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What Can You Do To Protect Your Midwestern Modular Home From Seismic Damage?

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If you live in the Midwest, you likely give much greater thought to protecting your home from fire and tornado damage than any other natural disasters. But while hurricanes may not ever pose much of a danger for those who reside above the Mason-Dixon line and away from the coasts, damage from seismic shifts (including rumbles from the New Madrid seismic zone) can be a very real possibility for those in the Midwest. If your home is a modular model that hasn't been reinforced to withstand seismic activity, you may be able to benefit from seismic retrofitting. Read on to learn more about how some of these principles can be applied to improve the sturdiness and stability of your own modular home.

What does seismic retrofitting do? 

Seismic retrofitting is the process of making an existing home more structurally stable and better able to withstand shifts in the earth's crust. This can often be the difference between a building that survives an earthquake and one that's reduced to rubble. Even if a large earthquake never hits near your part of the US, seismic retrofitting can protect against foundation damage caused by erosion of the back-fill surrounding your home, smaller quake tremors, or even oil fracking. 

Because modular homes are constructed in a factory and installed on-site, they may benefit from seismic retrofitting more than site-built homes that are likely to be connected directly to the foundation. Proper installation of a modular home does require the installer to pin the sides of the home to the foundation to provide stability, but this pinning method may be inadequate to resist damage from rumbling within the earth's crust. Fortunately, unlike manufactured homes, which are designed to be lightweight and easily portable (and are therefore more susceptible to earthquake damage), modular homes are built to the same specifications as site-built homes and can therefore be fully reinforced against seismic shifts.  

What will you need to do to prepare your modular home for seismic retrofitting? 

Your first step should be to enlist the services of a company with experience in retrofitting houses of all styles and sizes. Because modular homes can run the gamut from single-level ranch homes to larger Cape Cod-style houses, there's no "one size fits all" approach for these homes when it comes to improving their structural stability.

Once you've selected a few retrofitting contractor options, you may want to have one or more come out to survey your home and your lot to determine what reinforcement may be most effective. In some cases, you may be able to get by with just some additional supports on the sides of your foundation; in other cases, you may want foundation reinforcement as well as some additional support beams to connect the first and second floors of your home.

It's always good to get a second opinion on the extent of the reinforcements being projected, as well as the costs you may be able to expect. You may find that a significantly more involved retrofitting will provide you with only a narrow margin of increased safety over a more basic project; in other cases, you could discover your home has already sustained some foundation damage and needs a more extensive plan.  

After your project has been completed, you'll want to contact your homeowner's insurance company to see whether your reinforcement efforts can lower your insurance premium by reducing the risk that your modular home will sustain damage during a seismic event. You may also find that you'll be able to recoup some (if not all) of your seismic retrofitting costs upon the resale of your home.

For more information on seismic retrofitting, contact a company like John's Waterproofing.