leaning chimney

A Leaning Chimney Could Mean Foundation Damage

leaning chimney It’s time to call a professional if your chimney is leaning away or over your house or if it just doesn’t seem to be in it’s place because it’s always a dangerous situation. A leaning chimney could mean foundation damage and it could end up either crashing over your house, cars or other properties that are next to your house. The most common reasons why a chimney might be leaning include poor soils and poor footing.

Poor Soils

Certain soil types are not very good at bearing the weight of the chimney hence they might cause problems. Clay soils which are also referred to as expansive soils because of their tendency to expand when exposed to water and contract in the absence of water. So the soil will expand and contract depending on the moisture level therefore causing movements which are likely to tilt the chimney.

Related : Your House May Have Been Built on Expansive Soils, and You Should Be Worried

Poor Footing

Another common reason why you might have a leaning chimney is because of poor footing or the lack of it. If the footing is exposed to a lot of water, it will eventually deteriorate and cause the chimney to lean. The chimney is also likely to lean when the footing is too shallow or small that it can’t hold the weight of the chimney. And the chimney will at some point start to lean if it was built without any footing during construction.

Related:  We Help Solving Foundation Problems

Solutions

It’s advisable to call a professional the moment you notice the early signs of your chimney tilting away from your house or leaning chimney over your house because this is not something that you can repair by yourself. When the leaning or damage is too severe the chimney will need to be rebuilt and if the leaning chimney is not too bad, then underpinning pads can be used to repair the chimney and provide additional support to the chimney and footing area to support the load and strengthen that section.

Related : Chimney Rebuilding

Call California Foundation Works on 323-418-2239 to schedule a chimney inspection and estimate.

foundation moisture level in summer

How To Maintain Foundation Moisture Level In Summer

foundation moisture level in summerSummer is fast approaching and Los Angeles Homeowners and commercial building owners are beginning to prepare their properties for the moisture deficiency in the soil around their property foundations caused by the summer heat. Maintaining foundation moisture level in summer is very important because lack of it or too much of it can cause foundation damage. As a concerned property owner, you can take some measures to prevent damages which stem from the loss or accumulation of moisture in summer.  

Foundation Watering

As it has already been mentioned, maintaining foundation moisture level in summer is very important hence the need to add more moisture to the soil around your foundation during the summer heat. The soil around the foundation will begin to dry up because of the heat therefore it will shrink, which in turn damages the foundation. To counter moisture loss, you can regularly water your lawn and the soils near your foundation by using soaker hoses or drip irrigation systems. You shouldn’t over water the soils around your foundation because too much water might actually penetrate your foundation and cause damage but instead you should water to prevent the soils around your foundation from drying up.

Related :  How The California Drought Affects Your Foundation

Vegetation Species

The type of trees or plants that you have on your yard will affect how severely the summer heat will affect the moisture level content around your foundation. Certain types of trees or plants require more water than others hence they tend to suck up more water from the ground during summer. These types of trees or plants will speed up the loss of moisture in the soil around your foundation, so you need to only plant drought resistant plants or trees near your foundation in order to maintain the foundation moisture level in summer.

Related : Foundation Damage Caused by Trees

Proper Drainage

Having proper drainage is vital in maintaining foundation moisture level in summer. Watering your foundation during summer will be ineffective if the drainage system is not functioning as it should because the water will end up pooling around your foundation therefore causing the soil to expand or by directly penetrating the foundation walls.

Related : Signs You Might Have Poor Drainage

Contact a foundation contractor to help you protect your foundation against any moisture problems. Call California Foundation Works on 323-418-2239 to schedule a free foundation inspection and estimate.

hillside home

How Expansive Soils Can Affect Your Hillside Home

hillside homeOwning a home on expansive soils can be tough but owning a hillside home on expansive soils can be even worse. Expansive soils are soils that absorb water and expand and will shrink when moisture is lost, while as a hillside home is a home that is built on a hillside or steep slope. The expansion and shrinkage of these soils can cause damage to structures.

Poor Drainage

Expansive soils which can also be referred to as clay soils tend to not drain water properly because of their tightly packed particles. This means that most of the vegetation on your yard will suffer from not having enough water and might die out. And If a yard on a steep slope can’t grow any vegetation on it, then it will risk having other problems such as soil erosion, mudslides and landslides. Other drainage problems include the easy pooling of water after rainfall.

Related : Signs You Might Have Poor Drainage

Foundation Damage

Expansive soils will exert tremendous amounts of pressure on anything in their way. As depth increases, so does the pressure that the soil gets to exert because of all the weight it’s holding. So hillside home foundations are at greater risk of getting affected by the expanding and shrinking of soils because they are mostly built deep underground. Once the foundation is damaged by the pressure, the cracks will allow water to seep in and cause the damage or the damage from the pressure itself will compromise the load bearing properties of the foundation.

Related : 6 Common Causes of Foundation Damage

Damage due to expansive soils might be mistakenly attributed to other things because most people don’t understand them and because damage happens very slowly over a long period time. Contact a licensed foundation contractor If you own a hillside home and are worried about the possibility of expansive soils damaging your home. Call California Foundation Works on 323-418-2239 to schedule a free foundation inspection and estimate.

 

crawlspace encapsulation

Do You Need A Crawlspace Encapsulation ?

crawlspace encapsulationMoisture problems in your crawlspace are not always easy to notice and worse still not easy to find the right solution once you discover the problem. Crawlspace Encapsulation is usually the best solution to most of the crawlspace moisture problems that you might be experiencing. Crawlspace Encapsulation is the sealing of the the piers, foundation walls, the ground and vents using a moisture barrier sheet. Crawlspace Encapsulation is recommended for most homeowners with crawl spaces because of the number of benefits that come with having your crawlspace encapsulated.

Better Indoor Air Quality

Encapsulating your crawlspace will improve the air quality in your crawlspace which will in turn improve your indoor air quality. The crawlspace will have dust, mold or mildew which can easily cause health problems if not properly taken care of. Crawlspace Encapsulation will prevent all the odors or dust in the crawlspace from entering your house.

Related :  Wet Weather Is A Big Problem For Los Angeles Homes

Energy Savings

Crawlspace encapsulation can save you as much as 20% towards energy costs. Crawlspace Encapsulation prevents outdoor hot air from entering your home, especially during the summer therefore keeping your house cool and preventing high energy cooling costs.

Prevent Moisture

The main goal of encapsulating a crawlspace is to eliminate moisture which tends to cause all the aforementioned problems such as odors, mold or mildew. All the wooden parts of your crawlspace are sealed off to prevent moisture from causing rot. The prevention of moisture in the crawlspace also discourages the infestation of pests or rodents in your crawlspace.

Related : How to Solve the Foundation Moisture Problems During Winter

Contact a professional foundation contractor whenever you are not sure if you need crawlspace encapsulation or not. Call California Foundation Works on 323-418-2239 to schedule a free crawlspace inspection and estimate.

 

foundation for summer

Preparing Your Home Foundation For Summer ?

 

foundation for summerIt’s almost summertime and as enjoyable as the summer season is, it presents a number of problems for your home. It can cause minor or serious damage to your home or it’s surroundings. One of those serious problems that the summer heat can cause is foundation damage. However,  there are certain things you can do to prepare your home foundation for summer.

Foundation Inspection

The most important step you can take towards preparing your home foundation for summer is by getting a foundation repair expert to do a foundation inspection on you house or property. By getting a foundation inspection, you’ll discover foundation problems before they get worse and you’ll save a lot in terms of repair costs.

Related : Foundation Repair: What to Expect at Your Inspection

Watering Your Foundation For Summer

One sure way of preventing foundation damage during summer is by keeping the moisture level around your foundation constant. Since certain types of soils such as clay soils tend to absorb water and expand and then shrinks when the water evaporates, this tends to cause damage to the foundation. So the best way of having a good condition foundation for summer is by watering it from time to time to keep the soil from drying out because of the summer heat or drought.

Related : How To Spot Foundation Damage Caused By Drought

Vegetation Control

Keeping your Plants or trees in control is a good way of preparing your foundation for summer. Tree or plant roots tend to spread out in search of water during the summer so they might penetrate your foundation and cause problems if not controlled.The best way to control this type of damage is by watering both your yard and around your foundation so that the tree roots don’t spread to your foundation. It’s also a good idea to cut down and not plant any trees or plants near your foundation. 

Related : Foundation Damage Caused by Trees

Contact a foundation repair contractor to inspect your foundation for summer. Call California Foundation Works on 323-418-2239 to schedule a free foundation inspection and estimate now.

Slab Foundation or Pier and Beam Foundation

Slab Foundation or Pier and Beam Foundation ?

Chances are you either have a slab foundation or pier and beam foundation and as a homeowner you should know the difference between the two. It’s important to understand and differentiate the two types of foundations so that you can properly take care of them and to seek the right foundation repair solutions in case of foundation damage. Whether you have a slab foundation or pier and beam foundation, you need to understand the differences between the two.

Slab Foundations

Slab foundations which are also known as slab on grade foundations are basically a reinforced concrete pad poured on the ground at a home site. This type of foundation was introduced in the 1970s and most houses built after the 1970’s are built on slab foundation. These types of foundations are relatively easy to install and you don’t have to worry about any rodents or insects in your foundations. You also don’t get to experience any water problems under your house. On the downside, repairing pipes and wiring in the slab can be such a hustle and the slab can shrink with changing weather which might cause it to sink or even crack.

Related: Foundation Cracks : To Worry or Not To Worry, That is The Question

Pier and Beam Foundations

Pier and Beam Foundations are foundations that are built on concrete piers or wood posts and incorporate a crawl space. Pier and Beam foundations were very popular before the 1960s so most houses built before the 60s have pier and beam foundations. These types of foundations are much easier to relevel if any movements occur and it’s easier to add wiring or plumbing under the house. Piers and beams are also less susceptible to damage caused by ground shifting. These foundations are prone to experiencing water issues in the crawlspace, bugs and rodents and wood rot is a big problem is the wood is not properly treated.

Related: When Do You Need A Post and Pier Repair or Reinforcement

Contact a foundation contractor to make sure your slab foundation or pier and beam foundation is in excellent condition. Call California Foundation Works on 323-418-2239 to schedule a free foundation inspection and estimate.

storms in Los Angeles

Foundation Damage Caused By The Storms in Los Angeles

Los Angeles residents have been on their toes as storms have been sweeping through Los Angeles in the past weeks. However the primary concerns for most of the residents are either blocked roads or flooded houses instead of the very costly foundation damage that these storms can cause. Foundation damage caused by the storms in Los Angeles might not be evident right away but it’s advisable to prevent or stop any foundation damage that storms might cause. Foundation damage caused by storms usually happens in two ways.

Expansive Soils

The most common type of foundation damage by storms is caused by water over-saturation of the soils surrounding the foundation. The expansive soils increase in volume as they come into contact with more water so they exert pressure on the foundation and create cracks which in turn allow water seepage into the foundation. Expansive soils are also known as clay soils and are usually found in coastal areas, that’s why most of Los Angeles is covered in clay soils.

Related: Your House May Have Been Built on Expansive Soils,  and You Should Be Worried

Settling or Sinking Foundations

Contrary to popular belief, storms can also cause foundation settling and sinking. Foundation settling or sinking is when the soil under the foundation compacts and ends up forming spaces below the foundation which cause it to sink. If the storms flood and cause the soil under the foundation to swell, that will raise the foundation a little and then cause foundation settling when it dries up.

Contact a foundation contractor If you are a homeowner and are worried about the damage that the storms in los angeles might have caused to your foundation. Call California Foundation Works on 323-418-2239 to schedule a free foundation inspection and estimate.

 

Sinking House

How To Deal With a Sinking House

A sinking house is initially a puzzle to homeowners as they don’t know what’s happening to their property when signs of a sinking house begin to manifest.  Even though a sinking house can mean a lot of things, its very important to always call a professional whenever you notice any of these signs. A sinking house can be attributed to numerous factors and there are different solutions to each.

Signs of a Sinking House

Cracks

Cracks will form in certain places of the house whenever the foundation starts to sink. Cracks will form near doors or windows when a house is sinking and also on interior and exterior walls. Stair-stepping cracks are usually the first sign of a sinking foundation and need immediate attention.

Not in all cases cracks are an indication of a sinking home, in some cases earth movements or small earthquakes can cause minor cracks around the house.

Related: When Do Cracks Mean Structural Damage ?

Sloping floors

Even though sloping floors are not easy to notice, they are a sure way of diagnosing a sinking house. They are not easy to notice because of how gradually slow they tend to slope, but a few techniques can be used to inspect such as placing a ball on the floor to see how fast it rolls to one side.

Sticking Doors & Windows

When a house is sinking, it’s structure changes and therefore doors and windows begin to stick and bind. Usually the doors and windows will start with squeaky sounds as they are opened or closed and then lead to sticking and binding.

Related: How to Asses When Your Home Needs a Foundation Repair

Causes of a Sinking House

Drying of Soil

After experiencing long periods of drought, clay soil tends to dry out and shrink because of its expansive nature. Empty spaces are formed as a result of the shrinking soil and the house settles because of those spaces. Its advisable to maintain the same moisture content by routinely watering the soil near your foundation to prevent it from shrinking.

Wetting of Soil

Clay soils have a tendency of retaining water, so the soil easily gets soft and weak therefore enabling the house to sink. Having a good drainage system will prevent water from pooling near your house and this problem will be avoided.

Related:  Your House May Have Been Built on Expansive Soils and You Should Be Worried

Poor Construction Site Preparation

Poor site preparation is a big problem which later leads to a sinking house because poorly compacted soils will not be able to hold the weight the house over a long period of time. It’s advisable to contact a professional when you suspect that your house was built on a poorly prepared site.

Contact a foundation contractor If you think that you have a sinking house. We have Call California Foundation Works on 323-418-2239 to schedule a free foundation inspection and estimate.

 

drainage solutions

Drainage Solutions That Your Los Angeles House Needs

Water related damage accounts for the vast majority of property damage in Los Angeles, especially homes. There are various ways in which water can damage your house and as a homeowner you need to have the right drainage solutions to prevent any water damage to your house. Depending on the location and size of the house, there are a number of drainage solutions that your Los Angeles house can put in place to prevent any damage.

French Drain

A french drain is an underground system that collects and diverts water away from areas around your yard that are prone to water pooling. French drains are extremely important in reducing foundation damage in areas with expansive soils or poor drainage . The water moves underground and is evenly dispersed underground to prevent pooling. French drains are some of the most effective drainage solutions a homeowner can have.

Sump Pumps

Sump pumps basically prevent your home from flooding by automatically pumping water out of your basement or crawlspace whenever it floods. These are excellent drainage solutions if your home is in an area that is prone to flooding. Sump pumps are placed in sump pits which are in the lowest part of the house which collects channeled water and pumps it away from the structure.

Related: When is a Sump Pump Needed ?

Gutters and Downspouts

Gutters and downspouts are used for the proper draining of water that runs off of your roof. Gutters are a draining system that is installed around the edges of the roof and diverts water into the downspouts which are  connected to the nearby water outlet. Downspouts are pipes that channel rainwater away from the gutters and then directed away from the  property.

Related: Prepare Your Gutters For Winter

Trench Drains/Channel Drains

Trench drains collect and drain flowing water from large surfaces such as parking lots and driveways. These drains are used to prevent flooding in areas such as garages because of driveway or parking lot water runoff. They are very effective with draining huge volumes of water because they are long and linear.

Contact a drainage contractor If your Los Angeles home doesn’t have any of the aforementioned drainage systems. Call California Foundation Works on 323-418-2239 to schedule a free drainage inspection and estimate.

 

Misconceptions About Foundations

Common Misconceptions About Foundations

 

Because of how important a foundation is, a lot of people will tend to believe in certain negative misconceptions about foundations that are simply not true. The following are some of the most common misleading misconceptions about foundations:   

Foundation Repairs Affect the Sale

There’s a false belief amongst homeowners that a house with prior foundation repairs will not fare well on the market when you decide to resell it. This is a false misconception about foundations because in actuality if you have a foundation repair by a reputable contractor, that in itself is beneficial and might help to sell the house faster. However for the foundation work to be beneficial towards you selling your house, you have to use a reputable and licensed contractor and structural engineer.

Related: Selling a Home with Tree Roots Vegetation and Foundation Problems 

Foundations Repairs are Costly

Even though foundation repairs have a reputation of being costly, that is not always the case and the total cost is usually dependent on the scope of work. Even though some repairs might be deemed costly, they prevent even more costly repairs that might arise in the future because of a lack of those repairs, so in the long run you are saving yourself some money. The cost of foundation repair is mostly dependent on factors such as method used to repair the foundation, type of foundation, location of the damage and degree of damage.

Avoiding Foundation Damage

It’s advisable for homeowners to do whatever they can to avoid foundation damage but it’s impossible to prevent it. Homeowners are told to keep plumbing joints from leaking, keep bushes or trees from growing near the foundation and to also have a proper drainage system but that alone won’t prevent foundation damage because at times expansive soils or poor construction materials are what causes foundation damage. Having regular foundation inspections is the best way of keeping your foundation in excellent condition because your can detect early damage.

Related: We Help Solving Foundation Problems

It’s important to be correctly informed as a homeowner on how to take care of your foundation. It’s advisable to call a foundation repair expert if your house hasn’t had a foundation inspection in a long time or you suspect any foundation damage. Call California Foundation Works on 323-418-2239 to schedule a free foundation inspection and estimate.

foundation repair

When should you get a foundation repair ?

Don’t wait for a huge crack in your foundation before you can be sure that your house needs a foundation repair, because not all foundation issues are easy to spot. However there are certain signs that should prompt a homeowner to get a foundation repair or inspection.

Neighboring Foundation Problems

It’s recommended that you get a foundation inspection if one of your neighbors is experiencing or has experienced foundation damage in the past. There are certain causes of foundation damage that not only tend to affect a particular house but will affect the whole area such as expansive soils or inferior construction practices. Most foundations built on expansive will at some point experience foundation problems because of the change in moisture content which tend to negatively affect the foundation.

Visible Damage

One of the surest ways of knowing when you need foundation repair is when you see the actual physical signs of foundation damage. There are certain signs that signal foundation damage that a homeowner should be aware of such as Unlevel floors, sticking doors and windows, cracks on the interior and exterior of walls and also cracks in the foundation.

Related: How to Determine if Your House Needs  a Foundation Repair 

When buying or Selling a Home

Having a foundation inspection and possibly foundation repair should be on each and every home buyer’s and seller’s to do list before anything else. As a homebuyer, you don’t want to unknowingly buy a house that has foundation problems because it can greatly devalue the house. Similarly, home sellers should also have a foundation inspection to prevent any complications in the future.

Drainage Problems

The number one cause of foundation damage is water, so many of the drainage related problems can cause foundation damage. Drainage problems such as ponding water near the foundation, leaking roof or gutters and leakages in the basement will definitely cause foundation problems over time if not promptly  addressed.

Related: Preventative Drainage Solutions For Your Home in Los Angeles
The foundation is the most important part of a house because of the massive devaluation a damaged foundation can cause to a property. It’s advisable to call a foundation repair expert if any of the aforementioned signs apply to you. Call California Foundation Works on 323-418-2239 to schedule a free foundation inspection and estimate.

structural cracks

When Do Cracks Mean Structural Damage

When it comes to cracks you’ve probably been told that any cracks you see on your building, especially the foundation is bad news but this isn’t always the case. As a homeowner you are more likely to come across two types of cracks on your property, structural and non structural cracks . Even though only experts should be allowed to determine which cracks are bad or not, there are a number of ways to differentiate the two types of cracks

Structural Cracks

These are serious cracks that cause damage to the structure. These cracks are followed by unlevel floors,sticking windows and doors. The cracks are caused by a variety of reasons such as poor construction materials, expansive soils, poor drainage or poor construction sites. They have certain characteristics that differentiate them from the non structural cracks such as they tend to be wider than ⅛ inch, they form a staircase pattern of cracks and serious cracks also tend to form horizontally.  

Related: How are foundation cracks fixed ?

Non Structural

Non structural cracks are cracks that don’t pose any danger to your structure. Even though these cracks might look bad or similar to structural cracks, they are harmless to your property. These cracks are most often caused by stress that is induced internally in the concrete. They will have certain characteristics in common such as being less than ⅛ in width,they usually radiate from pipes, corners or plants. Unlike the bad cracks, these can be repaired using a sealant and should be closely monitored to prevent them from turning into bad cracks.

Related: Foundation cracks: To worry or not to worry

It’s best to call a professional whether you think the cracks on your property are structural or non structural because non structural cracks can easily turn into structural cracks if not properly dealt with. Call California Foundation Works on 323-418-2239 to schedule a free inspection and estimate.