Buying a Home? Here’s How to Tell if the Foundation is Structurally Sound

Purchasing a home is a major investment.

If you’ve been looking at properties that were built before 1930, there’s a chance these buildings may have some foundation issues.

Here are 4 things to be on the look for when shopping for older real estate:

  1. Doors and windows that stick: While this may not sound like a huge issue – let alone a deal breaker – when a property’s doors and windows begin to stick, this could mean there are larger problems with the home’s foundation. Whether the foundation’s structural supports have improper spacing or are rotting, both can be expensive to repair and/or replace.
  2. Uneven/sloping floors: While doing your walk-through, if you notice uneven or sloping floors, this should be a big red flag. For starters, this means the home is not level. The underlying causes for this can range from cracks in the property’s foundation to severe damage, rotting or settlement to its supporting structures (like its posts, piers, girders, joists or even its footings).
  3. Cracks in the walls above the building’s doors and windows: If cracks in these areas look like they’re growing in length and/or width, this can also be a sign of foundation damage. It’s important to note how easy it is to mask these types of cracks with simple repairs, so if you see fresh paint or other repairs in these areas, make sure you ask the agent about what work has been done to the home and why.
  4. Foundation cracks: Finally, after you have inspected the home’s interior and exterior, ask to see the basement or crawl space of the structure. If you see any cracks in the walls, be sure to contact a foundation inspector to examine the area. Foundation repair companies, like Julian Construction, can conduct a thorough inspection before you purchase the property.

Julian De La Torre is an expert in Los Angeles foundation inspection, foundation contractors and foundation repair. Julian’s company, Julian Construction, has inspected over 15,000 structures, working with engineering firms and local departments of building & safety. The company has done more foundation repair in Los Angeles than any other company in the area over the last five years.

Here’s Why Your Brick Foundation Needs Replacement

brick foundation repair

Brick foundations are very common in Los Angeles.

However, properties that were built before 1910 with a brick foundation, might not have the necessary structural reinforcement needed to survive an earthquake.

Brick foundations that have been constructed without reinforced steel are identified as “unreinforced masonry,” and typically require foundation replacement.

It’s important to identify and remedy any signs of foundation problems early on.

brick foundation replacement los angeles

On the exterior if you’ve noticed any cracks, missing bricks or grout that’s turning to powder, it’s important to get your foundation inspected by a professional foundation contractor.

And on the interior, if you have any doors or windows that stick, your floors slope or are uneven, have hairline fractures in your tile or walls, these could all be signs that your brick foundation is failing.

There are a few repair methods a foundation company can use to fix structural issues with your brick foundation.

First, a foundation specialist will do a detailed assessment of your structure. From there, they’ll suggest which repair option will be the best correction method to fix your foundation.

Most likely, you contractor will recommend installing a sister foundation or doing a completely new foundation.

Like most structures, brick foundations will wear out over time. Wet soil, seismic activity and deterioration of the mortar that holds the bricks together, can all lead to degradation and damage to your foundation.

Julian De La Torre is an expert in Los Angeles foundation inspection, foundation contractors and foundation repair. Julian’s company, Julian Construction, has inspected over 15,000 structures, working with engineering firms and local departments of building & safety. The company has done more foundation repair in Los Angeles than any other company in the area over the last five years.

Budget Cuts May Kill California’s Earthquake Warning System

The early earthquake warning system, which has received approval from elected officials in both parties, may be facing another bump in the road.

The system, which was set for limited release early next year, is on President Trump’s chopping block, thanks to newly proposed budget cuts.

Luckily, both Republicans and Democrats have rallied behind the early earthquake warning system and are working to save it.

Both parties are asking for a reversal of these budget cuts, and requesting that Congress disregards President Trump’s latest budget proposals.

Thanks to a House of Representatives subcommittee, Congress is expected to approve a new budget plan that would continue funding for California’s early earthquake warning system.

In May, congress appointed $10.2 million for the warning system’s present budget year … and President Trump has allocated zero dollars for next year’s budget.

The early earthquake warning system is estimated to cost $16.5 million a year to run and operate and a total of $38.2 million to build.

The earthquake warning system could give as much as a minute’s notice before the shaking of a major quake makes its way to densely populated cities and public areas.

The system would allow places like classrooms, offices, malls, amusement parks, hospitals, police stations and fire stations to have access to these alerts, saving many more lives with extra seconds to drop and cover.

Other countries around the world have already implemented similar earthquake warning systems, like Mexico and Japan.

For now, it’s important to make sure you’re doing everything you can to prepare for the next “Big One.”

“The Big One is coming,” USGS research geophysicist Ken Hudnut told the L.A. Times. “The threat of the Big One on the southern San Andreas fault – the Coachella segment, where they have the big concerts down near palm springs – that threat is especially real.”

Julian De La Torre is an expert in Los Angeles earthquake retrofitting, foundation inspection, foundation repair and foundation replacement. As the founder of Julian Construction, Julian and his company have inspected over 15,000 structures.

Julian Construction routinely works with engineering firms and local departments of building & safety. The company has done more seismic retrofit work in Los Angeles than any other company in the area over the last five years.

Everything You Need to Know About Earthquake Retrofitting

earthquake damage

As a California resident, you know that earthquakes pose a real threat.

As we saw with the devastating Northridge earthquake of 1994, large seismic quakes can cause serious damage to buildings and homes. Thanks to advances in structural engineering, earthquake retrofitting is one of the most efficient ways to prevent massive damage to your home – injuries and even death – in the event of a massive earthquake.

When the earth shakes, buildings are more likely to be displaced from their concrete foundation or collapse if they are not properly secured to the ground.

Earthquake retrofitting increases a building or home’s resistance to this side-to-side motion, thus incurring less damage and destruction.

There are few measures you can implement to retrofit a structure, depending on the type of construction of the building needing reinforcing.

Foundation bolting is when bolts are added, either with or without plates, to the existing wooden framing known as a sill plate. Bolts are typically attached to the wood that sits on top of the concrete. Whether the foundation is lacking bolts or if the older existing bolts are already in place and in good shape — but too far apart — careful installation of new foundation bolts will add strength to the structure. During the Northridge earthquake, homes lacking foundation bolts slid off their foundations and collapsed.

Cripple wall bracing is typically used to retrofit structures that have a wood-frame foundation in addition to a concrete foundation. The crawl space area located under the property and can be just a few inches in height to a few feet, and is the area below where the floor of the home is connected to its foundation. In large earthquakes, cripple wall failure was the main source of structural damage causing the first floor of a building to collapse to the ground level. During a retrofit, the cripple wall is braced to keep it from giving out during a quake. By adding structural grade plywood framing to the wood framed foundation (known as a shear wall) the house will be able to withstand the side-to-side or back-and-forth shaking of an earthquake.

Soft story retrofits are typically used on multi-family apartment structures, condominiums and homes that have a large open space, like a tuck-under parking, located below the first floor living area. They’re referred to as “soft stories” because there is not enough reinforcement to protect the structure from the movement of an earthquake. In some soft story retrofits, a contractor will install plywood to brace the walls or install a steel moment frame to secure the area.

If your home was built prior to 1950, there’s a good chance your foundation is not seismically sound. Therefore, it’s important to contact a foundation specialist to inspect the area.

Julian De La Torre is an expert in Los Angeles foundation inspection, foundation contractors and foundation repair. Julian’s company, Julian Construction, has inspected over 15,000 structures, working with engineering firms and local departments of building & safety. The company has done more foundation repair in Los Angeles than any other company in the area over the last five years.

New Maps Show Major Fault Lines Run Under L.A.’s Most Expensive Real Estate

beverly hills

New fault boundaries have raised concerns for some of the priciest parts of Los Angeles.

According to new fault maps – which were released on Thursday – Beverly Hills, Santa Monica, Brentwood, Pacific Palisades, Westwood and Century City have been included in the Newport-Inglewood fault zone.

While this isn’t news for certain areas of the Westside, the remapped fault boundaries affect some of the highest-priced real estate in L.A. and, as a result, could thwart future development of those areas because building on a fault line is restricted.

“It is important to not build on faults,” Tim Dawson, senior engineering geologist for the California Geological Survey, told the L.A. Times.

“Building foundations will tend to break when the earth moves beneath them, damaging the building in the process.”

This is the first time the California Geological Survey has released official maps of these earthquake fault lines, connecting the Hollywood fault (which runs under Hollywood and Beverly Hills) to the Newport-Inglewood fault (which runs through Culver City, Pico-Robertson and Mid City).

While the new fault boundaries could halt future development of these areas, it will not affect the current structures that already sit on or along these fault lines.

Buildings that are constructed on fault lines have a much higher risk of damage or collapse in the event of an earthquake.

The remapping of these fault lines is part of Los Angeles’ earthquake safety initiative, aiming to create more seismically safe structures and earthquake awareness throughout the city. Once these fault maps have been finalized, developers will need to hire a geologist to determine the viability of certain parts of Los Angeles before starting construction on land near or directly on these faults.

“Extra precautions should be taken to ensure new buildings are not located on the trace of an active fault,” Dawson stressed. “The purpose of the investigation is to identify if there are active faults present, and if there are, then they must be avoided.”

If your home was built prior to 1950, there’s a good chance your foundation is not seismically sound. Therefore, it’s important to contact a foundation specialist to inspect the area.

Julian De La Torre is an expert in Los Angeles foundation inspection, foundation contractors and foundation repair. Julian’s company, Julian Construction, has inspected over 15,000 structures, working with engineering firms and local departments of building & safety. The company has done more foundation repair in Los Angeles than any other company in the area over the last five years.

Julian Construction Offers Helical Piles

LOS ANGELES, CA: Julian Construction (http://www.julianconstruction.com), a foundation repair and construction company, is offering helical pile services in the Los Angeles area.

Helical piles are a foundation solution, a steel shaft with blades attached in a spiral pattern, similar to a wood screw. The pile is attached at the foundation on one end and screwed into the ground on the other. Not only do helical piles stabilize a structure, they also increase load bearing capacities in a retrofit.

There are several benefits to be had when helical piles are used. Some of the benefits homeowners can expect include:

• Quick installation; faster to install than standard concrete foundations.
• Small footprint, which means you can use helical pile foundations in restricted areas.
• Can be installed in any ground, whether it be soft ground, rocky or clay.
• Flexible design; helical piles are designed specifically for your project, taking in consideration the available space and type of soil.

Peter, a past client of Julian Construction, stated, “Julian Construction repaired my foundation and bolted my house down to it. The work was scheduled for just a couple of days after receiving the proposal, completed on time and passed inspection with no problem. The price was great too. Would definitely recommend Julian Construction to anyone.”

Julian Construction has done more foundation repair in Los Angeles than any other company in the area over the last five years. Julian owns its own company and is built on a “no middleman” model – no salesman, no subcontractors. When you work with Julian Construction you get the principals of the company and workers of Julian Construction under your home. The result is the highest quality work at affordable prices. They can be contacted by phone at 323-733-3377, by fax at 323-733-4477 or via their website, www.julianconstruction.com. You can see tips and advice about home foundations on their blog at http://julianconstruction.com/blog/ or http://anchorla.com/blog/.

Julian Construction: 5 Most Common Types of Home Foundations

LOS ANGELES, CA: A foundation repair and construction company, Julian Construction (http://www.julianconstruction.com), is informing homeowners on the five types of home foundations.

Today, there are a large number of foundation types and most of these foundation types are determined based off a region’s climate and construction method. While it could be beneficial to know all of the different foundation types, there are five most common foundation types that all homeowners should know about. The five different types of home foundations include:

1. Poured concrete foundation. This is the most common type of home foundation and is formed by pouring a few inches of concrete with thicker edges.
2. Permanent wood foundation. This type of foundation is most popular in northern parts of the country where the basement is on a concrete floor and is framed with pressure treated wood.
3. Raised foundations. This type of foundation is best for areas that receive large amounts of rain.
4. Basement foundation. This type of foundation is to provide living space or storage and usually has more headroom than a crawlspace.
5. Crawlspace foundation. This type of foundation is similar to a basement foundation, however it has less headroom and is used where there is heavy clay content in the soil.

Julian Construction has done more foundation repair in Los Angeles than any other company in the area over the last five years. Julian owns its own company and is built on a “no middleman” model – no salesman, no subcontractors. When you work with Julian Construction you get the principals of the company and workers of Julian Construction under your home. The result is the highest quality work at affordable prices. They can be contacted by phone at 323-733-3377, by fax at 323-733-4477 or via their website, www.julianconstruction.com. You can see tips and advice about home foundations on their blog at http://julianconstruction.com/blog/ or http://foundationrepairforlosangeles.com/blog/.

Raymond Fault Line Creates New Fears

A new section of the Raymond fault line, which runs through Los Angeles’ northeast areas, has been redefined.

The active fault, which caused the 4.9 earthquake in Pasadena back in 1988, has now been re-mapped extending to areas West of its original location.

The California Geological Survey sent out a revised map of the Raymond fault, adding more areas of Los Angeles like Eagle Rock, Glassell Park and Highland Park within its zone.

Not only has the active area already released  fairly large earthquakes, seismologists estimate the fault line is capable of producing a size 7 quake.

If such an event occurred, we could see massive damage, injury and even death in and around northeast areas of Los Angeles and, now, locations west of the original fault zone. Seismologists also argue that such an earthquake could set off the Hollywood fault, adding more chaos to some of L.A.’s most densely populated areas.

Nevertheless, Los Angeles is committed to improving earthquake safety. New laws and regulations have ensured that older buildings throughout the city undergo retrofits and an early earthquake warning system is close to completion.

Julian De La Torre is an expert in Los Angeles foundation inspection, foundation contractors and foundation repair. Julian’s company, Julian Construction, has inspected over 15,000 structures, working with engineering firms and local departments of building & safety. The company has done more foundation repair in Los Angeles than any other company in the area over the last five years.

JulianConstruction.com: Does Your Roof Need to Be Replaced?

By Julian De La Torre

The purpose of a building’s roof is to provide protection from environmental elements like rain, snow, wind and sun. Although a roof can last for 20 to 30 years, it will eventually deteriorate and need to be replaced. Factors that can impact the life of a roof include how well the roof was installed, the quality of the materials that were used, the effectiveness of the roof’s ventilation system and weather.

Indicators that you may need a new roof include:

  • Cracked shingles or tiles
  • Loose shingles or tiles
  • Missing shingles or tiles
  • Shingle edges are curled and buckling
  • Shingle granules in the gutters
  • Bald spots where shingle granules are missing
  • The roof is sagging
  • There are signs of water damage
  • Daylight is shining through the roof
  • There are roof leaks
  • The roof looks old and worn

Roofs can be made from different types of materials, such as asphalt shingles, clay or concrete tiles, wood shingles, slate and metal, along with various synthetic products.

Asphalt shingles, also known as composition shingles, are the most common type of roofing product. They are less expensive than clay or concrete tiles and relatively easy to install. The shingles are covered with grit and come in a variety of colors.

Both concrete and clay tiles are extremely heavy, but also very durable with a long life (100 years or more in some cases). Because of their weight, concrete and clay tiles often require extra framing.

Wood shingles are usually made of cedar, redwood and southern pine. The shingles may need to be fireproofed in certain areas, or chemically treated in wet climates because they are a natural product.

Metal roofs are made of steel, zinc, aluminum, copper and stainless steel. They come in shingles or panels, and provide long-lasting protection, especially in places with extreme weather conditions. They are also low maintenance.

Slate is one of the most expensive types of roofing materials. Similar to clay and concrete tiles, slate is heavy and will need additional support, but can also last 100 years or more if properly maintained.

Sometimes a damaged roof can be repaired instead of replaced. If you have concerns about the condition of your roof, get professional advice from an experienced roofing company, including an inspection to find out what issues need to be addressed.

Julian De La Torre, expert in Los Angeles foundation inspection, foundation repair and founder of Julian Construction (http://www.julianconstruction.com) foundation contractors (Los Angeles), has inspected over 15,000 structures, working with engineering firms & local departments of building & safety. The company has done more foundation repair (Los Angeles) than any other company in the area over the last five years (http://julianconstruction.com/services/foundation-repair/). Julian Construction owns its own company and is a “no middlemen” model–no salesmen or subcontractors–you get the principals of the company and its workers under your home. Learn more about Julian Construction and Los Angeles foundation repair at http://www.anchorla.com/. See their video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dKWYhuuBak4

The Importance of a Proper Drainage System

LOS ANGELES, CA: A foundation repair and construction company, Julian Construction (http://www.julianconstruction.com), is informing the public on why a proper drainage system is important for a safe home.

Water can be a homeowner’s worst enemy as it can ruin or destroy their home. Leaks can cause pipes to rust and burst, and ceilings to crack. Water can seep behind walls and into floors, which can increase the risk of mold. Additionally, when water starts to collect outside of a home, the culprit is a drainage issue. If homeowners don’t make sure that their drainage systems are properly maintained on a regular basis, damages can occur to the home or its foundation.

Having a proper drainage system means that falling water is controlled and moved away from the home in a way as to also prevent standing water that won’t go away. There are definite signs homeowners can check for regularly to ensure their drainage systems are working properly, including:

Foundation cracks
• Rainwater accumulating on the roof
• Water pooling in a yard
• Moisture seeping into a house

If any of the above signs are found, Julian Construction advices on getting it fixed as soon as possible.

Julian De La Torre, owner of Julian Construction, stated, “The installation of proper drainage systems surrounding the structure provides a safeguard against the impact of water accumulation and flooding during the rainy season. We can install a drainage system to avoid drainage problems and foundation problems from poor drainage.”

Julian Construction has done more foundation repair in Los Angeles than any other company in the area over the last five years. Julian owns its own company and is built on a “no middleman” model – no salesman, no subcontractors. When you work with Julian Construction you get the principals of the company and workers of Julian Construction under your home. The result is the highest quality work at affordable prices. They can be contacted by phone at 323-733-3377, by fax at 323-733-4477 or via their website, www.julianconstruction.com. You can see tips and advice about home foundations on their blog at http://julianconstruction.com/blog/ or http://foundationrepairforlosangeles.com/blog/.