By Aubrey Yerger, PE

There are many types of wood-based shear wall solutions to choose from when designing a wood-framed building. There are three types of shear walls I use day in and day out, on a wide variety of projects:

  • wood studs with gypsum sheathing
  • wood studs with wood structural panel sheathing
  • pre-fabricated shear wall panels

Each has its strengths, and you might wonder which is the best for your new, upcoming project.

Wood Studs with Gypsum Sheathing

Gypsum-sheathed wood stud shear walls can serve double duty as interior partition walls because, many times, there is already gypsum sheathing used for a finishing surface, which can result in cost savings for your project. The use of gypsum is great in buildings with long, uninterrupted extents of the wall—think apartment buildings. These types of shear walls have low capacities and a maximum height-to-width ratio of 2, which is why long lengths are needed. Remember that if your project is in an area of high seismicity, there may be building height restrictions for using this shear wall system.