Category Archives: Carpentry Q & A

Is Sheathing Structural? – Fine Homebuilding Question & Answer

Is Sheathing Structural?Q: A licensed contractor told me that framing alone gives structural integrity to a house. I know that sheathing ties the framing together, but does it play a role in the building structure itself?Wendy Frecker , via Breaktime A: Senior Editor Andy Engel replies: Except in the case of timber frames with integral diagonal bracing, or in the now-unusual case of stud walls with let-in diagonal bracing, exterior sheathing is what provides wood walls with enough rigidity to prevent them from toppling over with the first breath of wind or the rumble of an earthquake. Structurally, exterior sheathing is so important that its composition, orientation, and fastening schedule are dictated by building codes. Additionally, exterior sheathing provides a barrier to keep exterior air out of the wall insulation, greatly improving its ability to keep heat in during the winter and out during the summer.

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