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How to choose a licensed foundation contractor?

Posted in Construction

how-to-choose-a-licensed-foundation-contractorThis is California State License Bureau’s site. On the left hand side, there is a link called “Instant License Check.” Click on this and choose how you would like to search for the contractor.

We suggest you use the license number, which every contractor must clearly place on all their advertising and marketing material. You will get the full company name and address, entity, date issued, date expires, classifications and descriptions. The License Status will be printed in green if it is current and active.

It is normally a good idea to verify the licenses of prospective foundation contactor contractors. This is very simple to do, just go to the Contractors State License Board site at www.cslb.ca.gov.

There are several different classifications that a general contractor holds. If you see a classification you are not familiar with, just click on the description and a full definition will shows up.

All License are required to be bonded. These details follows the classifications. It will show the bonding company, bond number, bond amount and effective date. You can also click on bond history.

Worker’s Compensation is vitally important to home owners. If a worker is hurt while working on your property and he is actually not covered by Worker’s Compensation, you the home owner is accountable. The next area shows what company the contractor uses for Worker’s Comp, the policy number, effective date and expiration date of his license.

The State of California has provided you with all the primary information you need. All you have to do is check the contractor’s license. All the details is right there for you. Professional contractors may often charge more for their expertise, but bear in mind you will be paying for the full safety of bonding and worker’s compensation. A little extra money now can save you precious time, money and aggravation in the future.

By the way, California Foundation Works is a licensed foundation contractor in Los Angeles, CA, our license number is 976188, you can use the website to look us up or visit our company credentials page. Our license is active, we are bonded and we are fully insured. Part of our customer satisfaction is to guarantee you the homeowner are protected.

Insurance Agencies Don’t Cover Foundation Repairs

Posted in Construction

home-insurance-policyIn most parts of Los Angeles the soil supporting homes is clay. Clay-based soil swells any time it absorbs water and settles, or collapses, when the water evaporates, as in the recent two-year drought. This up and down movements wreaks destruction on your home’s foundation. And, your homeowner’s insurance probably does not cover the inevitable repair cost! This begs the question, “Why doesn’t your insurance coverage foundation repair?”

There are numerous distinct reasons. First, the soil in Los Angeles, especially in Los Feliez, Long Beach, Los Angeles, Whittier and Trrence, is subjected to lots of back and forth movement. Thus, there is a high tendency that your foundation will be suffering in the future. Insurance companies know that and will not cover such a high-risk event.

Second, insurance companies will not insure your home’s foundation as part of the homeowner’s policy because the insurance market knows that homebuilders are not designing homes that can stand up such soil movements. It is possible to build a foundation that can stand up to the pressure of upheaval and settlement. Commercial builders and structural engineers have discovered how to build in such a way that the foundation can resist the powerful forces of soil movement. Observe large buildings or bridges and overpasses. How is it that these structures don’t have foundation problems?

Structural engineers have developed a foundation support system that withstands the shifting soil under these structures. They use foundations with a drilled pier system that is reinforced with steel and that has been placed in the ground with knowledge-based style and design provided from soil testing and experience. It’s the same design concept that California Foundation Works used since we started our journey with foundation works.
So, would insurance companies cover home foundations as long as they were built to handle the soil movements arising underneath? Most certainly, the return on that insurance coverage would be tremendous and profitable. At the same time, home foundations in Los Angeles are under-engineered and /or under-designed, resulting in a high probability that a home in Los Angeles area will likely experience some kind of foundation issue in the future. Insurance companies simply do not insure homes for foundation damage because they know that a very high percentage of Los Angeles homes will possibly experience foundation damage in the tens of thousands of dollars.  The insurance agencies are not in the business of losing profits. So the concern and expense of foundation damage and repair is placed upon the homeowners of Los Angeles.

When the soil’s upheaval and settlement ultimately causes a crack or break in your foundation, California Foundation Works is ready to provide a repair method that is proven, time-tested and long lasting. Caissons and Underpinning Support Pads are the top standard of the foundation repair industry. Don’t settle for a cheaper repair method for your home. Go for a reliable, time-tested, and permanent foundation repair method.

California Foundation Works installs Caissons and Underpinning Support Pads for homeowners and commercial property owners. Read what Susan said in her testimonial comments.

Contact us today at (323) 418-2239 to speak with one of our foundation contractors for an estimate.

Retaining Wall Repair or Rebuild?

Posted in Construction

As a professional retaining wall contractor in Los Angeles, we believe that it requires to be specified initial step that before you consider getting your retaining wall repaired a couple of things should be thought about. Getting a new wall possibly through repair or replacement can be an expensive procedures so incorrect decision could be very costly. Here are a couple of things to consider when looking into retaining wall repair or replacement:

1. How Large is the Retaining Wall?

If you have a couple of cracked bricks in your garden wall then most likely this article is not for you. Small walls that are made to be aesthetic and used for landscaping can probably be fixed by you with the right materials and know how. Bigger walls should only be handled by companies with the right experience power and means to do so. Unless you are an engineer and have a team with you, leave the large jobs to the experts.

2. Rebuilding retaining wall vs Repairing a retaining wall

One unfortunate fact that you may have to face is that if the wall needs repairs it probably needs to be rebuilt anyway. If the retaining wall needs repairs something caused it to weaken. Soil problems and improper drainage can cause failure in a wall structure. In case you try and repair it and suddenly skip a step or use the incorrect products you could risk a failure and a collapsed wall. When beginning the repair process you may find out which you are required to install new drainage behind the wall or the wall has to be demoed and replaced.

3. Wall Failure

The top two reasons for retaining wall repair is #1 poor proper drainage and #2 inadequate installation. Some walls don’t even have any drainage behind them. The two reasons almost go hand in hand, but it is also the two reasons why a demo and a rebuild is better than trying to repair a lost cause.

In summary:

  • If the wall is a small garden wall you might be able to fix it. If not, leave it to the pros.
  • It’s almost always better to rebuild the wall than to try and repair it.
  • Poor drainage and poor installation are the leading reasons for retaining wall failure.

Safety and first impressions count with tenants and customers. So consider repairing your retaining walls, Call Today 323-418-2239 for a free estimate.

Are Engineering Reports Needed or Not?

Posted in Construction

Often when embarking on a foundation repair project it is unknown if an engineering report will be necessary or not. Some project do not require engineering reports and can be done based on pre-approved plans, but there are some cases where an engineering report is not only required by law, but also preferable to ensure proper planning.

There are two main types of engineers a foundation company will employ, one is a soil engineer to take soil samples and determine the quality of the soil beneath your home and the depth of the bedrock or stable soil. The other type of engineer is a structural engineer. Their job is to read and interpret the soil report and design the proper plans for construction based on the soil report determinations.

Soil reports, as stated above, are not always needed, there are many projects and solutions that either have preapproved plans or do not require plans at all, but some do and it is critical to obtain proper reports. It can be a situation where the solution recommended by the foundation company is too much and the engineering reports will show that so much work is not necessary, saving you money and time. The opposite could be true as well, the foundation specialist cannot always be sure of underlying conditions and a soil report will show exactly how deep and how extensive a solution will need to be to resolve the issue. This will also save you money down the line, avoiding more costly repairs that were unforeseen at the time.

We want the best solution for our customers and we work closely with both properly trained and well experienced soil and structural engineers to ensure the best, most long lasting and safest solution for you. Each property is different and the underlying conditions are case specific, so when necessary, we always recommend relying on the expertise of the engineering reports. Always better safe than sorry!

California Foundation Works is a foundation, concrete and drainage specialist, specializing in strengthening, supporting and safeguarding both residential and commercial properties in the Los Angeles area. Call us anytime at (323) 418-2239 to schedule your foundation inspection, and we will bring the full scope of our expertise and the expertise of the skilled engineers we work with to your full advantage.

Beware of Foot in the Door foundation repair estimate from foundation repair companies in Los Angeels, CA.

Posted in Construction

Today we are going to discuss the practice that some companies refer to as “Foot in the door” estimates.

What is a “Foot in the door” estimate?

This is an estimate in which a company comes to a house to inspect a foundation, floor leveling, drainage, or other service and provides an estimate for partial repair, which is much lower than any of the similar estimates a client receives.

For the points of this blog we can focus on foundations.

In this situation we will use Foundation Company X, Foundation Company Y, and Foundation Company Z as our Companies providing estimates in our example.

Foundation Company X comes to the house, examines the foundation and offers an estimate of $9,000 with the job lasting 2-3 days and minimal disturbance to your yard or garden.

Foundation Company Y comes to the residence, examines the foundation and offers an estimate of $10,500 with the job lasting only 2 days and considerable disturbance to yard or landscaping. 

Foundation Company Z comes to the house offers an estimate of $4,000 for 1/3 of the house with the job lasting 3 or more days and disturbance to only the part of the house being repaired.

All needed repairs for a typical house with standard foundation damage start around $8,000 -$13,000 but also can go as high as $22,000 -$35,000.

Many times, a company arrives to a residential house, inspects the foundation and gets an understanding for what a client is wanting to invest. Most people are not likely to be ready to pay $9K – $13K for a foundation repair.

Possibly only a section of the house is currently being affected by foundation problems. In this case Foundation Company Z may claim that simply 1/3 of the house is now affected by foundation problems and that for a very much cheaper ($4,000 in this case) the issue can be repaired.

Sounds great, right? Completely wrong!

Naturally if part of a house is sagging, or experiencing foundation problems, the soil under the house is identical all over, and more than probably at some point in the coming future the other sections of the residence will require foundation repair.

Firm Z knows that, once the following part of your residence began sagging, you are more than likely to call them back to do the repairs on that section of the house. This means more disruption to your garden a couple of more days of having firm Z at your house, and more cause of stress.

Let’s assume over 4 years your entire residence ends up needing foundation repair, you pay $4000 every time firm Z comes out and they are there for 3 days every time. That is a total of $16,000 dollars over 4 years additionally 12 days of repair time on your residence. Including the time they spend coming out to examine the house each time they are called.

In comparison to the other 2 estimates this would be more time than necessary and more expensive than both estimates. So in the long run the client could have spent definitely more than they had planned and could have had much more time dealing with foundation repairs than required.

Be practical, if a residence is having foundation problems the whole house has to be fixed, even if some parts of the house are not indicating signs. Putting a band-aid on a wound doesn’t heal the wound.

For a free estimate on foundation repair in Los Angeles, California contact California Foundation Works. Call today! 323-418-2239

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