Earthquake requirements

Started by jraabe, June 02, 2006, 11:49:25 AM

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Some parts of the country have greater potential for earthquakes than others.

Start by looking at this PDF map of the U.S. to see if your location is impacted (areas shaded darker are more earthquake prone). (Thanks to Kelly!  :D)

How do you design for earthquakes? First, this is a local issue and most areas where earthquakes (or high winds as these are similar sidewards and upward forces on the house) will be a problem will likely require a review of your building plans by a local engineer.

Most standard building plans have some protection but not enough for the highest force areas (it is not cost effective to design all houses to the worst case situation anywhere in the country).

One of the ways the engineer will strengthen the house is to add holdowns, straps and metal connectors. This assumes you have done the structural sheathing I suggest in all my plans. This, I feel is good insurance anywhere and goes a long way toward solving the bracing issue for earthquake and high wind areas.

Large windows and doors cut down the racking resistance of a properly framed and sheathed wall. A good rule of thumb when laying out your windows is to try and keep a 4' wide panel of sheathing somewhere in the first 8' from each corner. You could wrap each corner with a 4' plywood panel, or push a 4' wide window into the corner and then have your 4' wide bracing panel. Both will work.

Now this is not a hard rule. Engineers (and enough steel) can do wonders  :o. This is just a cost effective way to build extra strength into a standard framed wall.


Oh good, looks like I may someday have beachfront property. :)

Then again - maybe not good --I don't like the ocean ---grew up near it. :(

Seems I don't like much of anything ---never satisfied. :-/ :)


Nah - you must be at a pretty high elevation there Glenn. I'm at less than 100' above sea level so melting polar ice may be lapping at my beach someday soon.  :D

Keep the faith! Come the enlightenment (or reckoning, or whatever) all will be resolved!  :o


Earthquakes in areas that don't have them often can be traumatic.  

Friends out in the south-west area of the county had a 2+ one a few months back, center within a mile of their house.  They are absolutely convinced that they [highlight]heard[/highlight] it--a loud pop, the kind of thing you'd expect if the top blew off a propane tank, she thought--wanted him to go check.  Nothing wrong there.  A little later people started sending them emails asking if they'd felt the quake.  I think they're still a bit freaked.  

And that was the kind of thing that people on the Big Island or parts of California have a lot, if not all the time.


I'm at 2910, John.  If things get too wet there, paddle on over - I'll find you a dry spot.

QuoteCome the enlightenment (or reckoning, or whatever) all will be resolved!

If it gets to your place first could you give me a heads up.  I'll want to put on clean underwear. :-/

My mommy always told me never to go anywhere without clean underwear.  You never know what might happen. :-[

John Raabe

We could always consider installing this device - it was suggested for a solution in New Orleans.

The problem is where can we route the drain line?  :-?
None of us are as smart as all of us.



Just direct the drain line towards the Bellagio in Las Vegas, their water cannons could shoot the water away :)

glenn kangiser

I was thinking, Washington D.C. -- we need a new lake. :)
"Always work from the general to the specific." J. Raabe

Glenn's Underground Cabin

Please put your area in your sig line so we can assist with location specific answers.


QuoteWe could always consider installing this device - it was suggested for a solution in New Orleans.

The problem is where can we route the drain line?  :-?

 How about here,


2 Holes May Be Sinking Lake
Shoreline destruction slows, indicating underground voids could be getting full.

 LAKELAND -- Trees were still slipping into Scott Lake on Thursday morning, but the appetite of two apparent sinkholes slowed after more than two days of shoreline havoc in one of Lakeland's most prestigious neighborhoods.

 Link :

 Now look what you've caused John ;D

When in doubt , build it stout with something you know about .