcro’).

      Also, we used a technique from my strawbale building days. We drilled some holes and pounded in 1/2″ rebar to be doubly sure nothing shifted. This may be overkill in most situations, but note how few bags are between our large windows. We added vertical and horizontal rebar to these narrow wall sections.

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