FOR OVER 40 YEARS, THE NAHB Research Center has helped improve the quality and performance of building products by testing a wide range of materials in its highly specialized laboratory facility.

Recently, the Research Center lab has tested products that claim to withstand nature's fury. In a project conducted for Norbord, the Research Center tested full-scale wall assemblies in tension and in shear to measure the performance of the company's oversized Windstorm OSB panels. According to Norbord, the Windstorm method simplifies and accelerates construction processes in high-wind areas by reducing the amount of required hardware and eliminating the need for blocking on panel edges. The company sought out the Research Center to put this claim to the test. Lab tests demonstrated that Windstorm-sheathed walls do, in fact, meet or exceed the requirements of the SSTD 10-99 Standard for Hurricane Resistant Residential Construction, used in the design of homes in hurricane-prone regions.

This is just one example of the testing performed by the Research Center. Its lab subjects products to a stringent series of tests to determine whether they meet standards promulgated by HUD, ANSI, ASTM, and similar code- and standards-issuing bodies. For a product such as Norbord's, a 200,000-pound-capacity universal testing machine and a 60,000-pound-capacity shear wall tester are used. These are just two of the highly specialized apparatuses in the Research Center lab, which is accredited by the International Accreditation Service for a number of structural test methods, including monotonic and cyclic shear wall testing.

“The Research Center takes pride in its unbiased research and wide range of testing capabilities,” says Bob Hill, director of laboratory and certification services for the Research Center. “If a product carries the Research Center certification seal, we've made sure it lives up to the performance claims on the package.”

Over the years, the NAHB Research Center has tested insulation; wood, steel, and concrete walls; and much more. For more information about the Research Center's laboratory testing and certification offerings, visit or contact Bob Hill at