Characterisation of the Lateral Resistance of Stapled Shear Walls

  • Roberto Aranda Department of Civil Engineering, Universidad de Concepción, Chile
  • Alexander Salenikovich Department of Wood and Forest Sciences, Université Laval, Canada
  • J. Daniel Dolan Composite Materials and Engineering Center, Washington State University, USA
  • Peter Dechent Department of Civil Engineering, Universidad de Concepción, Chile


Shear walls are the major components of the lateral-force-resisting system (LFRS) in light-frame wood buildings. With the growing popularity of mid-rise prefabricated light-frame wood construction, engineers need basic design information on the shear walls to design and produce safe structures in case of high winds and earthquakes. The racking resistance of light-frame shear walls depends on many factors, including sheathing and hold-down devices and, most importantly, sheathing-to-framing fastenings. While the performance of nailed shear walls has been studied extensively, and design information is included in the design codes, there is little information on stapled shear walls, specifically in the US and Canada. The cost of staples is significantly less than that of equivalent nails; hence, the use of staples instead of nails would allow cost savings in mass production if they provide sufficient resistance and displacement capacity in the engineered shear walls. This paper presents the results of a pilot study which was focused on the comparison of the performance of nailed and stapled shear walls in laboratory tests under monotonic and cyclic loading in accordance with ASTM E564 and E2126, respectively. Several series of tests were performed on 2.4-m (8-ft) square shear walls with 11-mm (7/16-in) OSB sheathing with various hold-downs and various spacing of sheathing staples and nails on the perimeter of the sheathing panels (5-cm (2-in), 10-cm (4-in) and 15-cm (6-in)) and 19-mm and 10-mm edge distances. The staples were 16-gauge (50-mm (2-in) long with 11-mm (7/16-in) crown). The nails were 8d box steel wire nails (63-mm (2½-in) long with 2.87-mm (0.113-in) diameter). The test results revealed a similar performance of the nailed and stapled shear walls, and the need for careful detailing. Therefore, prefabrication of walls in the factory settings is preferable to the on-site construction to allow the production quality control.