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Preparing your house to better withstand earthquake damage

Many of us in the Willamette Valley have been told the “big one” is coming. Oregon has a 40% chance of a MAJOR seismic event within the next 50 years. While it’s impossible to know when the earthquake or earthquakes will occur, we shouldn’t make the error of assuming we have time to prepare.

Living amid construction can be disruptive, so our entire team is committed to making the process as painless as Much of Oregon’s infrastructure will not be able to withstand a major seismic event, including many homes. Homes built before 1974 are likely to be particularly vulnerable to structural failure in the event of a major earthquake. Many of the homes built prior to 1974 were not bolted to their foundation during construction. Additionally, only 20 percent of Oregon homes have earthquake insurance.

Earthquake Checklist

Here is a checklist (from Simpson StrongTie website) that you can use to determine if your house is connected to your foundation and reinforced to withstand an earthquake.

Use the following checklist as a guide

  • Wood wall around the perimeter of the home are secured to the foundation, using anchors, bolts, sill plate connectors and holdowns.
  • Metal strap ties or holdowns are used to connect the 2nd floor to the 1st.
  • Beams and joists are joined together with metal connectors and fasteners (the critical points within the frame of a home are where 2 pieces of framing material meet).
  • Metal connectors are added to connect the roof to the wall top plate.
  • Post-to-beam connections are reinforced with metal connectors.
  • Minor foundation wall cracks are repaired with epoxy.
  • With the help of a local Structural Engineer you can determine exactly what your home needs.

If you need this type of retrofitting, contact G. Christianson Construction, a licensed contractor, to install the necessary anchors, bolts, connectors and holdowns. 541-754-6326.

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