Retrofitting a House for Earthquakes

earthquake retrofit

An earthquake can cause major damage to a house, especially if the building has not been retrofitted. Retrofitting is the modification of a structure by adding new elements to make the structure more powerful. Following the 1994 Northridge earthquake, the severity of structural issues in domestic neighborhoods varied considerably from house to house depending upon the steps each house owner had actually taken to strengthen their house.

Data show time and again that throughout seismic activity, houses that have actually been retrofitted will have less damage than a home that hasn’t been reinforced. This held true in the Long Beach earthquake of 1933, which resulted in the structural failure of brick buildings without enhanced masonry walls, including many school buildings in the location. Buildings with enhanced concrete had very little, if any, structural problems. In the consequences of the magnitude 6.25 quake, California’s Riley Act was adopted, which required local governments throughout the state to establish building departments and check newly built homes and businesses. Throughout the years that followed, brand-new building regulations were executed requiring the bolting of any wooden walls to the structure’s foundation.

Specifically in areas like southern California it is extremely crucial to think about the dangers of earthquakes. In order to lessen and avoid damage to a house throughout an earthquake, and the possibility of the pricey requirement for structure replacement, it is necessary to think about earthquake retrofitting. In the past, 50 years or more earlier, structures were primarily developed architecturally to endure one kind of load-gravity, which only creates an up-and-down pressure or movement.

In recent years, however, it has been extensively recognized that the majority of earthquakes develop pressures on a structure moving from side to side, creating a lateral load. Thus, older buildings, initially created only to properly support gravity loads, might collapse as a result of the lateral pressure of an earthquake.

Home bolting is a method of retrofitting where a home is safely secured to the foundation. It minimizes the potential for earthquake damage by increasing the house’s resistance to ground movement. Any home developed prior to 1950 that has not been retrofitted, will not be connected to its foundation; it is just resting on the house’s concrete base. In an earthquake, structures like these can quickly slide off of their foundation and collapse. A number of the homes that fell off of their foundation or were harmed during the Northridge quake were not bolted to the foundation.

Another method a house’s structural integrity can be improved is by bracing cripple walls. A cripple wall is the wall between the first flooring of a house and the foundation. The walls create the crawl space that is often discovered beneath a house. Paralyze walls are usually just covered by outside wood siding or stucco, and are thought about the weakest part of a structure. Bracing the walls with plywood will increase their strength and help avoid your house from swaying during a quake.

If you are worried about your house’s ability to withstand an earthquake, get in touch with a structure repair expert and request an assessment of your home or Los Angeles seismic retrofit. A skilled foundation professional will know the best method to retrofit your house, and can try to find other foundation problems that might need to be resolved in order to reduce earthquake damage.

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