I live in Japan (non-native Japanese), so this may be only something done here.

Some of the walls of my house are reinforced to aid in mounting cabinets and shelving. It was built this way from the beginning.

In these areas the wall is 12.5 mm drywall, then 12 mm plywood, and then the standard wooden 2x4 framing behind that. It is not like this in all walls, only a few areas.

For example, it has the same reinforcement for the kitchen cabinet wall, walk in closets, stairway railing, and a few other areas. Basically anywhere something needs to be hanged.

Before buying the house I was told by the construction person that it makes mounting shelves and cabinets easier (no need for anchors). It seems like that is the main purpose.

I have searched in Japanese and English and still struggle to find much information on the Internet. Everything I find is usually about drywall only.

Is there a name for this type of wall or construction method?

  • Go to the local library and get a book on home construction. Book stores don't carry much as DIY isn't as popular a trend in Japan as in the states. You may also consider asking a construction crew if you see one when they are building a house. As I walk around Yokohama I see them regularly but it'll depend on your area. I've found them generally eager to assist. Get them when they are on break or asking the flagger. Jan 16, 2019 at 16:17
  • I'd be impressed if you could show me a book with a term for this situation in it, and asking here is equivalent to asking a construction crew. Better, actually.
    – isherwood
    Jan 16, 2019 at 16:44

2 Answers 2


I don't know that there's a name for the wall as a whole. The sheathing is something I'd simply refer to as "backing", as in "this wall has integrated support backing". It's also commonly done with lumber fit between studs as needed.

There are walls with integrated plywood that are part of the structural design. They're known as "shear walls" and they provide diagonal rigidity, often in earthquake or hurricane zones or in larger buildings. That's not what we're talking about here, though.

  • : And to reinforce openings: I added plywood around my front door to stiffen and strengthen the framework. Jan 16, 2019 at 16:18
  • I was thinking shear wall also. +
    – Ed Beal
    Jan 16, 2019 at 16:50
  • I specifically said that these aren't' shear walls. :)
    – isherwood
    Jan 16, 2019 at 16:52
  • Japan is one big earthquake zone so they make sense. Jan 17, 2019 at 12:03
  • I finally talked with one of the builders and he said it is actually fit between the studs only (not plywood between the drywall and studs as I originally thought). It seems to be similar to what is explained here.
    – Dave
    May 11, 2019 at 1:23

I would know that as a sheer wall; made to reinforce the overall structure. I suspect it has something to do with the propensity to earthquakes.

  • These clearly aren't intended as shear walls. They're specifically built as backing for mounting things. Also, we don't know that the plywood is adequately fastened for such duty.
    – isherwood
    Jan 16, 2019 at 16:52

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