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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
My fiance and I are looking to buy our first house. We made an offer on a house built in the 1950's and are now doing inspections. When I went under the house to look at the foundation, I found a couple of red flags.

First, the mudsill appeared to not be anchored into the foundation. The house appears to be just sitting right on top of the concrete foundation. I don't know if it was some Joe Shmoe contractor that did this or if it's just because the house is old. There are hardly any earthquakes and the ones they do get are usually in the 1-3 magnitude range.

The second red flag I came across is that I could not find a stamp anywhere on the wood and I'm hoping that it's redwood. I attached an image below, but I think it might be Doug Fir.

Any help or advice would be greatly appreciated!

The house is located in Northern California.
 

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Civil Engineer
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You don't indicate where you are located. I have never seen a house built with redwood, maybe in your specific area they are common, certainly not on the east coast of the United States, nor the midwest, nor down south, areas I am familiar with.

As to the sill not being anchored to the concrete foundation, that is unusual, but can certainly be remedied by using epoxied in place bolts. Presumably you hired an inspector, you may want to discuss with them the lack of bolted sill plate, if they don't have an opinion, you may want to discuss with a local engineer, architect, or perhaps the building inspector.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
The house is in Northern California, commonly house foundations are PT or redwood so it doesn't rot. I think I'm going to call a foundation retrofit contractor and pick his brain.
 

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MEASURE ONCE, CUT TWICE
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Houses in the 50's not being bolted down was quite common. I did a ggogle search on this a while back as I couldn't see bolts on mine. (I found out later the bolts were there, just buried.)
Being in an earthquake zone, I'd be wanting to do something about it though.

Here's one I just found:

http://www.johnmartin.com/earthquakes/eqresid/eqwood_0240.htm


Looking at your pics, that being a 60 year old house, I'd say you have no worries about the wood type.
The condition of that wood is quite remarkable.
 

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There might be an attachment to the foundation under some studs, but even in that case it's likely not nearly as robust as a modern sill plate bolted to the foundation.
Bolting that sill plate down isn't too difficult to do. A full seismic retrofit would also probably require some other metal connectors but it's all doable.
You're unlikely to find a stamp still showing on most house framing. I wouldn't worry about it.
 

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Challenge Everything!
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I just started to retrofit my House (Built 1955), and as it is not easy, rather a pain in the Behind, it looks promising.
I used Simpson Strongtie URFP Universal retrofit foundation plates like the one https://www.strongtie.com/foundatio...nchors/urfp-frfp_productgroup_wcc/p/urfp.frfp.
I used there 1/2 inch thick Bolts:
https://www.walmart.com/ip/Simpson-...ncrete-Screw-Anchor-Zinc-1-2-x-5-20/114860937

All in all, a good Weekend project, nothing you can show off, but it is rewarding and gives you a bit Peace of mind.
 

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