High winds, hurricanes and earthquakes are a harsh reality for much of the U.S. Building in these unpredictable climates requires special consideration of wind- and seismic-resistive construction materials. Wood-frame buildings can be designed to stand up to high winds and earthquakes given these characteristics:
Wood’s ability to withstand high loads for short periods of time and retain its elasticity and ultimate strength can be an asset in seismic and high-wind zones.
Wood-frame buildings typically weigh less than those made of concrete and steel, reducing inertial seismic forces.
The ability to yield and displace without fracturing under abrupt lateral or horizontal stresses is an attribute of wood-frame construction, which features several nailed connections that allow it to respond to seismic and high-wind events without critical failure.
Redundant Load Paths
The numerous fasteners and connectors used in wood-frame construction offer multiple, often redundant, load paths for extreme forces, reducing the chance the structure will collapse if some connections fail.
Strength and Stiffness
The thickness of mass timber panels and the number and size of nails fastening the assemblies determine each component’s stiffness. Heavy bracing for shear walls can resist lateral distortion common in earthquakes.