expansive soil

Ways in Which Soil Issues Can Affect Your Home Foundation

expansive soil

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

Related: How the California Drought Affects Your Foundation

How does soil affect a home’s stability?

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

soil grading

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

What is expansive soil?

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

 

Related: How Expansive Soils Can Affect Your Hillside Home 

Foundation crack repair beverly hills

What are foundation instability warning signs?

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

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

What are the solutions for expansive soil? 

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

Related: When Should You Get a Foundation Repair? 

Can I minimize expansive soil?

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

foundation repair woodland hills

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

Why should soil problems be addressed quickly? 

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

Related: Reasons Los Angeles Homes Need Foundation Inspections

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

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

(323)-418-2239

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 earthquakebracebolt.com. 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!
323-418-2239

earthquake retrofitting

Earthquake Effects and the Need for Seismic Retrofitting

House Retrofitting

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

Related: Earthquake Retrofitting 101: Secure Your Home 

How do earthquakes damage homes?

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

seismic retrofitting

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

How can homeowners prevent against damage? 

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

Related: Earthquake Safety Tips

prepared for the next earthquake

What are foundation damage warning signs?

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

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

What are earthquake retrofitting solutions? 

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

Related: The Ultimate Guide for the Soft Story Retrofit Cost 

Is your building in need of a seismic retrofit?

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

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

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!
323-418-2239

soft story

4 Steps to Soft Story Retrofitting

soft story retrofit

The process of soft-story retrofitting, step by step

Soft-story structures are a growing concern for Southern California residents, with thousands of multi-story buildings in the Los Angeles area suffering from a weak first floor that compromises the structural integrity of the entire building.

The issue has escalated for the City of Los Angeles to the point where it’s no longer a choice whether or not to update buildings with weakened first floors.

California foundation works soft story

Following the passing of Ordinance 183893 and Ordinance 184081 in 2015, approximately 13,500 buildings in the Los Angeles area have been slapped with a mandatory soft-story retrofit requirement. Hearing your building needs to comply with the Los Angeles seismic retrofit ordinances might seem like a justifiable reason to stress. However, the process is far more manageable than it might seem. Allow us to break down the soft story retrofitting process in four easy to follow steps in order to discuss the ordinance notice, professional inspection and estimate, obtaining plans for approval, and finally getting the job done.

soft story retrofitting Los angeles

Step 1: Ordinance Notice

The first step in determining if you need a soft story retrofit is the arrival of an ordinance notice. Once your building has received an ordinance notice mandating a retrofit, there will be certain timelines that need to be complied with in order to avoid the risk of demolition.

Ordinance 184081 states that the owner will have two years to submit a structural analysis for review and approval once a formal service of the order has been received in the mail.

The structural analysis will either have to demonstrate existing compliance, demonstrate a proposed structural evaluation to meet the current seismic retrofit requirements or show plans for the demolition of the building. One of these three options will need to be provided. The owner will then have three and a half years from when the original service of the order was received to obtain all permits needed for either the demolition or building rehabilitation. All work for the entirety of construction or demolition will need to be completed within seven years of the service order.

Step 2: Inspection and Estimates

The next step in the soft story retrofitting process is scheduling an inspection from a professional contractor in order to obtain an estimate for the costs.

The contractor will be able to evaluate the extent of the building’s damage and determine approximate costs for the project. The hired contractor will need to ensure that the seismic evaluation will fully bring the building up to current codes under existing ordinances.

soft story retrofitting in La

The inspection and estimates will lead to the formulation of plans by the contractor. When drafting the plans for the soft story retrofit project, there are common issues that are important to avoid. Avoid plans that reduce or alter parking availability on the property, since this can create friction with the city for approval of the project. Plans that have a well-balanced ratio and distribution of windows, door openings, and wall space are more likely to be readily approved by the city without any unwanted issues. Keep in mind that the cost of the project will depend on a number of factors, including the level of hazard, the extent of retrofitting work needed, and the extent of current building decomposition.

In order to apply for a building permit, there will be a number of permits that need to be completed, as well as site plans, architectural plans, structural plans, and full project details. Fortunately, a trained contractor will be able to walk the building owner through this process. Failure to comply with the soft story retrofit plans can lead to the property being slapped with a Notice of Violation, which could lead to serious legal problems. Additionally, weakened buildings are left vulnerable to earthquakes and other natural disasters.

soft story retrofitting plans

Step 3: Getting the Plans Approved

There are several components to submitting a plan for soft-story retrofitting, including the preliminary meeting, formal submittal, and house habitability plan. Working with a professional contractor will require little effort from the building owner, as contractors are experienced in handling this process. Before the formal submittal, the contractor will sit down with a city engineer at a preliminary meeting and review their soft-story retrofit plans. At this point, the city engineer will be able to provide valuable feedback before the plan is formally submitted by the contractor to the city.

The inspection and estimates will lead to the formulation of plans by the contractor. When drafting the plans for the soft story retrofit project, there are common issues that are important to avoid. Avoid plans that reduce or alter parking availability on the property, since this can create friction with the city for approval of the project. Plans that have a well-balanced ratio and distribution of windows, door openings, and wall space are more likely to be readily approved by the city without any unwanted issues. Keep in mind that the cost of the project will depend on a number of factors, including the level of hazard, the extent of retrofitting work needed, and the extent of current building decomposition.

To formally submit the plan, an application form needs to be filled out and appropriate fees will need to be paid. On average, the first round of corrections should take a month after the plan is submitted formally. At this point, a meeting will be arranged for the contractor to go over the corrected plans with a plan checker so that the plans can be approved. Additionally, it is necessary to fill out a tenant habitability plan with the Department of Housing. This can be done electronically and usually takes only five days to be approved.

On average, be prepared to spend between $850 to $1200 for smaller projects and up to $5,000 for larger projects when it comes to planning check fees. Are you pressed for time? While normal submittal time for a project engineer to approve a project is 30 days, you can expedite the process at an additional fee. Requesting an expediting service is something to keep in mind if time is an important factor.

Step 4: Getting the Job Done

After all of the inspections, plans, and formalities have been finished, the final step is to complete the entirety of the construction project. By nature, soft story buildings are structures which contain a first story that is noticeably weaker than the stories above it. This is most common in buildings that have large areas open for parking.

Strengthening the building is a necessary precaution because buildings with a weakened first story run the risk of the entire structure being compromised.

The best solution for this issue is to perform a seismic upgrade so that the risk of collapse during an earthquake is greatly diminished.

Commercial retrofitting los angeles

In order to get the job done and ensure for the future structural success of the building, it’s essential to bring in a team of professional contractors. The soft-story retrofitting process includes breaking up the existing concrete slab and installing new reinforcement beams underneath the old concrete poles. This will reinforce the structure for adequate support. Next, concrete will be poured in order to reinforce the beams, which will leave the structure stabilized. In order to comply with retrofit requirements, it’s essential to have the project completed before the deadline. If your building is in need of a soft story retrofit, be sure to consult a professional contractor today.

With the help of the right team of contractors, dealing with a soft story retrofit can be made more than manageable. If you received an ordinance notice in the mail, or if you’re concerned about the structural integrity of your building, call today to book your free home inspection!  

Thinking about retrofitting for your soft story building? got a notice about the soft story retrofit ordinance?

Call California Foundation Works to schedule a Free estimate for property owners
323-418-2239

post and beam foundation damage

Reasons Los Angeles Homes Need Foundation Inspections

Foundation Crack

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. 

Water Damage

Drought

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.

Related : Retrofitting a Los Angeles Home for Earthquakes

Bricks Crack

Clay Soils

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.

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.
323-418-2239

How Landscaping Affects Your Foundation

Surface Water

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.

Drainage Gutter

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.

Improper Drainage

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

Drainage Installation

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.
323-418-2239

Crawl Space Encapsulation

Types of House Foundations

Crawlspace foundation

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.

need retrofitting

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

foundation repair on unstable foundation

Basement Foundation

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.
323-418-2239

garage relocation

Things To Put Into Consideration Before Garage Relocation

Garage to relocate

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.  

garage relocation

Driveway

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.

Related :  When Should You Resurface Your Driveway ?

garage relocation

Permits

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.

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.
323-418-2239

A Leaning Chimney Could Mean Foundation Damage

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.

Poor Soils

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.

Related : Protect Your Los Angeles Home Against Mudslides and Landslides

Poor Footing

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

Solutions

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.

retrofitt

What Affects The Cost Of Soft Story Retrofit ?

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.

Building Size

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.

Related :  What Affects The Cost Of Seismic Retrofit

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.

House bolting los angeles

What Affects The Cost Of Seismic Retrofit


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

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.

Related : New Spotlight on house bolting – Sill Bolt and Plate Washer Interference

Wood Blocking

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.