Message on COVID-19

To all our valued clients,

We’re writing as many companies are, about the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic that is rapidly changing the way we are going about our day to day lives. At California Foundation Works we take your health and the health of our staff very seriously- nothing changes there.

Since we are working or going to be working at your property, and most of our work is done outside of your home or under it, within the crawl space, we will continue our work on Monday, March 16th, 2020, as usual until otherwise instructed by our local authorities. In the event that certain cities will be closed and will hold off on any normal activities, such as permitting or building and safety inspections, we will let you know as soon as possible about any future delays that will affect your current or future project.

In addition to this, we are closely monitoring all advice from the Department of Health and the CDC, increasing our disinfecting of any hand contact surfaces and doubling down on the overall hygiene and cleanliness In each job site we work at. Your safety and the safety of our staff remain our number one focus.

We appreciate your understanding and we wish you all the very best in health.

Thank you,
California Foundation Works
Management

soft story retrofitting in La

Soft Story Retrofit Spring Season

Homeowners in the greater Los Angeles area have likely heard some buzz about soft story retrofits, but today we’ll explore the full scope of the process.

In Los Angeles county alone thousands of buildings have received mandatory retrofit ordinances mandating that they update or demolish their soft story structures.

While this process can seem daunting and overwhelming, breaking down what soft story structures are, exploring the retrofitting process, and discovering the best time to retrofit will allow the stress to be removed from this major, but necessary, building renovation project. Ready to get started?

Related: Soft Story Retrofit

Reasons Behind the Retrofit

If you’ve received a mandatory Order to Comply in the mail, then you’re already aware that your building has been identified as a soft story structure. And you’re not the only one.

Over 20,000 buildings in Los Angeles alone have been marked for being structurally unsound due to having a weakened ground floor that is structurally unable to support the floors above it in the event of seismic activity.

earthquake retrofitting

This is often the result of having large open areas on the ground floor, such as parking areas or excessively sized windows. While it certainly isn’t good news to be informed that your building requires a soft story retrofit, solid reasons are backing the process.

Because the structures of soft story buildings leave the buildings so vulnerable, there is a very high risk of structural damage and subsequent fatalities and even death when earthquakes strike soft story buildings.

A soft story regulation is therefore needed to ensure for area safety since when it comes to earthquakes in Southern California, it’s not a question of if but when.

Breaking Down the Retrofit Timeline

Not only are soft story retrofits mandatory, but there is a finite amount of time in which your project must be completed. If you haven’t received an Order to Comply in the mail, you can always book a soft story inspection to evaluate the state of your structure.

Once you have received the Order to Comply, you will have 2 years to submit proof of previous retrofit, plans for the soft story retrofit, or plans to demolish the building. You must hold on to the letter, so be sure to keep it safe. After the letter is received, you have 3.5 years to get together all permits that are needed to commence either construction or demolition. The project must be completed within 7 years of receiving the Order to Comply.

Failure to follow the timeline could result in severe penalties for the building owner. Therefore, it is very important to stick to the timeline and ensure that all aspects of the soft story retrofit are completed in time.

When it comes to complying with soft story regulations, there is no time to delay. This is a mandatory process that needs to be completed as soon as possible for a variety of reasons.

When is the Right Time to Retrofit?

Ready to get started on your retrofit? There are many benefits to getting your soft story retrofit completed during the spring and summer months. Most earthquake retrofits involve cripple wall bracing to hold the structure intact and foundation bolting to keep the building locked in place.

Spring and summer months create the ideal opportunity for completing this process due to the reliable and mild weather and extended daylight hours. The warm months provide ample time for soft story inspections so that a professional contractor can thoroughly investigate each aspect of your building.

Because so many buildings have received mandatory orders to comply, there is a high demand for the retrofitting process to be finalized. Workers can complete more work in the day during the warm months, allowing your soft story retrofit process to proceed without any hitches, such as rain delays.

Some soft story retrofits are more advanced than others depending on the degree of damage. Severe structural damage could lead to the existing concrete slab being removed and steel reinforcement structures being added to bolster the building before new concrete is poured. Only a soft story inspection will reveal the extent of the retrofitting process, so it’s paramount to provide ample time for the process to be completed.

Avoid the winter weather rain delays by planning your soft story retrofit for the mild, warm months. Working in the warm months also provides soil that is easier to work with, speeding up the process.

Related: Cost Of Soft Story Retrofit 

soft story

Soft Story Retrofit Benefits

Failure to comply with soft story regulations will not only result in penalties, but it will leave your building structurally compromised. Any event that involves the ground moving, no matter how seemingly minor, can lead to serious structural damage that could mean the end of your building.

From foundation cracks to warped walls and floors, earthquake damage is something you should avoid at all costs.

Getting started on your retrofitting process as soon as possible will decrease the overall project cost since the mandatory soft story retrofits are increasingly driving prices up as time progresses.
In addition to lower costs, you can also reap economic advantages, as completed soft story retrofits entitle building owners to significant savings.

Many insurance companies offer large premiums for completed soft story retrofits, while you can additionally lower certain building insurances.
You’ll also receive a competitive advantage by acting quickly, as your building will be removed from city inventory as early as possible, becoming exempt from future retrofit demands.

Lastly, with cost recovery programs available, homeowners can receive aid for complying with the soft story retrofit process.

Worried About Your Soft Story Retrofit Costs?

Call California Foundation Works Today For a FREE Project Estimate. Let’s Discover The Best Solution For Your Retrofit needs!

Contact Us At (323) 418-2239

soft story

Soft Story Retrofit Season

Gearing You Up for Soft Story Retrofit Season

Homeowners in the greater Los Angeles area have likely heard some buzz about soft story retrofits, but today we’ll explore the full scope of the process. Already thousands of buildings in Los Angeles County alone have received mandatory retrofit ordinances mandating that they update or demolish their soft story structures.

While this process can seem daunting and overwhelming, breaking down what soft story structures are, exploring the retrofitting process, and discovering the best time to retrofit will allow the stress to be removed from this major, but necessary, building renovation project. Ready to get started?

Related: Thousands of Soft Story Structures Still Need Retrofitting

Reasons Behind the Retrofit

If you’ve received a mandatory Order to Comply in the mail, then you’re already aware that your building has been identified as a soft story structure.

And you’re not the only one. Over 20,000 buildings in Los Angeles alone have been marked for being structurally unsound due to having a weakened ground floor that is structurally unable to support the floors above it in the event of seismic activity.

soft story retrofitting in La

This is often the result of having large open areas on the ground floor, such as parking areas or excessively sized windows. While it certainly isn’t good news to be informed that your building requires a soft story retrofit, solid reasons are backing the process.

Because the structures of soft story buildings leave the buildings so vulnerable, there is a very high risk of structural damage and subsequent fatalities and even death when earthquakes strike soft story buildings. A soft story regulation is therefore needed to ensure for area safety since when it comes to earthquakes in Southern California, it’s not a question of if but when.

Breaking Down the Retrofit Timeline

Not only are soft story retrofits mandatory, but there is a finite amount of time in which your project must be completed. If you haven’t received an Order to Comply in the mail, you can always book a soft story inspection to evaluate the state of your structure.

Once you have received the Order to Comply, you will have 2 years to submit proof of previous retrofit, plans for the soft story retrofit, or plans to demolish the building. You must hold on to the letter, so be sure to keep it safe. After the letter is received, you have 3.5 years to get together all permits that are needed to commence either construction or demolition. The project must be completed within 7 years of receiving the Order to Comply.

Failure to follow the timeline could result in severe penalties for the building owner. Therefore, it is very important to stick to the timeline and ensure that all aspects of the soft story retrofit are completed in time. When it comes to complying with soft story regulations, there is no time to delay. This is a mandatory process that needs to be completed as soon as possible for a variety of reasons.

When is the Right Time to Retrofit?

Ready to get started on your retrofit? There are many benefits to getting your soft story retrofit completed during the spring and summer months. Most earthquake retrofits involve cripple wall bracing to hold the structure intact and foundation bolting to keep the building locked in place.

Spring and summer months create the ideal opportunity for completing this process due to the reliable and mild weather and extended daylight hours. The warm months provide ample time for soft story inspections so that a professional contractor can thoroughly investigate each aspect of your building. Because so many buildings have received mandatory orders to comply, there is a high demand for the retrofitting process to be finalized.

Workers can complete more work in the day during the warm months, allowing your soft story retrofit process to proceed without any hitches, such as rain delays Some soft story retrofits are more advanced than others depending on the degree of damage. Severe structural damage could lead to the existing concrete slab being removed and steel reinforcement structures being added to bolster the building before new concrete is poured.

Only a soft story inspection will reveal the extent of the retrofitting process, so it’s paramount to provide ample time for the process to be completed. Avoid the winter weather rain delays by planning your soft story retrofit for the mild, warm months.

Working in the warm months also provides soil that is easier to work with, speeding up the process.

Soft Story Retrofit Benefits

Failure to comply with soft story regulations will not only result in penalties, but it will leave your building structurally compromised. Any event that involves the ground moving, no matter how seemingly minor, can lead to serious structural damage that could mean the end of your building.

From foundation cracks to warped walls and floors, earthquake damage is something you should avoid at all costs. Getting started on your retrofitting process as soon as possible will decrease the overall project cost since the mandatory soft story retrofits are increasingly driving prices up as time progresses.

In addition to lower costs, you can also reap economic advantages, as completed soft story retrofits entitle building owners to significant savings. Many insurance companies offer large premiums for completed soft story retrofits, while you can additionally lower certain building insurances.

You’ll also receive a competitive advantage by acting quickly, as your building will be removed from city inventory as early as possible, becoming exempt from future retrofit demands.

Lastly, with cost recovery programs available, homeowners can receive aid for complying with the soft story retrofit process.

Related: What Affects the Cost of Soft Story Retrofit?  

Soft story retrofit season is around the corner! Don’t wait to book your complimentary soft story inspection provided by California Foundation Works.

Southern California earthquakes are turbulent and unpredictable, and the last thing you want is to be left unprepared when the next one strikes.

Call to book your free home inspection so that we can examine your home, provide an estimate, and start to discuss the next steps in the soft story retrofit process.

With our complimentary inspection, you have nothing to lose by playing it safe! Take advantage of the warm weather, and get started on protecting your investment today.

Call California Foundation Works today to book your FREE* Soft Story Inspection

(323)418-2239

Ebb

Is Earthquake Retrofit Worth It?

Are you prepared for the next earthquake to hit? Don’t just answer quickly, take a moment to think about your response. While certain areas of your home might be fortified for seismic activity, your structure is overall only as strong as its weakest link. That means that any areas that have worn out over time or weren’t properly fortified in the first place could be threatening the security of your entire building.

With earthquakes threatening Los Angeles County residents at all times, the next big quake is just around the bend. But is seismic retrofitting worth the investment? Allow us to explore the different factors that go into determining if an earthquake retrofit is the best choice for your property, as well as available savings.

Related: Reasons Los Angeles Homes Need Foundation Inspections

What is Earthquake Retrofitting?

Many Southern California residents are well aware of earthquake retrofitting requirements in their area, but allow us to elaborate on the process and its requirements. Earthquake retrofitting is performed to secure any vulnerable areas of buildings to lower the risk of damage and destruction in the event of seismic activity.

Typically this customizable process involves cripple wall bracing to keep the structure firmly intact and foundation bolting to hold the building securely in place. This dual process allows for complete structural support that greatly lowers the possibility of the building being damaged in the event of seismic activity. Because earthquakes are so prevalent in the greater Los Angeles area, many buildings are required by law to undergo retrofits to decrease the risk of injury, damage, and death during an earthquake.

earthquake

Do I Need an Earthquake Retrofit?

Thousands of homes across Los Angeles County and surrounding cities have been affected by laws mandating seismic retrofits on soft-story buildings. Buildings that are particularly vulnerable to earthquakes include structures built before 1979, wood-framed structures, hillside homes, and structures with large open spaces on the ground level, such as parking lots or oversized windows.

However, the truth is that structural vulnerabilities of any sort put a home at risk whether or not a mandatory retrofit order has been mailed. Since earthquakes are unpredictable, the longer a homeowner waits to secure their home, the greater the risk becomes for property damage and injury.

Additionally, the most cost effective way to deal with any home project is through preventative action. Verifying that your home is fully secured and getting any needed seismic retrofitting completed as soon as possible is ultimately the safest, smartest, and cheapest solution for homeowners.

What Happens If I Don’t Retrofit?

Simply put, there are no benefits of not having your home inspected for a seismic retrofit as soon as possible. Any situation that involves the ground moving, no matter how minor the quake, can cause damage to the home and its foundation.

That means that even small earthquakes can cause catastrophic financial damage for the average homeowner. With a very low percentage of California homeowners having earthquake damage insurance, failing to get a seismic retrofit could cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.

If the foundation of the home becomes damaged do to insufficient seismic retrofitting, the entire structure can become compromised. Therefore, acting as soon as possible is the smartest choice a homeowner can make. Delaying a retrofit will only jeopardize your safety and investment, as non-reinforced homes will suffer during seismic activity. And with cost recovery programs for seismic retrofitting, it makes no sense to delay the earthquake retrofit process.

What is EBB?

The Earthquake Brace + Bolt (EBB) program was designed to assist California residents with the cost of their seismic retrofits to reduce earthquake damage in California. EBB assists homeowners with seismic retrofit costs by providing up to $3,000 to assist with retrofitting expenses for eligible homeowners. EBB aids with funds related to earthquake retrofit costs, namely brace and bolt services for crawl spaces in residential dwellings.

To become eligible for EBB, homes must meet Chapter A3 specifications. The specifications include that the home must contain wood framing and it must be located on a low slope or ground level. Homes constructed before 1979 have a higher chance of qualifying for EBB. All interested homeowners must apply for the program as soon as possible since seismic retrofit work cannot commence until EBB has been approved.

Related: How to Retrofit Your Home Against Earthquakes 

Earthquake Brace Bolt

How to Sign Up for EBB

If you’re interested in receiving earthquake retrofit savings, then it’s time to apply to EBB. Homeowners with qualifying homes can submit an application for review as long as they are located within EBB zip codes and have the home as a primary residence. Eligible houses can register one time per house, with approved applications for houses that have not received prior EBB funding being placed in a pool for random selection.

To determine the houses that receive grants, an electronic system is used. To keep the process clear, all candidates are notified of their progress by email and informed of their position at the start of the year. Since registration fills up fast, it’s highly encouraged that interested homeowners visit www.earthquakebracebolt.com as soon as possible to learn about program dates, vacancies, and more. Fortunately, the right contractor can guide you through the process to make sure that all EBB eligible homes can apply for compensation.

Feeling overwhelmed? Luckily we’re here to help. At California Foundation Works, we make it easy to obtain EBB savings by helping you register. It’s our goal to deliver your ideal services at the best price on the market, so we’re always available to search for deals and assist with budgeting. Don’t let the next big quake be the ruin of your home! Work with us to discover the best solutions for keeping your property safe, secure, and within your budget.

Related: Guide for Earthquake Brace and Bolt EBB 

At California Foundation Works, we strive to deliver excellence in all of our projects. From repairs to resurfacing, we take every precaution necessary to deliver top of the line services to fully address individual project needs.

We work within our clients’ budgets and time constraints to provide premium services that are tailor-made for our clients. Call today to explore the wide range of concrete resurfacing methods that will restore the surface of your concrete to its original condition!

Call California Foundation Works today
to book your FREE* home inspection!
(323) 418-2239

tree sidewalk repair

Concrete Sidewalk Repair Services

sidewalk repair

Are your sidewalks suffering from wear and tear? Whether tree roots have lifted your sidewalk and caused unseemly cracks or time has simply taken its toll on the concrete, sidewalk damage can provide both a residential inconvenience and drop in curbside appeal for your property. Fortunately there are sidewalk repair service options available to the greater Los Angeles area, with LA County actually offering a subsidy for sidewalk repair that property owners can fulfill through teaming up with a professional contractor. Read on to discover how you can resolve your sidewalk damages at an affordable rate with help from the city!

Related: How to Choose a Licensed Foundation Contractor

Sidewalk Repairs

If you’ve noticed your sidewalk is cracking, then there’s a good chance you’ve become aware of the downfalls of uneven slab. In addition to providing an uneven surface that facilitates falls and slips, sidewalk damage lowers the curb appeal of your home. Under California Streets and Highway Code, property owners are responsible for the state of their sidewalks. That means damaged sidewalks are a lawsuit waiting to happen for property owners, so repairing the concrete before it can worsen is the soundest solution for keeping all residents and pedestrians safe.

tree sidewalk repair

Fortunately, our team is able to offer repair services to commercial, retail, and industrial land in order to solve your sidewalk problem no matter how extreme and get your sidewalk in order before any harm can occur.

Available Services   

Though California property owners are responsible for maintaining their sidewalks, sidewalk damage is an issue the city wishes to assist homeowners with. But before we explain the available rebate program, allow us to outline our repair services. At California Foundation Works, we’re happy to offer comprehensive sidewalk repair services that provide minimal property impact. If your sidewalk has been pushed up by tree roots, we’re able to remove the slab, grind down the tree root, and cleanly return the sidewalk to its original state at no harm to the tree. We’re able to repair one slab or the entire sidewalk depending on the situation at hand, offering customizable options for your unique predicament. We repair and install concrete sidewalks that come in all shapes and sizes. Our repair work includes cement sidewalks, walkways, uneven sidewalks, concrete, driveways, city sidewalks, sidewalk replacements, street repair, street paving, road repair, and more.

Related: Requiring Sidewalk Repairs at the Point of Sale 

Sidewalk Repair

Rebate Savings

Do these repairs sound like something that could benefit your sidewalk? If so, your next concern is likely how much these services will cost. If your Los Angeles County residence is suffering from sidewalk damage, then you’re in luck.

Safe Sidewalks LA offers a city rebate program that provides available funding to accepted applicants. This $1.4 billion ongoing program is funded with the goal of making sidewalks accessible to everyone in LA. 

The Access Request Program allows for the creation of repairs for people with mobility disabilities who are experiencing mobility barriers. The general public is also able to submit reports for sidewalk problems that they come across. Safe Sidewalks LA additionally offers a Rebate Program of up to $2,000 for residential properties and up to $4,000 for commercial properties in order to assist property owners with sidewalk repairs.

How to Apply 

The Access Request Program allows for requests to be made for or by people with mobility disabilities who are encountering mobile barriers. These repairs are of the highest importance to the City and are worked on as timely as possible. To request a repair, visit MyLA311.lacity.org. To report a sidewalk that is in need of repair or request a rebate through Safe Sidewalks LA, visit www.sidewalks.lacity.org. Additionally, you can call 311 to request any of these sidewalk repairs. Keep in mind that you will need to meet program eligibility and submit all necessary project documentation. 

Related: How to Apply for the Earthquake Brace and Bolt Program

Program Eligibility

In order to be eligible for a sidewalk safety rebate, there are a number of requirements potential applicants must meet. Applicants must own their property and that property cannot have already received a rebate. Applicants must team up with a licensed contractor, and the sidewalk work cannot be in conjunction with any other development projects that abut a commercial property. Lastly, applicants are granted 14 days from the day of their request to provide all necessary documentation. 

safeside walks

Keep in mind that the Rebate Program is done on a first come first serve basis. All applicants will have their documentation reviewed to determine eligibility once the proper forms have been submitted.

If your sidewalk is suffering from damages, then it’s time to fix it. Avoid unnecessary lawsuits due to damage and increase the curb appeal of your yard by getting your sidewalk in order. Teaming up with California Foundation Works provides a one stop shop for all of your sidewalk needs. Not only will we provide full repairs to rectify your unique situation, but Los Angeles County residents will also be able to fulfill the sidewalk repair subsidy by teaming up with us. That means you can get full repairs at a fraction of the cost, providing a situation that leaves everyone happy.

Any questions or concerns? Call today to learn more! 

Call California Foundation Works today
to book your FREE* sidewalk repair estimate!
323-418-2239

expansive soil

Ways in Which Soil Issues Can Affect Your Home Foundation

expansive soil

Is the structure of your home entirely secure? While all homeowners would like to answer this question with a definitive affirmation, the reality is that there are a number of factors that could be affecting your home’s stability. One of the most insidious and instrumental ways in which the foundation of a home can become damaged is the very land it sits upon. Soil, and the issues caused by weather fluctuation, plays a monumental role in determining the stability of your structure. Read on to discover everything you need to know about how soil can affect your home’s foundation, signs of subsequent damage, and tips for stopping and resolving this potentially monumental foundation stability issue. 

Related: How the California Drought Affects Your Foundation

How does soil affect a home’s stability?

You may not realize what a significant role soil plays in determining your home’s stability. The amount of moisture in the soil drastically affects the stability of the home, since soil expands during periods of heavy rainfall and contracts during droughts. What does that mean when the hot, dry season rolls around? Spurred by weather fluctuations, shifting soil can cause instabilities in the base of your home. Contracting soil can wreak havoc on the building’s foundation, causing the foundation of the home to destabilize. 

soil grading

In turn, this can cause the foundation to crack, sink, and even slide, completely upsetting the structure of the home.

What is expansive soil?

Though the weather in Southern California might appear ideal, it can unfortunately be leading to issues with your soil and structural stability. While hot weather can cause the soil underneath your home to contract, expansive soil provides another threat to structural stability. Minerals in the soil increase in volume when they absorb excess water. This situation can exert enough force to cause damage to the building’s structure. While the damage caused by expansive soil will usually begin in the foundation, floors, and ground level of the structure, the damage can reach the upper floors if it becomes significant. And once the expansive soil dries, the building then becomes susceptible to issues caused by contracting soil. Because soil damage occurs over time, and is not typically tied to a major event, it can be difficult to spot. Fortunately there are signs of foundation damage caused by soil issues that the homeowner can be on the lookout for. 

 

Related: How Expansive Soils Can Affect Your Hillside Home 

Foundation crack repair beverly hills

What are foundation instability warning signs?

Many homeowner insurance policies do not cover damage caused by expansive soil and soil-related issues. This makes it extremely important to spot signs of soil damage on your own. Foundation damage warning signs include cracks of both the exterior and interior variety, particularly those that are excessively wide, large, horizontal, or clustered closely with other cracks. Warped floors, walls, and an overall slant to the building’s appearance are also indicators of damage.

Other signs include water damage, uneven walls and floors, crumbling bricks, and sagging chimneys. Another sign of foundation damage is ill-fitting windows and doors that have difficulty opening. While a professional contractor will be needed to spot warning signs that are invisible to the untrained eye, these signs are all visibly apparent to the vigilant homeowner. Therefore it’s important to be on the lookout for these telltale signs. 

What are the solutions for expansive soil? 

Once warning signs for foundation damage have been spotted, it’s essential to stabilize the home in order to prevent collapse. Foundation repair services can reverse the damage caused by weakened foundation in order to restore the health of the structure. It’s crucial to ensure that your home is up to date on all building code ordinances in order to preserve the health of the structure. Foundation repair services work to install steel or cement piers around the house’s perimeter and existing piers in order to provide reinforcement. Depending on the situation at hand, hydraulic jack lifts are typically used to level the house and securely transfer its weight onto the new support. This will re-level the house and prevent it from collapsing, slanting, sliding, or sinking. In addition to jack and lift services, supported underpinning and sister foundation repair services can also be used to secure the structure.

Related: When Should You Get a Foundation Repair? 

Can I minimize expansive soil?

Homeowners are able to minimize the damage of expansive soils through taking precautions to manage the soil’s moisture content. That means that is possible to safely construct a building on expansive soils as long as the building can be properly insulated from any soil volume change or if the moisture content in the soil can be maintained. Teaming up with a professional contractor can help you discover which moisture mitigation solution will work best for your property. These solutions include foundation watering systems, gutters and downspouts, timed sprinkler systems, landscaping changes, drainage system installation, and more. 

foundation repair woodland hills

Overall, a professional will be able to give you the best idea of how to improve your unique situation in order to best protect your property.

Why should soil problems be addressed quickly? 

If you have noticed signs of foundation damage, it’s important to contact a professional contractor as soon as possible. Delaying necessary foundation repairs could lead to a much costlier and more extensive foundation replacement process. The longer foundation problems go unaddressed, the greater the stability of the home is jeopardized. This threatens not only the lives of all building occupants but provides a risk of drastically lowering the home’s property value. Be sure to pay careful attention to foundation damage warning signs in your home and act as soon as possible if you notice signs of damage. Preventative action is always the most cost-effective way to fortify your property while saving money. If you notice any signs of foundation damage, be sure to request a professional inspection as soon as possible. 

Related: Reasons Los Angeles Homes Need Foundation Inspections

Are you concerned about the structural stability of your home? Have you noticed signs of foundation damage that might be linked to issues with your soil? Don’t wait for the problems to get worse. Call California Foundation Works today in order to give your property a professional evaluation! Our team of expert contractors will provide a free home inspection so that we can assess your situation and get started on discussing the best solution for fortifying your property. What are you waiting for?

Call today to get started on creating a more secure home!

(323)-418-2239

earthquake retrofitting

Earthquake Effects and the Need for Seismic Retrofitting

House Retrofitting

There are many appealing aspects of settling down in Southern California, but earthquakes are certainly not one of them. While major earthquakes clearly pose visible threats to a building’s foundation, minor cases of seismic activity can also wreak havoc on your foundation in less obvious ways. In order to preserve your property value and keep your loved ones safe, it’s essential to understand the damage that earthquakes pose, spot the signs of damage, and secure your home against the threat of seismic destruction. 

Related: Earthquake Retrofitting 101: Secure Your Home 

How do earthquakes damage homes?

In any situation in which the ground shifts beneath a home, damage can occur. That means that even a minor earthquake can unsettle your home and upset your foundation if your building is not properly retrofitted. An unsettled foundation can cause your home to shift, slant, or event slide off the property in extreme causes. It can also lead to a host of interior and exterior house issues, such as foundation cracks and warped floors that can lead to serious issues for the homeowner if left untreated.

seismic retrofitting

It’s important for homeowners to understand that even minor earthquakes can cause damage, so inspections are necessary for keeping your foundation protected. If your foundation has sustained damage, you will need professional help to resolve the issue and prevent future damage.

How can homeowners prevent against damage? 

While some cases of serious earthquake damage is apparent to the naked eye, mild damage can often go undetected. This can cause problems that would have been relatively easy to fix if caught early to worsen over time and lead to more extensive and costly repairs. That’s why it’s extremely important to be vigilant about checking your home for signs of foundation damage after seismic activity, no matter how minor the earthquake. The most cost effective way to keep your home safe is to be proactive, catch damages early on, and connect with a contractor to discuss repair options. While our contractors are happy to provide free foundation inspections, there are also signs that homeowners can be on the lookout for before they call in the professionals. 

Related: Earthquake Safety Tips

prepared for the next earthquake

What are foundation damage warning signs?

One of the most visible signs of foundation damage are cracks, which can be located in both the home’s exterior and interior. Exterior foundation cracks of large dimensions are often linked to foundation damage. Be on the lookout for unusually large cracks or horizontal cracks, which could be a sign of foundation movement. Visible slants in floors, ceilings, walls, and the general appearance of the house itself can indicate that the foundation is leaning or shifting, which is a sign of major foundation damage.

Broken bricks or blocks, if these materials are used in your foundation, are also possible indicators of damage. If you notice any of these signs, it’s crucial to call in professional help so that the root of the issues can be understood. If it is determined that your issues are linked to foundation damage, then appropriate steps must be taken to fortify your home. 

What are earthquake retrofitting solutions? 

The good news is that with the right professional help, retrofitting your home against the destruction of earthquakes is a more than manageable task. Earthquake retrofitting is a necessity for Southern California building owners. Popular solutions include cripple wall bracing, foundation bolting, and attaching the floor to braced cripple walls. These forms of fortification will prevent the home from shifting or sliding in the event of seismic activity, allowing the homeowner to rest easy with the knowledge that their building is secured. In order to determine which solution, or solutions, are best for your unique situation, a professional will need to evaluate your home and determine the most effective course of action. 

Related: The Ultimate Guide for the Soft Story Retrofit Cost 

Is your building in need of a seismic retrofit?

If your structure hasn’t been properly secured, it is leaving residents vulnerable in the event of seismic activity. When it comes to protecting your loved ones and property value, don’t take any chances! California Foundation Works offers free home inspections so that you can set your mind at ease and get started on a cost-effective solution for securing your home. Call today to book your free, no obligations inspection. A member of our team will be happy to answer any questions!

We offer FREE earthquake stability inspection, seismic retrofitting estimate for homeowners. To schedule call us at 323-418-2239

Concrete driveway

Asphalt vs. Concrete Driveways

driveway repair

Whether you’re building a new home or improving upon your current dwelling, driveways make for important areas of renovation. Damaged driveways can provide an inconvenience and unnecessary stress on your vehicle’s tires, while a freshly paved driveway can greatly improve the curbside appeal of your home. But when it comes to driveways, there are choices to make. What material will hold up best over time? What will give you the best value for your dollar? If you’re considering either repairing your current driveway or installing a new one, we’re here to compare asphalt to concrete on a variety of levels in order to definitively determine which material is best suited for your situation.

Overall Appearance

Asphalt and concrete are the two most traditional driveway material options. Though they are similar in certain factors, they also have a number of differences that are important to consider before deciding which option is better suited for your home. While asphalt and concrete are both composed from the same general material, stone and sand, they differ considerably in appearance.

When it comes to aesthetics, there is no right or wrong choice. It is up to the homeowner to consider which option better suits the home. One key way that asphalt and concrete differ is the adhesive in asphalt is tar, while the adhesive in concrete is cement.

Asphalt (top) vs. Concrete (bottom)

driveway installation los angeles

Asphalt, therefore, has a distinct black tar appearance that makes the driveway appear as though it is an extension of the road. In contrast, concrete is a far lighter color that can be tinted, engraved, stamped, or designed in a multitude of ways. Asphalt design options are far more limited, with the installation process leaving little room for the design customization that concrete can offer. However, it is possible to add a tint to the asphalt finish to deviate from the standard black, though concrete provides a significantly higher amount of stain and design options. Overall, it can be helpful to consider what driveway style prevails in your neighborhood if you want your home to smoothly blend in rather than stand out. Consider the appearance of your neighborhood driveways when deciding upon your own selection.

concrete driveway los angeles

Climate Conscious

Climate is an important factor to consider when it comes to choosing your building materials. You’re going to want to use materials that are best suited for your unique climate, especially if it veers on either end of the extreme weather spectrum. Cold and freezing winters can wreak havoc on concrete, causing it to crack and blemish with frequent frost. Another factor that cold climate homeowners have to consider is that the salt used to melt ice can leave concrete driveways tarnished. However, if you live in an area that doesn’t see regular snow and frost, these concerns aren’t likely something you’ll have to worry about.

In contrast, asphalt is known to have issues in extremely hot weather. The tar that is used as adhesive in asphalt can soften in the extreme heat of summer, leaving it tacky upon touch and opening the possibility for surface blemishes. Overall, concrete is better suited for warm temperature areas since it cracks in the cold, while asphalt is favored in cooler climates since it softens with high heat. Since climate plays such a big role in regulating the durability of your driveway, it’s important to consult a professional contractor before committing to either option.

Considering Cost

Another factor that homeowners have to consider is the cost of installation. On average, concrete clocks in as the costlier option, with customization playing a factor in the overall bill. Asphalt, with its limited installation options, almost always provides a cheaper option for homeowners. On average, installing each square foot of asphalt will cost from between $2.50 to $4.00, while each square foot of concrete can average from $4.00 to $6.00. Factoring in stains, finishes, and detailing, a square foot of concrete could run as high as $15.00 or more. However, installation cost is only one part of the overall price equation. In addition to material, other factors that can aggravate overall project cost include the dimension of the driveway, any drainage features, design elements, and surrounding landscaping.

Maintenance and Care

Maintenance is a key factor that contributes to the lifetime cost of a driveway. While providing a cheaper installation option, asphalt is also more susceptible to wear than concrete. Roughly six months after installation, asphalt will require sealing, which will then need to occur every three to five years afterward.

On the other hand, sealing a concrete driveway is optional and will only need to occur one time. However, though asphalt is more prone to wear than concrete, it also is easier to repair. Asphalt cracks can easily be blended, while concrete repairs tend to stand out more in appearance.

Concrete driveway

When it comes to the lifespan of your driveway, asphalt driveways are estimated to last 20 years, while concrete driveways clock in at double with a 40-year lifespan estimate. However, these numbers can fluctuate based on the level of care. That means that proper preservation can extend these numbers, while failure to care for your driveway can drastically reduce them. Regular sealings can extend the lifespan of an asphalt driveway to 30 years, while concrete driveways are known to surpass 50 years with excellent care. Overall, asphalt proves to be the more high-maintenance option, especially in harsh climates.

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Additional Factors

There are also a number of additional factors to consider. While both materials require time to cure before they are able to be driven on, concrete requires days, while asphalt only needs hours. While it is the more expensive option, concrete is also the more durable material. By nature, asphalt is softer and more susceptible to wear, though proper maintenance can easily balance this downside.

Asphalt also provides the possibility for resurfacing to leave the top of the driveway with a brand new coat. The same cannot be done for concrete, so the situation is more dire if it reaches extreme levels of disrepair.

Before you commit to either option, be sure to check that you are not violating any local building codes. Professional contractors will be able to assist in this area to ensure that there are not any specific guidelines that need to be followed. Additionally, if you live in a development, your Homeowner’s Association may have certain restrictions that you must abide to. Unfortunately, these restrictions can often be rigid, leaving little room for personal preference.

Are you looking to install a new driveway or repair an existing one?

California Foundation Works is a licensed concrete driveway contractor that specializes in the design and construction of driveways that best suit the Southern California environment.

Call today to discuss your options! We repair cracked, buckled, and water pooling driveways!

We offer a FREE estimate for homeowners.
323-418-2239

Foundation Crack

5 Reasons Why Foundation Erodes

Foundation Crack

Poor Drainage

The most common type of foundation damage 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. Foundation settling or sinking is when the soil under the foundation compacts and ends up forming spaces below the foundation which causing it to sink. If the water causes the soil under the foundation to swell, that will raise the foundation a little and then cause foundation settling when it dries up as it shrinks.

yard gutter

Weather

The weather has a big effect on the house foundation. One important aspect is humidity; it has a tendency to adversely affect foundation, which can cause it to weaken and deteriorate. Over time, this lowers the resistance of the concrete and lessens its stability. Early warning signs of foundation damage include foundation cracks, white powder, basement humidity, brittle joints in concrete foundation blocks, concrete falling off, exterior cracks, and bubbles in the foundation. Be sure to regularly inspect your foundation in order to pick up on warning signs. Addressing the issue early will prevent costly repairs in the future.

Underpinning Repair

Soil

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. 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.

Poor Pre-Construction Compaction of the Foundation Site

A house foundation depends on the uppermost soil layers. These layers are stabilizing the whole foundation and provide the supports for the structure. If the soil is not one that can bear the weight or wasn’t properly compacted during grading phase of the job site, the foundation is prone to settlement as the soil that supports it consolidates.

Another concern is the various soil conditions. The house may settle differentially because of different conditions in different soils that support the house foundation. In this case, the foundation system should be designed specifically for the various soil condition in the foundation site.

foundation replacement

Time

Time is a huge factor, all the reasons mentioned above are amplified as the time factor is taking into account. As mentioned before, the foundation process to newly built homes has evolved with time and nowadays the method of this process results in a stronger foundation that can endure for longer. The combination of all the reasons above shortens the lifespan of the house foundation and speed up the deterioration process.

Are You Concerned About Your House Foundation? Did You Notice Some Signs That Your Foundation May Be Damaged?

We Offer FREE Inspection For Your House Foundation. Call California Foundation Works To Schedule
323-418-2339

Garage conversion los angeles

Garage Conversion in Los Angeles

Home Foundation

Garage Conversion

Los Angeles homeowners can now convert their garages into dwellings after the Senate Bill No. 1069 legalized garage conversions.

Garage conversions are a smart idea for homeowners. It allows them to use the space in the garage more efficiently and to increase the value of their properties. In order to convert your garage into a dwelling, you need to take the following steps :

Garage Conversion

Decide on Room Type

The first step in converting your garage is to research and decide what you want to convert it into. There are unlimited options of what you can convert your garage into. Some ideas are, a rental or just an extension of your house by adding an extra bedroom, gym, entertainment area, office or whatever you’d like.

Budget

Your budget is very critical when converting your garage. You can customize the space as much as you want or as much as your budget allows. A garage conversion is not expensive but the cost can increase depending on the features you add, such as bathrooms. Other factors like electrical wirings, plumbing, heating and cooling, ceiling and flooring can definitely add to the cost as well.

Related: Benefits Of Garage Conversions

Hire A Contractor

The final step to converting a garage into a dwelling is find a contractor to actually do the work. Hire a licensed and insured contractor to carry out the work, as they are trained and understand the regulations. They will be able to tell you what can and can’t be done. Professional contractors will also make sure that all the plumbing and electrical wiring is done without exposing the owners to any dangers.

Garage To Living Room

For More Information

Contact California Foundation Works if you need a professional contractor for garage conversion. Call California Foundation Works at 323-418-2239 to schedule a free garage conversion inspection and estimate. 

For more related information : Garage Conversions Los Angeles

Foundation Underpinning Los Angeles

Foundation Underpinning Retrofit with Piers

underpinning foundation

Foundation Underpinning Retrofit with Piers

The foundation of your home is essential in providing the strength and stability of your dwelling. It creates a safe and comfortable space for your family to reside.

However, the foundation can wear over time. Whether it’s due to climate conditions, an old building, or other factors, foundation damage can both jeopardize the occupants and threaten the property value. This is where foundation underpinning can salvage a home.

Underpinning

What is an Underpinning Retrofit?

Foundation underpinning is a repair process that expands a building’s foundation in order to provide stability. Underpinning involves placing a solid foundation below ground level in order to secure the structure of the home.

Related: A Foundation Which Appears Level May Need Repair

How Do I Know My House Needs One?


It’s fairly easy to determine if your home is in need of underpinning. If the foundation of your home is significantly imbalanced, an underpinning retrofit will be needed to restore the structural integrity of the dwelling.

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

Piering Process

Foundation underpinning retrofits are achieved through a technique known as piering, a process of installing concrete or steel pilings in the ground in order to support the foundation. This is a large project that requires the use of heavy machinery. There are three types of piers typically used in the process in order to level the foundation.

Related:Pier and Beam Foundation Repair and Leveling

Concrete Piers


Concrete piers are designed for use in highly-compressed areas in order to create a new foundation level. Since the piers are commonly between two and three feet of length, they are often installed via tunneling. Due to their length, concrete piers are known to be a less expensive piering material. However, the lessened cost comes with a catch. Since concrete piers are only driven into the ground in a relatively short way, they will likely shift over time due to soil pressure. Concrete piers should stay in place for up to 20 years, but another foundation retrofit might be needed in the future.

Steel Piers

In contrast, steel piers are a more expensive option that can be driven into the ground all the way down to the bedrock. Steel piers should guarantee a secure foundation for the duration of the home’s life. Steel piers are believed to create a new foundation level in a more effective and permanent way than concrete piers. However, because steel piers are much longer, they will take more time and effort to be installed. Steel piers are the difference between putting a long-term bandaid over a problem and curing it for good.

Underpinning Repair

Helical Piers

The third pier option is helical piers. Like steel piers, helical piers can be drilled up to the bedrock. However, the shape of helical piers sets them apart from the other two options.

Helical piers have ridges on them similar to a screw. This makes them much easier to drill into the ground, and they take up far less space within the ground. For these reasons, helical piers have become to go-to pier choice of many contractors. However, you should always consult a foundation expert before selecting a pier. A professional will evaluate the situation and tell you which choice will be best for your specific repair.

Are you concerned about the foundation of your home? Do you need an expert’s opinion?

Call California Foundation Works to schedule a free foundation inspection and estimate.
323-418-2239

foundation replacement in los angeles

When Is Foundation Replacement Necessary?

Foundation Crack

When Is Foundation Replacement Necessary?

When it comes to protecting the investment value of your home, it’s essential to maintain the integrity of your house’s foundation. If the foundation has been compromised, the selling value of the house will drastically drop.

In addition, it can be dangerous for residents to live in a home with an unstable foundation. In less severe cases, damaged areas of foundation can be repaired. However, this won’t cover severe cases of foundation damage. Though it is a costlier solution, full foundation replacement is necessary in severe cases of foundation corruption. How do you know if your home falls in this category? Read on to discover the situations in which foundation replacement is necessary.

foundation replacement

Signs Replacement Is Necessary

Though full wall or foundation replacement may be more expensive than simple repairs, it will provide a lasting solution to your foundation issues that will be sure to secure your property value. What are signs that replacement is inevitable? If you can pull pieces of mortar out of the wall or if the mortar is eroded to the extent that it has become chalky and flaky, a wall replacement is likely necessary. A replacement is also needed if pieces of the foundation block are protruding or there is considerable foundation block displacement. Other signs of replacement include the wall tipping or bowing beyond the point of recovery, holes in the foundation material, and twisted foundation blocks that have caused cracks or displacement in the corner of the walls. Additionally, if pieces have begun to fall away from the wall, it is likely time for a wall upgrade.

Related: When Do You Need A Foundation Replacement ?

Foundation Crack

Why Is Replacement Needed?

Extreme home renovations can seem like an overwhelming task for the average homeowner, but our professional contractors can evaluate the situation and provide custom solutions. Foundation replacement is often needed in older buildings since material guidelines used to be more slack. Homes built in the earlier part of the 19th century are more susceptible to foundation decay and damage. Many of these foundations have deteriorated past the point of salvation. However, foundation deterioration is not an issue exclusive to older buildings. The poured concrete that is typically used in newer house construction can also provide foundation failure. The construction of a new concrete wall by contracted professionals can ensure that the foundation is up to code to guarantee lasting foundation stability.

No matter how severe your foundation decline is, rest easy knowing that experts can help.
Do you have concerns about your home’s foundation?

Call California Foundation Works to schedule a free foundation inspection and estimate. Let’s come up with a solution together.
323-418-2239