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your mud sill to the foundation and adding plywood to the cripple
walls are the two most cost effective steps you can take to
strengthen your home for earthquakes.
to look for ...
To check your home's earthquake fitness, all you need is a flashlight
and a willingness to get a little bit dirty. The place to start
is in the crawl space underneath your home.
your house properly bolted down to its foundation?
that rests directly on the foundation is called the mud
the 1940s, home builders often did not bolt the mud sill to the
creates a serious structural weakness that can allow your home to
slide off its foundation during an earthquake. The mud sill should
be bolted at four to six feet intervals and within one foot of every
joint, but no closer than nine inches to the end of the board.
you need plywood on your cripple wall?
Check to see if you have a cripple wall and if it is braced
with plywood. If the cripple wall is covered on the exterior
with only stucco or wood siding, it is not strong enough to
resist earthquakes. You will need to add plywood. Sheets of
plywood nailed to the cripple walls help to prevent damage
from shaking in this weak area of your house. Crossbracing
within the framing is not enough.
for faulty materials in the concrete & wood framing
The foundation is a common area of structural weakness. When
concrete foundations are porous or crumbly, they will not provide
adequate strength to resist earthquakes. Unreinforced brick
or stone masonry may need to be replaced or strengthened. An
engineer or architect is required to design these types of repairs.
Check to see if there is insect damage or dry rot in the wood.
Faulty materials such as rotten wood and porous concrete should
be replaced. Risky conditions in concrete include cracks wider
than 1/8 inch, large voids, or 'honeycomb" concrete. If the
concrete chips or flakes when you poke it with a screwdriver,
it may be unsafe. NOTE: lf you suspect faulty material, you
may need the assistance of a licensed engineer or architect
to design a solution.