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Eathquake related improvements

2 replies [Last post]
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Joined: Oct 2 2003

We are currently replacing our old (painted over, wallpapered) panneling with sheet rock and the contractor suggested that while we have the walls open we also add some earthquake re-inforcement. He specifically menioned some metal plates that connect the roof beams to the wall beams and some additional support to the corners of the house. We are not planning on using an engineer for this and are wondering if this is at all worth the time and money. Anyone done anything silimar? Any inputs?

Thanks!

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Joined: Apr 8 2003

Potentially you do have a good opportunity to improve things while your walls are open and seismic reinforcement is definitely worthwhile. However, I think your money would be better spent on a couple of hours of an engineer's time. Preferably, you should have him/her look at it after your walls are open to see what the existing bolting pattern (assuming you have them) is and see other relevant conditions.

To brace the house effectively, it needs to be considered as a system working from the roof through the walls down to the ground. An engineer can do this and thus tell you exactly where extra hold-downs or plates may be needed most and which ones to use. You can then pay your contractor for work that you know will make a difference. Otherwise, you're throwing some steel into your walls which may or may not do much for you.

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Joined: Dec 26 2003

I agree, you should definetely not just have the contractor add hold downs or shear. While he might be well intentioned he does not generally know how the additions help if they even will.

My father is actually a structural engineer and while he does not have time for these small jobs at this point, I always hear me telling me about pointless eq safety improvements that have not helped at all.

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