How to Earthquake- Proof Your Home in 3 Simple Ways

Earthquake-proofed home

Image by Muffet via flickr

One of the major factors that may cause a particular house to collapse is its structural durability to withstand seismic activities. If your house is poorly built and inappropriately designed, it might suffer a deadly collapse during a major earthquake. According to Geoscience Australia, there are at least eighty 3.0 magnitude earthquakes in the country every year. It is during major earthquakes that the structural reliability of your house will be tested.

Fortunately, you can now construct a house with seismic resistance features. Incorporating wooden structural materials into your current building can make a big difference. Retrofitting the walls of your house with high-quality timbers or with solid timber is highly recommended.  If you want to quake proof your house or building, you should consider the following suggestions.

Regular Inspection

Comply with building regulations before you construct a new house. For an existing structure, you need to look for a licensed engineer to conduct an onsite inspection. An engineer can also help you identify structural weaknesses, and at the same time, recommend the necessary steps for retrofitting. Accompany your engineer during the inspection so that you can discuss the process thoroughly. An engineer can also look into the type of wooden materials that will be used for this process.

Wood Materials

Studies show that the effects of an earthquake depend on three interrelated factors.

  • Design
  • Location
  • Ground Condition

While many modern homes and buildings are made from metal alloys and concrete materials, researchers have studied the durability and reliability of wood materials in making a structure more quake-resistant. Thus, homes with wooden structures are now widely considered as earthquake-resistant compared to a building that is made from mere concrete and metals.

Timber frames as well as solid timber cladding are some of the most durable structural materials for framing or retrofitting purposes. During a retrofitting process, sill plates are bolted into the foundation of a building. Then, framing clips connect floor frames and pony walls. Retrofitting is highly needed especially if your house is located in an earthquake prone area. Seek an expert advice if you are not sure about the right type of timber species. You may want to consider using solid prefinished flooring.

Cladding

Cladding is a process that involves modifying and strengthening the supporting structures of a house or building for earthquake damage control. In most modern homes, structural strength is secured by installing sill plates, shear panels, and floorboards, all part of solid timber cladding for residential applications. All these vital elements are necessary to ensure safety during earthquakes. As a reminder, you must only hire a licensed and experienced professional to examine and assess the risks in your current building.

On the whole, the quality of the building materials matters the most.  Horizontal forces during a seismic event can inflict a tremendous amount of pressure on your house. While traditional construction materials remain popular until today, many urban planning professionals encourage homeowners to use wooden materials for a more solid and durable housing foundation. You can successfully prevent huge structural damages caused by an earthquake if you use wooden materials like solid timber cladding from Market Timbers.

Article by Venus Burias.

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