The most common type of foundation damage is caused by water over-saturation of the soils surrounding the foundation. The expansive soils increase in volume as they come into contact with more water so they exert pressure on the foundation and create cracks which in turn allow water seepage into the foundation. Expansive soils are also known as clay soils and are usually found in coastal areas, that’s why most of Los Angeles is covered in clay soils. Foundation settling or sinking is when the soil under the foundation compacts and ends up forming spaces below the foundation which causing it to sink. If the water causes the soil under the foundation to swell, that will raise the foundation a little and then cause foundation settling when it dries up as it shrinks.
The weather has a big effect on the house foundation. One important aspect is humidity; it has a tendency to adversely affect foundation, which can cause it to weaken and deteriorate. Over time, this lowers the resistance of the concrete and lessens its stability. Early warning signs of foundation damage include foundation cracks, white powder, basement humidity, brittle joints in concrete foundation blocks, concrete falling off, exterior cracks, and bubbles in the foundation. Be sure to regularly inspect your foundation in order to pick up on warning signs. Addressing the issue early will prevent costly repairs in the future.
The most common type of foundation damage by storms is caused by water over-saturation of the soils surrounding the foundation. The expansive soils increase in volume as they come into contact with more water so they exert pressure on the foundation and create cracks which in turn allow water seepage into the foundation. Expansive soils are also known as clay soils and are usually found in coastal areas, that’s why most of Los Angeles is covered in clay soils. Foundation settling or sinking is when the soil under the foundation compacts and ends up forming spaces below the foundation which cause it to sink. If the storms flood and cause the soil under the foundation to swell, that will raise the foundation a little and then cause foundation settling when it dries up.
Time is a huge factor, all the reasons mentioned above are amplified as the time factor is taking into account. As mentioned before, the foundation process to newly built homes has evolved with time and nowadays the method of this process results in a stronger foundation that can endure for longer. The combination of all the reasons above shortens the lifespan of the house foundation and speed up the deterioration process.
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Los Angeles homeowners can now convert their garages into dwellings after the Senate Bill No. 1069 legalized garage conversions.
Garage conversions are a smart idea for homeowners. It allows them to use the space in the garage more efficiently and to increase the value of their properties. In order to convert your garage into a dwelling, you need to take the following steps :
Related: Different Uses For Converted Garage
Decide on Room Type
The first step in converting your garage is to research and decide what you want to convert it into. There are unlimited options of what you can convert your garage into. Some ideas are, a rental or just an extension of your house by adding an extra bedroom, gym, entertainment area, office or whatever you’d like.
Your budget is very critical when converting your garage. You can customize the space as much as you want or as much as your budget allows. A garage conversion is not expensive but the cost can increase depending on the features you add, such as bathrooms. Other factors like electrical wirings, plumbing, heating and cooling, ceiling and flooring can definitely add to the cost as well.
Related: Benefits Of Garage Conversions
Hire A Contractor
The final step to converting a garage into a dwelling is find a contractor to actually do the work. Hire a licensed and insured contractor to carry out the work, as they are trained and understand the regulations. They will be able to tell you what can and can’t be done. Professional contractors will also make sure that all the plumbing and electrical wiring is done without exposing the owners to any dangers.
Understanding The Causes of Foundation Damage
The durability of a house relies on a solid foundation. As the base of the house, the foundation secures the building to the ground. If the foundation of integrity is upset, a host of problems can subsequently adversely affect the house and its stability. It’s important to understand why foundation crumbles and what to do if you spot deterioration.
Why Does Foundation Weaken?
Why does foundation deteriorate in the first place? Humidity has a tendency to adversely affect foundation, which can cause it to weaken and deteriorate. Over time, this lowers the resistance of the concrete and lessens its stability. Early warning signs of foundation damage include foundation cracks, white powder, basement humidity, brittle joints in concrete foundation blocks, concrete falling off, exterior cracks, and bubbles in the foundation. Be sure to regularly inspect your foundation in order to pick up on warning signs. Addressing the issue early will prevent costly repairs in the future.
What Causes Foundation Crumble?
Foundation deterioration is a major issue because it can put residents at risk. It also adversely affects property value. What causes the foundation to actually crumble? Several factors can cause lasting home damage. In addition to humidity, urban development is known to cause concrete damage. Concrete is more susceptible to weakening when the house is located in high traffic areas. The geographic area also plays a role in the house’s stability due to factors such as soil composition, which affect the stability of the concrete. Lastly, concrete has evolved over the past century. Older houses were likely built with a weaker concrete mixture, which means their foundations likely need to be repaired or replaced. Regulations have become more strict in recent times, making newer homes more likely to be adequately secure.
How to Address Foundation Damage
Foundation damage is a sensitive issue, and homeowners will benefit from having an expert evaluate their situation. Trained professionals are needed to assess the foundation damage and determine the extent of the renovation in order to maintain the building’s integrity.
Mild to Moderate Cases
In less severe cases, foundation repairs can be performed in order to strengthen the building. This involves reinforcing the existing foundation by removing all deteriorating parts and applying a new concrete coat. With this method, only the damaged parts will need to be replaced. This type of repair can be beneficial for long-term structural improvement and is considered to be less costly.
However, major structural damage will call for a complete foundation replacement. If the house structure is at risk, the building will need to be lifted so that the existing foundation can be removed and replaced with a newer foundation. Though this solution is more expensive, it is permanent and will ensure that the house has a foundation that meets current code standards. In order to avoid major repairs, it is advisable to regularly check your foundation for signs of damage.
Do you have concerns about your foundation integrity?
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Foundation Underpinning Retrofit with Piers
The foundation of your home is essential in providing the strength and stability of your dwelling. It creates a safe and comfortable space for your family to reside.
However, the foundation can wear over time. Whether it’s due to climate conditions, an old building, or other factors, foundation damage can both jeopardize the occupants and threaten the property value. This is where foundation underpinning can salvage a home.
What is an Underpinning Retrofit?
Foundation underpinning is a repair process that expands a building’s foundation in order to provide stability. Underpinning involves placing a solid foundation below ground level in order to secure the structure of the home.
How Do I Know My House Needs One?
It’s fairly easy to determine if your home is in need of underpinning. If the foundation of your home is significantly imbalanced, an underpinning retrofit will be needed to restore the structural integrity of the dwelling.
Foundation underpinning retrofits are achieved through a technique known as piering, a process of installing concrete or steel pilings in the ground in order to support the foundation. This is a large project that requires the use of heavy machinery. There are three types of piers typically used in the process in order to level the foundation.
Concrete piers are designed for use in highly-compressed areas in order to create a new foundation level. Since the piers are commonly between two and three feet of length, they are often installed via tunneling. Due to their length, concrete piers are known to be a less expensive piering material. However, the lessened cost comes with a catch. Since concrete piers are only driven into the ground in a relatively short way, they will likely shift over time due to soil pressure. Concrete piers should stay in place for up to 20 years, but another foundation retrofit might be needed in the future.
In contrast, steel piers are a more expensive option that can be driven into the ground all the way down to the bedrock. Steel piers should guarantee a secure foundation for the duration of the home’s life. Steel piers are believed to create a new foundation level in a more effective and permanent way than concrete piers. However, because steel piers are much longer, they will take more time and effort to be installed. Steel piers are the difference between putting a long-term bandaid over a problem and curing it for good.
The third pier option is helical piers. Like steel piers, helical piers can be drilled up to the bedrock. However, the shape of helical piers sets them apart from the other two options.
Helical piers have ridges on them similar to a screw. This makes them much easier to drill into the ground, and they take up far less space within the ground. For these reasons, helical piers have become to go-to pier choice of many contractors. However, you should always consult a foundation expert before selecting a pier. A professional will evaluate the situation and tell you which choice will be best for your specific repair.
Are you concerned about the foundation of your home? Do you need an expert’s opinion?
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When Is Foundation Replacement Necessary?
When it comes to protecting the investment value of your home, it’s essential to maintain the integrity of your house’s foundation. If the foundation has been compromised, the selling value of the house will drastically drop.
In addition, it can be dangerous for residents to live in a home with an unstable foundation. In less severe cases, damaged areas of foundation can be repaired. However, this won’t cover severe cases of foundation damage. Though it is a costlier solution, full foundation replacement is necessary in severe cases of foundation corruption. How do you know if your home falls in this category? Read on to discover the situations in which foundation replacement is necessary.
Related: Foundation Replacement
Signs Replacement Is Necessary
Though full wall or foundation replacement may be more expensive than simple repairs, it will provide a lasting solution to your foundation issues that will be sure to secure your property value. What are signs that replacement is inevitable? If you can pull pieces of mortar out of the wall or if the mortar is eroded to the extent that it has become chalky and flaky, a wall replacement is likely necessary. A replacement is also needed if pieces of the foundation block are protruding or there is considerable foundation block displacement. Other signs of replacement include the wall tipping or bowing beyond the point of recovery, holes in the foundation material, and twisted foundation blocks that have caused cracks or displacement in the corner of the walls. Additionally, if pieces have begun to fall away from the wall, it is likely time for a wall upgrade.
Why Is Replacement Needed?
Extreme home renovations can seem like an overwhelming task for the average homeowner, but our professional contractors can evaluate the situation and provide custom solutions. Foundation replacement is often needed in older buildings since material guidelines used to be more slack. Homes built in the earlier part of the 19th century are more susceptible to foundation decay and damage. Many of these foundations have deteriorated past the point of salvation. However, foundation deterioration is not an issue exclusive to older buildings. The poured concrete that is typically used in newer house construction can also provide foundation failure. The construction of a new concrete wall by contracted professionals can ensure that the foundation is up to code to guarantee lasting foundation stability.
No matter how severe your foundation decline is, rest easy knowing that experts can help.
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Major home repairs, such as foundation replacement, are a process that no homeowner enjoys. However, in some cases, they are necessary in order to protect the structural integrity of the home. Fortunately, with the right contractors, foundation replacement can become a manageable task utilized to protect both your property value and the residents of the dwelling.
Foundation Damage Signs
Foundation damage isn’t an issue that appears suddenly. There are a number of initial warning signs that homeowners can be on the lookout for in order to monitor the structural security of their home. The most common signs of foundation damage are sagging or sloping floors, cracks in floors or ceilings, gaps between the floors and walls, doors or windows that stick and have trouble opening or closing, and walls that are beginning to warp, lean, or bow.
Replace or Repair?
Fortunately, most forms of foundation damage can be repaired with professional help. However, there are some extreme cases of foundation destruction that call for a replacement.
How do you determine if the foundation should be repaired or replaced? In cases of severe deterioration, the more cost-effective solution is sometimes to replace the foundation. In special cases, it is more expensive to repair severely damaged foundation than it would be to replace it entirely.
Foundation replacement in Southern California homes is often the result of extreme weather, such as soil erosion as a result of flooding or high magnitude earthquakes. Soil plays a major role in foundation damage. When the soil beneath a home sinks or settles, the home can experience a movement known as foundation settlement. Expansive soil can also lead to bowing and buckling of walls.
Related: Types of House Foundations
Signs of Replacement
A professional inspection is the only way to be completely sure a foundation replacement is needed. Some types of foundation damage are not clear to the naked eye. However, there are some general signs that replacement is needed.
Signs that point to a foundation replacement include excessive or large cracks, sinking or shearing in the foundation due to the soil base, hollow spaces in the foundation, and lengthy exposure to water or moisture. Issues with the original foundation that call for replacement include unsound building materials, low-quality concrete, not allowing the foundation to cure long enough, and the usage of unreinforced materials.
The replacement process is unique for each dwelling, taking as little as one week to several weeks to repair. Foundations that are crumbling or porous will not be able to resist earthquakes of high magnitude. The brick or stone masonry will need to be strengthened in order to fortify the dwelling.
When foundation replacement is needed, heavy equipment is used to expose the foundation by excavating the soil around the home. Temporary supports are then used to “jack up” the house so that the slab floor and foundation walls can be taken out.
The house will be lowered back into place after the new foundation has been built. The soil will then be replaced and other exterior details, such as porches or walkways, can be restored to their original place.
One of the biggest mistakes you can make as a homeowner is to ignore signs of foundation damage. The problems will only worsen over time, leading to a more expensive and invasive repair in the future. Don’t hesitate to contact a professional if you spot any signs of foundation damage.
Related: Insurance and Foundation Damage
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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.
Which One Fits Your House?
The type of foundation each house is built on mostly depends on the soil type of the house construction site and the type of climate in that area also affects what type of foundation the house will have. Some types of house foundations will not do very well in wet weather or cold weather hence the need to consult an engineer before deciding on which foundation s best for you. There are three main types of house foundations, raised foundations with crawl space, concrete slab foundations and basement foundations, and each one of them is suited to particular conditions.
Related : Do You Need A Crawlspace Encapsulation ?
Raised Foundation With Crawl Space
Crawlspace foundations are also known as raised foundations and are one of the best foundation types that a house can be built on. Crawlspace foundations are foundations that are raised from the ground by at least 18 inches using piers and beams or the stem wall. Crawlspace foundations are usually a common site in damp areas or areas that easily flood to prevent water damage to the structure and to also prevent infestation from rodents that thrive in damp areas. Crawlspace foundations have certain advantages such as being less costly than basement foundations, easier to maintain plumbing, heating and air conditioning because of the accessible space in the crawlspace.
Concrete Slab Foundation
A slab foundation is a type of foundation that is poured directly on the construction site. A concrete slab foundation is a thick flat slab that is reinforced with steel bars and wire mesh, and the slab is poured on crushed gravel which levels the site. Concrete slab foundations are suitable for warm climates because cold weather is likely to crack it.
Related : 6 Common Causes of Foundation Damage
A basement foundation is a type of foundation with a high foundation wall and then a slab at the base. Basement foundations can either be at room height where people are able to walk and stand upright just like regular rooms or it can be a partial basement. The walls and slab are properly reinforced and also waterproofed to prevent any water or property damage in the basement. Unlike other types of foundations, basement foundations can be turned into living spaces or for storage.
Related : Slab Crack Repair
Contact a professional foundation contractor for any foundation repair or concerns regarding foundations.
Call California Foundation Works 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.