Taller Wall Sheathing Makes Walls Stronger

Traditional wall sheathing is installed horizontally which creates a number of seams facilitating air leakage and compromising the building envelope. Now innovative manufacturers like16.07.2013.Blog_TallerSheathingStrongerWalls Norbord that think outside the box have flipped the structural sheathing panels for vertical installation and increased their height. Longer wall sheathing like TallWall enables an overlap at the joists which eliminates hinge points to increase wall strength. Longer sheathing also reduces the number of seams which improves energy efficiency and makes for a stronger, smoother, flatter wall.

Increases wall strength by up to 38%

A Virginia Tech study tested the efficacy of TallWall sheathing. These taller sheathing panels come in 9’ and 10’ lengths. The tests showed that TallWall sheathing increased wall strength by 38% when installed vertically to overlap joist areas. For construction professionals, that increased strength proves invaluable and they can enjoy fewer callbacks for problems like nail pops and drywall cracks. The study findings were as follows:

Capacity (compared to 4×8 panels)
4 x 10 TallWall on 9’ wall >+35%
4 x 9 TallWall on 8’ wall >+22%
Stiffness(compared to 4×8 panels)
4 x 10 TallWall on 9’ wall >+24%
4 x 9 TallWall on 8’ wall >+31%
Displacement (compared to 4×8 panels)
4 x 10 TallWall on 9’ wall >+38%
4 x 9 TallWall on 8’ wall >+22%

With taller wall sheathing panels like Windstorm, continuous load paths are easily created via the nails from the top plate to the Windstorm sheathing, down to nails at the bottom of the panel and back into the framing to complete the load path. From a Windstorm case study: “Windstorm panels provide an innovative way to structurally design a residential building to meet hurricane codes without the expense and hassle of installing a lot of hardware, and cutting and installing blocking for all the horizontal joints . Its simplicity and speed helps save on construction, material and labor costs.”

Improved strength around openings

An added benefit of taller wall sheathing like WindStorm and TallWall is improved strength around doors and windows. Instead of cutting pieces to fit together around openings, simply cutting taller sheathing to accommodate windows and doors increases the wall strength around these openings. It also reduces costs. In fact, taller sheathing reduces installation time, waste and material expenses for overall lower construction costs.

Taller wall sheathing means fewer seams which reduces air leakage by up to 60%. Taller sheathing facilitates use of raised heel trusses which increase the amount of attic space available for full depth insulation. You can install less expensive insulation like fiberglass batts or blown cellulose at full depth all the way to the outside edge of the top plates.

For stronger, flatter walls with increased strength and energy efficiency, taller wall sheathing is the way to go.

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