Prepare for Your Home an Earthquake with Seismic Retrofitting

September 11, 2019

Structural upgrades, bracing...protect your home from earthquakes.

Many Californians have accepted but sometimes forget that there will be more earthquakes, and we won't necessarily be able to predict them. Senator Bob Hertzberg is proposing Bill 254 to the Senate, to allow the California Earthquake Authority to expand their seismic retrofitting program more than ten-fold, from 2,000 to 25,000 homes per year. These retrofits include structural upgrades and measures that are proven to strengthen a building's resilience against fatal damage during an earthquake. However, many Californians want to know if earthquake retrofitting is worth it?

What Is Seismic Retrofitting?

Whether you call it a seismic retrofit, earthquake proofing, or earthquake resilience, they are the same thing at their core: preparing your home for the next earthquake. A large number of historical Californian homes have outdated foundations that may be susceptible to devastating damage in the event of significant seismic activity. Earthquakes like the 7.1 magnitude quake that hit the town of Ridgecrest, CA, could rack up bills for local business owners, insurance companies, and homeowners if it causes damage. Some homeowners may not be able to afford the premiums of earthquake insurance on top of their mortgage payments or rent. However, there are ways to protect your home from the crippling damage of the next earthquake event. 

The LA Times estimates that there are at least a million homes in California built with a particular kind of construction defect, putting those homes at high risk of collapsing during a large earthquake. Homes built on a slope, or raised even just a few feet off the ground may not have proper braces for seismic movement. A seismic retrofit involves installing anchor points and plywood bracing to the crawl space and foundation of a home, to increase stability and significantly reduce the risk of a fatal collapse.


Seismic Retrofit Costs

According to HomeAdvisor, a seismic retrofit for a California home can cost anywhere between $1,631 - $6,090. The cost will vary depending on the construction of your home, and what your home’s preventative needs may be. There are several programs aimed at helping California homeowners afford to make seismic retrofitting home upgrades.

Senate Bill 254 — The Resilient Home Initiative

Bill 254 will allow for the California Earthquake Authority (CEA) to reduce its reinsurance costs, freeing up room in the budget to do a sizeable retrofitting overhaul of an additional 23,000 homes. The magnitude of this legislation known by the  California State Treasurer, Fiona Ma: “If the legislation is approved, the CEA will undertake the largest residential retrofit program that California, and possibly the world has ever seen.” 

These seismic retrofits are dolled out through a grant program called the Earthquake Brace + Bolt, which provides a $3,000 incentive grant for homes built before 1979, with a raised wood framed foundation. The registration for this program has closed, but the passing of Senate Bill 254 will provide the hope of a safer home for many Californians.

PACE Financing

In the meantime, Renew Financial’s PACE financing program aims to provide financing options to homeowners for the funds they need to make their homes safer. Through PACE financing, you can finance the cost of your seismic retrofit project in qualified California communities* without having to put any money down upfront. That cost is then spread out over the long term and shows up as a line item on your property taxes. Keeping your family safe from the dangers of another earthquake shouldn’t be reserved for those that can afford the upfront price tag. PACE financing can help several homeowners make home upgrades, including some safety features for earthquake preparedness in California. *


Prepare for the Next Big Earthquake

Though the damage from an earthquake can range from being minor to being monumental, it is the unpredictability of seismic events that make them particularly troublesome for homeowners in the Golden State. There is no telling when or where another earthquake. Is your California home ready for an earthquake? Take the necessary steps to fortify your home. Talk to an expert at Renew Financial to see if your home is located in a qualified community for PACE financing. If so, then explore your options for financing your seismic retrofit project with PACE! *Renew Financial does not currently offer financing for seismic retrofitting in Los Angeles or Riverside county.

If you’re looking for additional details on seismic retrofitting, check out the frequently asked questions section on the EarthquakeSaftey.com website.

Get ready for the next earthquake, without shaking up your budget. Call today or apply now.