Are you sure that your home is securely bolted into the foundation? Bolting, a form of seismic retrofitting, secures a home’s mudsill with its concrete foundation find out. The horizontal wooden board that is placed on top the foundation is known as the mudsill. It’s the bottom of a wall on the outside that connects a house frame to its footing. Mudsills, which are either not attached to the foundation (or are badly connected), will start moving during an earthquake. This movement will also affect the walls that they are attached to. This movement can cause electrical wires and gas lines to be pulled out. Also, floors can be damaged. If the shaking occurs in a severe manner, the building could collapse. If the mudsills are properly bolted into the concrete, they prevent the home from sliding or slipping when there is seismic activity. The Uniform Construction Code made bolting a foundation to a home a requirement in 1949. Local governments took nearly 10 years to implement this code. As a result, the majority of homes built prior to 1960 were not bolted into their foundations. An earthquake can cause a home to be shaken off its foundation without bolting.
Check if the mudsill of your home has been bolted. Go into your crawlspace, basement or attic and look for thick bolts that run across the top. There should be bolts every four to six feet. You should also see steel anchor plates that connect the edge of sill with the foundation. You will have to replace any rusted screws. Rusted bolts can be found in moist areas. Also, look for recessed screws. If the bolts do not stick up high enough after the foundation has been poured, you will need to chisel the mudsill to attach the nut. The nuts can become difficult to tighten and anchor plates are almost impossible to install. Recessed bolts need to be replaced. Bolting is important, but the depth at which the bolt penetrates the concrete is also very important. The type of anchoring bolts that are used will determine the standard and minimum requirements for depth. A foundation contractor is able to check if the bolts are installed at the correct depth.
It can be challenging to replace bolts due to the small space. The expert foundation repairer will not only know the bolts that need to be replaced, but will also have the tools necessary to do the job correctly. Retrofitting includes more than bolting. Even homes that have been bolted may suffer serious damage if their cripple walls are not braced properly. The cripple is the short wall located between the foundation and first floor. Cripple walls require reinforcement using sturdy materials, such as plywood. Stucco, wood siding and other materials do not support walls enough. A foundation contractor who is a specialist will be able to provide a free inspection to help you determine whether your house is properly bolted. You can save time and money by hiring a foundation expert to repair your home.