Metal Strapping: Connecting Poorly Framed Wall Sections
One of the considerations when a home is built with walls taller than 8 of 9 feet is a force called wind sheer. Wind sheer basically is how well a wall is able to maintain its structural integrity in typical and high winds in a region. In Wisconsin, we can see winds of 30-60 miles per hour regularly. We do get winds over 80 miles per hour a few times a year that cause a lot of damage and could damage an improperly framed wall. In the picture above, you will notice that there are two headers, but no connection. The two sections of wall will move independently and, in this case, face the West side of a lake which will have significant winds in the winter time. When pushing on the wall with my body weight, the wall moved approximately 1 inch. This movement only happens because of the weak separation of wall sections commonly referred to as a tipping point. In order to strengthen the wall, I added metal strapping in 4 foot sections to tie the top wall section to the bottom wall section. I used 3 inch screws every 6 inches to make sure that the strapping remained tight. When pushing on the wall after the strapping was installed, the wall was unable to be moved with my body weight and applied horizontal force.
The strapping should be applied on both the interior and the exterior of the framing to provide maximum stability. Horizontal strapping may be used to strengthen walls that have large overhangs or odd roof lines. This is an easy and inexpensive way to fix a fairly major structural defect or prevent it entirely.