The RemodelMe Way
Foundation retrofitting, also known as seismic retrofitting, is a specific kind of proactive remodeling project designed for earthquake hazard reduction. By improving the foundation of the building, you can decrease the risk of structural damage in the event of an earthquake.
For homeowners throughout Southern California, foundation retrofitting is particularly crucial. California contains over 15,000 known fault lines and more than 70 percent of the state’s population lives within 30 miles of an active fault. Foundation retrofitting provides peace of mind and helps minimize the likelihood of structural damage from an earthquake.
Do you know the risk factors?
If you’re still not sure whether it’s time to invest in seismic retrofitting, check your home to see if you meet any of the following criteria. If you’re at risk, the foundation contractors at RemodelMe will provide a free retrofitting consultation!
Do I Really Need Foundation Retrofitting?
If you live in the city of Los Angeles, you may have heard that the city passed certain mandatory earthquake safety standards. At the moment, changes are only required for buildings containing more than 3 dwelling units. However, although single-family homes are exempt from the city requirements, it doesn’t mean you should neglect to make improvements!
According to the California Earthquake Authority (CEA), any homes built before 1980 are considered particularly vulnerable to earthquakes. Foundation retrofitting can help you invest in your safety while qualifying for a substantial reduction in your earthquake insurance premiums. This reduction means that (in some cases) retrofitting will pay for itself through savings over time.
The cost of retrofitting a foundation depends largely on the size of the home, the amount of work required, the materials needed, and the location of the house. According to the CEA, homeowners can reduce their premiums by as much as 25% by completing a qualifying retrofitting project.
Retrofitting Methods: A RemodelMe Foundation Contractor Explains
How We Begin Foundation Retrofitting
Foundation bolting is arguably the most important stage of foundation retrofitting. We must bolt the foundation to the mudsill. The mudsill is the horizontal exterior wall frame that rests directly on top of your foundation. Essentially, this is where the house is attached to the concrete base beneath it.
There are two primary types of foundation bolts that homeowners will encounter: the mechanical wedge and epoxy anchors. Mechanical bolts secure the foundation to the mudsill in cases where the concrete foundation is in good condition. If the concrete is already damaged and cracking, that indicates that it will not be able to withstand the pressure from the expanding bolt tip. We understand that more fragile foundations can require special care, so RemodelMe foundation contractors will use epoxy bolts when needed. Instead of bolting the mudsill and the foundation traditionally, these bolts use adhesion rather than expansion.
Lastly, during the foundation bolting process, our team members will also assess and replace the washers on your foundation bolts. Replacing washers that have weakened, or that may have been too thin originally, can greatly decrease the likelihood of the mudsill cracking in the event of an earthquake.
How We Install Cripple Wall Bracing
Cripple wall bracing is one component of comprehensive seismic retrofitting. Along with foundation bolting, cripple wall bracing is one of the required foundation improvements that must be made in order to apply for a grant through the EBB.
The process of cripple wall bracing is actually fairly straightforward. To brace your cripple wall, one of our expert foundation contractors will enter your crawlspace. Many homeowners don’t use their crawlspace regularly, but it’s considered an important area of the home. The crawlspace is where utility lines are routed in order to reach your primary living areas. As you might imagine, in the event of an earthquake, it is very important to protect these utility lines from sustaining damage. Broken utility lines can lead to electrical fires or major water leaks.
Once in the crawlspace, one of our RemodelMe foundation contractors will install shear walls of structural grade plywood. These walls are connected to the cripple wall framing in order to absorb some of the stress of an earthquake. Shear walls should cover the entire perimeter of the foundation because this allows them to brace the structure against seismic movement originating from different directions.
Choosing Your Foundation Contractor
Selecting a foundation contractor is a big decision. The work we’ll perform has the potential to impact your home for decades to come, so it’s natural that you would want to ensure that you’re working with qualified professionals.
At RemodelMe, we think it’s important that you feel comfortable – not only with the end result of our work but also throughout the remodeling process. We’re happy to answer any questions you may have. Lastly, we can provide all of the following credentials upon request, allowing you to start your remodeling project with trust!