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Tips on How to Earthquake-Proof Your Garage

Jul 27, 2022
You will never know when natural calamities will occur. Not that we are waiting for them to happen, but it is important to make sure that you are ready for the worst scenarios before they even wreak havoc. The first step to lessen the disaster risk is to have your home inspected. Structural problems may be present, which could make your home more vulnerable to damage. And in most cases, if your home is built before the year 2000, there is a greater chance that the structure is not up to par with the current seismic building standards. Homes that are not properly retrofitted by a professional would suffer the most post-earthquake. The home will be unlivable and would cost tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars for it to be repaired if it can be repaired at all. Others may have earthquake-proof homes, but the garage may be a different story. Many homeowners treat the garage as an unofficial part of the livable home so standards may be different. However, homeowners use the garage to store their vehicles and other important items. So, it is time to form a different way of thinking when it comes to garage safety. Here are some ways to bring your house to current standards and be earthquake-resistant.

Earthquake-Proof Your Home and Garage

1. Bolt Down Structural Foundations
The mudsill of homes may slide off of the foundation during an earthquake if it is not bolted down. This is especially common for older homes and garages. Install anchor bolts to hold everything in place to prevent sliding off from happening.
2. Put Braces on Cripple Walls
Cripple walls–sit on the foundation and act as support for your floor and exterior walls–may shift during an earthquake if they are not braced properly. Reinforce the walls by using structural steel or plywood panels and framing clips. It will greatly help in increasing your home and garage’s earthquake resistance. Without the reinforcement or braces, the home and the garage may not be able to withstand the pressure of the earthquake, which could cause the whole structure to collapse.
3. Add Reinforcement for Your Garage Door
The garage door would most likely provide less structural support than a normal wall. So, it is important to add reinforcement, especially if you have a room or story above your garage as it may cause its collapse. Make your garage withstand the seismic force by bracing it with steel or plywood.
4. Protect Your Windows
One of the causes of injuries, when earthquakes happen, is from flying sharp glass shards from windows. To protect you and your family, an inexpensive way to prevent this is by adding safety film over the windows. This will help hold the glass together in case the window glass breaks. It will only cost you around a dollar per square foot and could save you labor costs as you can install it yourself. If you want more protection albeit more expensive, install tempered glass panes instead. These materials are designed to be impact-resistant. In case they break, they will shatter into small pieces, which lessens the danger of getting injured because of the shards. It may cost around $12 to $14 per square foot.
5. Place Storage Areas Away from the Windows
The windows are one of the most vulnerable parts of the garage as they tend to have less protection and support. So, if the storage is near your windows, there is a high chance that the storage will smash against a window, which will cause damage to your property and cause injuries. As large furniture and storage systems placed on floors move in case of earthquakes, it is better to install wall-mounted storage systems instead as the walls have better seismic retrofit. There are many wall shelves and overhead garage storage available in the market. A quick search on e-commerce sites will show hundreds of products. But looking for what will be best suited in your garage will take time if you do not know what you want and need in garage storage. Aside from the affordability and price, the criteria that you should look for in a storage equipment is that you can also utilize an organizing shelf that can be of multiple uses and offers flexibility, which will suit your needs–whether it is for weight capacity, reinventing of the orientation of the shelf and compatibility with the kind of walls that you already have in the garage. It is common sense that it will be easier and financially logical to get a rack that is already compatible with the build of your garage. The Fleximounts WRC24B Corner 2-Pack 2’ x 4’ Wall Shelving is one such reliable top storage solution. You can save a great amount of space in the garage by using the corner walls to install the wall shelf. Moreover, it offers flexible installation as you can use the WRC24B either as a corner shelf or a two-pack wall shelf. It is also compatible and suited for either wood studs or concrete walls. It is made of powder-coated steel, which is responsible for its heavy-duty and sturdy performance. Each shelf can carry a maximum weight of 220 lbs without it being wobbly, so you are assured of the safety of the items stored on it and you do not need to worry about falling objects cluttering your garage. Additionally, its one-piece grid design for easier assembly makes it more stable compared to others with multi-piece assembly available in the market. Assembling and installing this wall shelf will be a breeze as it is designed for easy one-person installation. In the package, all the hardware that you need is already included, as well as the installation template that helps with the mounting of holes, and the bubble level that helps get the perfect horizontal location. Moreover, the Fleximounts WRC24B Wall Shelving storage space offers additional storage options. The storage can easily be expanded with the Fleximounts GRH1/GRH1B hooks or GRH2/GRH2B hooks. You can use the hooks to store bikes, tools, cleaning materials, and more.
6. Seismic Retrofit Your Home and Garage
If your home and garage are not yet retrofitted, now is the time to make necessary upgrades. This would not come cheap, though. An average estimate of seismic retrofitting is between $3,500 to $7,000. You might have to spend more than that if you add in the basement and garage. However high the cost may be, it will be definitely cheaper than having the earthquake smash your home, or, worse, claim lives.