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Re: SW's w/ steel light gauge construction

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I am curious as to how you can get your shearwalls to work by the time you 
get to the first level considering the limitations of shear on steel stud 
panels (based on failure of the stud rather than failure of the plywood or 

However, I would think that the contractor should be playing around with his 
stucco mix and the methods of attachment so as to minimize cracking of the 
brown coat. Cracking is normal - especially if you live in an area like mine 
where the heat can reach 130 degrees in late summer. I found that the longer 
the Brown coat is allowed to set the less chance there is that the finished 
coat will transfer cracks.
The other option is to use one of the new coatings that mixes fiberglass 
fibers (kind of like Fibermesh) but which has a smooth finish. 
The last option is an elastomeric finish on the stucco which, when applied 
correctly, will be very difficult to tell from a colored finished coat and 
stretches over the browncoat cracks to protect the exterior.

I don't see the benifits of sheathing the interior (no benifit in shear). I 
would think that green wood drying would have more detrimental affects on 
stucco than metal studs which should stay true.

I wouldn't suggest denigating the contractors experience especially if he is 
very familiar with steel stud framing but you might check with the stucco 
companies to see what there experience has been.

Sorry I couldn't be more specific, but I have not seen a four story steel 
stud building and questioned their ability to go more than three floors 
considering opening and accumulated shears.

Dennis Wish PE

In a message dated 8/5/99 7:50:14 AM Pacific Daylight Time, 
michellekb(--nospam--at) writes:

<< Hi fellow Engineers:
 We are in the process of designing some 4 story steel light gauge
 buildings.  Our lateral system is single sided plywood shear walls.  We
 had a meeting with a contractor last week and he suggested to the
 Architect to put the plywood shear walls on the interior face of all the
 exterior walls to prevent extensive cracking of the stucco due to
 unevenness of the plywood with non-sheathed areas.  When I heard this I
 was surprised.  First, we are using a vast majority of the exterior
 walls for shear walls.  Second, on all the wood framed buildings I've
 ever done, the plywood has been put on the outside face of the exterior
 wall to prevent problems with  installation of the plumbing and
 electrical.  I foresee a lot of problems with this, especially since
 scaffolding is not going to be provided to install the utilities at the
 upper levels they are going to have to do it from the inside face.  Does
 this seem reasonable?
 Any insight that you can share with me would be appreciated.
 Thank you,
 Michelle Biron