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How Much Does it Cost To Earthquake Retrofit a Home?

Most homeowners spend between $400 to nationally.
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The purpose of earthquake retrofitting is to prevent the damage that occurs when the main structure of your home is displaced from the concrete foundation during an earthquake. Increasing the safety of your home can save your life and the lives of your loved ones during such a natural disaster. The following is a cost guide for hiring a professional to earthquake retrofit your home.

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National Earthquake Retrofit a Home Costs

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National Average Cost $250
Minimum Cost $100
Maximum Cost $400
Average Range $0 to $0
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Table of Contents

  1. Earthquake Retrofitting Costs
  2. Why Retrofit A Home For An Earthquake?
  3. DIY Or Hire A Pro?
  4. Earthquake Retrofitting Materials
  5. Earthquake Retrofitting Steps
  6. How To Prepare For An Earthquake
  7. Find A Pro

Earthquake Retrofitting Costs

Earthquake retrofitting costs can vary widely depending on the age of your home, the size of your home and the amount of work that needs to be performed to adequately reinforce the structure. On average, earthquake retrofitting costs about $3,900. However, it can cost as much as $10,000 in larger homes with multiple floors, homes with finished basements or homes built on steep hills. Any repair to the foundation itself will incur an additional cost above the average pricing for earthquake retrofitting.

Why Retrofit A Home For An Earthquake?

During an earthquake, tremors shake your home and can cause it to move sharply from side to side, back and forth or even up and down for several seconds or even minutes. Although construction techniques and safety features have greatly improved in the last several decades, if your home was built before 1990, it’s likely in need of earthquake retrofitting. Even if your home was built more recently, it’s a wise idea to have a professional examine your home to ensure it remains safe in the event of an earthquake. Earthquake retrofitting is particularly important in areas of the country prone to strong earthquakes and near fault lines.

Why Retrofit A Home For An Earthquake

DIY Or Hire A Pro?

The major changes of retrofitting for earthquakes are made to a home's foundation. If you're unfamiliar with performing work on a foundation or making repairs to concrete, you might do more harm than good if you attempt this project yourself. One small mistake during retrofitting could weaken your home's foundation and cause structural problems — even without an earthquake occurring. Hiring a professional ensures that the process is completed smoothly and correctly from start to finish. An experienced professional is able to advise you on the type of retrofitting that your home needs and may be able to suggest additional safety measures that you hadn't thought of on your own.

Earthquake Retrofitting Materials

When earthquake retrofitting your home, a professional may use the following materials:

  • Universal Foundation Plate: Designed to anchor the foundation to either the mudsill or the cripple wall
  • Plywood: Used for cripple wall bracing
  • Expansion Foundation Bolts: Used in anchoring the foundation to the mudsill where the concrete foundation is in good condition and does not contain large cracks
  • Epoxy-Set Foundation Bolts: An alternative to expansion foundation bolts that's better to use in older homes where the concrete may be weaker and contain large cracks

Earthquake Retrofitting Materials

Earthquake Retrofitting Steps

The primary purpose of earthquake retrofitting is to strengthen your home's foundation and ensure that each section of the foundation is properly attached both to the ground and to your home. The three main steps for earthquake retrofitting include anchoring the foundation, bracing the cripple wall and strengthening the connection between the cripple wall and the home itself. All three are described in more detail below:

Anchoring the Foundation to the Mudsill

On top of each home's concrete foundation is a piece of wood known as the mudsill. It's critical that the foundation is properly anchored to the mudsill for stability. Existing bolts may be weakened or incorrectly spaced, thus not providing the needed protection and stability to keep the home in place during an earthquake. It's important that the correct type of bolts are used to anchor the foundation and that the bolts are properly spaced. For this reason, it's essential that you consult a professional that has experience with anchoring foundations. On average, this part of the project costs about $200 to $500.

Cripple Wall Bracing

The cripple wall is the wall between your home's concrete foundation and the bottom of the main floor. Collapse of the cripple wall is the primary source of structural damage to a home in an earthquake. Bracing the cripple wall reinforces the connection between the house and the foundation and causes them to move together instead of separating in the event of an earthquake. Not all portions of the cripple wall need bracing for proper support. A professional commonly braces the necessary portions of the cripple wall by attaching a piece of plywood to the wall in a side-to-side direction. The average cost to brace a cripple wall is about $1.50 per linear foot.

Anchoring the Cripple Wall to the Foundation

The final step in earthquake retrofitting is to ensure that the cripple wall is properly anchored to the foundation. A professional anchors the cripple wall to the foundation from the side using a universal foundation plate. This step is especially important where the cripple wall is extra-short, such as in a crawl space.

Earthquake Retrofitting Steps

How To Prepare For An Earthquake

In addition to retrofitting your home for an earthquake, there are additional steps you should take to prepare for the event. Walk around your home and take note of any heavy objects that could fall during an earthquake and secure the objects or relocate them to a place where they won't cause harm. Assemble an emergency survival kit including food, water and medical supplies. Finally, identify a safe spot in each room of your home where you and your family members can take cover during an earthquake.

Find A Pro

Once you're ready to earthquake retrofit your home, a professional contractor can assess your needs and answer any questions you may have. Contact a pro today using our free lead generator.

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