I Was Looking at the Ceiling and Then I Saw the Sky

Blaine Harden of the The Washington Post today put Seattle on notice that a gigantic earthquake could liquify the southern half of the city, destroying homes built before 1975 and killing as many as 1,600 people. No one even noticed the fault that could cause such a quake until 1992.
Monster quakes happen every 1,000 years in Seattle, but there hasn’t been a big one in 1,100 years, so we’re due. Old houses need to be bolted to the foundation, which costs as much as $20,000 if you hire a contractor, or $1,500 if you do it yourself. This involves “goggles, gloves, overalls, kneepads, a respirator.. . a compressor-driven nail gun, a roto hammer drill and a torque wrench.” Blaine isn’t exactly encouraging: he warns of a man who got squashed by his own house halfway into the job. It takes 100 hours to do the job, so maybe you should just hire a contractor.

We tried to buy (vs. just ripping off) a Washington Post picture (also by Blaine Harden, apparently the lone Postian in the Northwest) of the seismic retrofit guy with the compressor-driven nail gun, but you have to talk to somebody at the Post to do it…

  • PCC

    The Phinney Neighborhood Center has a really good class that teaches how to bolt your home to the foundation… And hoefully not be crushed in the process.