What is a Seismic Retrofit?

When someone mentions the words “Seismic Retrofit” in Southern California, it triggers in our mind to start thinking about the worst earthquake that we have been impacted by.  Most of us refer back to the Northview Earthquake in the 90’s.  Believe it or not, that is what triggered a lot of the seismic construction standards that are associated with today’s new builds as well as repairing and updating our existing structures in Southern California.

Now seismic retrofitting can take on a variety of scopes of work, depending on the type of home or building that is being retrofitted.  A commercial property is a lot more elaborate than your standard residential home.  Whatever type of structure it is, the end goal of a retrofit is to keep the building standing upright in the event that the next “Big One” happens.

In regards to Residential Seismic Retrofitting, it typically involves making sure that the framework of the house is and stays attached to the concrete foundation of the home.  To do this we us a variety of products.  Let’s check them out!

Making sure your home is strengthened properly

  • Utilizing anchor bolts that can be recessed through the sill plate and embedded into the foundation is ideal.  Once the anchor bolts have been installed you install a washer and nut combination and torque the bolts down.  The spacing will vary depending on if your home is a 1 or 2 story.
  • If there is not enough head room to get a drill and install the anchor bolts effectively you can utilize a UFP bracket.  This is a bracket that is anchored to the side of the footing and also to the side of the sill plate.   These are installed from underneath the home in the crawlspace and help to solidify the framing from sliding off of the foundation when an earthquake occurs.
  • You will also want to secure any and all posts that are supporting the interior flooring of your home.  You would be surprised home many posts and pads we see that do not have any anchoring at all.  We install brackets at the top of the post to secure it to the girder beam and then brackets at the base of the post to secure it to the existing concrete pad.
  • After you secure all of your framing to the foundation, you will then go back through and install brackets and clips to make sure that all of your framing is secured.  Most of the older homes are typically only nailed together and by adding these additional framing brackets, it allows for a more solidified connection and ultimately strengthening your home’s framing.

Retrofitting is something that you can do on your own as a homeowner.  You can find numerous product videos online that can help with the installation of the brackets.  Most brackets can be purchased at your local hardware store.  It’s just the fact that you will need to take on the unknown of what is hanging out in your home’s crawlspace.  You would be surprised on some of the things we see and find hiding out under your home!

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Justin Sexton

Justin joins the Dalinghaus Construction family with a significant background in logistics and project management. He joined the team in early 2017 as a foundation inspector, but quickly transitioned towards a marketing role. He now manages the marketing department and creates everything that you see from us digitally.

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