Seismic Retrofitting

Things you Should Know

If you live in earthquake country, you’ve probably thought about what would happen to your home if The Big One hits. Fortunately, most stick-built homes are flexible enough to withstand the stress of even large earthquakes, so the risk of collapse is minimal. It is possible, however, for homes to slide completely off their foundations during a major shake. This risk has led many homeowners to retrofit their houses to withstand seismic pressure. However, this solution is only as good as your home’s foundation.

Typical Seismic Retrofitting Techniques

When contractors seismically retrofit a home, they typically install clips which more securely connect the frame of the house to its foundation or basement wall. This method is effective for anchoring your home to the foundation or basement wall, but it does nothing to strengthen the foundation or basement wall itself.

Many older homes already suffer from one of three main types of basement wall failures:

  • Bowed Basement Walls: Expanding soil pushes in on a basement wall causing a noticeable inward bulge.
  • Cracked and Settling Basement Walls: Soil expansion or settling causes basement walls to move and crack.
  • Failing or Deteriorating Basement Walls: Older homes were often constructed using substandard materials which deteriorate over time.

So if your basement wall is experiencing one of these major failures, it’s at much greater risk of collapse in the event of an earthquake. As a result, those seismic frame clips will be all but worthless.

Some unscrupulous contractors will install these clips knowing full well they won’t protect against a crumbling foundation. And homeowners are left with a false sense of security that they’re protected against the worst. Fortunately there’s now a better solution.

NuWal Provides Support Against Seismic Pressure

NuWal is a patented engineering system that connects your floor joists to galvanized steel beams encased in concrete footings running along basement walls. This system can be used to effectively shore up bowed, cracked, or failing basement walls against soil pressure. But because NuWal also includes chevron and x-style lateral bracing between vertical beams, the system also supports against vertical pressure and the pressure caused by earthquakes.

NuWal components are made with a proprietary process that forms i beams out of sheet metal. The resulting beams have all the strength of traditional hot rolled steel i beams but weigh half as much. That means your NuWal support system will be incredibly strong, but it will also be much less expensive than more traditional support systems because it uses less material and can be installed in as little as 2 to 3 days.  

The NuWal system is flexible. It works with a wide variety of foundation types including brick, concrete, concrete masonry block, clay masonry block, or stone and can be configured around architectural features like window wells and staircases. Once the NuWal is installed, homeowners can hang sheetrock over the steel beams to create a brand new finished wall.

If you’re interested in learning how the NuWal system can save your failing basement walls and save you money along the way, contact us today. You can reach NuWal System by phone at (360)-566-7343 or by filling out the form on our contact page.

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