Earthquake damage checklist

September 5, 2016

What do I look for while inspecting a home for earthquake damage?

 

I have been a foundation and masonry contractor for over 20 years, so I thought I would write a quick reference list of the things you need to inspect, and what to look for while inspecting for earthquake damage on your home. I’ll just go through the things I would look for if I were giving you an inspection, some would only show up right around the epicenter of the quake, others could happen for 50 miles from the epicenter.

 

EXTERIOR WALLS

  • Fresh cracking at doors, windows or corners

  • Door or window openings out of square

  • Leaning or bulging in the wall

  • Pattern of cracking coming from the ground up

CHIMNEY AND FIREPLACE

  • Visible damage or cracking

  • Loose or shifted clay tiles

  • Visible tilting or separation from the building

  • Does the chimney rock at the top when pushed?

ROOF

  • If masonry has fallen off chimney, damage from debris

  • Sagging roof ridgeline

  • Any signs of rafter tail movement at eaves

  •  Buckled or dislodged flashing at chimneys, roof/wall intersections, porches, or any building irregularities

FOUNDATION

IF STEMWALL

  • Fresh cracks(pay special attention to any crack larger than1/8”, or offset by more than 1/16”)

  • Spalling of concrete

IF SLAB-ON-GRADE

  • Movement between slab and footing

PORCHES OR CARPORTS

  • Displacement of posts

  • Separation from structure

  • Movement of steps or patio

AIR CONDITIONING UNIT

  • Pinched, crushed or displaced lines

CRAWL SPACE

  • Fallen or leaning support piers

  • Leaking gas or water lines

  • Fractured, buckled or loose diagonal bracing

  • Shifting or sliding of framing from foundation

  • Split or damaged sill plates

  • Crushed or separated air ducts

INTERIOR WALLS

  • Fresh cracks, buckling or spalling at doors, windows and ceiling intersection

  • Door or window openings out of square

  • Pattern cracking going from floor up

  • Movement or sliding between walls and floor

  • Cracks in ceiling

  • Nail pops in ceiling

  • Doors or windows difficult to operate

FLOORS

  • Recent sloping, sagging or displacement of floors

  • Cracks in floor or floor finishes(tile)

  • Significant bounciness of floors

  • Gaps along edge of floor

ARCHITECTURAL WOODWORK AND SPECIALTY FINISHES

  • Shifting or damage to bathroom or kitchen cabinetry

  • Cracking of tile or enclosure in bathroom

 

These are the main things I would check if I came to your home. These things could mean nothing, or could signify significant damage. The structure of your home is far too important to take a chance on. If you notice any of these things, please contact a foundation contractor.

 

If you have any questions email me at doug@wrightfloorleveling.com

Or call me at (580)762-9097

 

Doug Wright

www.wrightfloorleveling.com

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