Detailed Bracing Information

APA offers a comprehensive set of services and tools for building design and construction professionals. If you’re looking for detailed product information, training material or technical assistance, APA can help.

Wall Bracing Webinar Series: APA and AIBD (American Institute of Building Design) partnered to present a five-part webinar series on wall bracing. The series began with a one-hour introductory session covering wall bracing history, theory and strategy. Additional sessions address related topics, including meeting code requirements with wall bracing, the simplified wall bracing method, and bracing for higher seismic and wind zones. To view the recorded Wall Bracing webinars, visit the Wall Bracing Webinar Series page.

For recommended APA publications, refer to the Additional Resources page. APA also offers free training and consultation services on the proper specification and application of engineered wood products, including regional seminars and live online webinars that address wall bracing and related topics. Or contact one of APA's regional Engineered Wood Specialists for continuing education opportunities.

These resources will clarify International Residential Code (IRC) requirements and answer common questions about wall bracing. Detailed wall bracing information from APA is available for: 

For technical background information, view Technical Research.

Wall Bracing for Architects

Wood Structural Panels Enable Flexible Design Options

Your modern home designs feature such design elements as high ceilings, sunrooms, window walls and second story bonus rooms, as well as numerous window and door openings. But did you know the code requires wall bracing segments to be 4 feet wide at corners and intermediate points throughout the house? This can wreak havoc on your designs by reducing the area available for window and door openings. But  the code does provide additional flexibility – especially if you specify full wood structural panel sheathing on the home. By doing so, the code actually requires less bracing and permits narrower bracing segments, giving you design flexibility that pleases your customer.

Resources for Architects

Understand Code. Just what design elements can you include while still meeting code bracing requirements? For an in-depth explanation of the IRC lateral bracing provisions, refer to A Guide to the 2015 IRC Wood Wall Bracing Provisions, co-published by APA and the International Code Council.

A simplified bracing method developed by APA offers an easier alternative to meeting code bracing requirements. Following a multi-year research and testing program carried out by the Association, APA developed the APA System Report: APA Simplified Wall Bracing Method Using Wood Structural Panel Continuous Sheathing, providing building officials, builders and designers a new wall bracing method that offers more design flexibility and simpler code compliance. Learn more.

Specify Structural Wood Panels. Learn about the APA Narrow Wall Bracing Method, which allows braced wall segments as narrow as 16 inches, and the continuous wood structural panel sheathing method (IRC R602.10.4). The full details are in APA publication, Brace Walls with Wood, Form G440.

Get the Details in CAD. APA offers all of the figures from Narrow Walls That Work in CAD so you can drop them into the plans for your next house. Visit www.apacad.org to download the details in .DWG, .DXF or .DWF format.

Learn from the Experts. APA offers free training and consultation services on the proper specification and application of engineered wood products, including regional seminars and live online webinars that address wall bracing and related topics. Interested in scheduling a presentation for your group? Contact your local APA Engineered Wood Specialist for continuing education opportunities.

Also of Interest

Learn more about the benefits of wood structural panel sheathing. Wood Sheathing Builds Business, Form F125, highlights three residential builders across the country who have cut callbacks, improved customer relations and met code requirements using wood structural panels for all their homes. Other benefits of wood sheathing include:

  • Adds shear and racking strength that helps tie the building together to resist nature's forces
  • Adds stiffness and reduces flexing that can cause drywall problems, thus reducing callbacks
  • Helps prevent racking caused by high winds or earthquake forces
  • Helps protect the structure against airborne debris in high winds
  • Provides an excellent noise barrier when used in combination with insulated wood-framed walls and exterior siding products
  • Provides a solid nail base and continuous coverage between framing elements for common siding products which results in a smooth, even appearance of the finished siding

Need an immediate solution? Contact  the APA Help Desk for answers to your questions about lateral bracing, wood sheathing, and the specification and application of engineered wood products. Ask a question online, call (253) 620-7400, or send an to email help@apawood.org.

View additional resources.

 

Wall Bracing for Builders

Builders Find Simple Solution to Complex Wall Bracing Requirements

Code officials across the country are paying close attention to IRC (International Residential Code) requirements for wall bracing. Your architect's design plans probably show narrow wall segments between corners and window and door openings, but did you know the code requires those segments to be at least 48 inches in width?  The narrowest prescriptive options that don’t involve hold-downs are linked to the use of fully sheathed walls. Full wood structural panel sheathing is a cost-effective, easy-to-build bracing system with the structural integrity to meet code demands and the design flexibility to please your customers.

Resources for Builders

Understand Code. Anyone who's tried to consult the IRC for guidance can tell you it's not that easy to understand, but we're here to help. For an in-depth explanation of the IRC lateral bracing provisions, refer to A Guide to the 2015 IRC Wood Wall Bracing Provisions, co-published by APA and the International Code Council.

A simplified bracing method developed by APA offers an easier alternative to meeting code bracing requirements. Following a multi-year research and testing program carried out by the Association, APA published the APA System Report: APA Simplified Wall Bracing Method Using Wood Structural Panel Continuous Sheathing, providing building officials, builders and designers a new wall bracing method that offers more design flexibility and simpler code compliance. Learn more.

Get Construction Details. By fully sheathing the exterior walls with wood structural panels, you'll be able to construct segments as narrow as 16 inches wide without hold downs. Get the full details of the continuously sheathed method from the IRC and the APA Narrow Wall Bracing Method from APA publication, Brace Walls with Wood, Form G440. Construction details are also available in CAD format.

Educate Your Crew. Follow the provisions outlined in the publications carefully. APA Builder Tip: APA Narrow Wall Bracing Method Framing Tips, Form F435, is a two-page handout showing the key elements you should watch out for. Available in English and Spanish, it's perfect for distributing on the job site.

Learn from the Experts. APA offers free training and consultation services on the proper specification and application of engineered wood products, including regional seminars and live online webinars that address wall bracing and related topics. Interested is scheduling a presentation for your group? Contact your local APA Engineered Wood Specialist for continuing education opportunities.

Also of Interest

Learn more about the benefits of wood structural panel sheathing. Wood Sheathing Builds Business, Form F125, highlights three residential builders across the country who have cut callbacks, improved customer relations and met code requirements using wood structural panels for all their homes. Other benefits of wood sheathing include:

  • Adds shear and racking strength that helps tie the building together to resist nature's forces
  • Adds stiffness and reduces flexing that can cause drywall problems, thus reducing callbacks
  • Helps prevent racking caused by high winds or earthquake forces
  • Helps protect the structure against airborne debris in high winds
  • Provides an excellent noise barrier when used in combination with insulated wood-framed walls and exterior siding products
  • Provides a solid nail base and continuous coverage between framing elements for common siding products which results in a smooth, even appearance of the finished siding

Need an immediate solution? Contact  the APA Help Desk for answers to your questions about lateral bracing, wood sheathing, and the specification and application of engineered wood products. Ask a question online, call (253) 620-7400, or send an email to help@apawood.org.

View additional resources.

Wall Bracing for Code Officials

Learn How To Enforce Wall Bracing Code Effectively

Wall bracing is a key structural element in resisting lateral loads during a high wind event or earthquake. Recognition of the importance of the International Residential Code's (IRC) section on wall bracing, found in Section R602.10, has grown in recent years. Code officials increasingly recognize the need to strictly enforce bracing requirements.

Building officials, plans examiners and inspectors are responsible for ensuring that homes are safe and code compliant, and that all pertinent wall bracing requirements are accounted for per IRC Section R106.1.1. Need a refresher on the code requirements?

Resources for Code Officials

Code, Explained. Just what does the IRC state about wall bracing? How much bracing is needed in a house, and where? How does it change depending on the seismic design category in which the house is located? For an in-depth explanation of the IRC lateral bracing provisions, refer to A Guide to the 2015 IRC Wood Wall Bracing Provisions, co-published by APA and the International Code Council.

A bracing method developed by APA offers an easier alternative to meeting code bracing requirements. Following a multi-year research and testing program carried out by the Association, APA published the APA System Report: APA Simplified Wall Bracing Method Using Wood Structural Panel Continuous Sheathing, providing building officials, builders and designers a new wall bracing method that offers more design flexibility and simpler code compliance. Learn more.

Get APA's Details. APA has numerous narrow length bracing methods and portal frame methods for various applications. APA testing demonstrates it provides code-equivalent bracing for raised wood floors. The full details of the APA Narrow Wall Bracing Method are available in Brace Walls with Wood, Form G440.

Learn from the Experts. APA offers regional seminars and live online webinars that address wall bracing and related topics. Interested is scheduling a presentation for your group? In many cases, APA can present seminars to jurisdictions and ICC chapters upon request. Contact your local APA Engineered Wood Specialist for continuing education opportunities.

Need an immediate solution? Contact  the APA Help Desk for answers to your questions about lateral bracing, wood sheathing, and the specification and application of engineered wood products. Ask a question online, call (253) 620-7400, or send an email to help@apawood.org.

View additional resources.

Wall Bracing for Engineers

APA Develops Simple Bracing Solution

While bracing and the IRC (International Residential Code) typically don't require engineering, knowing about the IRC wall bracing provisions can be beneficial to engineers when code compliance is a concern. Engineers often blend prescriptive wall bracing with engineering to produce code-compliant designs, as permitted by International Building Code (IBC) Section 104.11 and IRC R104.11.

The publications listed below summarize the key bracing requirements, detail narrow wall bracing provisions and describe designed collectors. Knowledge of these concepts will be particularly beneficial  when designing a house in which some portions require engineering while others meet prescriptive requirements.

Resources for Engineers

Understand Prescriptive Requirements. Just what does the IRC dictate about wall bracing? For an in-depth explanation of the IRC lateral bracing provisions, refer to A Guide to the 2015 IRC Wood Wall Bracing Provisions, co-published by APA and the International Code Council.

Get the Prescriptive Portal Frame Details. A thorough explanation of wall bracing with wood structural panels to meet code and maximize design flexibility, including the APA Narrow Wall Bracing Method (a portal frame construction), is available in the Brace Walls with Wood, Form G440.

Learn About Portal Frames with Hold-Downs. A description of narrow bracing options when hold downs are used, including illustrations, test results, code recognitions and engineering capacities, is provided in APA Technical Topic: A Portal Frame With Hold-Downs for Wall Bracing or Engineered Applications, Form TT-100.

Understand Collectors. The APA Technical Topic: Collector Design for Bracing in Conventional Construction, Form TT-102, explains collectors as described/required in the IBC and IRC and how to design and build them.

Follow Research Testing and Development. APA’s experienced corps of engineers, wood scientists, and wood-product technicians develop braced-wall designs that promote the structural safety of building construction, such as the APA Narrow Wall Bracing Method. Learn about our latest projects on the Technical Research page.

Need an immediate solution? Contact the APA Help Desk for answers to your questions about lateral bracing, wood sheathing, and the specification and application of engineered wood products. Ask a question online, call (253) 620-7400, or send an email to help@apawood.org.

View additional resources

Wall Bracing for Homeowners

Wood Structural Panels Provide the Best Safety for Your Home

Everyone recognizes home ownership is a smart investment. But it's critical that the home be constructed with the best materials to make it a safe structure for your family. Wood structural panels—plywood and oriented strand board (OSB)—are a strong, stiff sheathing product that will ensure your family's security while allowing a design that features today's trends.

High-end homes are constructed with the best framing materials and are fully sheathed with plywood or OSB to create the highest quality structure possible. Many owners splurge on expensive carpet, cabinets and fixtures for aesthetic value, but it's important to also demand a structure that can be as much as two or three times stronger and stiffer for usually less that $500 on a 2,000 square foot home, simply by sheathing with wood structural panels.

Wall bracing keeps your home standing in the event of a high-wind event or earthquake. With products other than wood structural panel sheathing, meeting code entails having wall segments as wide as 4 feet next to garage openings, corners and window and door openings around your house. Wood structural panels provide better bracing strength than other products and also enable segments as narrow as 16 inches.

Wood structural panels also:

  • Provide a solid nail base for common siding products, which results in a smooth, even appearance of the finished siding
  • Reduce causes of drywall cracks
  • Help protect your home against airborne debris in high winds
  • Provide an excellent noise barrier when used in combination with insulated wood-framed walls and exterior siding products
  • Deliver energy savings to you

Want to learn more about the benefits of wood structural panels used as wall bracing? Wood Sheathing Builds Business, Form F125, highlights three builders and a homeowner across the country who explain why they build exclusively with wood structural panels.

If you're ready to dig into the technical issues of wall bracing, APA's publications, Introduction to Wall Bracing, Form F430, and Brace Walls with Wood, Form G440, offer detailed information about code requirements for bracing and the narrow wall solution wood structural panels offer.

View additional resources