What is a Soft-Story House?
This house has one or more floors of living space over an attached garage, or “soft story.” Its vulnerability to earthquake shaking comes from its position atop the garage beneath it, which:
|Garage-door openings can be retrofitted by installing new plywood sheathing or steel panels on each side of the garage door. Some garage doors require a steel frame to be properly retrofitted for earthquakes. This is called a soft-story retrofit.
Strengthen Your House
CEA encourages owners of older (pre-2000) houses, with the living space over garage vulnerability, to retrofit their houses to strengthen them against earthquake damage.
The California Residential Mitigation Program’s Earthquake Soft-Story (ESS) seismic retrofit grant program provides qualified homeowners in certain ZIP Codes, who have a living space over their garage or “soft story,” a grant of up to $13,000 for an earthquake retrofit. The ESS retrofit strengthens the first floor of this type of house, to help prevent the home from collapsing during an earthquake.