How to Retrofit Your Home Against Earthquakes

Whether of low or high magnitude, An earthquake will definitely put your building structure to the test.

In areas such as Southern California that get to experience more than 10,000 earthquakes every year, homeowners are not only advised but some are required by law to retrofit their homes in order to avoid any damages to their properties or injuries. Earthquake retrofitting procedures are dependent on the property being retrofitted.

Retrofitting Your Home

If you are a homeowner in an area that is prone to earthquakes such as Southern California, You need to retrofit your home but even more so if your home is a soft story, was constructed before 1970 or has a crawlspace.

Related: Thousands of soft-story structures still need retrofitting 

Bracing The Cripple Wall

Bracing the cripple wall which is also known as the pony wall is crucial to retrofitting your home against earthquakes because it is the weakest part of the house. Unbraced cripple walls are usually the first to crumble in the event of an earthquake. To brace cripple walls, structural-grade plywood  shear panels are used to connect the wooden stands.

Bolting The House To the Foundation

Foundation bolting involves the attaching of a home’s wood frame to its concrete foundation. Houses will usually slide off of the foundation during an earthquake if they are not bolted or improperly bolted. Anchor bolts and metal plates are used bolt the wooden frame and the foundation together.

Related : What is the risk?

Attaching The Floor To Braced Cripple Walls

If the cripple wall has been braced and the house has been bolted to the foundation, the only other concern you should have in case of an earthquake is the house sliding off of the cripple wall because the floor of the house and cripple wall hasn’t been connected. Bolting the floor of the house to the cripple wall will ensure that it doesn’t slide off during an earthquake.

Related: Earthquake safety tips

Hire a Professional Earthquake Retrofitting Expert

If you live in an area that is prone to earthquakes or have a house that was built before 1970, has a crawlspace or is a soft story building call a professional earthquake retrofitting contractor. If you live in Los Angeles or the surrounding areas, Contact California Foundation Works for a free* earthquake retrofitting inspection.