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A pony wall is the wood-framed wall between the foundation and the first floor. 


A home built before 1980 with pony walls likely needs pony wall bracing in addition to foundation anchor bolts and extra framing connections. 


Pony wall bracing is element “B” of the ABC’s of Retrofit.  It involves covering the wall with plywood and nailing it securely to prevent collapse of the house into the basement or crawl space. 


As the earthquake jolts the house side to side, unreinforced pony walls are vulnerable to collapse.


For homes with no crawl space or with finely finished basements, it is possible to remove siding to do the retrofit work from the outside.  Of course, this is not possible if the house has brick veneer siding, metal siding, or asbestos in the siding.  The process is straightforward.  The siding is carefully removed, sheathing taken off, the retrofit work completed, and siding restored to a paint-ready condition.  There may be some small amount of siding that breaks in the process, but most can be readily replaced. 

Homes built before 1978 may have lead in the paint.  If so, the EPA has come out with a protocol for containing lead that, by law, must be followed.  This adds to the cost of demolition, but is necessary.  It requires masking off any shrubbery, covering the ground around the house with 4 mil plastic to catch any paint chips, cordoning off the work area, wearing protective suits, gloves, and masks, and disposing of all the demolition refuse in a safe, prescriptive way.  A-FFIX Retrofit is skilled in this type work and follows EPA rules carefully.

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