Is Your House Equipped to Handle and Survive an Earthquake?

cracked wall

Your home’s ability to survive an earthquake does not only affect you, but also the lives of those who live with you. For those living near fault lines, they know for a fact that the next big quake is just around the corner. Maybe it’ll come in a year or 10 years or 20 years even? But it pays to make sure that your house is strong and stable enough to withstand an earthquake.

People in Southern California live through tiny quakes all the time. They don’t notice it because the magnitude is so small. But for those living near fault lines, especially the San Andreas fault line, it is only a matter of time before the next big one strikes. That is the problem people have with earthquakes. Unlike typhoons and snowstorms, it is very difficult to predict an earthquake. They often leave people vulnerable.

Reinforce Your Home

man clearing the roofTo know how to reinforce your home against an earthquake, you must first understand what makes the ground move during an earthquake. The tectonic plates form the mantle on where the Earth stands. These plates constantly move. But because of this movement, the large thin plates of the Earth’s crust and upper mantle stuck when they move past each other. Pressure from underground builds up because the plates are locked together. When the pressure is finally released, that causes the movement of the ground.

When the ground shakes, the movement causes structures to move sideways. That’s why the foundation of your house must be resistant to sideways movements and shakes. If you find a reliable steel supplier, educate yourself about the benefits of this material when used in the construction of earthquake-resistant buildings. A building or house needs to be light for it to take on sudden movements in the ground.

But how do you make your house lighter? Focus on the material you used. The top carries the maximum weight. Even if the foundation of your home used lighter materials, that would be no good if the top part of your house has used heavy materials such as concrete.

The maximum weight of your house is on the roof. It should be made with the lightest material you can find. Steel is the most durable and lightweight material for the roof. You may want to change your concrete roof to steel structures. Since steel comes in a variety of shapes, angles, plates, and beams, it can bend during an earthquake without breaking. This means your home will not suffer from too much damage during an earthquake.

Add Anchor Bolts

Most homes should have anchor bolts and steel plates between the home and the foundation. If they are built to code at least. If you have an unfinished garage, you will see the anchor bolts that holds the foundation down. A house that is not anchored or bolted to the slab has an earthquake weakness. A movement in the ground can cause the house to collapse or break in two.

Call your contractor. Plan how to add anchor bolts to hold your home in place when there’s an earthquake. It is also the best time to check the foundation of the house to make sure that the plates and metal rods are still in place.

Attach a Chimney Roof Brace

During an earthquake, the chimney is the most susceptible to breaking and falling. Reinforce your chimney by attaching it to the roof. Add a brace to hold your chimney in place. If your roof is sturdy enough, it can carry the added weight of the chimney even when the ground is shaking. Make sure that the brace is properly attached to the roof. If heavy materials make up the roof, consider changing it to lighter materials, too, so it doesn’t put too much pressure on the roof.

Depending on the size and weight of the chimney, you should put a brace on it from four different angles. Make sure that the chimney is level then set the poles where you want them. Use silicone to hold the brackets in place then screw the brackets in place. Your contractor should be able to help you with putting a brace to your chimney.

Earthquakes are unpredictable, which makes them all the more dangerous. Reinforcing your home’s foundation is the key to making it earthquake-resistant. Not all homes are designed to withstand an earthquake, so you should check yours if it can survive a quake. Whether you live near the fault lines or not, there is nothing wrong with making sure your house is as sturdy as you can make it.

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