Seismic retrofit of a 1970s rancher

Best ways to install plywood panels, tie-downs

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Any time we publish an answer to a reader's question suggesting that he or she might undertake a complex home improvement project, we hear from professionals offering a critique of our response. Many of the pros argue that the homeowner should not even try to do it himself. That's not what we're about. We believe that with a willingness to tackle tough jobs and the diligence to pursue what often seems to be an impossible task, a do-it-yourselfer can accomplish a lot, save a lot of money and achieve a great deal of self-satisfaction. A column answering a reader who wanted to know about an engineer's recommendation that he retrofit his 1970s rancher with plywood shear panels provoked more feedback than usual. We heard from architects, engineers, building contractors and even an instructor at a local junior college, all offering suggestions. Most of the suggestions were right on and were made in the spirit of pointing out details we appear to have overlooked. There were some ...