Why Foundation Is Damaged?
Foundation damage is a serious and costly problem for homeowners all over the country but it does affect certain regions the most. Unlike other regions, most of the Los Angeles neighborhoods are susceptible to foundation damage because of a combination of factors such as the poor drainage and types of expansive soil. Los Angeles Homeowners should get foundation inspections to prevent any underlying problems from getting worse.
Los Angeles has been in a drought for a couple of years until recently when it received massive rain, and this is problematic for many house foundations in Los Angeles. During the drought, the clay soil around the house foundations lost most of their moisture hence the soil shrank and then after receiving rain the soil expands, therefore, pushing against the foundation and eventually cracking it. Foundation inspections will prevent this problem from getting worse once it’s detected early.
Tremors and Earthquakes
Most of Los Angeles residents are aware of the San Andreas fault running below their house foundation but they forget about the hundreds of low-intensity tremors and earthquakes that this area experiences on a daily basis. As a homeowner, you might not be able to see or notice any damage from these tremors and earthquakes but your foundation will be gradually damaged over time if certain precautions won’t be made to maintain it properly.
The type of soil that a house is built on is very important because clay soils which can also be referred to as expansive soils because of their nature to expand and then shrink in the year cycle. This tendency to expand and shrink is what causes damage to the foundation by pushing against it or shrinking and leaving spaces around the foundation which causes it to settle.
Related : Types of House Foundations
Contact a professional foundation contractor if you are a Los Angeles homeowner and haven’t yet had your foundation inspected.
Call California Foundation Works to schedule a free foundation inspection and estimate.
Landscaping Can Cause Trouble
Everybody wants to have an inviting home with beautiful curb appeal, but in the process of doing that you might end up damaging your foundation. Careful consideration has to be taken when it comes to landscaping in regards to foundation. However there are three main ways in which landscaping affects your foundation negatively.
Trees and Shrubs Too Close To Your Foundation
Plants are almost always an essential addition to your home when it comes to improving its curb appeal. Choosing the wrong kinds of plants or planting them too close to your foundation can be problematic hence the need to carefully choose the location and type of plant. Plants that have roots that grow horizontally instead of vertically will have their roots drying up all the moisture that surrounds the foundation and in some instances even penetrate the foundation walls, therefore, causing damage.
Having a well-functioning drainage system should be a priority whenever you think of improving your landscape. In the efforts of making the exterior of a home beautiful, homeowners tend to forget about the drainage system and this is bound to damage the foundation. Plant beds should slope away from the foundation and as a rule of thumb, water should always flow away from the house not towards it.
Related : Foundation Damage Caused by Trees
Not Watering Plants Frequently
The plants and trees that are closest to your foundation need to be sufficiently watered. They need a steady supply of water to encourage the vertical growth of roots. In order to retain soil moisture, the soil needs to be well mulched so that any foundation problems are prevented.
Contact a professional foundation contractor if you suspect that your foundation is getting affected by landscaping.
Call California Foundation Works on to schedule a free foundation inspection and estimate.
What To Consider
There are many reasons as to why you might want to relocate your garage to a different location around your yard, maybe to prevent the garage from obstructing the view or just wanting to attach it to the house. However, there are certain things you need to put into consideration before considering garage location.
One of the most important considerations you need to make when deciding on garage relocation is the access to the garage after it’s relocated. You’ll need a paved driveway and the size of the garage should dictate the width of the driveway. If it’s a two car garage then the width should be between 20 to 25 ft unlike 14 ft for a single car garage. Either concrete, asphalt or paving bricks can be used if you want a durable driveway.
Different cities have different code requirements and not adhering to those requirements might subject you to penalties. Once you know where you want to relocate your garage to, its time to go through the city codes to see what restrictions you have in moving that garage. The garage restrictions usually focus on the garage size, height, proximity of garage to other properties and the driveway construction such as the materials used to construct it or it’s size.
Related : Garage Conversion (ADU) Los Angeles
Contact a professional garage relocation contractor who can also install a driveway and understands the garage relocation code requirements of your city.
Call California Foundation Works to schedule a free garage relocation inspection and estimate.
It’s time to call a professional if your chimney is leaning away or over your house or if it just doesn’t seem to be in it’s place because it’s always a dangerous situation. A leaning chimney could mean foundation damage and it could end up either crashing over your house, cars or other properties that are next to your house. The most common reasons why a chimney might be leaning include poor soils and poor footing.
Certain soil types are not very good at bearing the weight of the chimney hence they might cause problems. Clay soils which are also referred to as expansive soils because of their tendency to expand when exposed to water and contract in the absence of water. So the soil will expand and contract depending on the moisture level therefore causing movements which are likely to tilt the chimney.
Another common reason why you might have a leaning chimney is because of poor footing or the lack of it. If the footing is exposed to a lot of water, it will eventually deteriorate and cause the chimney to lean. The chimney is also likely to lean when the footing is too shallow or small that it can’t hold the weight of the chimney. And the chimney will at some point start to lean if it was built without any footing during construction.
Related: We Help Solving Foundation Problems
It’s advisable to call a professional the moment you notice the early signs of your chimney tilting away from your house or leaning chimney over your house because this is not something that you can repair by yourself. When the leaning or damage is too severe the chimney will need to be rebuilt and if the leaning chimney is not too bad, then underpinning pads can be used to repair the chimney and provide additional support to the chimney and footing area to support the load and strengthen that section.
Related : Chimney Rebuilding
Call California Foundation Works on 323-418-2239 to schedule a chimney inspection and estimate.
Previous earthquakes in the Los Angeles area have proved to be very devastating to the residents of Los Angeles. Be it the need to prevent the Loss of life or property, Los Angeles residents are preparing for the next earthquake which is also deemed the big one by getting their properties retrofitted. Of all the buildings, softy story buildings are extremely vulnerable to earthquake damage because of the large unreinforced openings on their ground floors. Even though you expect the cost of softy story retrofit to be similar, certain factors will affect how much extra or less you will have to pay to get your soft story building retrofitted.
Soft story buildings come in different sizes and are used for different purposes such residential or commercial use. Both commercial and residential soft story buildings will either accommodate a single unit or multi units hence the cost of soft story retrofit for these two will differ because the multi unit soft story building is likely to have more openings on the ground floor such as garages to match the number of units.
Engineer and Contractor Used
The cost of soft story retrofit is also highly dependent on the engineer and contractor you choose to hire to help you retrofit your property. Different engineers will provide different engineering procedures and solutions hence the cost soft of story retrofit will be different. Contractors will also offer different prices to retrofit your building using the same procedures hence the need to carefully evaluate bids and the quality of work by each contractor.
Hillside Soft Story Buildings
Unreinforced soft story buildings are vulnerable to earthquakes but soft story buildings built on hillsides are even more vulnerable to earthquakes because of the steep slopes. In order to adequately retrofit soft story buildings on hillsides, additional anchoring is required hence the extra cost of soft story retrofit. So the cost of soft story retrofit on a hillside building will also depend whether you just want to comply with the law requiring soft story building to be retrofitted or you want to do everything you can to protect your soft story building against damage.
Related : Is Your Hillside Home Retrofitted ?
Call California Foundation Works on 323-418-2239 to schedule a free soft story retrofit inspection and estimate.
Earthquakes can either be low intensity earthquakes or high intensity earthquakes which might claim lives and cause damage to properties, hence the need to have your property retrofitted for earthquakes.
Having a seismic retrofit for your property will reinforce your property’s structure and make it less susceptible to earthquake damage. Unlike other types of retrofits, the cost of seismic retrofit is not standard because it’s dependent on a number of factors such as location of the property and age of the property which in turn determine what kind of methods will be used to strengthen the property. Some of these methods include :
Cripple Wall Bracing
A cripple wall is a wall that is less than a full story height and is usually placed between the first floor and the foundation because that is the weakest part of most old buildings. During an earthquake, the area between the foundation and the first floor is usually the first to collapse so by having a cripple wall in that area, you will drastically reduce the amount of damage done to a building during an earthquake.
Related : Property Retrofitting
Foundation bolting is yet another method in which you can retrofit your property against earthquake damage. Foundation bolting is the process which prevents the up and down movements of your property during an earthquake as it might displace an unbolted property off it’s foundation. To bolt a building to it’s foundation, either expansion anchor bolts or sill plates are used. Expansion anchor bolts are used to directly attach the building to the foundation while the sill plates are used to attach the foundation and building on the sides if the space doesn’t allow direct bolting.
Wood blocking is another way of strengthening your property against earthquakes without adding much to the cost of seismic retrofit. Wood blocking involves the addition of pieces of wood in between two studs in order to strengthen them. This is an easy method and yet it’s also very efficient in preventing the wooden studs from collapsing during an earthquake.
Call California Foundation Works on 323-418-2239 to schedule a free seismic retrofit inspection and estimate.
The city of Los Angeles has sidewalks that have deteriorated to an extent where most of them are a danger to the residents. In order to tackle this problem, the city of Los Angeles has introduced the city sidewalk repair program by the name Safe Sidewalks LA. Members of the community can participate in the program either through the rebate program, the access request program or by reporting a damaged sidewalk.
Access Request Program
The access request program is part of the Safe Sidewalks LA program that makes repairs that are requested by people with a mobility disability who encounter physical barriers such as damaged or missing curb ramps or broken sidewalks. Basically it’s a program where people with any mobility disability can report barriers in the public right of way.
Related : Driveway Drainage Issues After Rain ?
The rebate program is a program for property owners who would like to repair their own sidewalk. This program caters to both residential and commercial property owners by offering a rebate of up to $2000 for residential property owners and $4000 for commercial property owners. It’s a first come first serve basis program and you have to qualify for the program. Once you apply, your request will be reviewed to make sure that you are eligible and that you have provided all the necessary documentation and then you will receive a rebate offer if you qualify.
Report A Sidewalk
Another way you can participate in the program is by reporting a damaged sidewalk in your community, so even if you don’t qualify for the Safe Sidewalks LA Program you can still participate in this manner. The official Safe Sidewalks LA program has a section where you can report the damaged sidewalk.
You need to hire a licensed contractor in order to participate in the rebate program of the Safe Sidewalks LA program. Call California Foundation Works on 323-418-2239 to schedule a free sidewalk inspection and estimate.
Los Angeles is prone to earthquakes and the long awaited mega earthquake called the Big one along the San Andreas fault is expected to happen anytime soon.
To alleviate the damage caused by earthquakes or The Big One, the Earthquake Brace and Bolt program (EBB) has been developed to help homeowners by providing an incentive payment of up to $3000 of the total cost associated with the retrofit of their houses. After applying for the grant, the applicants are then chosen at random if they do meet the criteria. To meet the criteria, homeowners need to meet the following criteria :
In order to qualify for the EBB grant, your property has to be on the list of zip codes covered, because the Earthquake Brace and Bolt program prioritizes certain zip codes which are closest to the fault lines because that is where the earthquakes tend to occur. Apart from concentrating on the zip codes closest to the fault line, the program also prioritizes those zip codes which have the highest concentration of old houses which might be easily damaged.
Age Of House
The year your house was built also plays an important role in whether you qualify for the grant or not. Most Houses that were built before 1979 qualify for the grant because unlike the current ones, most of them were not bolted to their foundations hence making them weak and susceptible to damage by earthquakes.
For the property to qualify for the earthquake brace and bolt program, the owner has to occupy the house and multi unit properties also qualify but they need to have four units or less and the owner must occupy one of them.
Contact a licensed earthquake retrofit contractor to help you retrofit your house against any seismic damage during an earthquake. Call California Foundation Works on 323-418-2239 to schedule a free earthquake retrofit inspection and estimate.
Summer is fast approaching and Los Angeles Homeowners and commercial building owners are beginning to prepare their properties for the moisture deficiency in the soil around their property foundations caused by the summer heat. Maintaining foundation moisture level in summer is very important because lack of it or too much of it can cause foundation damage. As a concerned property owner, you can take some measures to prevent damages which stem from the loss or accumulation of moisture in summer.
As it has already been mentioned, maintaining foundation moisture level in summer is very important hence the need to add more moisture to the soil around your foundation during the summer heat. The soil around the foundation will begin to dry up because of the heat therefore it will shrink, which in turn damages the foundation. To counter moisture loss, you can regularly water your lawn and the soils near your foundation by using soaker hoses or drip irrigation systems. You shouldn’t over water the soils around your foundation because too much water might actually penetrate your foundation and cause damage but instead you should water to prevent the soils around your foundation from drying up.
The type of trees or plants that you have on your yard will affect how severely the summer heat will affect the moisture level content around your foundation. Certain types of trees or plants require more water than others hence they tend to suck up more water from the ground during summer. These types of trees or plants will speed up the loss of moisture in the soil around your foundation, so you need to only plant drought resistant plants or trees near your foundation in order to maintain the foundation moisture level in summer.
Having proper drainage is vital in maintaining foundation moisture level in summer. Watering your foundation during summer will be ineffective if the drainage system is not functioning as it should because the water will end up pooling around your foundation therefore causing the soil to expand or by directly penetrating the foundation walls.
Related : Signs You Might Have Poor Drainage
Contact a foundation contractor to help you protect your foundation against any moisture problems. Call California Foundation Works on 323-418-2239 to schedule a free foundation inspection and estimate.
Los Angeles residents are beginning to think about outdoor activities as summer approaches, hence the need for the installation of new concrete or repairs by homeowners and business owners. It’s easy to find a concrete contractor in Los Angeles but it’s not easy to find the right concrete contractor that will complete the project on time and as promised. However, there are certain questions that you can ask a concrete contractor to make sure they are right for the job.
What is The Project Time Frame ?
This is a very important question to ask concrete contractors before hiring them because it reveals how trustworthy and experienced they are. An experienced contractor will give a definite time frame of how long the project will take because he’s already handled similar projects before. Untrustworthy concrete contractors won’t give you a definite time frame and usually abandon projects for days or weeks.
Are You Licensed, Bonded and Insured ?
All concrete contractors that practice in Los Angeles are required by law to be licensed, bonded and insured. Therefore it’s a red flag if a concrete contractor can’t show any proof of being licensed, bonded and insured. Being licensed means that they operate according to the regulations set by the city of Los Angeles and being insured is not only for their safety but it is for your safety too.
Will The Concrete Be Reinforced ?
Even though not all the projects will require reinforcement, a number of them do and it’s your duty to ask a concrete contractor whether the concrete work will require any reinforcement. Adding reinforcement is necessary for projects such as driveways which will need a lot of support.
Ask For Previous Job Pictures And Testimonials
A highly skilled concrete contractor will have readily available references or photos. A good concrete contractor will happily provide you with the photos, so if he is hesitant then you should think twice before hiring him. Testimonials are people that have actually hired the contractor in the past hence you can expect the same experience when you hire him.
Related : Testimonials
Ask the aforementioned questions in order to hire a qualified concrete contractor who will complete the job on time using high quality materials and methods. Call California Foundation Works on 323-418-2239 to schedule a free concrete inspection and estimate.
Owning a home on expansive soils can be tough but owning a hillside home on expansive soils can be even worse. Expansive soils are soils that absorb water and expand and will shrink when moisture is lost, while as a hillside home is a home that is built on a hillside or steep slope. The expansion and shrinkage of these soils can cause damage to structures.
Expansive soils which can also be referred to as clay soils tend to not drain water properly because of their tightly packed particles. This means that most of the vegetation on your yard will suffer from not having enough water and might die out. And If a yard on a steep slope can’t grow any vegetation on it, then it will risk having other problems such as soil erosion, mudslides and landslides. Other drainage problems include the easy pooling of water after rainfall.
Related : Signs You Might Have Poor Drainage
Expansive soils will exert tremendous amounts of pressure on anything in their way. As depth increases, so does the pressure that the soil gets to exert because of all the weight it’s holding. So hillside home foundations are at greater risk of getting affected by the expanding and shrinking of soils because they are mostly built deep underground. Once the foundation is damaged by the pressure, the cracks will allow water to seep in and cause the damage or the damage from the pressure itself will compromise the load bearing properties of the foundation.
Related : 6 Common Causes of Foundation Damage
Damage due to expansive soils might be mistakenly attributed to other things because most people don’t understand them and because damage happens very slowly over a long period time. Contact a licensed foundation contractor If you own a hillside home and are worried about the possibility of expansive soils damaging your home. Call California Foundation Works on 323-418-2239 to schedule a free foundation inspection and estimate.