How to earthquake-proof brick buildings

Experts are predicting a giant 9.0 quake with the potential to utterly demolish the Pacific Northwest’s oldest masonry buildings from Seattle to Portland and everywhere in between. We’re talking large-scale destruction of structures made unsalvageable with collapsing walls, caved-in ceilings and bricks flying every which way.

According to information obtained by The Seattle Times in 2016, more than 1,100 buildings in Seattle are unreinforced and unable to withstand an earthquake of a 9.0 magnitude. Washington state as a whole lags behind other states, such as California, in retrofitting the majority of its masonry buildings with earthquake-proof updates.

With earthquakes, it’s a matter of if, not when, so it’s crucial you take the steps to ensure the places you live and work will remain safely intact when the next big earthquake strikes.

How can I earthquake-proof my home or business?

There’s more than one way to upgrade masonry structures to withstand the next big earthquake, and costs can vary greatly based on methods of insulation, the size of the building and other factors. However, Spray-on Foam & Coatings has partnered with SR Contractors to provide drastically cheaper seismic rehab projects that protect against wall collapses during seismic activity.

The Masonry Composite Earthquake (MCE) rehabilitation system helps safeguard older buildings against earthquakes by working as a strong bonding agent to keep walls together and standing tall. Brick buildings and older structures are especially susceptible to collapsing from earthquakes.  

How the MCE process works

First things first, a technician will inject urethane foam into wall cavities through a small access hole in one of your walls. This spray foam is lifetime insulation that acts as a super glue-like substance, creating strong bonds with interior wall surfaces. The foam then hardens and is capable of holding clay tile walls in place during an earthquake.  

Benefits of spray foam

Other methods of earthquake-proofing buildings involve far more invasive and expensive requirements, such as adding metal stud walls in front of existing ones or breaking down walls entirely. However, MCE only requires a small hole to inject the foam and otherwise leaves the rest of your building’s walls intact.

Urethane foam has highly effective insulation properties that are resistant to heat loss and can help you save on energy costs in the long run. In addition, pests should not be a problem as rodents are unable to use the foam as nesting materials or food.

Interested in earthquake-proofing your home or business with spray foam? Give the experts at Spray-On Foam a call and see how we can ensure that wherever you live or work is safe from earthquakes, no matter how big the “Big One” may be.

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