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Residential Foundation Repair: Seismic Retrofitting Services

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Increasingly volatile "natural events" are forcing home insurance providers to recalculate the risk. If you own a home in an earthquake-prone area, these recalculations cause your homeowner's insurance rates to spike or make your home uninsurable.

Here are some of the ways that residential foundation repair and seismic retrofitting services can make your home safer, valuable, and more insurable.

Foundation Repair

Time is not gentle on foundations. This is particularly true in earthquake-prone areas, as even small seismic events can cause foundations to crack, sag, and shift.

  • Diagnosing: residential foundation repairs start with a thorough examination of your home. This involves assessing the relative squareness of your roof and walls with advanced surveying cameras and software. If the service pros find that your walls and roof don't consistently make 90-degree corners, then they'll know that problems likely exist with your foundation. Linking issues with your roof, walls, and foundation will be the next step. In areas where earthquakes are prevalent, this often involves isolating cracks, sags, and shifts.
  • Fixing: fixing a damaged foundation is more complex than applying a patch or injecting more cement. To address the systemic issue(s) causing your foundation to fail, your residential foundation repair service professional might need to add an additional layer of found beneath your existing foundation. They might also need to provide bracing to help hold your foundation in place during earthquakes.

Seismic Retrofitting Services

Most homes were built before modern building codes required mandated extra provisions to account for earthquakes. If your homeowner's insurance requires you to retrofit your home's foundation to remain insurable, you'll need a service pro who can get the job done efficiently.

  • Diagnosing: seismic retrofitting begins by figuring out what needs to be updated and what building code(s) need to be met. In some municipalities, this requires fortifying an existing foundation with stronger cement. In other municipalities, you might need to add layers beneath the foundation to allow your home to sway without breaking during an earthquake.
  • Fixing: the actual repairs made by a seismic retrofitting services provider should be clearly outlined in your building permitting and contract. You will need to submit this document to your local tax collector, your homeowner's insurance provider, and your local land assessor. If your retrofitting doesn't meet the requirements of every party involved, your home might remain prohibitively expensive to insure or simply uninsurable. It's a good idea to submit the contract to your home insurance provider before you sign a formal building contract