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Re: Shear Wall Myths--Share your favorites about wood shear walls

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A dangerous misconception (I guess it could be called a myth) is that there is nothing out of the ordinary about non-rectangular shear  walls.  Actually, they are un-tested assemblies, and do not respond to lateral loads in the way that rectangular shear walls respond.  I'm thinking, in particular, of plywood shear walls on sloping or stepped footings as have been used in hillside construction.  Serious damage occurred to hillside houses in the Northridge earthquake of 1994 because of non-rectangular shear walls that were used to brace them to the sloped or stepped tops of foundations.  If you need to know more about the nature of this problem, see my email of 10/20/00 on Hillside Primary Anchors for information on how to obtain a PEER document that describes the problems related to non-rectangular shear walls.
-----Original Message-----
From: Mattesons <matteson(--nospam--at)>
To: seaint <seaint(--nospam--at)>
Date: Tuesday, November 07, 2000 8:42 PM
Subject: Shear Wall Myths--Share your favorites about wood shear walls

I am looking for as many myths and common errors made by builders (or engineers!) regarding plywood/OSB shear walls.   I will be making a presentation on shear walls to the local Contractors Assoc. in February 2001, and would like to dispell as many myths as possible.
Thor Matteson,  SE