Friday, October 30, 2015

Engineer finds new process for repairing homes with earthquake damage

OKLAHOMA CITY —Earthquakes in Oklahoma are starting to become a way of life. Some residents have seen quakes damage their homes. But we've learned about a revolutionary new process that could save homes from being a total loss.

Lisa Griggs has her dream property.

"It's beautiful. I've got livestock here and it's a beautiful property," Griggs said.

The only problem is that earthquakes have been shaking her house to the breaking point. The damage started two years ago and only got worse, when a structural engineer told her the devastating news.

"He found what they determined to be $75,000 in damage to my home," she said.

All of that damage forced Griggs out of her crumbling home. Crews had to gut her house and put it back together.

With her dream home turning into a nightmare, Griggs was desperate for answers. She turned to a brand new process for homes, carbon fiber mesh.

It was structural engineer Justin Hall's idea. He's an expert in keeping huge, failing retaining walls in place. He modified the process to secure broken homes, like Griggs'.

The mesh works to make a home fit together as one big piece that can withstand all the shaking.

One way to look at it, the way your home sits now is like a giant Jenga puzzle with many parts.

When an earthquake hits, all the parts come loose. This new process weaves those pieces together to make your house stronger.

"The carbon fiber is three times stronger than the concrete itself," Hall said.

The mesh can cost as little as $10,000, depending on how much damage a home has. With earthquake insurance, the mesh could be covered.

Griggs' insurance paid for hers, but she wishes she would have noticed the damage sooner.

"This was cumulative over two years," Griggs said.

The engineer's advice is to call your insurance company when you see the first signs of damage.

"Those tiny little cracks, look for those," Hall said. "Look for changes in the slope of your floor."

You may be wondering if you could apply this to your house before it's damaged, but engineers say it's probably not worth the cost if you have no damage at your home.

See the video here. 
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