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Technical Topics

T T- 0 7 5 B 

AUGUST 2013

Effect of Green Lumber Framing on


Wood Structural Panel Shear Wall Performance
Green lumber with moisture content (MC) greater than 19 percent is frequently used in shear wall construction in
certain geographic areas. When wood dries, or loses moisture, it shrinks. This shrinking can cause loosening of connections and is the general basis for the wet-service adjustment factors for connections in the National Design Specification
for Wood Construction (NDS, 2012). Some engineers suggest applying the wet-service factor to the strength of a shear
wall constructed with green framing when used in dry (MC 19 percent) in-service conditions, based on the 2012
NDS connection design provisions. Historically, the appropriateness of this single-fastener adjustment for shear walls
has been questionable. The 2012 NDS has improved the footnotes to the wet-service factors for connections that have
resulted in exempting most wood frame shear walls from this reduction. This technical topic provides APAs recommendations for this application.
A test series was conducted by APA to investigate the effect of constructing shear walls when the framing lumber is
green, then allowing the shear wall assembly to dry before testing. In total, eight walls were tested. Six shear walls
were constructed with green framing, with three variations on hold-down nut tightness (to simulate potential sill
plate shrinkage). These three variations investigated the effects of a loose hold-down nut, a loose hold-down nut with
a shrinkage-compensating device, and a tight hold-down. Two shear walls were constructed after the lumber dried to
equilibrium moisture content (EMC) for use as controls. Hold-down nuts were tight on these dry walls. All walls were
tested after the framing had reached EMC. Two replications of each wall were tested.
The load-displacement curves show that ultimate (peak) loads were not significantly different among any walls tested,
but as one might expect, the shear wall stiffness is affected. The shrinkage-compensating device did not have a significant effect on the test results of this program.
Test results from this test series support the following recommendations:
The ultimate strength, upon which wood structural panel shear wall design values are normally based, is not
significantly affected by fabrication with green lumber. Therefore, strength reducing penalties, as some engineers
suggest, do not appear to be warranted for this application.
The stiffness of shear walls constructed of green lumber and tested dry is reduced when compared to walls
constructed with dry lumber and tested dry. The reduced stiffness can be accurately predicted using the APA
4-Term shear wall deflection equation, which is also published in the 2000-2009 international building code, or
commentary to the ANSI/AF&PA Special Design Provisions for Wind and Seismic (SPDWS) using the correct nailslip (en) term. This commentary also provides recommendations for adjusting the tabulated Ga term for use in the
three-term deflection equation in the SPDWS.

2013 APA The Engineered Wood Association

References
ANSI/AF&PA SPDWS, 2008. Special Design Provisions for Wind & Seismic. American Forest and Paper Association,
Washington, D.C.
ANSI/AWC, 2012. National Design Specification for Wood Construction. American Wood Council. Leesburg, VA.
APA, 2002. Effect of Green Lumber Framing on Wood Structural Panel Shear Wall Performance. APA Report T2002-53.
APA The Engineered Wood Association. Tacoma, WA.

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Revised August 2013

DISCLAIMER: The information contained herein is based on APA The Engineered Wood Associations continuing
programs of laboratory testing, product research, and comprehensive field experience. Neither APA nor its members
make any warranty, expressed or implied, or assume any legal liability or responsibility for the use, application
of, and/or reference to opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations included in this publication. Consult
your local jurisdiction or design professional to assure compliance with code, construction, and performance
requirements. Because APA has no control over quality of workmanship or the conditions under which engineered
wood products are used, it cannot accept responsibility for product performance or designs as actually constructed.

2013 APA The Engineered Wood Association