Seismic Retrofit Contractor in Portland, Oregon
Earthquake Retrofitting By SFW Construction LLC
According to experts, it’s becoming more and more likely that “the big one” will hit the Pacific Northwest within the next 50 years. It’s predicted that the damage to homes and commercial structures will reach catastrophic proportions and go well into the tens of billions of dollars! It’s not an overstatement to say that Portland homeowners, particularly those in older homes, risk major losses if proper steps aren’t taken to prevent it.
The best time to prepare your home for a major seismic event is BEFORE one occurs!
SFW Construction offers a comprehensive, seismic retrofitting service designed to effectively protect new homes and old from serious damage or collapse during a significant earthquake. Our multipronged, bottom-up approach helps ensure that your home–and its inhabitants–stand the best chance of getting through the unthinkable in relatively good condition.
Seismic failures are known to typically happen when a house slides off its concrete foundation or when the primary walls below the main floor areas of the house experience significant failure. The chances of these and other failures occurring can be greatly mitigated by allowing a reputable seismic retrofitting contractor, such as SFW Construction, to “earthquake proof” the home with various structural reinforcements. The following strategies, whether implemented in part or together, add layers of insurance for your home and will allow you to sleep well at night:
- Foundation Anchors: Our professional earthquake retrofit team attaches your basement wall to the foundation to ensure that the house remains in place, despite any shifting of soil that may occur. Large vertical bolts are used where space allows. If space is limited, our crew will instead use foundation brackets with horizontal bolts.
- Framing Anchors: To preserve stable framing within your residence, the SFW crew will attach rim joists to mud sills and floor joists to mud sills.
- Water Heater Strapping: An easy but often overlooked solution, water heater strapping prevents one’s water heater from falling and causing water damage. The water heater can actually serve as an emergency source of drinking water too-another (potentially critical) reason you want it to remain upright during a quake.
- Shear Wall: This technique refers to adding new layers of plywood to the basement wood frame. This newly-created “shear wall” (a.k.a. cripple wall) provides additional reinforcement to your home which reduces the likelihood of side-to-side movement.
- Improved Masonry: Even the hardest of materials are known to wear and weather over time. Your footers and basement walls made of concrete, brick or stone should be evaluated by our team and reinforced or replaced as needed.
- Post and Beam Reinforcement: For this step, our SFW Construction crew adds brackets which contribute to resistance/prevention of potential side-to-side motion your home may experience during a seismic event.
- Porch Strengthening: Of particular importance to those with older homes, the porch strengthening process involves adding new posts and beams inside historic box beams and hollow columns. This reinforcement works toward preventing your porch from collapsing during an earthquake.
- Chimney Banding and Bracing or Removal: It goes without saying that chimneys have an important role in keeping our homes warm and smoke-free, but their brittle nature makes them susceptible to collapse during an earthquake. A collapsed chimney can cause damage to the home–or worse, to the inhabitants inside! Our retrofit professionals will ensure that your chimney structure is up to code and will likely withstand a significant quake, should one occur.
How Disruptive is the Retrofitting Process with SFW Construction?
If all the work is to be done in crawl space areas, which it is in most cases, the disruption should be minimal. It typically amounts to putting up with some noise coming from under your house for up to a week or so. Not a bad price to pay for protecting your home and loved ones in the case of a significant seismic event!
Give us a chance to make YOU our next happy customer! Talk to us about your project today!
Here is an outline of industry techniques for seismic strengthening provided by the City Of Portland. This document focuses on critical areas that are commonly found in residential homes in the Pacific Northwest.