Here is a pretty graphic view of a house that Keith, one of our inspectors, was slithering around under this past week. In the photo, we see the vertically placed shaft of an original steel anchor bolt from when this little Spanish era home was first built. The issue here is that the bolt is no longer embedded in concrete, as the wall has severely deteriorated and what remains of it can be seen in the lower part of the photo as what ironically looks like the sand of an hour glass. On that theme, time has definitely run out on this particular foundation. So whereas technically the house is “bolted” as it does have bolts, the idea of these bolts offering much of any seismic resistance should the need ever arise is pretty slim.
One of the best things you can do to prolong the life of your foundation is to ensure that the perimeter of the building has good drainage in place; the reason this foundation failed was water wicking into it over time. If you’ve not already done so, do your property a favor and have the drainage evaluated by a good drainage specialist who understands water, how it moves, and what effects it can and does create if left to its own devices!