Friday, April 5, 2013

It was noisy

Well, the earthquake retrofit is done. It was loud and very messy. I wore my safety ear muffs while I worked on my laptop. It made me oddly productive. 

We went with NW Seismic. I was mostly happy with the experience. Two brothers own the company and the one with social skills comes out to do all the calculations. Then his silent brother and a sidekick show up to do the actual work. They showed up on my doorstep and said, "Hi."

"I take it here you're here to do the retrofit."

At one point I asked, "So are you the brother?" and he was like, "Yeah, a lot of people call me his name because of the resemblance," and I almost said, "It doesn't help that you never introduced yourself." You're not Cher, not everyone knows you on sight.

Anyway, they had to cut away the drywall in the finished side of the basement, which is how I found out that the previous owner used sheets of styrofoam to insulate the walls. This probably has an R-value of 3.

At the end of the day they just walked out the door without saying goodbye or asking for a check. I emailed the brother with social skills and told him what happened and he was like, "Oh, John was in a bit of a rush to get home and watch the Ducks game," and I wanted to scream, "THAT DOESN'T MAKE ME FEEL BETTER. Do you understand why that wouldn't make me feel better?"

Then our furnace stopped working and I had to call Jacob's out to service it. It turns out the emergency gas shutoff valve that they installed needed to be reset. Apparently when you install it, the device thinks it's an earthquake. So $90 later I know how to reset the valve. I'm trying to recoup that from NW Seismic.

So ask me after the big one if my house is still standing and I'll tell you if I recommend them.


  1. I mean, I love the A's and all, but I'd stop to make you pay me :) LOL!

    We have to do the earthquake retrofit too, ughhhhhhhh.

  2. Oh come on. It was the Ducks game! ;)

  3. I see they used UFPs to attach the sill to the foundation. What other measures did they take? Additional foundation bolts anywhere? H2 ties to secure the joists? Plywood shear walls? More pics please!

    Oh, and it looks like they put plastic up - that's always nice.

  4. I don't have a shear wall, so that part wasn't necessary. They did 24 side plates to connect the sill plate to the foundation and 64 shear transfer ties to connect the floor diaphragm to the sill plate. Does that sound right?

  5. Yeah. Sounds like they used steel ties and plates instead of using plywood which does essentially the same thing. When we had our foundation inspected the engineer recommended we go with standard plan A ( which calls for plywood skinning of the cripple walls thus creating shear walls underneath the house.

    Would like to see how they attached the shear transfer ties to keep the floor from separating.

  6. I don't have a cripple wall--that's what I meant to say!

  7. A few more of these experiences and you can start your own Angie's list.