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Cripple-Wall House  

Cripple-wall houses have short (less than full-story height) wood-framed walls between the foundation and the wood-framed first floor, and a crawl space under the house.

In addition to requiring foundation anchor-bolts, cripple-wall houses built before 1979 may need plywood bracing to further protect against earthquake damage. Cripple walls are braced by nailing plywood sheathing to the inside of the walls that surround the crawlspace.
A licensed contractor can complete a retrofit for houses with cripple walls shorter than four feet, or a skilled homeowner can do it, following a standard plan set. Typically, Plan Set A is used in Northern California, and Standard Plan Set 1 is used in Southern California. If your house has cripple walls taller than four feet, or if it’s on a steep slope and has a stepped cripple wall, you will need an engineered design. You should hire a licensed structural or civil engineer to advise on your retrofit efforts.

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