Resilient Wood Construction Resists Wind, Weather,
Seismic Forces & Moisture
Wood is the resilient choice for construction. Wood's strength combined with its ability to absorb stresses or impacts without weakening or degrading make wood a superior building material, especially in areas susceptible to severe weather conditions or seismic activity. While regionalized building codes address the necessary design requirements, APA provides additional resources detailing construction practices that help structures perform even better against hurricanes, high winds, severe moisture and earthquakes.
Plywood 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.
For more information on wall sheathing, visit the Walls section.
Resilience in High-Wind Events
Recommendations for Wind-Resistant Construction
Impacts of the most common high-wind events are easily mitigated by a few wind-resistant construction techniques. A wind-resistant home costs a little more than a code-minimum home, but it can be several times stronger at resisting wind forces.
Building for High-Wind Resistance in Light-Frame Wood Construction
Design recommendations for areas prone to high winds that contribute to improved overall performance in the structural shell and focus on good connection details to tie together exterior walls, roofs and floors. Download Building for High Wind Resistance in Light-Frame Wood Construction, Form M310.
March 2017 Texas Straight-Line Wind Event
On March 29, 2017, passing storms produced high-speed straight-line winds that resulted in damage to several homes in Rockwall, Texas. The National Weather Service in Fort Worth estimated the wind speed to be between 100 and 110 mph during the event. Damage observations were conducted in Rockwall after the storm.
Texas Straight-Line Wind Damage Assessment Report
A report of damage assessments from the March 2017 straight-line wind event in Rockwall, Texas. The observed damage is related to inadequate and improperly installed roof attachments, failures of the roof to the wall connections, a lack of wall rigidity, moisture intrusion, and a lack of enlarged washers. Download Texas Straight-Line Wind Damage Assessment Report, Form SP-1182.
News outlets carried stories questioning the durability of homes sheathed with a flexible laminated-fiber sheathing product and similar construction methods.
December 2015 Texas Tornadoes
On December 26, 2015, the first EF4 or stronger tornado ever recorded in December in Texas made landfall in Garland and Rowlett, suburban towns near Dallas. This tornado was part of a larger winter storm that included 12 confirmed tornadoes. Damage observations were conducted in Garland and Rowlett after the storm. The observation team from APA focused on the performance of recently constructed homes, because these homes tend to contain newer materials, larger interior spaces, and more open floor plans that may have an effect on structural resistance to wind forces.
Texas Tornado Damage Assessment Report
A report of damage assessments from the December 2015 tornado storm near Dallas, Texas. Forensic evidence suggests much of the damage occurred along the outer edges of the storm's path, where wind speeds appeared to be lower. Wind-resistant construction recommendations included. Download Texas Tornado Damage Assessment Report, Form SP-1177.
Product Advisory: Thermo-Ply® Red
Product Advisory: Laboratory Tests Evaluate Design Values of Thermo-Ply® Red
Published design values for Thermo-Ply® Red report a unit shear capacity that is higher than that of 15/32-inch thick wood structural panel sheathing. While use of the product as exterior wall sheathing is limited, the high design properties claimed by the manufacturer raised a question related to the safety and reliability of designs in which the product is used. Tests were performed at two independent laboratories to measure the shear wall performance of the Thermo-Ply® sheathing. Test results from both labs indicate that the lateral load resistance of a structure using Thermo-Ply® Red sheathing could be under-designed by 23 to 39 percent. Download Product Advisory: Laboratory Tests Evaluate Design Values of Thermo-Ply® Red, Form SP-1172.
Protect Your Home from Windstorm Damage with Hurricane Shutters
Hurricane Shutter Designs
Shutters 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.
For Areas Prone to Seismic Activity and High Wind Events
Introduction to Lateral Design
Explains how to design wood-frame buildings to withstand the lateral loads typical of high wind and seismic zones. Download Introduction to Lateral Design, Form X305.
Prevent Damaging Moisture Infiltration
Build a Better Home
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.
For Areas Prone to Floods
Raised Wood Floors
Elevating floors can significantly reduce flood risks—and provide significant savings in flood insurance premiums. Raised wood floor systems are an economical, yet attractive solution for areas prone to flooding, lots with poor soil conditions, or lots on a slope. The Southern Forest Products Association (SFPA) developed a guide to design and construction of raised wood floor foundations. Download the guide below or visit www.RaisedFloorLiving.com for more information.
Raised Wood Floor Foundations Design & Construction Guide
Guide to proper design and construction of raised wood floors. Construction is fast and cost-effective and the appearance of a raised wood floor enhances curb appeal. Download Raised Wood Floor Foundations Design & Construction Guide by the SFPA.
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: