The best spot to find out if you home was pinned to the foundation is look in the garage if it is unfinished you would be able to see the bolts. Bolting a house to the foundation goes way back before the 1960’s. Retrofitting. First I am NOT a contractor, my uncle is, now semi-retired, I did work for him for a while on several projects of his out in the Inland Empire, he helped me on several of mine. I have owned 25+ homes and I currently have about dozen, so I have seen that, been there, and done that. I only work on my own stuff, so I do not need a contractor license, I do get to piss off building inspectors, and smile doing it. If you have 1 story home it is much easier, 2 story homes are much more complicated. The big thing is you do not want your wall coming down on you while you are sleeping during an earthquake, too many thing could fall on you. Large furniture pieces should be bolted to the wall and or tied to the wall using picture hanging wire. Simple, safe, doors on tall furniture pieces should have child safety locks. I think this is over kill. If the furniture piece is tied to the wall, so what is going to happen?, the furniture piece is going to dance on the floor ---- big deal.
The next major work you could do is room by room strip down the drywall inspect all the walls, kill all the bugs, Termites, then I would rewire the house room
by room and upgrade the wiring, to include, Internet cable, TV, telephone, and finally security wiring for the windows. All low voltage wiring should go to center of the house closet. They are to be what’s known in the business as “home runs”. (See photo) Electrical power is going to be needed in that room/closet too. Back in the 1940’s you may have had 2 outlets in a room and a ceiling light, sometime in 1960’s you saw 3 outlets. The rule now 1 outlet every 10-12 feet, our homes have become “power junkies” they suck power. One circuit breaker might turn off 3 bedrooms. The newer thinking is 1 bedroom = 1 circuit breaker.
At this time with the wall all open you can inspect for bolts on the outer walls to see if it is bolted. If not Simpson strongtie (Home Depot ask at the pro desk for a catalog or go online or go to White Cap, Amazon carries them too. They carry everything Simpson does have a retrofit product. Simple to do. Then you can reinsulate your home, not just on the outside walls, but on the inside as well. (I like the product Lowes has it is made of recycled Jeans.) This way you slow the noise traveling from bedroom to bedroom. Next would be to apply plywood on the exterior wall of the house on the inside. It does not matter if it is vertical or horizontal. This is known in the business as shear paneling, you may have seen it on the outside of the house or commercial building. This will prevent wall collapsing on you. Then reapply the drywall and finish. You may be able to hang the drywall but let a pro finish it. They can keep the dust down and do it with NO SANDING. New moldings, door trims, closet doors. Bingo move on the next room and repeat. The hardest room to do would be Kitchens and baths, bedroom and living spaces easy peasy.
Oh on Paint you might want to stop over at Amazon Environmental, this is not a part of Amazon.com. They have a limited pallet of paint colors, but it is RECYCLED PAINT 5 gallons only cost about $75.00 or less tell them I sent you. I heard you can buy the Amazon Environmental paint at Habitat for Humanity store on Iowa and Spruce, but they gotta make a few bucks. Sorry I do not know their address, I just know how to get there from here. Look them up online they are closed on weekends and open like from 7 am to 3pm. They are located just off Iowa north of Columbia. The first time I used Amazon paint I bumped into a guy who had been using Recycled paint for 5 years, now I can say the same thing. Cheap but good stuff.
2 story homes Simpson Strong tie recommends using long bolt 8 feet plus and bolt the 1st floor to the 2nd floor. Or the roof to the floor. Many of these improvements are similar to what is needed both hurricane areas and tornado areas. In the construction industry Simpson strong-tie is like GOD in the business, if they say “it’s ok” then everyone in “biz” will go with it. They have that much pull or say so. Lowes carries a different brand similar to Simpson they are more of East Coast Company, They use the same numbers on the products good stuff too. But for local Simpson is the champ. They have an office in Jurupa Valley, they live right here with us in “Earthquake country”. Oh I’m shaking in my boots.
Whatever you do, DO NOT CHANGE YOUR STANDARD WATER HEATER TO TANKLESS. A STANDARD WATER HEATER after an earthquake gives you 30-50 gallons of fresh clean water. Many in Trona still do not have running water at their homes yet and may not for months. Those with swimming pools, in the hot weather will be able to use them to bathe in. No Soap in the pool. Use a bucket lather up use a bucket of water to rinse off.
I started the rehab on my own house in 2008/9 (can’t remember). I have just finished every room but the kitchen. I still have 2 clean up items in the master bath. Contractor I hired failed, off to small claims. 10 years it has taken me but in the middle of all of this I was in hospital twice could not work on anything for 6 - 9 months. Many other homes that I own had to be taken care of, the economy tanked but if you don’t start there is never an ending. Also my house is very large 4500 square feet. During all of the 10 years I also put on a new roof on my house and solar (not as hard as I thought it would be).
Well I have chewed your eyes and ears off. If you have questions email or call my office Realty Royale 951-788-1777 or Discount Home Loans 951-328-1288, I have been a licensed Realtor since 1978.
Rehabbing a house is my hobby not my occupation. A very expensive hobby, yes I do make money at it too. It is my retirement portfolio.