Although codes have long required that exterior wall bracing be able to resist racking from wind forces, recent years have seen these requirements grow in complexity. Even some engineers struggle with them. Never fear, now there’s an alternative, easier way to satisfy the code’s intent for exterior wall bracing.
The problem is that the wall bracing chapter in the 2012 International Residential Code (IRC Section R602.12) is 28 pages long and details approaches that range from let-in braces to gypsum board to structural panels. Although it does include a “simplified” bracing method for entry-level homes with simple geometry, anything taller, more complicated, or with lots of windows and doors – in other words, most custom homes – will probably need to be engineered.
The alternative mentioned above, which fits into a 7-page pdf document, was developed by APA, the Engineered Wood Association . Tests have shown it to provide adequate exterior wall bracing racking resistance on even the most complex exterior walls.