How to Prepare Your Home Foundation for an Earthquake
There are almost hundreds of thousands of earthquakes that Earth can experience each year, according to US Geological Survey. Thank God that not all of these earthquakes can be felt and can cause damages. There are more minor earthquakes than major ones, but the effect of the latter is devastating. The only thing we can do is prepare for it.
Earthquakes can damage properties worth billions of dollars. So, it’s really the best if you prepare your home for such. You can do these precautions by yourself but there are structural problems that require the expertise of a professional of Rowlett foundation repair.
- Exterior Wall-to-Foundation Connection
The exterior walls of your structure should be connected to the walls of your foundation. This is to resist the earthquake’s lateral movement. The sill plate, which could be found at the wall’s bottom, should be bolted to the foundation wall with anchor bolts to avoid the wall from sliding or moving. The spacing of the bolts should be 6 feet.
If you discovered that the anchor bolts don’t have proper spacing, check the local requirements and ask the assistance of a foundation contractor to decide on what to do with it.
- Exterior Wall to Foundation Connection
If the structure has a non-cripple wall framed crawlspace or a basement, the joists should be on the sill plate which sits on the foundation wall’s top and doesn’t sit on the cripple wall. This will be difficult to access the top and drill the sill plate. This issue calls for retrofit foundation plates which are then anchored to the walls using anchor bolts.
The crawlspace in your structure has a cripple wall, which looks like a framed wall below the first floor and above the foundation. Anchoring the exterior wall to the foundation can done either through retrofit foundation (for structures with not cripple walls) or by anchor bolts (for those with cripple walls).
- Cripple Wall Shear Reinforcement
The cripple walls for the foundation need to have a crawlspace. They have the job to carry the load of the structure so if they are not strong enough to resist lateral movement during earthquake, they will collapse. To avoid this, you have to create a shear wall and convert the crawlspace into a rigid panel.
If the cripple wall has a wider width than the studs, you need to do some blocking at the wall’s bottom, between the stuffs. The blocking should have the same size dimension as the studs.
- Mobile Home Earthquake Protection
If your house is a mobile one, check what’s under. If you see that the only protections your home got are metal jacks or blocks, then you have to upgrade. You should install an earthquake-resistant bracing system or engineered tie-down system. The time you will spend on installation will depend on the system you’ll use. Good thing is that these systems can be brought with you when you choose to relocate.