Challenges in framing shear wall residential construction
Shear wall construction is a type of residential construction that involves the use of shear walls to frame the structure of the house. As you can imagine, there were quite a few challenges involved in framing shear wall residential construction. However, with attention to detail and some forethought, these challenges were addressed and overcome before they could have caused problems on the project site. Here are the issues that came up during framing the shear wall for this residential construction project, along with how to solve them…
1) Raising Residential Framing Shear Walls
When building a house, one of your first tasks is to erect its frame. When using steel framing materials, you have two basic options: post-and-beam or what is called shear wall construction. These are techniques used to create load-bearing walls that resist lateral loads, which are called shearing forces in engineering terms. This type of load refers to anything that tries horizontally to push against something else. This can be wind pressure pushing against one side of a house during severe weather, but it’s more commonly caused by seismic activity and other earth movement occurrences. That’s why shear walls are so common in earthquake zones. They transfer these horizontal forces through their foundation to larger structural supports. With modern methods for constructing these vertical frames—notably new ways for pre-fabricating them offsite—it has become easier than ever to build with shear walls even if you don’t live in an area that sees regular earthquakes.
2) Insulating Residential Framing Shear Walls
Residential structures are typically framed with wood studs, which carry both vertical and horizontal loads. When sheathing a wood-framed wall, contractors often fill spaces between studs with insulation. This type of insulation is called blown-in because it is installed using a special machine that shoots lightweight insulation into walls. After blowing insulation into walls, these machines often leave debris around studs and stumps inside walls. A general contractor or a handyman can easily clean out dust and other material from inside walls using cleaning tools. Cleaning methods vary depending on the size of holes left behind by insulation blowers. One way to do it is to use small drill bits to remove debris from holes followed by vacuum cleaners to clean up any remaining material. Another option is to insert blunt steel probes into holes that hit directly against studs. Once the debris has been removed, spraying drywall compounds over exposed surfaces is an effective way to seal openings left behind by vacuum cleaners and steel probes.
3) Attaching Trim to Residential Framing Shear Walls
The construction process isn’t always as simple as cutting, nailing, and screwing. Framing for shear walls is one of those instances that often come with its own set of challenges. To correctly attach the trim to a shear wall, you need to know what to watch out for so you don’t run into any hiccups along the way. After all, you want everything on your project to go as smoothly as possible—especially when it comes to something that can easily be overlooked. Make sure your shear wall is framed properly before starting the installation of any drywall or fixtures on top of it. This may seem like common sense but if not done correctly will cause problems later down the road. There are three basic methods of installing 2x4s around a shear wall: plumb-and-level, batter board, and laser guide. However, two of these three options also have three different ways each can be used depending on how accessible your wall is from multiple directions. In either case, both 2x4s should be installed at 16′′ OC maximum from outside edge to outside edge with no variation more than 3/8′′ from stack to stack. They should also be installed parallel to joists so joints aren’t made over shear studs. For simplicity sake, we are going to use an average joist spacing example of 24′ OC×16′ long floor joists spaced 24′′ OC × 16′ long floor joists located every 8 feet (evenly) between girders. We do recommend using engineered lumber to get better quality material. If using unengineered lumber plan on installing full height double 2×4 cripple walls because half-height cripples could break under lateral loads caused by wind uplift and snow accumulation which means no exterior aesthetics until replacement lumber can be brought in after season finishes.