Creating Shear Walls

If you've ever heard the term shear wall, you may know that it's done with ply instead of sheetrock.  But did you know that it's the nails that act like little shock absorbers to help dissipate the force from an earthquake?

Shear walls are a type of structural system that provides lateral resistance to a building or structure. A structural engineer establishes the thickness of the plywood, the specific nails to be used and the "nailing schedule." The term "nailing schedule" sounds like something to do with time, but it's the distance or spacing between the nails. The engineer specifies the location of the nails in the middle of the panel (AKA diaphram), and along the edges. Together, the ply and the proper nails with the proper nailing schedule work together to provide resistence to the earthquake's lateral forces.