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BRACE AND BOLT A seismic retrofit strengthens a house to make it much more resistant to earthquake damage. If you have a home built before 1979, has a wood frame and a raised foundation we need to talk. 

Twenty million dollars is available to California homeowners from the Federal Emergency Management Agency in an Earthquake Brace and Bolt program intended to keep houses from falling down or sliding off their foundation during a temblor. Through program funding of up to $3,000, homeowners of wood-frame houses built before 1980 can brace a cripple wall (the walls in a crawl space below the first floor) with plywood and bolt the frame to a raised concrete foundation, as well as strap and brace water heaters. The cost for such work is generally $3,000-$7,000, with the higher amount for the architectural or engineering plans required for cripple walls of four to seven feet. The one-month program application period opens February 19 and could encompass as many as 4,400 homes.


Qualifying properties must be within the zip codes listed by the U.S. Geological Survey on an earthquake hazard map. To find out if your home in a qualifying zip code click here...

To qualify, homes must be a primary residence occupied by the homeowner and can be as many as four units on a “continuous raised perimeter foundation.” The program now allows homes on the National Register of Historic Places.

In California, there is an earthquake hazard disclosure law requiring the seller to disclose to the buyer at the time of sale the existence of certain known earthquake hazards, such as lack of bolting, existence of cripple walls with no shear paneling, hot water heaters that are not properly strapped, etc.. Visualize two dominoes standing on their small ends. Load four or five bricks on the dominoes with no difficulty because the dominoes are strong enough to carry the load, or downward force. But, if you go to the side of the dominoes and apply a tiny shear force: a shake or with even a breath; the whole thing will come crashing down.

FOUNDATION REPAIR During the inspection, the property and it’s surroundings are inspected for conditions that indicate prior or future seismic and/or foundation concerns. Some of these items include structural defects that affect the performance of the property during an earthquake. Cal-Quake experts check for cracks in foundations, sidewalks, driveways, garage floors along with drainage concerns…

Water and soil conditions also create permanent foundation problems. Much of California is on clay or expansive type soils. Expansive soils act like a sponge. As they absorb water, they swell and as they lose water they shrink.

As the soil under a house shrinks and swells with the seasons, the foundation will move up and down. As the foundation moves, damage to the property and/or foundation becomes a problem.

When a property sits on a raised foundation on expansive soil, it experiences continual soil expansion and contraction. This causes normal “settlement” and usually leaves the floors higher in the center of the property.

If an owner wishes to stop seasonal property and foundation damage, a controlled watering program must be instituted. Keeping the moisture content of the soil under the foundation constant, foundation movement can often be stopped. CAL-QUAKE assists the property owner with performing a foundation preventive maintenance program.

Inspection cost: $200.00 and is due at time of inspection. The fee will be credited towards any repairs or work we provide.

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