foundation_leveling_process

The Foundation Leveling Process

foundation_leveling_processThe foundation leveling process is the process  of getting a foundation back to it’s original position and this can be achieved by repairing the foundation. A number of factors such as bad soil types, drainage problems and the types of materials used to build the foundation will play a role in damaging your foundation. Common signs of a foundation that is in need of foundation leveling that  homeowners need to be on the lookout for include unaligned doors and windows, cracks on foundation and walls. The three most common types of methods used to level the foundation include caissons, Underpinning pads & grade beams and will be determined by the type of foundation.

Caissons

Caissons are used when the soil under the house is very unstable or when the area is swampy. Caissons which are sometimes referred to as pier foundations are usually cylindrical in shape and are sunk deep up to the more stable soil or bedrock in order to steadily balance the property. The caissons in the hole are then filled with concrete and allowed to dry.

Related :  House Leveling & Construction

Grade Beams

Grade beams consists of a reinforced concrete beam that transmits the load from a bearing wall into spaced foundations such as pile caps or caissons.A grade beam is a column that is added in between two piers in order to distribute the weight of the house evenly on all the piers of the house, hence prevent the unleveling of the house.

Related : Pier and Beam Foundation Repair and Leveling

Underpinning Pads

Underpinning pads are pads that are made of concrete and are used to support sections of your foundation footing that have become weak. Underpinning pads are a preferred method of foundation leveling because they allow for a chance to only repair specific sections of your foundation that are weak instead of replacing the whole foundation.

Related : How to Determine if Your Home Needs a Floor Leveling

Contact a professional foundation contractor if you are a Los Angeles homeowner or commercial building owner that is experiencing any foundation problems. Call California Foundation Works on 323-418-2239 to schedule a free foundation inspection and estimate.

 

foundation inspections

Reasons Los Angeles Homes Need Foundation Inspections

foundation inspections Foundation damage is a serious and costly problem for homeowners all over the country but it does affect certain regions the most. Unlike other regions, most of the Los Angeles neighborhoods are susceptible to foundation damage because of a combination of factors such as the poor drainage and types of expansive soil. Los Angeles Homeowners should get foundation inspections to prevent any underlying problems from getting worse. 

Drought

Los Angeles has been in a drought for a couple of years until recently when it received massive rain, and this is problematic for many house foundations in Los Angeles. During the drought, the clay soil around the house foundations lost most of their moisture hence the soil shrank and then after receiving rain the soil expands therefore pushing against the foundation and eventually cracking it. Foundation inspections will prevent this problem from getting worse once it’s detected early.

Related :  How To Spot Foundation Damage Caused By Drought

Tremors and Earthquakes

Most of Los Angeles residents are aware of the San Andreas fault running below their house foundation but they forget about the hundreds of low intensity tremors and earthquakes that the this area experiences on a daily basis. As a homeowner, you might not be able to see or notice any damage from these tremors and earthquakes but your foundation will be gradually damaged overtime if certain precautions won’t be made to maintain it properly.

Related : Retrofitting a Los Angeles Home for Earthquakes

Clay Soils

The type of soil that a house is built on is very important because clay soils which can also be referred to as expansive soils because of their nature to expand and then shrink in the year cycle. This tendency to expand and shrink is what causes damage to the foundation by pushing against it or shrinking and leaving spaces around the foundation which causes it to settle.

Related :  Types of House Foundations

Contact a professional foundation contractor if you are a Los Angeles homeowner and haven’t yet had your foundation inspected. Call California Foundation Works on 323-418-2239 to schedule a free foundation inspection and estimate.

landscaping affects your foundation

How Landscaping Affects Your Foundation

landscaping affects your foundationEverybody wants to have an inviting home with beautiful curb appeal, but in the process of doing that you might end up damaging your foundation. Careful consideration has to be taken when it comes to landscaping in regards to foundation. However there are three main ways in which landscaping affects your foundation negatively.

Trees and Shrubs Too Close To Your Foundation

Plants are almost always an essential addition to your home when it comes to improving its curb appeal. Choosing the wrong kinds of plants or planting them too close to your foundation can be problematic hence the need to carefully choose the location and type of plant. Plants that have roots that grow horizontally instead of vertically will have their roots drying up all the moisture that surrounds the foundation and in some instances even penetrate the foundation walls therefore causing damage.

Related :  Foundation Damage Caused by Trees

Improper Drainage

Having a well functioning drainage system should be a priority whenever you think of improving your landscape. In the efforts of making the exterior of a home beautiful, homeowners tend to forget about the drainage system and this is bound to damage the foundation. Plant beds should slope away from the foundation and as a rule of thumb water should always flow away from the house not towards it.

Related :  Preventative Drainage Solutions For Your Home in Los Angeles

Not Watering Plants Frequently

The plants and trees that are closest to your foundation need to be sufficiently watered. They need a steady supply of water to encourage the vertical growth of roots . In order to retain soil moisture, the soil needs to be well mulched so that any foundation problems are prevented.

Related :  How To Spot Foundation Damage Caused By Drought

Contact a professional foundation contractor if you suspect that your foundation is getting affected by landscaping. Call California Foundation Works on 323-418-2239 to schedule a free foundation inspection and estimate.

house foundations

Types of House Foundations

house foundationsThe type of foundation each house is built on mostly depends on the soil  type of the house construction site and the type of climate in that area also affects what type of foundation the house will have. Some types of house foundations will not do very well in wet weather or cold weather hence the need to consult an engineer before deciding on which foundation s best for you. There are three main types of house foundations, raised foundations with crawl space, concrete slab foundations and basement foundations, and each one of them is suited to particular conditions.

Raised Foundation With Crawl Space

Crawlspace foundations are also known as raised foundations and are one of the best foundation types that a house can be built on. Crawlspace foundations are foundations that are raised from the ground by at least 18 inches using piers and beams or the stem wall. Crawlspace foundations are usually a common site in damp areas or areas that easily flood to prevent water damage to the structure and to also prevent infestation from rodents that thrive in damp areas. Crawlspace foundations have certain advantages such as being less costly than basement foundations, easier to maintain plumbing, heating and air conditioning because of the accessible space in the crawlspace.

Related : Do You Need A Crawlspace Encapsulation ?

Concrete Slab Foundation

A slab foundation is a type of foundation that is poured directly on the construction site. A concrete slab foundation is a thick flat slab that is reinforced with steel bars and wire mesh, and the slab is poured on crushed gravel which levels the site. Concrete slab foundations are suitable for warm climates because cold weather is likely to crack it.

Related :  6 Common Causes of Foundation Damage

Basement Foundation

A basement foundation is a type of foundation with a high foundation walls and then a slab at the base. Basement foundations can either be at room height where people are able to walk and stand upright just like regular rooms or it can be a partial basement. The walls and slab are properly reinforced and also waterproofed to prevent any water or property damage in the basement. Unlike other types of foundations, basement foundations can be turned into living spaces or for storage.

Related :  Slab Crack Repair

Contact a professional foundation contractor for any foundation repair or concerns regarding foundations. Call California Foundation Works on 323-418-2239 to schedule a free foundation inspection and estimate.

garage relocation

Things To Put Into Consideration Before Garage Relocation

garage relocationThere are many reasons as to why you might want to relocate your garage to a different location around your yard, maybe to prevent the garage from obstructing the view or just wanting to attach it to the house. However, there are certain things you need to put into consideration before considering garage location.  

Driveway

One of the most important considerations you need to make when deciding on garage relocation is the access to the garage after it’s relocated. You’ll need a paved driveway and the size of the garage should dictate the the width of the driveway. If it’s a two car garage then the width should be between 20 to 25 ft unlike 14 ft for a single car garage. Either concrete, asphalt or paving bricks can be used if you want a durable driveway.

Related :  When Should You Resurface Your Driveway ?

Permits

Different cities have different code requirements and not adhering to those requirements might subject you to penalties. Once you know where you want to relocate your garage to, its time to go through the city codes to see what restrictions you have in moving that garage. The garage restrictions usually focus on the garage size, height, proximity of garage to other properties and the driveway construction such as the materials used to construct it or it’s size.

Related : Questions To Ask Your Concrete Contractor

Contact a professional garage relocation contractor who can also install a driveway and understands the garage relocation code requirements of your city. Call California Foundation Works on 323-418-2239 to schedule a free garage relocation inspection and estimate.

Related :  Ways in Which Decorative Concrete is Used

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 : Protect Your Los Angeles Home Against Mudslides and Landslides

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.

cost of soft story retrofit

What Affects The Cost Of Soft Story Retrofit ?

cost of soft story retrofit Previous earthquakes in the Los Angeles area have proved to be very devastating to the residents of Los Angeles. Be it the need to prevent the Loss of life or property, Los Angeles residents are preparing for the next earthquake which is also deemed the big one by getting their properties retrofitted. Of all the buildings, softy story buildings are extremely vulnerable to earthquake damage because of the large unreinforced openings on their ground floors. Even though you expect the cost of softy story retrofit  to be similar, certain factors will affect how much extra or less you will have to pay to get your soft story building retrofitted.

Building Size

Soft story buildings come in different sizes and are used for different purposes such residential or commercial use. Both commercial and residential soft story buildings will either accommodate a single unit or multi units hence the cost of soft story retrofit for these two will differ because the multi unit soft story building is likely to have more openings on the ground floor such as garages to match the number of units.

Related :  What Affects The Cost Of Seismic Retrofit

Engineer and Contractor Used

The cost of soft story retrofit is also highly dependent on the engineer and contractor you choose to hire to help you retrofit your property. Different engineers will provide different engineering procedures and solutions hence the cost soft of story retrofit will be different. Contractors will also offer different prices to retrofit your building using the same procedures hence the need to carefully evaluate bids and the quality of work by each contractor.

Hillside Soft Story Buildings

Unreinforced soft story buildings are vulnerable to earthquakes but soft story buildings built on hillsides are even more vulnerable to earthquakes because of the steep slopes. In order to adequately retrofit soft story buildings on hillsides, additional anchoring is required hence the extra cost of soft story retrofit. So the cost of soft story retrofit on a  hillside building will also depend whether you just want to comply with the law requiring soft story building to be retrofitted or you want to do everything you can to protect your soft story building against damage.

Related : Is Your Hillside Home Retrofitted ?

Call California Foundation Works on 323-418-2239 to schedule a free soft story retrofit inspection and estimate.

cost of seismic retrofit

What Affects The Cost Of Seismic Retrofit


cost of seismic retrofitEarthquakes can either be low intensity earthquakes or high intensity earthquakes which might claim lives and cause damage to properties,  hence the need to have your property retrofitted for earthquakes. Having a seismic retrofit for your property will reinforce your property’s structure and make it less susceptible to earthquake damage. Unlike other types of retrofits, the cost of seismic retrofit is not standard because it’s dependent on a number of factors such as location of the property and age of the property which  in turn determine what kind of methods will be used to strengthen the property. Some of these methods include :

Cripple Wall Bracing

A cripple wall is a wall that is less than a full story height and is usually placed between the first floor and the foundation because that is the weakest part of most old buildings. During an earthquake, the area between the foundation and the first floor is usually the first to collapse so by having a cripple wall in that area, you will drastically reduce the amount of damage done to a building during an earthquake.

Related : Property Retrofitting

Foundation Bolting

Foundation bolting is yet another method in which you can retrofit your property against earthquake damage. Foundation bolting is the process which prevents the up and down movements of your property during an earthquake as it might displace an unbolted property off it’s foundation. To  bolt a building to it’s foundation, either expansion anchor bolts or sill plates are used. Expansion anchor bolts are used to directly attach the building to the foundation while the sill plates are used to attach the foundation and building on the sides if the space doesn’t allow direct bolting.

Related : New Spotlight on house bolting – Sill Bolt and Plate Washer Interference

Wood Blocking

Wood blocking is another way of strengthening your property against earthquakes without adding much to the cost of seismic retrofit. Wood blocking involves the addition of pieces of wood in between two studs in order to strengthen them. This is an easy method and yet it’s also very efficient in preventing the wooden studs from collapsing during an earthquake.
Call California Foundation Works on 323-418-2239 to schedule a free seismic retrofit inspection and estimate.

concrete can increase your yard's curb appeal

Ways in Which Concrete Can Increase Your Yard’s Curb Appeal

Ways in Which Concrete Can Increase Your Yard’s Curb AppealWhether you just want your yard to look impressive to your neighbors and visitors or you are planning to sell your property, Having some concrete work done on your yard to improve the curb appeal is necessary. This is especially important if it is a commercial property or you are planning to sell your house in the near future because people will usually make a decision to buy the property or to buy from the property when they are attracted to the exterior of the property. There are a number of ways in which concrete can increase your yard’s curb appeal.

Concrete Driveways

A driveway is the gateway to your property hence it makes the first impression to your visitors the moment they start approaching your property. There are many ways in which concrete can increase your yard’s curb appeal and having concrete on your driveway to increase your yards curb appeal such as stamping and staining concrete, overlaying concrete or by using segmental concrete pavers. A stamped concrete driveway is a driveway with patterned concrete or textured concrete in the shapes of bricks, stones or tiles while as stained concrete is concrete that is stained with any preferred color such as red, brown or black to suit whatever color scheme of your preference. A driveway concrete overlay is a cheap and faster alternative to completely replacing your worn out driveway by simply applying a thin layer on top of it. Segmental pavers are pieces of masonry made from compacted concrete which are installed in a particular pattern on your driveway. All of the mentioned suggestions will increase your yard’s curb appeal if they are installed by a professional driveway contractor.

Related :  When Should You Resurface Your Driveway ?

Concrete Retaining Walls

Concrete retaining wall construction is one of the most overlooked ways in which concrete concrete can increase your yard’s curb appeal. Most homeowners and business owners who have sloped yards believe that there is little or nothing they can do to improve the curb appeal of their yards because of things such as soil erosion or water runoff that tends to affect the curb appeal of your yard negatively. Adding a concrete retaining wall to your yard comes with both decorative benefits and preventive benefits. You can get your concrete retaining wall in different styles and colors and it will also prevent soils erosion and water runoff which will allow vegetation such as flowers, grass or bushes to grow without any difficulty.  

Related :  What Type of Retaining Wall Does Your Los Angeles House Need ?

Concrete Landscaping Borders

Part of what sets a beautiful landscape apart from a not so beautiful landscape are clean lines which border different parts of your yard and make the yard seem kept even with minimal landscaping work. Concrete landscaping borders are the perfect way of having truly incredible landscaping borders because Concrete Landscaping borders can be designed in a variety of ways both shapewise and colorwise. Concrete can increase your yard’s curb appeal if it is professionally done.

Related :  Ways in Which Decorative Concrete is Used

Contact a professional concrete contractor if you want to achieve excellent results in installing either a concrete driveway, concrete retaining wall or  concrete landscaping borders. Call California Foundation Works on 323-418-2239 to schedule a free concrete inspection and estimate.

Safe Sidewalks LA

Safe Sidewalks LA Program

Safe Sidewalks LAThe city of Los Angeles has sidewalks that have deteriorated to an extent where most of them are a danger to the residents. In order to tackle this problem, the city of Los Angeles has introduced the city sidewalk repair program by the name Safe Sidewalks LA. Members of the community can participate in the program either through the rebate program, the access request program or by reporting a damaged sidewalk.

Access Request Program

The access request program is part of the Safe Sidewalks LA program that makes repairs that are requested by people with a mobility disability who encounter physical barriers such as damaged or missing curb ramps or broken sidewalks. Basically it’s a program where people with any mobility  disability can report barriers in the public right of way.

Related : Driveway Drainage Issues After Rain ?

Rebate Program

The rebate program is a program for property owners who would like to repair their own sidewalk. This program caters to both residential and commercial property owners by offering a rebate of up to $2000 for residential property owners and $4000 for commercial property owners. It’s a first come first serve basis program and you have to qualify for the program. Once you apply, your request will be reviewed to make sure that you are eligible and that you have provided all the necessary documentation and then you will receive a rebate offer if you qualify. 

Related : Questions To Ask Your Concrete Contractor

Report A Sidewalk

Another way you can participate in the program is by reporting a damaged sidewalk in your community, so even if you don’t qualify for the Safe Sidewalks LA Program you can still participate in this manner. The official Safe Sidewalks LA program has a section where you can report the damaged sidewalk.

Related :  Requiring Sidewalk Repairs at the Point of Sale

You need to hire a licensed contractor in order to participate in the rebate program of the Safe Sidewalks LA program. Call California Foundation Works on 323-418-2239 to schedule a free sidewalk inspection and estimate.

Earthquake Brace and Bolt Program

How To Apply For The Earthquake Brace and Bolt Program

The Earthquake Brace and BoltLos Angeles is prone to earthquakes and the long awaited mega earthquake called the Big one along the San Andreas fault is expected to happen anytime soon. To alleviate the damage caused by earthquakes or The Big One, the Earthquake Brace and Bolt program  (EBB)  has been developed to help homeowners by providing an incentive payment of up to $3000 of the total cost associated with the retrofit of their houses. After applying for the grant, the applicants are then chosen at random if they do meet the criteria. To meet the criteria, homeowners need to meet the following criteria :

Location

In order to qualify for the EBB grant, your property has to be on the list of zip codes covered, because the Earthquake Brace and Bolt program prioritizes certain zip codes which are closest to the fault lines because that is where the earthquakes tend to occur. Apart from concentrating on the zip codes closest to the fault line, the program also prioritizes those zip codes which have the highest concentration of old houses which might be easily damaged.

Related : Are you prepared for the next earthquake ?

Age Of House

The year your house was built also plays an important role in whether you qualify for the grant or not. Most Houses that were built before 1979 qualify for the grant because unlike the current ones, most of them were not bolted to their foundations hence making them weak and susceptible to damage by earthquakes.

Related : Retrofitting a Los Angeles Home for Earthquakes

Building Occupancy

For the property to qualify for the earthquake brace and bolt program, the owner has to occupy the house and multi unit properties also qualify but they need to have four units or less and the owner must occupy one of them.

Related : Why Does My Home Need to be Retrofitted ?

Contact a licensed earthquake retrofit contractor to help you retrofit your house against any seismic damage during an earthquake. Call California Foundation Works on 323-418-2239 to schedule a free earthquake retrofit 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 : Prepare For Winter By Getting A Foundation Inspection

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.