The walls in your home are the main structural component of the building. In wood frame construction, the weight of the roof, shingles, standing rain water and any snow add weight and exert downward forces on the walls resulting in a compressive force.
Strong winds and gusts from storms also impose lateral forces onto your home’s walls. These forces can distort the walls with what is called a “shearing force.”
Building codes require that your home’s walls be designed to withstand these various forces and loads. However, when walls are built to just the minimum standards, while still safe, symptoms of movement such as creaking and shaking during high winds or occupant usage often occurs.
Higher density, closed cell spray foam insulation inside your stud walls fully adheres to both the exterior sheathing and the studs, reinforcing both. With this added rigidity, there will be less wall movement due to wind, vibration, and occupant activity. Additionally your walls have greater than code required resistance to "racking events" such as hurricanes or other strong wind situations.
SPF also can add structural strength to buildings. NAHB Research demonstrated SPF filled walls could add from 75% to 200% racking strength to walls of OSB, plywood, light gauge metal, vinyl siding or gypsum board.
Shearing forces on a wall tend to distort the wall from its original shape as a rectangle into a parallelogram. To test a wall’s resistance to the shear forces imposed by wind loading, engineers use a "racking test." An 8 ft. x 8 ft. model wall is built and placed in a large frame. The base of the wall is secured to the frame and a horizontal (lateral) force is applied at one upper corner. The force is increased in 400 lb. increments until the wall structure fails.