Why should I retrofit my home?
- To reduce the damage to your home, lessen the potential for injury and the loss of sentimental and monetary valuables.
- Without retrofitting your home, you will not be able to obtain earthquake insurance. In the case of a major earthquake and your home is destroyed, without insurance, you are left with a mortgage payment and no house.
- Most crucial is the ability to occupy your home for weeks, even if it is destroyed. To think of your home as a shelter after a disaster is vital, you could still remain in the house to stay dry and limit your exposure to the weather.
What size earthquake will this protect me against?
Retrofitting your home does not equal fortification of your structure. The main goal of retrofitting your home is to reduce your risk against major injuries, protection of material property and to give you and your family the resiliency to survive, by using your home as a shelter against the elements.
What does it mean to retrofit?
In the most basic of terms, it is the modification of an existing structure to make them more resistant to seismic activity. Retrofitting can help prevent the home from slipping off the foundation and/or collapsing. Please see our videos below showing the difference between and unattached and an attached home and how retrofitting can protect your investment.
Unattached house video Attached house video
What about my water heater and other utilities?
Hot water heaters should be strapped to a wall or post to protect people from a bursting water heater and reduce fire potential. The installation of natural gas shut-off valves can help prevent houses from catching fire from natural gas lines.
I have an older home, why should I be worried about my home in an earthquake?
The majority of older homes are built and sit on top of a foundation and are not attached to it. Unless your home is built on a concrete slab, it is highly likely that it is constructed on a raised foundation with a crawlspace or basement. This type of construction does not give your home the strength to hold up to a strong earthquake that produces powerful lateral and upward movements, it will literally be knocked off its foundation.
The purpose of retrofitting is to attach the home to the foundation and give it the stability that it needs to withstand a violent earthquake.
Please visit our Seismic Retrofit Attachments – Illustration and Photos page for a detailed view of completed seismic upgrades.
Seismic Retrofit Attachments – Illustration and Photos
Below we’ve provided seismic retrofit attachments illustrations and photos to present a more in-depth visualization of what a seismic upgrade entails. Although each home is unique, EcoTech is dedicated to tailor each retrofit plan to protect your home against earthquake damage.
Seismic Retrofit Attachments – Rendition of basic framing for a home
ATTACHING SILL PLATE TO FOUNDATION & RIM JOIST TO THE SILL PLATE
- The Sill Plate is attached to the Foundation due to older homes “sitting” atop the concrete foundation, meaning there is nothing keeping the house physically attached, to the base of the home. Thus, when a violent shaking earthquake occurs, the end result is the house literally being knocked off the foundation.
- Attaching the Sill Plate to the Rim Joist follows the same logic as attaching the sill plate to the foundation. When connecting all of these vital pieces of the home together, it is making a solid infrastructure, that allows the house to move as one part, not three separate sections.
Seismic Retrofit Attachments – Large Plate is attaching the Sill Plate to the Foundation. Small Plate is attaching the Rim Joist to the Sill Plate.
Seismic Retrofit Attachments – Close Up of Large Plate is attaching the Sill Plate to the Foundation. Small Plate is attaching the Rim Joist to the Sill Plate.
ATTACHING POST TO BEAM & POST TO FLOOR
- Attaching the Post to the Beam and the Post to the Floor follows along the same rule as above, this is accomplishing the goal of making the home as one solid unit. When the ground shakes, the whole house will move together, not different pieces falling like dominos.
Seismic Retrofit Attachments – Attaching the Support Post in the lower part of the home to the Support Beam of the first floor.
Seismic Retrofit Attachments – Attaching the Support Post to the Floor of the lower portion of the home.
APPLYING PLYWOOD SHEETING ON CRIPPLE WALL CONSTRUCTION
- A Cripple Wall is usually found in older homes. The cripple wall usually occurs between the first floor and the foundation, it is generally thought of as the weakest part of older buildings. This is due to the fact that there is no concrete between the first floor and the foundation, it is usually made up of horizontal wood siding or stucco. Since no concrete is between the home and the foundation, the collapse of the cripple wall could result in the main floor dropping to the ground.
Seismic Retrofit Attachments – Cripple Wall with only horizontal wood and no concrete, between the foundation and the first floor.
Seismic Retrofit Attachments – Plywood sheeting is added to the Cripple Wall construction to keep from the collapse of the first floor into the ground.
BOLTING THE SILL PLATE TO FOUNDATION IN THE GARAGE
- Bolting the Sill Plate to the Garage Foundation is the same concept as adding this extra security to the home. The garage maybe attached to the home or there may be living space within the garage, either way bolting the sill plate to the garage foundation, allows the structure to move as one.
Seismic Retrofit Attachments – Two bolts within the Sill Plate to the Foundation of the garage.
STRAPPING THE WATER HEATER & NATURAL GAS SHUT-OFF VALVES
- Strapping the Water Heater to a wall or post protects people from a bursting water heater or reduces fire potential.
- Installing a Natural Gas Shut-Off Valve help to prevent houses from catching fire due to broken natural gas lines.
Seismic Retrofit Attachments – Water heater strapped to basement post.
Seismic Retrofit Attachments – Natural gas shut-off valve.