Abstract The shear behavior of ferrocement channel beams have been studied by conducting tests under transverse loads for 15 beam specimens. Influence of variations of the dominant parameters were studied through systematic tests. Test results indicate that cracking and ultimate shear strength increases with the increase in the volume of wire mesh and mortar strength, and decreases with the increase of shear span to depth ratio. A computational model based on cracking criteria related to combined stresses and ferrocement tensile strength profile distribution across beam depth has been proposed to predict the cracking strength. Also an empirical expression has been developed for the same for ease in direct design application.