All You Need to Know about the Earthquake Brace + Bolt Program

When it comes to investing your hard-earned cash, you can’t go wrong by putting it into your home. Not only do our houses shelter our loved ones, but owning property is one of the most lucrative business ventures you can make. In order to keep your Los Angeles County home sheltered from the elements, including unpredictable storms and seismic activity, one essential step is obtaining earthquake brace and bolt services. Today we’re going to break down how you can save money through the Earthquake Brace + Bolt (EBB) program, as well as its application process and benefits. If you’re a Southern California homeowner looking to guard your investment, this information is helpful to know and understand! 


Related: Foundation Damage Caused by the Storms in Los Angeles 

What are brace and bolt services?

Many homes in the greater Los Angeles area are not properly fortified, leaving them vulnerable in the event of an earthquake. And when it comes to earthquakes in Southern California, it’s not a question of if they’re going to strike, but when. Homes that are decades old or constructed with wood framing, or especially homes that meet both of those specifications, are left particularly vulnerable to earthquake damage. The good news is that they can benefit enormously from brace and bolt services. 

Braces and bolts provide the most reliable insurance on the market for your structure by securing the foundation against seismic destruction. Bolting adds anchored bolts to the crawl space in order to prevent the home from sliding during seismic activity, while bracing strengthens and stiffens cripple walls to help prevent collapse.

What is the Earthquake Brace + Bolt program? 

Did you know that you could receive up to $3,000 to strengthen your structure by applying for the Earthquake Brace + Bolt (EBB) program? This program supports fortifying your home in order to lessen the damage of seismic activity. EBB is able to help fund retrofitting expenses for residential crawl spaces that require bolts, braces, or strapped and braced water heaters. Eligible houses must meet Chapter A3 specifications, which typically require the home to be wood-framed, built on a low slope or level ground, have a raised foundation, or have certain types of cripple walls. In order to participate in the program, you must not start retrofit work before you have been accepted into the program. That means if you seek to receive funding, it’s important to plan ahead. 


Related: 4 Steps to Soft Story Retrofitting

cripple wall bracing

How can I apply for brace and bolt services?

Interested in receiving financial assistance through EBB? There are certain specifications that homeowners must meet in order to be eligible for the program. Their home must be located in one of the designated EBB zip codes and be the primary residence at the time of application and retrofit completion. Homeowners will need to register and apply online as a homeowner and be able to show a completed and signed IRS W-9 form if asked. Registration is allowed once per house, and all houses must adhere to the program rules. 

Wondering if your home might be eligible? There is a good chance your home might be EBB eligible if it is located inside one of the EBB zip codes, meets the CEBC Chapter A3 specifications, was built before 1980 and is located on a low slope or level ground, and if it has not already received EBB payments.

How does the EBB application process work?

Are you waiting to hear back about your EBB application? Once registration for the year closes, which it has already done for 2019, homeowners will be randomly selected by an electronic system. Applications must be reviewed and approved by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), with applicants notified of progress via email. Early in the year, homeowners will be notified whether they have been placed on the waiting list or have been selected to participate. Therefore, if homeowners wish to receive assistance for the upcoming year, they are encouraged to submit all of their necessary information as soon as possible. For more information about the next grant registration, be sure to visit Applicants can also feel free to communicate with EBB at any time during the process.


Related: Are You Prepared for the Next Earthquake?

Why does your home need brace and bolt services?

You may not be able to predict when the next big earthquake strikes, but you do have the power to make sure that your home is guarded against the destruction of seismic activity. Brace and bolt services are essential to the health and strength of your structure. Likewise, your home might have been secured in the past, but time can create vulnerabilities, so it’s essential to get your home inspected and possibly updated if decades have passed since the last retrofitting process. Is your home as earthquake safe as it can be? If the answer isn’t a confident yes, then it’s time to take action.

EBB was created in order to aid residents in properly securing their homes in order to make California safer and lessen the destruction caused by earthquakes. There’s no reason why you shouldn’t take advantage of this beneficial program if you’re eligible! 


Earthquake retrofitting measures, such as a brace and bolt services, are necessary for securing your home in the wake of seismic activity. Don’t leave your Southern California home unprotected while earthquake threats loom. While the truth is that nothing can make your home entirely safe from earthquakes and their destruction, you can certainly significantly lower your chances of property damage by properly retrofitting your home.

Do you have concerns about the security of your structure?

Would you like to receive more information about how you can secure your home?

Call today to get started on the retrofitting process! At California Foundation Works we’re more than happy to answer all of your questions. Let’s work together to make your home as safe as possible!

Call California Foundation Works today
to book your FREE* home inspection!

foundation repair pasadena

The Importance of Foundation Repair in the Event of Seismic Activity

foundation crack

If you’re one of the lucky residents who get to call the greater Los Angeles area your home, then there are a lot of things to be happy about. However, one of the downsides of residing in Southern California is the unpredictable seismic activity. While not all earthquakes carry the same power, unfortunately all it takes is a minor earthquake to upset your foundation if it is not properly secured. Fortunately, you can ease worries out of your mind by taking the proper steps to secure your foundation. In order to fortify your home in the wake of unpredictable seismic activity, it’s crucial to have your foundation repaired so that it is in top shape no matter what the future has in store. 

Related: Understanding the Causes of Foundation Damage

Prioritize Stabilization

Though earthquakes can vary significantly in degree, the scary truth is that damage can occur in any situation that involves the ground shifting beneath your home. That means that your home’s foundation can become unsettled by even a seemingly small earthquake if your foundation isn’t properly fortified. For this reason, the number one thing you can do for your home is focus on foundation stabilization. Foundation repair is key for stabilizing your home, since structural integrity depends on a strong foundation. When the next earthquake hits, you want to make sure that your house won’t buckle or budge. One of the key ways in which foundation can become damaged over time is through changes in the soil. 

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Excess moisture during wet periods and lack of moisture during spells of dryness can respectively cause the soil to expand and contract. Likewise, compacting errors during construction can contribute to soil issues. Overall, issues with the soil can lead to foundation instability. Therefore it is key to spot the damage warning signs as early as possible so that you can get your foundation in top state before the next quake strikes. 

Know the Signs 

Preventative and early action steps are always going to offer homeowners the most cost-effective solutions for their foundation. That’s why it’s crucial for homeowners to be vigilant for checking their homes for signs of foundation damage. This process should be done routinely in order to catch damage signs as early as possible and address any problems. Though some signs of foundation damage may appear invisible to the naked eye and require a professional inspection, there are other signs of damage that the average homeowner can spot. Look out for doors or windows that don’t fit their frames properly or have difficulty opening or closing. Cracks in the walls, ceilings, or tiles including especially wide cracks, large clusters of cracks, and horizontal cracks— are often strong indicators that something is amiss with the foundation. You should also be wary of uneven floors or warped walls, any signs of water intrusion, and the appearance of the home “sinking,” shifting, or moving.    

Related: Reasons Los Angeles Homes Need Foundation Inspections

foundation repair venice

Understand the Process

If you have concerns about your foundation, you can rest easy knowing stabilization can almost always be achieved through foundation repair. While more serious cases might require complete foundation replacement, catching your issues early on will lead to easier solutions. Each repair process is unique, depending on individual factors in the home. In order to secure the foundation and keep it in top health, floor leveling, pier and beam reconstruction, and preventative support installation is often needed. There are two main methods for foundation stabilization, depending on whether the foundation is constructed with piers and beams or concrete slab. 

Pier and beam foundation stabilization is a dual step process that involves first installing supportive piers to concrete beams and then adjusting the piers that are used to support the home’s interior. Steel is then used to reinforce the concrete in a relatively simple repair process. On the other hand,  concrete slab foundation stabilization offers the more complicated repair route. Addressing concrete stab damage can be done in a variety of ways, including using steel or concrete pressed pilings, concrete piers, masonry patches and sealants, or high-density polyurethane foam.

Emphasize Safety 

Securing your foundation through necessary repairs and seismic retrofitting steps is ultimately necessary for protecting both your loved ones and your property value. While many buildings in the greater Los Angeles area have received mandatory seismic retrofitting orders, this is a process that all Southern California buildings can benefit from. This personalized process takes into account many factors, such as the location of the home, the condition of the foundation, the current strength of the structure, any existing damage, the original construction design, and more. While repairs and retrofittings might not seem like the most exciting way to spend your hard earned money, investing in the stability of your building will guarantee its health and duration for many years to come.

Related: Earthquake Effects and the Need for Seismic Retrofitting

Is you house properly retrofitted? Is your structure in need of repair? Secure your foundation today in order to guarantee the lasting security of your structure for many years to come. Don’t allow the next earthquake to jeopardize the stability of your home.

Call California Foundation Works today to get started on your foundation repair. No matter the scale of the project, we’re here to help you sleep soundly with the knowledge that your loved ones are secured. 

Call California Foundation Works today
to book your FREE* home inspection!

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

soft story retrofitting in La

The Ultimate Guide for the Soft Story Retrofit Cost Recovery Program

soft story retrofit

Many Los Angeles County residents have received mandatory soft-story retrofit ordinances in the mail, requiring them by law to update their buildings within a set amount of time.

While these mandates are needed to guarantee the structural stability of the building and the safety of all occupants in the event of seismic activity, that doesn’t make receiving an ordinance any less stressful for property owners. In addition, though soft-story retrofits are necessary long-term investments that will guarantee the health of your building, that doesn’t mean that makes footing the bill any less easy in the present. Today we are going to walk you through the soft story Cost Recovery Program so that you can discover the most cost-effective way to secure your building and keep residents comfortable throughout the process without sacrificing your savings. Ready to get started?

Related: What Affects the Cost of Seismic Retrofit?

What are the mandatory retrofits?

Close to 20,000 buildings in Los Angeles County alone have received orders to comply for mandatory retrofits. Passed in 2015, this ordinance requires for determined at-risk buildings to structurally secure their dated structures, a project that can run upwards of $130,000 in some cases for wood framed structures and as much as several million dollars for large concrete buildings.

The carefully defined ordinance gives building owners a total of 7 years to complete their mandatory retrofits in full, providing them a limited amount of time to work out payment plans and figure out savings. 

soft story retrofitting in La

However, the Cost Recovery Program can reimburse the building owner up to 50% of the project costs upon the completion of construction.

What is the Cost Recovery Program?  

If you are seeking a way to recover your seismic retrofitting costs, then you are not alone. On February 12, 2016, the Seismic Retrofit Work Cost Recovery Program became effective to provide a temporary rent surcharge to tenants based on two factors. These factors include: 1. A Los Angeles Housing and Community Investment Department (HCIDLA) approved pass-through of the total retrofitting costs of up to 50% divided equally among all rental units; 2. A rent increase for a recovery period of 120 months (which can be extended) at the maximum amount of $38 until the approved amount has been collected in full. That means that it is possible for property owners to recover up to 50% of the costs spent on the mandatory retrofitting.

Ready to sign up? 

Related: What Affects the Cost of Soft Story Retrofit?

soft story retrofitting Los angeles

How can I apply for cost recovery?

To apply for the Seismic Retrofit Work Cost Recovery Program, it is necessary to submit an application online. You will also be required to mail any supporting documentation that has been uploaded to the Department so that it can be received within 30 days of your application being filed. Once you have submitted your application, a mailing label will be provided, or you can bring the documentation in to a public counter. In order to submit an application successfully, it must be submitted within 12 months of your retrofit being completed.

You will be required to submit a copy of your Tenant Habitability Plan (THP), documentation to support the costs of the project, a rent roll with tenant rent and move in dates, and final permits for all work that required permits. 

How are cost recovery applications processed? 

Each application will have a Case Analyst assigned to it in order to review the application and assist with the process. Tenants and landlords will be notified that the application has been filed, at which point HCIDLA will review the documentation and determine the amount of the pass-through. Once a final determination has been made, it will be mailed to the tenants and landlords along with an appeal form. Tenants and landlords will both have the right to appeal the decision. 

Related: How to Apply for Earthquake Brace and Bolt Program

What is the Tenant Habitability Plan?

The Tenant Habitability Program requires that a Tenant Habitability Plan (THP) is developed in order to protect the rights of the tenants and minimize the impact of major construction for their well-being. A THP is required by property owners to ensure that necessary steps are taken to ensure that tenants can safety remain in their lodgings during construction or that safe temporary relocation can be provided for them.

Filing a THP is a required step of seismic retrofit work. The THP requires a number of points of important information,

soft story

including a list of the tenants and their current rent payment, the anticipated impact of the work on the residents’ living areas, the anticipated impact of the construction on the personal property of the tenants, and extended information about the disruption anticipated during the construction. Overall, THPs require a very thorough breakdown of the amount of work anticipated and the overall impact it will have on residents and their lives. 

What should I know about filing a THP? 

A THP can be filed by building owners at any time before the seismic retrofit begins. While THPs might include extra costs upfront in order to minimize the impact of construction on tenants, if all paperwork is filed correctly, they can bring many long-term cost benefits since they will be a key asset in securing an approved Cost Recovery Program. Therefore, it is very important to file your THP correctly. If you team up with the right engineer, then you will be able to keep your tenants in their homes and avoid paying for relocation.

Successful engineering, therefore, plays an important role in deterring the overall cost and success of your retrofit. All soft-story building owners are advised to ask about the THP process when they are getting their project bids, in order to be able to complete it successfully. The number one thing you can do to ensure the comfort of your tenants and the eventual recovery of the project cost is to work with a skilled engineer who will be able to minimize the disruption of your tenants’ lives and complete the mandatory retrofitting project in a quick, clean, and efficient manner. 

Related: Earthquake Retrofitting 101: Securing Your Home

Is your building in need of a soft story retrofit?

Have you received a mandatory ordinance in the mail?

Do you have any concerns about the structural stability of your dwelling?

California Foundation Works is here to help! We offer top quality foundation work, repair, and replacement of all kinds to the greater Los Angeles area. If you have any concerns about your soft story structure or wish to discuss budgeting options, don’t hesitate to call today! 

Call California Foundation Works today
to book your FREE* home inspection!

Water Damage

The Effects of Moisture on Foundation and How to Solve Them

waterproofing los angeles

When it comes to protecting your property value and ensuring for the lasting structural stability of your building, maintaining a healthy foundation is critical. Unfortunately, many different threats come along over the years that can lead to foundation damage if not properly treated in a timely manner.

One of the biggest culprits for foundation damage is water intrusion, which comes in a variety of forms. While water pooling on your floor or in your yard is a clear indicator of drainage system failure, there are other signs of water intrusion that may be less noticeable to the average homeowner. Today we’re going to explore the effect moisture intrusion has on your foundation, different types of moisture intrusion, and how to permanently solve your foundation moisture problems to guarantee the lasting health and success of your home.

Related: Benefits of Waterproofing Your Property

How moisture affects your foundation

Even the most structurally secure building is still vulnerable to the effects of weather and time. Water is a main factor in foundation damage. One of the key ways it can wreak havoc on a home’s stability is by causing the moisture level in the base soil to fluctuate.

Excess moisture causes the soil to expand beneath the home, a predicament which drainage failure can exacerbate. This causes the soil to shift, which leads to the home shifting as well. 

waterdamage Repair

If water is not able to be redirected from underneath the home, especially during periods of heavy rain, the structural stability of the home can become severely threatened. Coupled with soil shrinking during dry periods, the uneven state of the soil can create an imbalance in your home’s foundation that can lead to the home settling, sinking, or shifting. In order to avoid the costly repairs associated with such renovations, it’s critical to equip your building with a reliable drainage system.

Spotting the warning signs

In order to catch water intrusion before it has the chance to worsen, there are a number of warning signs that the homeowner should be aware of. To best guard your home against the threat of water damage, it’s important to conduct routine home inspections and be on the lookout for signs of damage.

Water intrusion signs include obvious water leaks, a ring of dampness around walls, condensation on floors and walls, damp air, humidity, stained walls, carpet or wood deterioration, rotting areas of the home, mold or mildew odor, and cracks in the home. The cause of most cases of water intrusion is due to construction failure, plumbing leaks, drainage system failure, extreme weather (such as heavy rains or earthquakes), extended dry periods, or the presence of trees too close to the home.

Related: Understanding the Causes of Foundation Damage

Home Drainage

Water intrusion solutions

It’s extremely important to address any water intrusion in your building, and fortunately, there are a number of solutions for this issue based on the problem at hand. Below you can discover some of the most common types of water intrusion and how to address the issues within your home.

Interior water leaks

When attempting to identify the cause of water intrusion, it’s always best to rule out that it isn’t caused by a leak within the home.

Inside leaks can occur from showers, sinks, dishwashers, faulty piping, and other related areas.

In order to determine the root of the leak, locate where the moisture is coming from. If you discover that the leak is indeed related to an interior issue, the good news is that the repair process will be very easy. You will simply have to repair the leak or schedule a plumber to attend to the issue. Be sure to monitor the area to ensure that the moisture doesn’t reoccur. If it does, then you might have bigger issues to deal with. Another easy to solve the interior water issue is condensation. If you notice condensation due to moist, warm air coming in contact with your cooled exterior, be sure to check that your dryer and central air conditioner exhaust systems are flowing properly. If you find that these systems are not clogged, investing in an exhaust fan, better insulation, or increasing the air circulation should be able to help you with your issues.

Drainage failure

Without proper drainage system installation, rain and groundwater can find their way into a home. If water is accumulating in your yard and finding its way into your foundation, you are likely in need of a drainage repair or new system installation. A number of different drainage systems, such as French drains, sump pumps, catch basins, and drain boxes, work to redirect the flow of water so it is channeled away from the home. It’s crucial that your drainage system is able to pump water away from the home so it does not have the opportunity to collect and settle. Other drainage system repairs that your home might be in need of  include installing or repairing your gutters and downspouts to once again better facilitate the flow of water away from your property. Meeting with a drainage contractor will allow you the opportunity to better understand your unique drainage situation so that you can explore your options.

Related: Different Types of Drainage Systems

Cracked foundation

Sometimes water intrusion is the result of a more serious issue, such as cracks in the foundation.

If your foundation has become compromised, there is a very strong chance that water is taking advantage of the situation and finding its way into your home.

Cracked and improperly installed foundation can be the cause of water intrusion, a problem which will only get worse over time.

In order to avoid the risk of needing a complete foundation repair, it’s important to contact a contractor right away if you notice a cracked foundation.

Foundation Crack

The repairs will need to be addressed as soon as possible. A professional will be able to determine if a surface repair is satisfactory for your cracks or if larger underlying structural problems will need to be addressed to better protect your home.

Routine home inspection benefits  

When it comes to addressing any home repair issues, it’s best to solve them as soon as possible before the issues have the chance to worsen. In all cases, the most cost-effective method of dealing with home repairs is preventative work. Except in the case of natural disasters, foundation damage doesn’t happen overnight. In order to catch problems in their earliest stages and provide the most budget-friendly options, be sure to be on the lookout for signs of foundation damage, including moisture intrusion. If you have spotted any of the foundation damage warning signs, be sure to contact a contractor right away in order to get your home examined by a professional. Don’t allow for a little moisture to turn into a major problem.

Related: Hiring a Foundation Waterproofing Contractor

Are you concerned about your home’s foundation? Have you noticed water intrusion or moisture invading your home?

At California Foundation Works, we’re dedicated to solving your home’s foundation problems in order to keep both your loved ones and assets safe.

Call today to book our free no obligation foundation inspection so that we can help you better understand your foundation moisture problems.

Are you ready to strengthen your home with a customized solution?

Call California Foundation Works today
to book your FREE* home inspection!


waterproof foundation

Benefits of Waterproofing Your Property

waterproofing los angeles

When it comes to home maintenance, there are many aspects of upkeep that homeowners should be aware of. One of the most crucial areas of homecare that should not be undervalued is waterproofing your property. Since the integrity of your building’s structure relies in part on reliable waterproofing, it’s essential to have your home waterproofed by professionals you can trust. Buildings that are not properly waterproofed are susceptible to foundation damage, water damage, health and safety risks, and a lowered property value.

Don’t allow for the importance of waterproofing in your building to be neglected! Read on to discover some of the top reasons why you should properly waterproof your building.

Waterproofing strengthens the structure

One of the best reasons to waterproof your building is to prolong its lifespan. Owning a building is one of the biggest investment assets you can make, so it’s detrimental to do all in your power to preserve and increase the lifespan of your structure.

Protecting your building from water intrusion can prevent against deterioration that could shave years off of the building’s lifespan. It can also help insulate your building against the many threats of deterioration that a variety of unpredictable weather elements can pose.

Basement waterproofing

Water and moisture can enter through the walls, floor, or ceiling and threaten the longevity of the building, which is why necessary waterproofing measures are needed to guard against these threats.

Waterproofing prevents health problems

It’s no surprise that homeowners want to keep water out of their buildings. But what threats can water pose? In addition to causing corrosion, rust, and rotting of building materials, one of the biggest threats that water intrusion can pose is mold growth. Whether your building is commercial or residential, the presence of mold can pose a serious risk to any occupants. Mold, mildew, and fungus growth is caused by a build-up of moisture in the walls or ceiling due to water intrusion. Exposure to mold can lead to a variety of health issues, including throat, eye, and skin irritation, a weakened immune system, asthma, allergies, chronic coughing, and other unsavory and potentially dangerous health problems.

In order to guard the safety of those exposed to the building’s environment, it’s essential to waterproof your building and prevent fungi and mold intrusion caused by water. Overall to have a successful building, it’s necessary to create a clean living space and a healthy environment.

Related: Peace of Mind with Concrete Waterproofing

waterproof foundation

Waterproofing reduces overall maintenance costs

While some delay getting home repairs due to concerns about cost, necessary home procedures can actually save the homeowner money in the long run.

In order to maintain a healthy and stable building, it’s essential to make proper investments in the overall health of the structure.

Waterproofing provides a cost-effective way to safeguard your assets by preventing the need for more costly and extensive repairs down the line.

Water damage can lead to exponentially more expensive repair work that will easily surpass the cost of simple waterproofing measures. When it comes to safeguarding your property, prevention is always the most cost-effective solution.

Waterproofing increases your property value

Another way that waterproofing can help safeguard your assets and avoid financial perils down the line is by protecting and increasing your property value. Leaving your building vulnerable to the intrusion of water threatens not only risks the health of building occupants but the property value of the structure. Properties with waterproofing problems will plummet in property value and lead to a host of unsavory issues from structural damage to a decrease in aesthetic appeal. Protect your investment by investing in the long-term health of your building by waterproofing your structure.

Waterproofing will also allow for the long-term comfort of your building in order to make it more comfortable to live in down the line for generations to come.

Related: Hiring a Foundation Waterproofing Contractor

Don’t wait to waterproof your property! Proper waterproofing measures are needed to protect your building against the risks of water damage and to prevent potential hazards from wreaking havoc on your property value. In order to maintain a healthy environment for occupants, increase the longevity of your building, and save money in the long run, waterproofing is a necessary step for homeowners to make.

Don’t wait to act if you have concerns over the security of your building’s waterproofing. Act today to guarantee the lasting structural success of your dwelling!

Our contracting experts at California Foundation Works are more than happy to answer any questions you might have about the waterproofing process.


Call California Foundation Works today to get started on your waterproofing solution!

french drains

Different Types of Drainage Systems

french drain los angeles

Have you noticed drainage system failures in your yard? From soggy areas to destroyed vegetation and water intrusion, the effects of a problematic drainage system can really bring down your property value and shorten the life of your landscape. Fortunately, there are a variety of drainage system solutions that Yard Drainage Los Angeles can customize to meet your unique needs. While a trained contractor can come in and evaluate your yard to determine the best solution for your problem, it’s always beneficial to know your options. Allow us to break down the different types of drainage systems, as well as their advantages and unique characteristics to help you determine which solution is best for your yard.

Spot Solutions

If you are only noticing small issues with water accumulation, then spot solutions might be all your yard needs to clear out a little bit of excess water buildup and prevent future occurrences. Spot solutions provide simple remedies that allow you to directly address the problem at its source. For example, a single source of water accumulation might be the result of a poorly directed gutter downspout, which can easily be corrected. Simple Catch Basin or Drain Boxes can also be installed to guide water away from the house and into a local sewer line. 

french drains

Allow one of our experts to examine your water buildup to determine the extent of the damage, and then we can work on installing one of these simple and effective solutions.

Related: Why You Should Install a Drainage System in the Spring/Summer

French Drains

French drains are recognized as one of the most popular drainage solutions. They are intended to help more extensive drainage issues for yards that are in need of directing the flow of water away from the house. French drains are ideal for hillside homes and homes built on sloped properties. French drains make for an aesthetically pleasing drainage solution since they consist of a perforated pipe that is buried in a trench underground and then surrounded by porous gravel that will allow the water to drain through it and into the French drain. French drains are adept at moving water away from the home over large distances without having any pipes sticking out and disrupting the appeal of your yard. Another very similar solution is the curtain drain, which is essentially a French drain variation that is dug slightly more shallow. Both of these drainage solutions are more effective for yards that are elevated since gravity will aid in moving the water away from the home.

Related: What is a French Drain?

Drainage Gutter

Surface Drains

Extensive drainage problems may call for more extensive solutions. If you are experiencing a severe drainage problem in your yard, then a surface drain might be the best option for you. Surface drains are noted for their large flow rate, which allows them to remove large amounts of water in a small amount of time. They are also favored for their low clog tendency, which makes them hard working and low maintenance solution. The surface drain involves a catch basin that is essentially a box placed in the ground near problematic areas. Water is able to easily flow through the grate in the box’s top, while debris settles at the bottom to prevent clogs. 

The water will flow out of an outlet trap thanks to an underground pipe system that will carry it away from the home and to a local sewage plant or another appropriate area. You can also install drain boxes or catch basins around the foundation exterior to waterproof the property perimeters and pull water away from the home. These options involve digging trenches and filling them with gravel for a smooth draining.

Related: Yard Drainage Installation for California Homeowners

Trench Drains

This drainage system is often included as a part of a backyard drainage design. Trench drains are simply comprised, consisting of a simple trench design. The trench will have a grate to cover it in order to prevent the drain from becoming clogged by objects. Trench drains are noted for being used on paved surface in order to redirect water away from the house and areas where runoff might be currently conglomerating. Trench drains are often used in pools, patios, and even driveways. They are favored for coming in a variety of sizes and widths that make them easy to incorporate with landscaping or structural designs. A newer form of the trench drain, known as the slot drain, is ideal for backyard drainage designs due to its durable drainage channel. Unlike traditional trench drains, slot drains do not require grate coverings. They also are slimmer in design without sacrificing any of the efficiency of trench drains.

Related: How Landscaping Affects Your Foundation

Sump Pump

This drainage solution is commonly installed in a basin underneath a crawl space. Sump pumps are designed to pump water away from the home. This prevents water from pooling and causing possible foundation damage. Sump pumps are beneficial for houses with basements or for houses that are built on a lower lot than the street level, as one of their key functions is to prevent the basement from flooding. Sump pumps can also be used to keep the area under the home dry and prevent flooding of the foundation.

sump pump

Additional Solutions

While the aforementioned drainage solutions represent the more popular options on the market, at Yard Drainage Los Angeles we are able to install any kind of drainage solution that meets your needs. Our solutions also include options such as rounded grates, pop-up emitters, atrium grates, flo-wells, and channel drains. Our team of drainage experts are here to examine your property and offer a custom solution that will fit all of your drainage desires. It’s our mission to protect your property value and preserve the lasting durability of your home, and we’re happy to guarantee that our superior services will leave your yard thriving for years to come.

Related: Waterproofing Solutions

Do you need help installing a drainage system or repairing an existing system?

With Yard Drainage Los Angeles on the job, you’ll find a one-stop solution for your Los Angeles drainage needs. Don’t wait for the next flood to show you just how damaged your current drainage system is.

Call today to get started on discovering your custom drainage solution.

Call Yard Drainage Los Angeles to get started on your custom drainage solution!

soft story retrofitting Los angeles

What if You Don’t Finish Your Soft Story Retrofit in Time?

soft story retrofit

In Los Angeles alone, over 20,000 buildings have been served mandatory soft-story retrofitting ordinances, making the need for a soft story retrofit a widespread reality for many Los Angeles residents. Despite the mandatory orders, however, many building owners delay getting the process due to a myriad of concerns ranging from cost to time. Today we are going to explore what happens if you don’t complete your mandatory soft-story retrofit in time. From penalties to risks, here is everything you need to know about the importance of sticking to a soft story retrofitting schedule. Keep in mind that even if your Los Angeles County city currently hasn’t passed a mandatory retrofitting ordinance, there are still a number of cities with ordinances on the way. If you’re the owner of a soft story building in Los Angeles, the following information is important to know.

Soft Story Retrofitting Deadlines

Notice to Comply

While some might independently elect to retrofit their soft story building to invest in its long term structural success, for those who have received a Notice to Comply, this process is non-negotiable. The mandatory retrofitting project has deadlines which must be met within the time delineated. The first step of the process is the Notice to Comply.

For Los Angeles residents, these letters started mailing out in 2016 and likely arrived sometime in 2017. 

soft story

Due to the high volume of seismic activity that Los Angeles residents experience, these notices must be taken seriously. You will have two years from the date the notice was received to submit retrofitting plans for your property, plans to demolish your property or proof of a previous retrofit that meets current building code standards.

Related: What Affects the Cost of Soft Story Retrofit?

Structural Evaluation

The cities of Los Angeles, West Hollywood, and Santa Monica all require Architectural and Engineering Plans to be submitted to respective building and safety department of the city as part of a Structural Evaluation, while other cities such as Pasadena and Beverly Hills will likely send more mandatory orders to comply in the near future. In order to develop plans that will meet current building code standards and guarantee the structural success of your building in the event of an earthquake, building owners will need to work with a licensed structural engineer or architect for plan development. The building owner will have three and a half years from the date of the original order to obtain all necessary project permits.

Ready to Issue

Once your plans have been revised and approved, you can start working with a contractor on implementing your retrofitting solutions. You will also be required to give your building tenants notice of the construction by filing a Tenant Habitability Plan (THP) before the construction project can begin. Because there are so many steps to take before the actual construction can commence, it is crucial to get started on the process as soon as possible. Since the mandatory retrofits have been sent out, the cost for the retrofitting process has been steadily increasing. In addition, building owners have a finite amount of time to complete their mandatory retrofitting process. The entirely of the retrofitting process must be completed within seven years of receiving the service order.

Related: 4 Steps to Soft Story Retrofitting

soft story retrofitting Los angeles

Missed Deadline Penalties

Thinking of forgoing your mandatory soft-story retrofit? Not only will you be jeopardizing the lives of your tenants and your property value, but there can be serious consequences for building owners who refuse to comply with the project deadline.

The Department of Building Inspection (DBI) will take enforcement and abatement action once of Notice of Violation has been issued. This will cause the case to be referred to the Code Enforcement Section, where proper administrative activities will be taken. 

Buildings will then be marked as in violation of the mandatory retrofits and be labeled as unsecured in the event of seismic activity.

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

Retrofitting Delay Equals Damage

Due to the enormous destruction that earthquakes can cause particularly those with prolonged shaking, which can entirely move the building structure and cause it to collapse on itself the importance of getting your retrofit project completed as soon as possible cannot be undervalued. Buildings that fail to complete the mandatory retrofit in a timely manner run the risk of facing serious destruction and even collapse in the event of an earthquake. And as residents of Los Angeles County know, it’s not a question of if an earthquake will strike but when it will hit and how severe the damage will be. In order to not jeopardize the lives of any building occupants and risk the subsequent collapse of your building and property value, getting a soft story retrofit completed as early as possible is a necessity. Providing your building with the proper structural backbone to guarantee that it will not collapse in the event of seismic activity is not only necessary to guarantee immediate safety, but it is a crucial step in investing in the long term structural stability of your property.

Related: Understanding the Causes of Foundation Damage

California Foundation Works Solutions

Here at California Foundation Works, we strive to make the soft story retrofitting process as easy as possible by working with our clients to secure all necessary retrofitting permits for them. If you have uncertainties over whether or not your building qualifies as a soft story, we can check with the city for you to ensure that your retrofit is mandatory.

We provide free building inspections and project estimates to building owners at no obligations in order to inform you about the condition of your building and give you an idea of what the retrofitting process will include. 

soft story retrofitting in La

Our solutions are customized for each project based on specific client needs, building requirements, and unique budgets, but we never compromise on any aspect of the project. It’s important to understand that the retrofits have been mandated for the sole purpose of increasing the safety of Los Angeles buildings so that they do not collapse in the event of a natural disaster. While the soft story retrofitting process understandably might seem overwhelming to the average building owner, California Foundation works is here to make the process as hassle free, quick, and efficient as possible. You can rest easy knowing your building is in our hands.

Related: Earthquake Retrofitting 101: Securing Your Home

Do you have a soft story building in Los Angeles?

Does your building have large open areas on the ground floor that leave it inadequate able to brace the structural force of the floors above it?

Have you received an order to comply with your city?

Ease your panic before it has the chance to settle in. California Foundation Works is here to help will all aspects of the soft story retrofitting process. From securing permits through outlining and walking you through every step of the project to finding you the best discounts on the market, we’re here to be your one and only source for Los Angeles soft story retrofits.

Call California Foundation Works to get started on your custom repair solution.
Call now for a FREE* inspection and quote!

house leveling los angeles

The Ultimate Homeowner Guide to Floor Leveling

post and pier los angeles

When it comes to home repairs, some problems are easier to spot than others. One of the most apparent problems that a homeowner can notice is floor leveling issues. Since we walk on our floors every day, cracks, loud floorboards, sloped or warped floors, and other related issues usually become readily apparent. But the question is: what should you do about your uneven floors?

Today we have the ultimate guide for all things floor leveling, starting with why your floors are warping in the first place to how to resolve the issue and prevent future problems down the line.

Understanding the Cause for Unleveled Floors

If you have noticed your floorboards warping, bending, or becoming uneven, you’re likely wondering why this is happening. Issues with the floor becoming unlevel are indicative of foundation problems. Other signs of foundation problems include cracks in the walls, exterior cracks, sticking doors and windows, and a visible slant to the home.

Over time, foundation can gradually begin to sink, crack, settle, or shift. While there are many factors that can contribute to an uneven foundation, one of the largest culprits is soil and its moisture level. 

pier and post leveling

Too much moisture can cause the soil to expand, while too little moisture can cause it to contract. This can wreak havoc on a foundation’s stability, causing foundation damage that can lead to warped floors, cracked walls, and a host of other problems. The solution to this predicament is foundation repair and house leveling services that will permanently restore your home to its original level.

Why House Leveling

Foundation repair and house leveling might sound like big projects, but they are actually much more affordable than one might think. Repairing the structure of your home is a necessary investment needed to restore the structural integrity of your home and guarantee its lasting structural success. Foundation repair is the only way to permanently resolve foundation damage symptoms, such as warped floors, and guarantee the lasting safety of all residents and the property value of the building. House leveling is a restorative process that lifts the home back to a level position in order to provide an overall facelift. Not only does house leveling restore the home to its original evenness, but it fortifies the home to prevent future disrepair.

Without foundation repair, the home could continue to shift, warp, crack, and even entirely move off the property. This is especially dangerous for homes that are elevated, such as hillside homes, and homes in Southern California that are susceptible to extreme weather in the form of earthquakes, mudslides, and flooding.

house leveling los angeles

Floor Leveling Solutions

If you suspect that your home is suffering from foundation damage, it’s important to consult a professional contractor right away. California Foundation Works provides free no obligation inspections in order to evaluate your home and offer free project repair quotes. We repair multiple types of foundations, including slab foundation, pier and beam foundation, and the less common basement foundation. Homes with slab foundation have foundations mostly composed of concrete, while pier and beam foundations contain a mixture of concrete foundation beams, concrete columns or pads, and wooden beams. 

We always assess every home on an individual basis in order to craft custom repair solutions for each homeowner. No matter which type of foundation your home has, we’re here to help with our custom foundation repair solutions.  

The Leveling Process

In order to restore your home to its original position, floor leveling is a necessary process. While we customize each project in order to address specific foundation issues at their source, there is a general floor leveling process that many projects adhere to based on the foundation type. Pier and beam foundation is typically leveled by using a jack or a lift to carefully raise the home and attach beams to jacks underneath the house. This process is referred to as shoring, with careful attention paid to lifting the jacks in order to minimize internal damage. On the other hand, slab foundation issues are at times resolved by installing concrete piers and concrete or steel pilings after excavating areas of the home. The usage of steel push piers, helical piers, plate anchors, or hydraulic lift slab piers can all be included in repair solutions based on individual needs.

Our services include foundation replacement, foundation crack repair, sister foundation installation, foundation underpinning retrofit, soft story reinforcement, slab settlement and crack repair, hillside retrofitting, caissons foundation, and more.  

Related: Foundation Underpinning Retrofit with Piers

About Us

We understand that having a secure home is an invaluable necessity. Not only does it shelter and protect your loved ones, but it’s also a major investment. The last thing any homeowner wants is to see their property value plummet. It’s our number one priority to ensure the safety of all residents and the lasting structural success of your building.

No matter the type of project, we always ensure that the homes are brought up to current building codes. To offer only the best services, we carefully select our contracting crew so that members of our team represent top tier workers with pooled decades of foundation repair experience and project precision. 

foundation repair whittier

We encourage all homeowners to address any foundation problems as soon as possible before seismic activity and stormy weather has the chance to strike your home!

Have the floorboards in your house started to warp?

Are you concerned about the structural integrity of your Southern California home?

Don’t allow the chance for problems to worsen. Call California Foundation Works today to get started on your custom home repair solution!

Call California Foundation Works Today!
(323) 418-2239

window crack repair

Cracks in the Wall? Here’s What You Need to Know

foundation crack

Maybe you’re performing a routine home inspection or simply walking around your home when you notice something that would cause panic for any homeowner. A large crack has began to form in your wall, or perhaps a seemingly benign crack that you pushed to the back of your mind has alarmingly expanded overnight. Unfortunately, except in minor cases, there isn’t really such a thing as a benign wall crack. If you’ve noticed a crack, it’s time to call the experts in before any problems have the chance to worsen. However, there’s still no need to panic. Allow us to explain everything you need to know about cracks in your home’s walls so that you can get determine the severity of the damage and get the help you need for repairs.

Signs to Watch Out For

While cracks in the wall are likely a sign of a larger problem that will require professional intervention, the good news is that if you are vigilant about examining your home, you will be able to catch problems early on before they have the chance to worsen.

When inspecting your home for signs of damage, be on the lookout for cracks near door frames, horizontal cracks, particularly long cracks, many cracks clustered in one area, and wide cracks. Cracks that are greater than 1 inches wide should always be a cause for concern.

crack brick wall

There are a number of reasons why cracks form in walls. Some of the top factors include home settlement, too much moisture, weather changes, weight from heavy objects, and improper drywall installation. While we will discuss home settlement in depth shortly, moisture and weather are two culprits behind crack formation, since water is a major cause of foundation issues. However, improper installation or even just damage from heavy objects are also possible causes for crack formation that are not related to foundation issues.

crack in walls

What Do Cracks Mean?

When you notice cracks in your home, many thoughts likely go through your brain. In addition to the obvious how do I fix this?!, many also wonder how the cracks got there in the first place. Understanding why cracks occur is essential in order to prevent future crack formation. Though different cracks can indicate different problems within the home, it’s in the best interest of the homeowner to take any crack formation serious. If you’re trying to decide if the crack in your wall is the sign of a larger problem, there are certain cracks to be especially wary of.

Horizontal cracks, which can also be angled, are often an indication of foundation settlement. Foundation settlement can luckily be repaired in most cases if caught early on, though delaying repairs can lead to a rapid expansion of problems. Another strong indicator of foundation problems is cracks that form around the door frame.

To catch foundation issues in their earliest stages, examine framing for signs of cracks since they will often form around frames first. Wide cracks, long cracks, and a large number of cracks are all also signs of a larger problem with the home’s foundation. Though there is a chance that these cracks are due to construction errors, it’s important to err on the safe side and have the home’s foundation inspected if you notice any worrisome cracks.

Foundation Settlement 101

How does foundation settlement come about in the first place? Many homeowners take pride in the level of care they bestow upon their property. While fortifying your home through earthquake retrofitting and other preventative methods can secure your foundation, many homeowners don’t realize the necessity of such services until they notice their home’s foundation beginning to deteriorate. One of the top factors in foundation damage is soil condition, while extreme weather can also wreak havoc on an unsecured home.

Southern California sees a unique amount of extreme weather in the form of earthquakes, mudslides, and flooding. Over and under saturation of soil with moisture can cause it to expand and contract, creating an unstable and unhealthy foundation for your home. This can lead to foundation settling and the formation of wall cracks.

Solutions for Cracked Walls

While foundation damage does mean home repairs, it doesn’t have to spell disaster. Fortunately most cases of foundation damage, if not given the chance to progress, can be fixed with professional repair solutions that will not require replacing the entire foundation. If the contractor has determined that the crack is not related to foundation problems, then the crack can simply be sealed or the section of the wall can be replaced. However, it’s not recommended to fix cracks on your own before determining the root cause of the problem, since you could be covering up a larger issue that requires professional attention.

crack repair

That’s why it’s important to always have a professional determine if the cracks are structural, and thus require foundation repair, or are non-structural and can be easily fixed. While foundation repair might seem like a taxing endeavor, our team of contractors are more than happy to walk you through every step of the process if it’s determined that foundation repair is the necessary solution for your cracked walls.

Have you noticed cracks forming in the walls of your Southern California home?

Don’t give them the chance to worsen. Call California Foundation Works today to book your free home inspection and estimate. Let’s get started on discovering your home’s custom solution!

Call California Foundation Works Today! (323) 418-2239


Why You Should Install a Drainage System in the Spring/Summer


Drainage systems are necessary components of healthy homes. Improperly installed drainage systems can ruin landscaping and lead to water intrusion in your home, which may cause mold. In turn, this can cause costly and extensive repairs for the homeowner. However, not just any season is ideal for installing a drainage system.

Once the rainfall of the wet season has passed, it’s in the homeowner’s best interest to install a drainage system or make repairs to an existing system. The spring and summer months create the ideal time for drainage system work to be done for a number of reasons.

The Warm Weather Advantage

Take advantage of the warm and dry months to make drainage system installations or changes. Spring and summer provide fewer inconveniences than winter, which sees more rainfall and precipitation.

Though some might find it makes sense to install a drainage system during the wet months, when such a system is most needed, the installation process is actually made much more complicated if done during the wet season. 

Spring, and especially summer, provide little to no inconveniences when it comes to construction issues such as work halt due to rain or moisture saturated soil.


Summer and spring provide for drier soil that contractors find far easier to work with in order to guarantee the lasting success of the drainage system and speed up the time needed to install it.

Preventative Action against Flooding

One of the main reasons why the dry season is an ideal time for drainage installation is because it greatly reduces the likelihood of flooding. Any homeowner who has experienced flooding is well aware of the destruction it causes, and homeowners who are not familiar with such havoc should do everything in their power to prevent it from happening.

The dry soil of the summer makes for the ideal time for drainage system installation, though some homeowners might make the mistake of believing they don’t need a drainage system during the warm months.

However, sprinklers and yard irrigation systems can cause a severe amount of property damage, making a drainage system a necessity even when rainfall is not at its height. Not only can flooding damage a property’s curb appeal but over saturation of water can harm and even kill flowers and surrounding greenery. Prevent avoidable yard flooding by installing a drainage system at the most convenient time of the year before problems have the chance to exacerbate.


Ideal Temperature for Installation

There are other advantages to installing a drainage system during the warm, dry season.

Warm days and cool nights create the ideal opportunity for a contractor to inspect your property and most actually determine which areas require repair since this particular climate will allow water to be brought up through cracks as the sun warms the earth.

That way contractors can get the most accurate understanding of existing drainage failures in order to provide the best repair work based on the yard’s unique situation.

In contrast, cool temperatures can create issues for drainage installation since water trapped under the surface can freeze and not establish a proper drain flow during the installation. A frozen subgrade runs the risk of giving a false impression of drainage failures and needs. Additionally, surface repairs should be made during warmer weather.

Installing a drainage system in warm weather allows for permanent surface repairs to be completed at the same time so that your repair works can be completed in one convenient project.

Permanently Resolve Drainage Problems

Nobody wants a soggy yard filled with mud, dying plants, and water intrusion. End your drainage system failures once and for all by installing a system during the time of year when the ground is easiest to work with and existing problems are most apparent. The good news is that most drainage system failures can be resolved, since having a wet yard is, unfortunately, a common problem for homeowners. Repair your drainage system today or plan for new system installation in order to prevent problems from getting worse and causing harm to your property.


Are you concerned about the integrity of your home’s drainage system?

Are you considering installing a new drainage system to avoid future damage?

California Foundation Works is a professionally licensed drainage contractor that specializes in Southern California home repairs. 

We offer FREE estimate for drainage installation for homeowners.

Call us today to schedule

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 installation los angeles

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.

driveway repair los angeles

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.