OKC Inspector Advises To Check For Hidden Earthquake Damage

Monday, November 7th 2011, 9:22 pm
By: News 9

Inspectors are busy around the state touring homes searching for earthquake damage. Some of it is easy to see, but what about the hidden damage?

Obviously if you have a chimney in your living room or on the front lawn, you have damage. But the powerful jolt was felt in homes across at least five states. News 9 talked to a Certified Master Inspector with 28 years of engineering expertise.

"I think the closer to the epicenter; the better the chances are for damage. Further away, may have experienced a little bit of movement in the house," Jim Gendill said.

Jim Gendill of Anasazi Engineering and Home Inspections advises to start with the most brittle parts of your home, the drywall and bricks.

"You look for the normal things that you would see even in settlement, like cracks above windows, cracks above doors," Gendill said.

But he said those cracks are just a sign of potential hidden damage.

" But you can get up in the attic and look for separation of nail joints, especially in rafters where the rafters may have pulled away from the ridge board," Gendill said.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency warns damage can be subtle and separation can start to form weeks after the quake, especially if a big strong wind comes along.

"Wind actually can cause the same damage or very similar damage that earthquakes cause," Gendill said.

Gendill said he felt the quake at his house in Edmond, but there was no damage. Then again, he knew what to look for.

" Well anything that you're not comfortable with, that looks serious in your mind, and of course that's going to vary for each individual, then it would be for your own peace of mind to have it looked at," Gendill said.

FEMA warns that cracks between walls can allow water to leak in that could cause long-term damage and mold.

Click here to read a checklist and further advice from FEMA.


11/5/2011 Related Story: More Aftershocks Sunday, After Oklahoma's Largest Earthquake Saturday

11/5/2011 Related Story: 4.7 Magnitude Earthquake, Aftershocks Rumble Through Oklahoma