Renovation Tips for Earthquake-Proofing Your Home

Renovation Tips for Earthquake-Proofing Your Home
  • Opening Intro -

    The key to surviving a major earthquake—or any natural disaster, for that matter—is to be prepared.

    The key to preparedness is having a plan.

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That plan, as far as earthquake preparedness goes, should begin with strategic renovations to improve a home’s stability and structural integrity. Here’s how to get started.

Structure

Your first priority should be to focus on keeping your house on its foundation in the event of an earthquake. According to a seismologist with a Bachelor’s in Geology, even a minor tremor can move your home an inch off its foundation, creating serious structural problems. When and how your home was constructed will determine how vulnerable it is to shifting. Start by doing the following:

  • Reinforce crawl space cripple walls with plywood sheeting.
  • Make sure mud-sills are bolted down.
  • For pier and post foundations, make sure all foundation elements are braced and solid. Also consider putting in a continuous perimeter foundation.
  • For slab foundations, make sure sill-plates are anchored with bolts every six to eight feet.

Interior

Next, address the dangers inside your home. The rule is, “If you can strap it down, then strap it down.” Start by doing the following:

  • Strap any tall, heavy furniture from their top corner to wall studs using flexible nylon straps and solid screws.
  • Use removable fasteners to secure televisions, speakers, desktop computers or microwaves so they can be moved when needed.
  • Use locking wall hangers for wall hangings so they cannot be bounced off the walls.
  • Use latches on kitchen cupboards to keep doors from swinging open.

Protecting Your Home After the Quake

The danger isn’t over after the quake subsides. Homes tend to be more at risk of fire after an earthquake, when flammable materials and heat sources have been shaken loose. The most important things for you to check around your home before a quake are as follows:

  • Secure your water heater to wall studs using metal straps.
  • Replace rigid gas and water hoses from your water heater, dryer and other appliances with flexible hoses.

After the shaking, check the water heater and appliance hoses to make sure everything has stayed in place.

A few simple, preventative measures can make a huge difference in surviving and thriving through an earthquake or any natural disaster. Take the time to make your home safe and secure. Hopefully you never go through a major earthquake or natural disaster, but if you do, you cannot be too prepared.

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