Steel Framing: Shear Wall with X Bracing, engineering and building details

CFS-Diagonal Strap Shear Wall Detail

Using shear walls in conjunction with steel framing and metal studs allows for a 100% steel frame building of up to 10 floors. In areas with high winds, such as the Caribbean islands, and seismic activity, like California, it can be especially useful to have additional shear walls in your building. This article will show cold-formed steel (CFS) engineering and connection details for shear walls.

Shear Wall Example

Shear wall Metal Studs X bracing for lateral strength
Strap X bracing

In light gauge steel framing shear walls are created with metal straps in an X fashion connecting to every stud on the wall.

CFS-Diagonal Strap Shear Wall Detail

This is a CFS-Diagonal strap detail. In this case they’re using 6″ 16 gauge strap as the X bracing material. Usually you screw in two or three screws per stud.

CFS-Gusset Plate Bottom Detail

CFS-Gusset Plate Top Detail

CFS-Gusset Plate Connection Details

Engineering Recourses

The North American Standard for Cold-formed Steel Framing by the American Iron and Steel Institute has a whole section dedicated to sizing lateral loads. Below is an example of a shear wall schedule.

  • Strap sizing: See how the strap get narrower as you go up floors. For the 4th floor to the bottom you use 10″ 16 gauge strap, then 6″ strap, and finally 4″ 18 gauge(.043 minimum) strap at the top.
  • Chord sizing: The chord are the studs at the which the plate ties into. You can see that the first few floors have a double back to back stud.
  • Holdown: A holdown connects the cord members with the track.
  • Connection type: In this plan they call for welds but typically self tapping screws are suitable for connections.

What exactly are shear walls?

Shear walls are structural elements used in buildings and other structures to resist lateral forces that can occur due to wind, seismic activity, or other horizontal loads. These walls play a crucial role in providing stability and strength to a structure by transferring these lateral forces to the foundation.

Here are some key purposes and functions of shear walls:

  1. Lateral Load Resistance: Shear walls primarily resist horizontal forces such as wind and seismic loads. When these forces act on a building, shear walls absorb and distribute the load, preventing excessive lateral movement.
  2. Preventing Sway and Racking: Shear walls help prevent the building from swaying excessively or undergoing racking deformation during seismic events or strong winds. This contributes to the overall stability and safety of the structure.
  3. Vertical Load Transfer: While the primary function is to resist lateral loads, shear walls also contribute to the vertical load-bearing capacity of a building. They help distribute gravity loads and ensure that the building remains stable under both vertical and lateral loads.
  4. Enhancing Structural Integrity: Shear walls are strategically placed in a building’s design to enhance its overall structural integrity. They work in conjunction with other structural elements to create a robust and stable framework.
  5. Openings and Open Floor Plans: In some cases, shear walls allow for flexibility in the design of open floor plans by providing lateral stability. Engineers may design buildings with strategically located shear walls to maintain structural strength while accommodating large open spaces.

The design and placement of shear walls depend on factors such as the building’s height, location, and the expected magnitude of lateral loads.

Additional Recourses for building with Light Gauge Steel

US Frame Factory provides efficient steel framing solutions for commercial and residential projects. Custom metal studs and CAD-based kits use less steel and labor. Buy through our user-friendly online portal with instant quotes. 

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How to Build 100% Steel Framed Mid-Rise Buildings
Drywall Metal Studs: Non-Structural Metal Framing

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