www.apawood.org/walls is your leading resource for building safe, durable and code-compliant walls that are energy-efficient and cost-effective.
This site compiles APA’s extensive library of free wall-construction content—including design recommendations, how-to instructions, CAD details for wood-frame construction, and more—into one convenient location.View the Additional Resources page for a summary of available resources.
Browse current wall construction topics in the menu at left, or scroll down to view News & Updates for our latest recommendations.
Free Product Support & Training
For answers to your questions about wall bracing systems and engineered wood products, contact the APA Help Desk for free product support.
APA also offers continuing education opportunities, including training and consultation on wall construction topics. If you are interested in scheduling a live or online presentation for your group, contact your local APA Engineered Wood Specialist.
News & Updates
A Guide to the 2015 Wood Wall Bracing Provisions Now Available
A new illustrated book, co-published by the International Code Council (ICC) and APA—The Engineered Wood Association, provides an explanation of the lateral bracing provisions of the 2015 International Residential Code (IRC). The Guide to the 2015 IRC Wood Wall Bracing Provisions, the fourth edition in the series, details the correct application of the code-bracing requirements, explores the history and theory behind wall bracing, and provides real-world bracing examples. The book is now available in hardcopy and digital format.
A Guide to the 2015 IRC Wood Wall Bracing Provisions addresses bracing options available to the builders and designers, the amount of bracing required with adjustments and variations, rules for the use of bracing, the new simplified wall bracing provisions, whole house bracing considerations and many other related topics. The full-color book features numerous specific examples and more than 200 figures, tables and photos.
Nail-Base Sheathing for Siding and Trim Attachment
Wood structural panels, including plywood and OSB, are recognized by the building codes for their strength and performance in wall construction. Walls continuously sheathed in plywood or OSB also provide an excellent nail base for siding and trim. In typical construction, siding, trim, and brick ties are attached to framing members. According to the code, they can also be attached directed to nail-base structural sheathing when the correct fastening method is used. APA's new guide, Nail-Base Sheathing for Siding and Trim Attachment, Form Q250, provides an easy method for determining the type and spacing of siding fasteners to satisfy building code requirements when using wood structural panel sheathing as a nail base. For more information on using structural sheathing as a nail base for siding and trim, visit Nail-Base Sheathing.
APA Wall Bracing Calculator
The APA Wall Bracing Calculator is a free online tool that simplifies the process of designing residential wall bracing for compliance with the 2009 and 2012 International Residential Code.
The Wall Bracing Calculator’s step-by-step tool uses basic user inputs and internal calculations to determine the amount of wall bracing needed for each house plan and to comply with IRC bracing requirements. It also provides a concise printable package of the design, including layouts, for inclusion in plan submittals.
The easy-to-follow system automatically determines how much bracing is required, whether there is enough qualified bracing, and whether all the IRC placement rules have been met. Along with streamlining the calculations, it verifies compliance without the user having to sift through pages and pages of code.
The Wall Bracing Calculator can be accessed at www.apawood.org/calculator.
Simplified Wall Bracing Video: Four Steps to Code-Compliant Walls
This video from APA introduces an easier way to determine IRC-compliant wall bracing: APA’s simplified wall bracing method. The video outlines how APA’s simplified wall bracing method greatly reduces the complexity of determining whether wall bracing meets the code for many common home designs.
Simplified Wall Bracing: Four Steps to Code-Compliant Walls explains the basics of the method and how the method helps to determine bracing for qualified designs with four steps:
- Determine whether the design meets the parameters of the method.
- Draw a rectangle around the plan; determine the amount of bracing required for each side of the rectangle.
- Define wall bracing segments.
- Compare existing bracing to bracing required.
The two-and-a-half-minute video introduces the simplified method and two publications that go into more depth on it: Bracing Method Streamlines Design, Form P310, a quick-reference brochure that provides an overview of the method, including key benefits and a comparison with traditional bracing, and APA System Report SR-102: APA Simplified Wall Bracing Method Using Wood Structural Panel Continuous Sheathing, Form SR-102, a complete description of how to apply the method.
To watch the video and to learn much more about the simplified method, visit the Simplified Wall Bracing Method page.
APA presents Wall Bracing: Satisfy the code with strong, resilient, fully sheathed walls
Shot on location in Washington, IL, where a devastating tornado destroyed nearly 1,000 homes in November 2013, this video uses real-world examples from the reconstruction of the town. Key principles to creating strong, resilient, IRC-compliant walls are explained in the context of this rebuilding effort.
To watch the video and to learn much more about APA-recommended wall bracing techniques, visit the Wall Bracing page.
APA and AIBD Present Wall Bracing Webinar Series
APA and AIBD (American Institute of Building Design) partnered to present a five-part webinar series on wall bracing. APA has collaborated with code bodies since the 1950’s to improve wall performance and reduce the risk of catastrophic home failure through the development of prescriptive wall bracing techniques that specify plywood and OSB wood structural panel sheathing. The recorded webinars include:
- Wall Bracing I: Why wall bracing and wall bracing strategy
- Wall Bracing II: Meeting the code through prescriptive wall bracing
- Wall Bracing III: Simplified wall bracing and what to provide the building official
- Wall Bracing IV: Seismic-related provisions and tips to meeting them
- Wall Bracing V: Building Wood Framed Structures for High Wind Resistance
For more information or to view the webinars, visit the Wall Bracing Webinars page.
System Report: Using Wood Structural Panels with Raised-Heel Trusses
APA outlines an efficient, cost-effective construction solution for using wood structural panels with raised-heel (or energy-heel) trusses in the System Report, Use of Wood Structural Panels for Energy-Heel Trusses, Form SR-103.
Conventional trusses can compress insulation, diminishing its R-value and creating a cold area in the building envelope at the point where the truss meets the top wall plate. Energy-heel trusses provide sufficient space for full-depth insulation without compromising the effectiveness of the attic insulation R-value. For this reason, construction with raised-heel trusses is an increasingly popular practice.
Because the International Residential Code (IRC) requirements for attaching raised-heel trusses are complex, APA System Report SR-103 provides a pre-engineered solution to this problem: combine raised-heel trusses with wood structural panels to resist loads that act on the truss connection. The construction method outlined meets the lateral load and wind uplift load requirements of the IRC without additional cutting or blocking, and strong, stable wood structural panels are very easily joined to the building.
APA System Report SR-103 is available for free download in PDF format or purchase from APA in print format for $1.00.
ICC and APA Team Publish Guide to IECC-Compliant Wood Walls
An illustrated guide, co-published by the International Code Council (ICC) and APA—The Engineered Wood Association, provides tips and recommendations that help builders construct energy code-compliant wood walls using continuous wood structural panel wall sheathing. IECC Compliance Options for Wood-Frame Wall Assemblies, Form P320, describes how energy performance is measured in exterior wood wall assemblies and how to improve wall thermal performance to meet energy code requirements.
The 20-page publication details several wall assemblies that comply with the R-20 and R-13+5 prescriptive requirements for many of the climate zones included in the 2009, 2012, and 2015 editions of the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC). Also provided are recommendations for reducing material costs by increasing use of lower-cost cavity insulation, optimizing material usage with easy-to-apply advanced framing techniques, and boosting thermal performance with insulated headers and siding.
IECC Compliance Options for Wood-Frame Wall Assemblies, Form P320, is available for free download in PDF format or purchase from APA in print format for $2.00.
Advanced Framing Featured in APA Video
Advanced Framing: Meet Structural Code & Energy Requirements is a video from APA that provides an introduction to advanced framing concepts. Additional information about these concepts is available in the advanced framing section of this website. Several specific advanced framing techniques—including 2x6 wood framing spaced 24 inches on center, insulated three-stud corners and two-stud corners with ladder blocking, single headers and insulated headers, and multiple options for wall intersections—are highlighted in the Advanced Framing Construction Guide, Form M400, as well as free CAD details from APA.
Free Advanced Framing CAD Details from APACAD.org
Twenty new CAD details highlighting advanced framing techniques have been added to APACAD.org, APA’s online resource for building designers and construction professionals in search of CAD (Computer Aided Design) details for wood-frame construction. The new details were adapted from figures in APA's Advanced Framing Construction Guide, Form M400.
The addition of the new details boosts the total number of free CAD details featured on APACAD.org to 257, including 30 Spanish-language details. All of the details are available to download free of charge in four file formats: DWG, DWF, DXF and PDF. The details are adapted from some of APA’s most frequently requested publications and can be searched for by title or browsed for within several defined product and construction-system categories, such as Panel Roof Construction and I-Joist Floor Framing.