Preventing expensive damage to your house can be solved through the installation of house bolts. Also referred to as foundation bolting, house bolting is the process of firmly securing your house to its foundation. Not all houses have this – even in earthquake-prone Southern California. Specifications for bolting weren’t even around until the 1950s, and even then, our understanding of earthquakes and how they impacted the stability of houses was very limited.
Today, we know how imperative it is for homes in this area to be bolted to their foundations. That’s why all new construction homes feature earthquake bolts. However, if you own an older home, those elements are not present, leaving you vulnerable to both severe and subtle earthquake damage. In order to keep your home structurally sound and your family safe, house bolts are a must. This process is a big part of earthquake retrofitting, and should be done by a professional.
Foundation bolting involves the process of adding steel bolts and metal plates to the concrete footing and framing in the substructure that comprise your home’s foundation.
This retrofit offers an additional layer of security in vulnerable areas where an unbolted house can be shaken loose through the tell-tale side-to-side and up-and-down motion of an earthquake. An unbolted house can be shaken right off its foundation, but in smaller quakes, subtle damage can accumulate without being readily noticed.
Often times, house bolting is coupled with other services that can further bolster the strength of the home, such as cripple wall bracing, hold-down brackets, and foundation plates. They all work together to provide added strength and durability to be able to withstand high-magnitude earthquakes.
Many homes built prior to 1979 have a short wall that is less than four feet tall surrounding the crawlspace underneath. This short wall, known as the “cripple wall,” must be braced using plywood and the house bolted to the foundation, according to the California Earthquake Authority.
Think of house bolting as an insurance policy against earthquake damage that could leave your home irreparably damaged and your family members exposed to danger. First, there are the obvious safety risks. You wouldn’t drive your family around in a car with no seat belts…so why would you leave your home unsupported?
Second, there’s the risk of structural damage to your home. Failure to implement house bolting can cause any seismic activity to dislodge your home, with even the smallest magnitude gradually chipping away at the foundation. House sagging and even basement cave-ins are possible, which is why you need to strengthen critical foundation connections and enlarge wall supports to fortify vulnerable areas.
Third, as a result of this structural damage, you may be left holding the bill for repairs after earthquake destruction wreaks havoc on your home. There are 10,000 earthquakes in California every year. Annual U.S. earthquake losses are estimated at $4.4 billion. The average cost for individual homeowners that have to replace the foundation after an earthquake is $25,000 or more. The cost of foundation bolting can range between $250 and $5,000, depending on the size of the home and level of work needed.
If you live in an active seismic zone, it’s critical that you have your home retrofitted with house bolting to prevent damage and injury. This will increase your ability to keep occupants safe during an earthquake as well as ensure your home will be habitable after such a disaster. This will also keep repair costs down after a seismic event, in many cases preventing damage altogether.
Bonus: earthquake retrofitting through house bolting will also reduce your earthquake insurance premiums, which, as you may well know already, have been increasing dramatically in recent years.
If you’re unsure if your house is bolted or you know you need a retrofit but don’t know where to start, call CXC Contracting at 805-300-8899 or schedule a FREE inspection online. We are skilled in all areas of earthquake retrofits, especially house bolting, cripple-wall bracing, hold-down brackets and foundation plates. In addition, we are trained in all the latest techniques that ensure your house is as secure as possible to guard against an inevitable future earthquake.
Will and his company did an outstanding job retrofitting my 6 apartment buildings. I had several other companies bid this project but was won over by his knowledge and honesty. He listened to what i was concerned about, assured me he would he take care of everything and did everything he said he was going to do…and then some. I highly recommend him.
- Vlad R.
I want to thank Will and Isaias for assisting me on a special project I needed done at my house. Isaias came early and did exactly what I needed and asked for and for a reasonable price.I can’t thank you guys enough.
- Jessica D.
Will is honest and ethical which is a lot more than can be said about a lot of people in his business. All in all, just a pleasure to do business with.
- Reuben Z.
Excellent Project Manager and crew. Very professional and knowledgeable. They even did a little extra work at no charge that was not part of the contract! You will be making an excellent choice if you hire this contractor for your earthquake foundation repair.
- Joyce M.