Foundation, Concrete and Earthquake Engineering

Seismic Vulnerability of Floor Diaphragm of Wooden Building and Retrofitting Techniques

Floors in wooden buildings are usually constructed upon relatively deep spans of wood, called joists, covered with a diagonal wood planking or plywood to form a subfloor upon which the finish floor surface is laid. In many structures these are all aligned in the same direction. To prevent the beams from tipping over onto their side, blocking is used at each end, and for additional stiffness, blocking or diagonal wood or metal bracing may be placed between beams at one or more points in their spans. At the outer edge it is typical to use a single depth of blocking and a perimeter beam overall.

Diagonal Bracing: Stiffening up a wood floor
If the blocking or nailing is inadequate, each beam can be laid flat by the shear forces applied to the building. In this position they lack most of their original strength and the structure may further collapse. As part of a retrofit the blocking may be doubled, especially at the outer edges of the building. It may be appropriate to add additional nails between the sill plate of the perimeter wall erected upon the floor diaphragm, although this will require exposing the sill plate by removing interior plaster or exterior siding. As the sill plate may be quite old and dry and substantial nails must be used, it may be necessary to pre-drill a hole for the nail in the old wood to avoid splitting.
Bracings are applied to prevent tipping over onto their side having diagonal subfloor
Bracings are applied to prevent tipping over onto their side having diagonal subfloor 
 When the wall is opened for this purpose it may also be appropriate to tie vertical wall elements into the foundation using specialty connectors and bolts glued with epoxy cement into holes drilled in the foundation.

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