Understanding The Causes of Foundation Damage
The durability of a house relies on a solid foundation. As the base of the house, the foundation secures the building to the ground. If the foundation of integrity is upset, a host of problems can subsequently adversely affect the house and its stability. It’s important to understand why foundation crumbles and what to do if you spot deterioration.
Why Does Foundation Weaken?
Why does foundation deteriorate in the first place? Humidity 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.
What Causes Foundation Crumble?
Foundation deterioration is a major issue because it can put residents at risk. It also adversely affects property value. What causes the foundation to actually crumble? Several factors can cause lasting home damage. In addition to humidity, urban development is known to cause concrete damage. Concrete is more susceptible to weakening when the house is located in high traffic areas. The geographic area also plays a role in the house’s stability due to factors such as soil composition, which affect the stability of the concrete. Lastly, concrete has evolved over the past century. Older houses were likely built with a weaker concrete mixture, which means their foundations likely need to be repaired or replaced. Regulations have become more strict in recent times, making newer homes more likely to be adequately secure.
How to Address Foundation Damage
Foundation damage is a sensitive issue, and homeowners will benefit from having an expert evaluate their situation. Trained professionals are needed to assess the foundation damage and determine the extent of the renovation in order to maintain the building’s integrity.
Mild to Moderate Cases
In less severe cases, foundation repairs can be performed in order to strengthen the building. This involves reinforcing the existing foundation by removing all deteriorating parts and applying a new concrete coat. With this method, only the damaged parts will need to be replaced. This type of repair can be beneficial for long-term structural improvement and is considered to be less costly.
However, major structural damage will call for a complete foundation replacement. If the house structure is at risk, the building will need to be lifted so that the existing foundation can be removed and replaced with a newer foundation. Though this solution is more expensive, it is permanent and will ensure that the house has a foundation that meets current code standards. In order to avoid major repairs, it is advisable to regularly check your foundation for signs of damage.
Do you have concerns about your foundation integrity?
Call California Foundation Works to schedule a free foundation inspection and estimate.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Related: 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.
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.
Yard Drainage Basics
In order to ensure for the structural integrity of your home, you must have a proper drainage system. A drainage system needs to be installed because of it essential that water does not pool near the home’s foundation. This can threaten the foundation of the home and jeopardize the structural integrity of the dwelling.
Without a proper drainage system, water can seep into the house and flood basements. This can cause mold in the walls of the home or large cracks, which will lead to costly and consuming repairs, as well as other expensive and invasive damage. Ensure that your home is waterproofed to protect it from invasive weather.
However, be sure to get permission from your city before you consider redirecting your drain pipes to the city sewer. This is where professional contractors can really assist with your yard drainage project.
Fortunately, there are a number of drainage solutions for homes experiencing issues with the direction of their excess water flow. Be aware that seeking a professional opinion is the best way to determine what solution will best fit your situation.
Related: Yard Drainage Solutions
French drains are a common solution to drainage issues since they are easily covered and thus considered non-disruptive to the landscape. In simple terms, a french drain consists of a trench that is filled with gravel. Perforated pipes with holes in them run along the trench and are placed in the middle of the gravel, making them seldom noticeable since the drain is usually covered by soil or shrubbery. In order to ensure that your french drains do not have to be dug up and reconstructed in the future, make sure that they are properly constructed the first time. To drain effectively, the water in the soil passes through the overlaying gravel and drains into the pipe before being rerouted.
Related: What Is A French Drain ?
Water might be pooling near your home’s foundation if your rain downspouts are too close to your house’s perimeter. Consistent pooling of water near the foundation could cause serious foundation damage over time. One of the largest issues water in the foundation can cause is concrete cracking, which could lead to foundation repairs or in serious cases replacement. To have your downspouts structured for maximum home protection, ensure that they dump water at a minimum of three feet away from the house’s foundation.
Related: Foundation Replacement
A simple solution for drainage issues is to grade your yard’s soil so that it slopes downhill and away from the foundation. The slope should be a minimum of six inches to over ten feet steep. It is crucial to angle the slope the right way to ensure that the water will flow away at a proper pace and in the right direction.
Catch basins, dry wells, and sump pumps are all options for yard drainage installation. Catch basins are a good alternative to French Drains for houses with high clay content soils. Catch basins are able to collect water and redirect it through piping to storm sewers. For houses that are not near storm sewers, dry wells can be used to collect rainwater. Dry wells allow runoff water to be store so that it gradually enters the subsoil. Ensure that they are dug at a proper level to make sure that the water is both caught and capable of seeping into the subsoil. Lastly, sump pumps are saviors for extreme yard flooding. They are often installed if a home is not equipped with a natural slope for drainage.
For more information about Yard Drainage Solutions visit: Yard Drainage Los Angeles
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Major home repairs, such as foundation replacement, are a process that no homeowner enjoys. However, in some cases, they are necessary in order to protect the structural integrity of the home. Fortunately, with the right contractors, foundation replacement can become a manageable task utilized to protect both your property value and the residents of the dwelling.
Foundation Damage Signs
Foundation damage isn’t an issue that appears suddenly. There are a number of initial warning signs that homeowners can be on the lookout for in order to monitor the structural security of their home. The most common signs of foundation damage are sagging or sloping floors, cracks in floors or ceilings, gaps between the floors and walls, doors or windows that stick and have trouble opening or closing, and walls that are beginning to warp, lean, or bow.
Replace or Repair?
Fortunately, most forms of foundation damage can be repaired with professional help. However, there are some extreme cases of foundation destruction that call for a replacement.
How do you determine if the foundation should be repaired or replaced? In cases of severe deterioration, the more cost-effective solution is sometimes to replace the foundation. In special cases, it is more expensive to repair severely damaged foundation than it would be to replace it entirely.
Foundation replacement in Southern California homes is often the result of extreme weather, such as soil erosion as a result of flooding or high magnitude earthquakes. Soil plays a major role in foundation damage. When the soil beneath a home sinks or settles, the home can experience a movement known as foundation settlement. Expansive soil can also lead to bowing and buckling of walls.
Related: Types of House Foundations
Signs of Replacement
A professional inspection is the only way to be completely sure a foundation replacement is needed. Some types of foundation damage are not clear to the naked eye. However, there are some general signs that replacement is needed.
Signs that point to a foundation replacement include excessive or large cracks, sinking or shearing in the foundation due to the soil base, hollow spaces in the foundation, and lengthy exposure to water or moisture. Issues with the original foundation that call for replacement include unsound building materials, low-quality concrete, not allowing the foundation to cure long enough, and the usage of unreinforced materials.
The replacement process is unique for each dwelling, taking as little as one week to several weeks to repair. Foundations that are crumbling or porous will not be able to resist earthquakes of high magnitude. The brick or stone masonry will need to be strengthened in order to fortify the dwelling.
When foundation replacement is needed, heavy equipment is used to expose the foundation by excavating the soil around the home. Temporary supports are then used to “jack up” the house so that the slab floor and foundation walls can be taken out.
The house will be lowered back into place after the new foundation has been built. The soil will then be replaced and other exterior details, such as porches or walkways, can be restored to their original place.
One of the biggest mistakes you can make as a homeowner is to ignore signs of foundation damage. The problems will only worsen over time, leading to a more expensive and invasive repair in the future. Don’t hesitate to contact a professional if you spot any signs of foundation damage.
Related: Insurance and Foundation Damage
Do you have sloping or cracked floors?
Are your walls warping? Do your doors stick?
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Your Home Is Your Fortress
Los Angeles homeowners may have secured themselves a coveted piece of real estate, but there are some unsavory realities to contend with as homeowners. Frequent seismic zone activity and soil foundation settlement are two major issues that homeowners in Los Angeles face when protecting their property value.
Floor leveling is key to maintaining the structural integrity of your dwelling. Fortunately, you can stay vigilant in order to seek out early warning signs and determine the issue in advance to get your foundation and leveling problems taken care of early on.
Foundation settlement signs
Foundation settlement leads to a building structure becoming sloped. The most frequent signs of this predicament include uneven floors, cracks in ceilings and walls, and windows and doors having difficulty closing or opening with ease. Other signs include bumps in the floor and floors that squeak and are noisy to walk on.
To rectify the problem, professional floor leveling is needed. Floor leveling is used to restore buildings to their original position after the house has began to sink or the foundation shows signs of shifting. Though the process is delicate, with expert help it is possible to restore most buildings to their original position.
Related: House Leveling & Construction
Floor leveling process
Professional house leveling commonly uses a jack or a lift to raise the home to its proper level, while correcting the cause of the misalignment in order to prevent future issues. In order to secure the home, beams are attached to jacks under the house in a process called shoring. The careful raising of the hydraulic jacks will prevent damage to the building over time while also avoiding damage to the home’s interior.
In order to ensure for lasting structural success, the foundation is upgraded to meet current codes. As the jacks are raised to lift the building, new piers and posts are added to secure the adjustment and support the newly leveled floor. In order to ensure a structurally sound completion in your home leveling project, expert help is needed.
Related: The Foundation Leveling Process
Securing Your Dwelling
Floor leveling isn’t just a suggested step for homes that are experiencing foundation shift or sinking: it is a necessary solution. Homes that are experiencing shifting or sinking can pose major safety threats to all residents. In fact, in some areas upgrades are mandated.
Additionally, Los Angeles homeowners cannot afford to be lax about their foundation care. Due to unpredictable and severe weather and seismic activity, it is entirely plausible that sinking or shifting homes might entirely slide off their foundation or collapse during natural disasters.
Ignoring foundation issues will only exacerbate the symptoms and lead to an even costlier repair down the line. If not properly addressed, the structure of the home could be damaged beyond repair, causing the investment value of the home to sharply plummet. Overall, floor leveling is needed to both improve the quality of the living space and expose and address underlying foundation problems.
Are You Experiencing Sloping floors? Leveling Issues?
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Solutions To Seismic Safety
A number of solutions can be ideal for houses susceptible to earthquakes, especially if they are located in hillside areas. A combination of earthquake retrofitting solutions including mudsill bolting, plywood shear bracing, and Simpson mudsill plates might be ideal for houses located in earthquake danger zones.
Foundation bolting involves adding bolts between the concrete home foundation and the wooden framing of the house. This typically consists of adding bolts through the sill, the piece of wood that lies on top of the foundation. Foundation bolting is ideal for houses that have weakened or spaced out bolts or which do not have bolts in the first place. Bolt strength depends on placement and installation of bolts, taking into consideration factors such as foundation condition and bolt load stress. If your house is not bolted to the slab, it will be susceptible to earthquakes. This is a big issue for Los Angeles homeowners and houses in areas prone to earthquakes.
Related: Benefits of Foundation Bolting
Types of Bolts
The two types of bolts typically used for foundation bolting are expansion bolts and epoxy-set bolts. Also known as mechanical foundation anchor bolts, expansion foundation bolts are the basic bolt type used in earthquake retrofitting. Since expansion foundation bolts need to be strengthened by concrete to work, they tend to be used in houses with newer foundation. On the other hand, epoxy-set foundation bolts are ideal for older homes that have weaker concrete. They are also ideal for powerful earthquakes that can cause the house to uplift. These types of anchors tend to be longer so that they can be inserted deeper, which is important if there is an additional base frame.
Related: Property Retrofitting
Cripple Wall Bracing
The main source of earthquake failure is cripple wall collapse. Cripple walls refer to the short wood-framed walls that can be found in the crawl space sub-area. They can run from several inches to several feet in length and often collapse as a result of the main floor dropping. To keep the cripple wall from collapsing during an earthquake, it needs to be stiffened or braced. You can brace the wall by adding structural grade plywood to the wall frame to stiffen the wall. For ideal seismic protection, all sides of the house need to be braced with plywood. However, it is unnecessary to over-brace the house.
Related: How will i know if i need retrofitting ?
Some houses will also need additional brackets to anchor the shear walls. Foundation holdown brackets are designed to resist the wall from lifting or rolling in the wake of an earthquake. Installation of these brackets is typically done with deeper set bolts to provide better resistance. Lastly, not all house have cripple walls, so other solutions need to be explored. Simpson Strong-Tie Retrofit Connectors can be connected between the mudsill and rim joist. Similarly, Angle Iron Struts can be used to connect the floor joists to the foundation. All these solutions are designed to provide an anchor to the house.
Contact a professional foundation contractor if you are a Los Angeles homeowner and have concerns about the integrity of your home’s foundation.
Call California Foundation Works at 323-418-2239 to schedule a free foundation inspection and estimate.
How Your House Can Benefit From Foundation Bolting
The structural integrity of your home depends on a strong foundation. Houses in Los Angeles and surrounding cities fall susceptible to a number of natural phenomena, such as earthquakes, mudslides, and flooding. That’s why it’s essential for Los Angeles homeowners to protect the security of their home with proper foundation bolting. With fortified foundation bolting, earthquakes don’t have to spell disaster.
How Does Foundation Bolting Work?
If your home isn’t adequately secured, earthquakes can wreak havoc on your house. The structure of your home needs to be bolted to the foundation to prevent serious structural damage. Earthquakes can destroy houses by sliding homes off of the foundation and causing walls to buckle and collapse. In severe cases, earthquakes can even cause houses to lift off the foundation entirely.
Along with cripple wall bracing, foundation bolting is essential to securing the structure of your home in the wake of natural disasters. Foundation bolting will both fortify your house against the threat of earthquake damage and leave the overall house structure more secured for the future. Homeowners need to think long-term when it comes to protecting their property value.
How Do I Know If My Home Needs Bolting?
If you live in the greater Los Angeles, chances are your home can significantly benefit from foundation bolting and earthquake retrofitting. New homeowners are likely unaware of the security of their house structure. Additionally, if your home has yet to experience a powerful earthquake you might not be aware of what it can withstand. That’s where expert help can be beneficial.
Our trained contractors can come to your home to evaluate the security of its structure. The last thing you want to be is unprepared in the wake of a major earthquake. Our Foundation inspectors will take images of your house’s structure in order to evaluate the foundation situation. House bolting specifics depend on a number of factors such as existing issues, how the house was built, and possible solutions for fortification. Don’t hesitate to act if your home is built in an area prone to earthquakes. Contact our professional foundation inspector today to evaluate the security of your home.
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.
Keep Your Property Well-Drained
Winter or right before the beginning of winter is the best time to get a foundation inspection for your house. The house foundation is one of the most expensive parts of a house to fix once it is damaged. A damaged house foundation can also significantly reduce the value of a house. Regular inspection and maintenance can prevent the headaches of having to deal with a damaged foundation. A foundation contractor will look for obvious signs of foundation problems or those that might lead to foundation problems such as :
Doors and Windows
One of the first signs of a compromised foundation is cracks and gaps around doors or windows. Doors and windows are essential cuts which are created through a wall weakening the walls. Any foundation movement below the walls will likely cause cracks. The most common signs around windows and doors which are indicative of foundation damage include cracks which extend from the corners of doors and windows and gaps between walls and frames of windows and doors. Misaligned doors and windows are also a sign of foundation problems.
Exterior Of The House
The foundation inspector will also take a look at the exterior of the house to determine if it has any signs of foundation damage. The classic exterior sign of any foundation problems are the stair step cracks. Vertical signs which seem to widen as time goes by also means that your foundation is having problems. Cracks on the exterior walls of your foundation also indicate foundation problems.
Related: Prepare Your Gutters For Winter
Interior Of the House
The floors in the interior of your house can also be used to tell if your foundation is damaged. Sagging and bowing floors which cause gaps between the floor might mean foundation damage. Unleveled floors, can mean that one side of the house is sinking. Cracks on the interior walls and ceiling are an indication of foundation problems.
Related : How Landscaping Affects Your Foundation
Contact a professional foundation contractor if you want to prevent foundation damage to your house from rain.
Call California Foundation Works to schedule a free foundation inspection and estimate.
Apart from the cold weather that winter comes with, it also brings rain which can cause damage to your house both directly and indirectly. In order to prevent damage, it’s advisable for homeowners to prepare for winter by having the necessary repairs. There are certain parts of a house that are more vulnerable to damage by rain hence homeowners need to pay extra attention to them.
Regular cleaning of your gutters might seem like a useless task but failure to do so will likely cause damage to your house. Most of the damage caused by gutters can be very expensive to repair, therefore prevention is the best solution. When the gutters are left to fill up with leaves or debris, the water begins to overflow down the sides which in turn destroys the wooden boards which hold the gutters.
Related: Prepare Your Gutters For Winter
Foundation repair is one of the most expensive types of repairs that can be done to a house. Homeowners need to understand what causes foundation damage and how to prevent it. Water is one of the main causes of foundation damage to a house, and so, homeowners need to adequately prepare their foundations for the winter. The goal of preventing foundation damage caused by rain is to prevent excess water from reaching your foundation. There are many ways in which this can be done and some of these include directing rainwater away from the foundation by using gutters and other channels. Another way to prevent this is by waterproofing your foundation so that water doesn’t seep through to your foundation during a flood.
Your drainage is also at risk of damage by rain if it is not in good condition. A drainage system needs to be regularly inspected and repaired to prevent any clogs from causing overflows and floods. Damaged drainage systems will cause flooding which in turn suffocates the trees, plants, and flowers on your yard.
Contact a professional drainage contractor if you want to prevent damage to your house from the rain.
Call California Foundation Works to schedule a free drainage inspection and estimate.
What Is Foundation Leveling
the process of getting a foundation back to its 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, which will be determined by the type of foundation.
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 into 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 consist 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.
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.