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F O U N D A T I O N S
C O M M O N F O U N D A T I O N P R O B L E M S:
The most common reasons for foundation problems are improper drainage, damage from earthquakes and/or deterioration due to age and the use of substandard materials.
Most of the time the damage is localized and can be repaired by the replacement of the damaged foundation section.
In some cases the entire foundation needs to be replaced.
- I M P R O P E R D R A I N A G E:
A leading cause of foundation damage is inadequate drainage. Foundation cracking, settling, and/or deterioration is an indication of soil saturation caused by poor drainage.
- E A R T H Q U A K E S:
In California seismic activity is a leading cause of foundation cracking, settling and failure.
- P R E 1933 F O U N D A T I O N S:
Many houses built in Southern California prior to1933 were constructed with poor quality concrete. In those years, before the invention of the modern cement mixing truck, concrete was mixed by hand in wheel barrows. In addition, since concrete is mostly sand, it was a common construction practice to use beach sand which was readily available for free. Unfortunately common beach sand has a high salt content. The combination of sub-standard hand-mixing and high salt content in the sand is a primary cause for premature deterioration and eventually complete loss of strength in the foundation.
1933 Long Beach Earthquake:
The 1933 Long Beach Earthquake exposed the deficiencies of this practice and it was discontinued. Unfortunately however, not before thousands of homes had been constructed in all areas of Southern California. A simple way to test for this is to poke the concrete with a screwdriver. If it flakes away like loose sand it needs replacement
Some foundations were constructed with un-reinforced masonry including bricks and/or river stones using the concrete mix mentioned above for adhesion.
Also, in order to save costs, many foundations installed prior to 1933 were constructed without structural steel and without foundation anchors.
NONE OF THESE FOUNDATIONS CAN BE REPAIRED OR EARTHQUAKE
RETROFITTED AND REPLACEMENT MUST BE CONSIDERED.
F O U N D A T I O N R E P A I R / I M P R O V E M E N T S R E C O M M E N D E D:
There are basically three solutions to the above foundation situations:
- F O U N D A T I O N R E P L A C E M E N T:
FOUNDATION REPLACEMENT involves the following work:
- Shoring of the house as necessary.
(Note: the house is not lifted and the interior contents do not have to be removed during construction.)
- Excavation and hauling away to the dump the old foundation.
- The complete installation of a new concrete foundation footing and stem wall as per L. A. Building Department Specifications.
- The new foundation is bolted as per current L.A. Building Department specifications.
- Construction of a new cripple wall on top of new foundation as necessary with shear paneling and all necessary framing
and /or framing repairs as necessary.
- Install of new exterior in area of work to match existing best as possible.
- F O U N D A T I O N U N D E R P I N N I N G:
In some cases the foundation itself is fine however it is settling due to poor drainage. In these cases, after correcting the drainage situation, UNDERPINNING, or building a new foundation under the existing foundation is a suitable repair.
- S I S T E R F O U N D A T I O N
A SISTER FOUNDATION is the construction of a new foundation in the crawl space area (under the house) adjacent to the existing foundation. Although not as strong a repair as a new foundation, a SISTER FOUNDATION can be a suitable option for a situation where it is desirable to maintain the exterior appearance of a brick or stone finish.
Also, a SISTER FOUNDATION is usually less expensive than a complete foundation replacement because it does not require the demo, removal and haul away of the existing foundation.
Also, the installation of a SISTER FOUNDAITON does not require the removal and replacement of planters, sidewalks, driveways etc.
NOTE: All of the above work requires engineering, plans and building permits.