Scientists recently discovered a significant tear in the Earth’s crust that could lead to significant earthquakes and tsunamis throughout the Ring of Fire. The Ring is an area of the Pacific Ocean that includes the West Coast of the United States.
Earthquakes can cause serious damage to a home. Earthquake retrofitting is one of the best ways to protect your structure and prevent injuries when the ground starts to shake.
The purpose of retrofitting for earthquakes is to prevent a building from collapsing during seismic activity. A retrofit will help fortify a home and increase its resistance to ground motion. Studies show that homes that have been retrofitted will have less earthquake damage than structures that haven’t been reinforced.
There are several ways to do earthquake retrofitting for a home. One common method is house bolting, which secures a building to its foundation. During the Northridge earthquake, many of the buildings that slipped off of their foundations and collapsed were not bolted to their foundation. If you live in a home that was built prior to 1950, there’s a good chance that it is not securely attached to its foundation. House bolting can fix this problem and minimize future earthquake damage.
Homes can also be retrofitted by bracing the wall between the first floor of the home and the foundation. These walls (cripple walls) are generally the weakest part of a structure. Structural-grade plywood is typically used to increase their strength.
If you’re worried about your home’s ability to withstand seismic activity, ask an expert foundation contractor to inspect your property. Any issues that are found should be addressed immediately. For West Coast residents in particular, it’s imperative that you take the necessary steps to make your home as strong and earthquake resistant as possible. An increasing number of studies now confirm that a major quake will hit the area sometime in the near future.
Julian De La Torre, expert in Los Angeles earthquake retrofitting, house leveling & foundation contractor and inspection (Los Angeles) and founder of Julian Construction (www.julianconstruction.com) in Los Angeles, has inspected over 15,000 structures, working with engineering firms & local departments of building & safety. The company has done more house bolting (Los Angeles) than any other company in the area over the last five years. Julian Construction owns its own company and is a “no middlemen” model–no salesmen or subcontractors–you get the principals of the company & its workers under your home.
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