Wind, Earthquake & Weather Resistance

Severe wind damageIn areas susceptible to severe weather conditions, builders and designers are challenged with creating structures that will withstand the forces of nature. While regionalized building codes address the necessary design requirements, APA provides additional resources and details construction practices that help homes to perform even better against hurricanes, high winds, severe moisture and earthquakes.

OSB wall sheathingPlywood and OSB Sheathing Boost Structural Strength

The overall strength of a building is the function of all of the components—walls, floors, roof, and foundation—working together as a unit. When an earthquake or high wind strikes the house, the walls and roof bear the brunt of these forces. A fully sheathed wall of plywood or OSB, properly connected to the foundation below and roof above, is a strong barrier that resists the persistent forces of wind and earthquakes. Laboratory tests and field evaluations show that sheathing with plywood or OSB can help make a house two to three times more able to withstand high winds and earthquakes.

Learn how to address all of your building challenges with plywood or OSB sheathing.

Tornado Damage Report and Design Recommendations

SP-1154Damage observations conducted by APA after the 2011 tornados in North Carolina and the powerful EF-4 and EF-5 storms that struck Tuscaloosa, Alabama, 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, APA published a set of construction recommendations for improving tornado or hurricane resistance in light-frame wood construction.

Download the damage assessment report: Tornados of the South: Structural Performance of Newly Constructed Homes in North Carolina, Alabama, and GeorgiaForm SP-1154.


M310Download design recommendations detailed in Building for High Wind Resistance in Light-Frame Wood ConstructionForm M310.


Protect Your Home from Windstorm Damage with Hurricane Shutters

T450Shutters over large windows and glass doors can help prevent windstorm damage. Hurricane Shutter Designs, Form T450, includes five hurricane shutter designs with recommendations for a variety of window and door openings in masonry and wood-frame buildings. Designs include illustrations, materials lists, and step-by-step instructions. Details are also available for Latin America in Spanish.

Hurricane Shutter Design Considerations for Florida, Form T460, is a regionalized version of the Hurricane Shutter Designs publication specific to Florida. 

Prevent Damaging Moisture Infiltration

Designed to provide builders and homeowners the construction guidelines they need to protect their homes against damaging moisture infiltration, the Build a Better Home program from APA encourages better building practices for the key elements of a residential structure: roofs, walls and the foundation. Visit Build a Better Home for simple construction details, tips and videos on building moisture-resistant homes.

More APA Resources for Building Safe, Durable Homes

APA offers hundreds of publications containing detailed technical information for architects, builders, code officials, engineers, specifiers, and others in the trade. Below are a few of the many APA publications that address wall bracing and other considerations for designing and building structures that can safely resist the forces of nature, including the lateral loads that result from high-wind events and earthquakes. Click on any title to download a free PDF copy. To view all APA publications, visit the online APA Resource Library

Learn More about Severe Weather Preparedness

These national organizations provide information on severe weather preparedness, home safety, and important weather-related factors to consider when buying or building a new home: