Fire Resistance

How to use National Gypsum Company’s The Wood Book

Jun 15, 2022 by Sam Halverson

Expert tips and navigation insights to effectively use The Wood Book


National Gypsum Company’s The Wood Book™ provides solutions for creating fire-rated wood-frame assemblies for single-family, multifamily, duplex and townhouse residential construction as well as light commercial construction. It’s a one-of-a-kind resource.

If you’ve downloaded The Wood Book, you may have some questions about how best to use it. Our experts put together tips for navigating and using The Wood Book effectively to help you on your next project.

How is The Wood Book organized?

The Wood Book is separated into five broad sections, with each part divided into subsections.

  • Section 1: Walls
  • Section 2: Floor-ceiling and roof-ceiling assemblies
  • Section 3: Shaft enclosures
  • Section 4: Residential separation walls (duplex, townhouse and multifamily)
  • Section 5: Area Separation Fire Walls for multifamily

Each section of the book is arranged from the general to the particular. Fire-rated UL designs such as, walls, floor-ceiling and roof-ceiling assemblies come first followed by their use in specific applications.

How does The Wood Book answer common questions about fire-rated assemblies?

To start, identify the assembly and fire-rating requirements. Once you have that information, you can find the assembly detail in The Wood Book.

For example, one of the most common questions we receive about fire-rated assemblies in wood-frame construction is how to build and maintain continuity for shaft enclosures where the shaft must have a two-hour rating, while the intersecting floors must have only a one-hour rating. The Wood Book provides solutions in the shaft enclosures section (pages 60-87) to maintain rating continuity where these assemblies intersect. Look on pages 60, 62, 64, 72, 76, 83 and 84 to see shaft enclosure design recommendations for stair and elevator shafts or linen and waste chutes that intersect floors in multi-story buildings.

Let’s look at another example. Head-of-wall details have always been a point of contention when it comes to providing rating continuity from floor to roof because of the way these assemblies intersect. Instead of testing assemblies separately, National Gypsum tested the assemblies and their intersections.

Based on this testing, The Wood Book provides solutions for:

  • Fire-rated head-of-wall details using joint compound
  • One-hour fire-rated continuity at rim joist locations

How can The Wood Book help you choose an assembly for use?

When we created this resource, our team tried to address any possible design challenges architects face in wood-frame building design. By identifying the needs of your next project, you can locate the correlating assembly in The Wood Book using our intuitive layout.

The Wood Book includes individual assemblies as well as details for the intersections of assemblies. It’s organized by application, and then structural system, and then fire rating. For example, section two (pages 34-59) covers floor-ceiling assemblies, with 2x10s, trusses and I-joist all grouped. If an architect is using trusses, all the options for insulation, dampers and gypsum board can be found in that section for easy comparison.

Download your copy of The Wood Book today.

Contact the 1-800-NATIONAL Construction Services Team with your project-specific questions.