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Old 07-10-2009, 05:37 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Den Mathias View Post
A "rock solid" home will not fly in California as the earthquake forces tend to hit a home laterally in a rolling motion. Unreinforced masonry homes are the worse.

I would want a nice plywood sheathed home that is connected to the foundation with metal clips or anchor bolts that are are building code approved. Your local building department can give you some direction on that or hire a good home inspector.
Den is right; I lived in SF during the Loma Prieta Quake in 1989, and as I walked home along Fulton St. after work a few minutes after the quake hit, many of the brick facades had tumbled down onto the sidewalks. Wood "gives" much better in an earthquake than individual chunks of hard stuff held together with mortar!

I purchased a small, older (1950) home in 1993 and hired someone to bolt the house to the foundation and clip the ground floor to the second floor, as well as install large plywood panels over the studs to help control back and forth movement. At the very least I would make sure you have the foundation bolts or clips.
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Old 07-10-2009, 05:41 PM
 
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Another point no one has really made directly is that you can get maps of the soil types in the various neighborhoods. Be careful about buying homes on uncompacted fill (like in the Marina District in SF, which had the most damage from Loma Prieta) or sand, which liquifies during a severe enough earthquake.
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Old 07-10-2009, 10:36 PM
 
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Angelbug's point is important.

Aside from earthquakes, you need to be carerful about things like "ancient landslides" (which can start moving again, unfortunately, even without a major earthquake).
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Old 07-14-2009, 09:49 AM
 
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Where can one obtain these maps?
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Old 07-14-2009, 12:57 PM
 
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Wow, thank you so much for all the helpful advice! This will influence my house search - I really appreciate your input. Anyone have more - like web sites that tell about ancient landslides or other ground hazards? I guess the past - historic record - is the best guide?
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Old 07-14-2009, 01:08 PM
 
Location: GLAMA
16,584 posts, read 33,657,665 times
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Southern California soil liquefaction maps:

Southern California PDF Maps
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Old 07-15-2009, 02:51 PM
 
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From what I've read, living on granite is the best. We are living on a granite foothill right now (but you can't really tell it because the ground seems perfectly flat). The last earthquake we had, I thought it was a 4 but it turned out to be a 5.
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Old 07-15-2009, 07:46 PM
 
Location: Tucson/Nogales
17,259 posts, read 21,107,199 times
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Default Latin America/Earthquake regions/Concrete

I know the earthquake zone stretches from Alaska to the end of Chile, and I've traveled a great deal of this area, over the years, and I always take note of their housing construction down there.

One thing that continually amazes me, from the Mexican border southwards, is it seems like every house I've seen is all concrete, roof and all.

So if wood is more flexible, why do they only choose reinforced concrete houses down there?

I had a house designed for me in Rosarito thru Arquimex, and every stitch of that house was to be concrete, and being it was to be built on a steep hillside, they assured me it was to be earthquake proof, that is, to withstand a 7.0 earthquake.

I'm confused. What's the scoop? Concrete foundation with wood withstands an earthquake better?

Last edited by tijlover; 07-15-2009 at 07:47 PM.. Reason: misspelling
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Old 07-16-2009, 01:31 AM
 
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I believe a concrete foundation with wood withstands an earthquake better -- BUT I'M NO EXPERT!! I know the house needs to be bolted to the foundation.

Frankly, because houses don't cost much and the land out here is REALLY expensive, most people I know don't insure for earthquakes because earthquake insurance is really expensive and has a huge deductible. Plus, unless you are really close to the fault, you won't have enough damage to be able to make a claim on your insurance. Earthquake insurance doesn't really kick in unless your house is totally destroyed. (They have so many exclusions, etc. It's not like insuring for a fire or flood.)

The biggest thing you have to be concerned about in an earthquake is this: Can you and your family get out of your house alive?

Property destruction means very little. Saving lives means the most. That's how property in California is constructed.
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