PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — As the threat of a large earthquake becomes more real, homeowners around the region are seismically retrofitting their homes.
Bryan Johanson’s 1906 home is being seismically retrofitted by NW Seismic, a company run by Michael Wieber.
Wieber says it involves using anchors, bolts and metal braces to secure the house to the foundation.
Wieber says many foundations poured before 1930 are unstable and would likely implode in an earthquake. In those situations, many homeowners choose to pour a new foundation, which costs around $80,000.
“A lot of these foundations that were poured before 1930, they’re pretty much held in place with memory. It’s kitty litter with memory and in an earthquake there’s a high probability they’re going to implode into the basement,” he said.
Most of the retrofits Wieber does can be done in one day and cost around $4,000. It can include anchoring the water heater, especially if it’s a gas heater.
He also runs free workshops that run about 3 hours for homeowners who want to do the work themselves.
Wieber has a skeptical view of earthquake insurance.
“Unless you have a lot of equity in your house, whatever you collect from the insurance company it’s probably going to go to the mortgage company,” he said.
For Johanson, the work being done on his home equals peace of mind.
“It’s just safer, it’s just things you have to do as a homeowner, I guess.”
Here are some helpful links if you are interested in more information about retrofitting your home: