An Earthquake Safety Guide for Your Garage

No one wants to think about a potential earthquake occurrence in their city. However, if you take the right steps and plan ahead, your home and garage will be prepared to withstand whatever comes your way. Read on to learn about potential garage risks and how to avoid them.

Is my home prepared for an earthquake?

As a homeowner, you’ve likely thought about how to keep your home and family safe from some of the risks that garage doors pose, especially in regards to making sure it is childproof or pest-free. What you may not have considered, however, is the structural stability of your garage. Garages are generally built as a large, open space with walls on three sides and an overhead garage door on the other. Unlike other parts of the house, they don’t often have the structural integrity to resist a natural disaster like an earthquake. Garages also have overhead doors that can’t always hold up against the shaking of an earthquake. Think about the layout of your house. You may have one or even several floors of living space on top of your garage. This means it’s possible your bedroom might be built on structurally unsound foundation—but there are ways you can sleep soundly at night knowing you’ve prepared your garage and home for a natural disaster.

How to Ensure Garage Stability

A soft story retrofit is one solution to concerns about garage wall & door stability, especially here in the Pacific Northwest where earthquake risk can be high. “Soft story” refers simply to any kind of building that is constructed with a large open space on the first floor, garages being an excellent example of this. During a soft story retrofit, there are many ways garages can be made more stable. Adding new shear walls or steel frames to reduce lateral sway is very effective in reducing the risk of the garage area collapsing. Reinforcing the shorter wall between the first floor and the foundation, known as a “cripple walls,” as well as adding additional support to weight-bearing posts and beams are both excellent options. The garage door opening itself can also be made earthquake-safe by installing new plywood sheathing or steel panels on either side. If increasing your garage stability sounds like something you’d like to prioritize, don’t hesitate to contact Larry Myers Garage Doors here in Portland, OR to talk to an expert. We’re happy to help you find the right solution to earthquake safety and beyond, including everything from greasing your garage door to opening it manually. For your convenience, we even offer repair services in Portland and Vancouver.