PerformanceWalls.org, presented by APA – The Engineered Wood Association, 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 Performance Walls 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.
Performance Walls News & Updates
APA presents new video, Wall Bracing: Satisfy the code with strong, resilient, fully sheathed walls
APA's new video, Wall Bracing, was shot on location in Washington, IL, where a devastating tornado destroyed nearly 1,000 homes in November 2013. Using real-world examples from the reconstruction of the town, Bob Clark, APA Senior Engineered Wood Specialist, explains key principles to creating strong, resilient, IRC-compliant walls.
To watch the video and to learn much more about APA-recommended wall bracing techniques, visit the Wall Bracing page.
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 Line 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 Line Bracing Calculator can be accessed at www.apawood.org/calculator.
To learn more about the International Residential Code prescriptive bracing provisions, refer to A Guide to the 2012 IRC® Wood Wall Bracing Provisions, co-authored by APA and the International Code Council.
APA and AIBD Present Wall Bracing Webinar Series
APA and AIBD (American Institute of Building Design) partner to present a five-part webinar series on wall bracing. Series presenters Bob Clark, Roger Roatch and Bryan Readling are APA Engineered Wood Specialists with a combined 63 years of experience providing engineered wood product building and design support and recommendations. 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.
APA Issues 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 a new 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.
Quick-Reference Guide Highlights Simpler Bracing with the APA Simplified Wall Bracing Method
Builders don't have to compromise on strength to meet the bracing provisions of the International Residential Code (IRC). The APA Simplified Wall Bracing Method offers an affordable, flexible, streamlined approach to meeting wall bracing requirements for single-family homes. The APA method expands on the 2012 IRC simplified wall bracing provisions (IRC Section R602.12), increasing the applicability of the IRC provisions to as much as four times as many house plans, including those with multiple window and door openings on the front and rear elevations.
APA's brochure, Performance Walls: Simplified Bracing Method Streamlines Design, Form P310, provides a summary overview of the APA Simplified Wall Bracing Method, including how to use the method in four steps, the key benefits to the method, and a comparison with a traditional approach to wall bracing. The six-page brochure is available as a free downloadable PDF or a printed copy can be purchased for $1.00.
Learn more about the APA Simplified Wall Bracing Method.
APACAD.org Adds Free Advanced Framing CAD Details
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.
APA Presents Advanced Framing Strategies at the International Builders' Show
APA Engineered Wood Specialists Bob Clark and Karyn Beebe, P.E., LEED AP, presented a seminar on advanced framing to a crowd of more than 200 at the 2013 International Builders Show in Las Vegas on January 23.
The presentation, Advanced Framing: Time to Green-up Your Structure, presented for the second year at the show, focused on methods to increase cavity insulation to meet more stringent energy codes and the thermal bridging requirements of Energy Star 3 without compromising the strength and durability of homes. Advanced framing with 2x6 wood studs spaced 24 inches on center, combined with wood structural panel sheathing, is one of the most cost-effective solutions for builders trying to balance increasingly stringent energy codes with structural building code requirements.
Many of the details presented in the seminar are featured in the Advanced Framing Construction Guide, Form M400, an APA publication now available for free download. Clark recently sat down with Rob Heselbarth, Editorial Director of Residential Design + Build magazine, to discuss that publication and the benefits of advanced framing. That interview is featured at www.forresidentialpros.com.
APA Simplified Wall Bracing Method Expanded For Increased Usability
Based on a multi-year research and testing initiative carried out by APA, the APA Simplified Wall Bracing Method expands on the 2012 International Residential Code Simplified Bracing Method (IRC Section R602.12) to provide an approach to bracing that is even more valuable to builders and building officials by, in many cases, decreasing the amount of required wall bracing and the minimum length of braced wall panels. In addition, the APA Simplified Wall Bracing Method increases the applicability of the IRC simplified wall bracing provisions to as much as 4 times as many house plans, including those with multiple window and door openings on the front and rear elevations.
The APA Simplified Wall Bracing Method is detailed in System Report SR-102, originally published in September 2012. Recent updates to SR-102 expand usability of the APA method even further, increasing applicability to basic wind speeds of up to 100 mph and to Wind Exposure Category C regions. The updated System Report SR-102 also permits partial credit for shorter wall segments in continuously sheathed walls.
“These changes were requested by builders and code officials to further increase the usability of this simple approach to wall bracing," said Tom Kositzky, APA Director of Field Services. “Builders, especially regional or national builders, need solutions that work in less than 90 mph and 100 mph wind zones, as well as with different wind exposure categories. The update brings the APA Simplified Bracing Method closer to being a universal solution for builders and designers.”
2012 IRC Lateral Bracing Guide 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 2012 International Residential Code (IRC). The Guide to the 2012 IRC Wood Wall Bracing Provisions, the third 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 2012 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.
A Guide to the 2012 IRC Wood Wall Bracing Provisions is available for purchase in hardcopy for $42.00 ($33.50 for ICC Members, Product ID #7102S12) or digital PDF form for $39.95 ($31.95 for ICC Members, Product ID #8799P12) directly from the ICC. The 2009 edition of the guide is also available. Visit www.iccsafe.org for more information.
APA Releases New Simplified Wall Bracing Method
Following a multi-year research and testing program carried out by the Association, APA has published a new System Report detailing a simplified wall bracing method using continuous wood structural panel sheathing. APA System Report SR-102 provides building officials, builders and designers with an approach and the supporting technical information to more easily meet the requirements of the 2012 International Residential Code (IRC) Simplified Wall Bracing (Section R601.12). In developing the System Report, APA’s technical staff modified the IRC Simplified Wall Bracing to increase its applicability to a greater percentage of home designs. To provide greater architectural latitude, the SR-102 method calls for continuously sheathed wood structural panel bracing with an increased sheathing thickness and a closer nailing schedule on the first story of a two-story structure. APA staff will be educating builders, code officials and designers on the use of the simplified wall bracing method through meetings, webinars, and the website.
Download a free PDF copy of the APA System Report: APA Simplified Wall Bracing Method Using Wood Structural Panel Continuous Sheathing, Form SR-102. Printed copies of the report and educational training programs on the use of the new method are also available. Contact APA for more information.
Learn more about the APA Simplified Wall Bracing Method.
Meet Code and Energy Requirements with Advanced Framing
APA’s new publication, the Advanced Framing Construction Guide, Form M400, highlights advanced framing techniques that residential contractors can employ to produce energy-efficient, code-compliant homes with lower material and labor costs than conventionally framed houses.
The 24-page guide details several advanced framing techniques, including 2x6 wood framing spaced 24 inches on center, insulated three-stud corners, two-stud corners with ladder blocking, wall intersection options, single headers, single top plates and eliminating unnecessary materials. Continuous wood structural panel wall sheathing is recommended to provide the structural strength necessary to safely withstand the forces of nature.
APA Issues Construction Recommendations for High Wind Resistance
Damage observations conducted by APA after the April 16, 2011 tornados in Eastern North Carolina and the powerful EF-4 and EF-5 storms that struck Tuscaloosa, Alabama on April 27 found that a lack of attention to detail along the uplift load-path often leads to weakness on the route through which high-wind forces must travel within the framing and into the foundation. Following a review of the findings, the Association has published a set of construction recommendations for improving tornado or hurricane resistance in light-frame wood construction. The damage assessment report, Tornados of the South: Structural Performance of Newly Constructed Homes in North Carolina, Alabama, and Georgia, Form SP-1154 and the design recommendations, Building for High Wind Resistance in Light-Frame Wood Construction, Form M310, are both available for free download from APA.
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