Q: Does shear wall blocking need to match the depth of the studs to which it is attached? Can it be oriented flat-wise with the wide face against the sheathing joint?
A: There is no requirement that shear wall panel edge blocking match the depth of the wall studs, nor is there a requirement that it be oriented in the same axis as the wall studs.
Shear wall blocking can be narrower than the adjacent studs (i.e. 2×4 blocking in a 2×6 wall) or rotated 90 degrees (oriented with the wide face of the blocking attached to the sheathing panel edges), provided the following conditions are met:
- The blocking is 2x nominal or greater as required in the American Wood Council’s Special Design Provisions for Wind and Seismic (SDPWS) section 18.104.22.168.
- The minimum nail penetration of the panel edge fasteners into the blocking (per SDPWS Table 4.3A) is still obtained.