Frequently Asked Questions
Welcome to our FAQ, where you will find answers to some of the most commonly asked questions about foundation repair, concrete leveling, crack injection and more. If you have a question not found in our FAQ, call (661) 294-1313 to speak with one of our foundation repair experts.
Foundation problems can ruin a home or building's value and even render it unsafe or unlivable, regardless the cause. The majority of foundation problems are caused by either:
- Expansion in the soils surrounding your home or building
- Poor maintenance of the earth around the foundation
- The flaws of imperfect construction
- Flooding of land around your home or building
- Improperly compacted fill soils
- Deteriorating or inadequate supports
- The weight of your property bearing down on the foundation
It’s also not just older homes or buildings that experience issues with their foundation. A recent study by consumer reports revealed that 15% of new homes or buildings have serious foundation problems as well.
Unfortunately, foundation problems don't get better with time - they only get worse! Similar to a crack in the windshield of your car; the longer you wait, the more expensive to repair. When foundation problems are ignored; worry grows with each day that passes and you’re unable to fully enjoy your living space.
If the issue is not corrected right away, pests may even find their way through the cracks, leading to infestations within the home or building. If fixing the problem is put off too long, entire basement walls can collapse resulting in an unlivable home in extreme cases. The decision to address foundation problems in their early stages offers peace of mind, knowing that your greatest investment is once again, safe, secure and fully usable.
It’s important to understand that all “Do-it-yourself” solutions are short-lived. Quick fixes such as patching over drywall cracks or tuck-pointing exterior cracks only temporarily solves cosmetic damage, it does nothing to stabilize the foundation. You’re only setting yourself up for ongoing frustrations. The cracks will open back up as the problem continues. This becomes very unsightly and begins to detract from the beauty of your home or building.
When trying to determine a fair cost for repairing your foundation, it’s important to first understand that every solution requires a customized foundation repair system. With this in mind, the costs of repair can vary depending on type of problem, the solution being used, amount of preparation required and difficulty of the repair.
Examples of varying costs:
- If more than average excavation is required to reach the bottom of your foundation, the costs of settlement repair may be greater than that of an excavation that takes half the time.
- When installing foundation push piers, they need to extend downward beneath your home until firm enough soil is reached. The longer the distance, the greater number of steep pier sections that are needed to achieve the optimal depth.
Knowing your home or building is safe and secure is a great return on investment in itself. Another huge benefit of foundation repair is the resale value of your property. Most people sell their home or building at some point in their life. No buyer wants to purchase a property with structural damage, and if they did, it wouldn't even be close to asking price.
The Real Estate Seller Disclosure Act requires disclosure of foundation problems to potential buyers. In most cases, Realtors say they have to discount a property with foundation structural defects by up to 30% to proceed with the sale.
A simple calculation, subtract 30% from the appraised value of your home today. Compared to the average costs of foundation repair, you can easily see the amount lost is much greater than the cost of fixing your foundation!
A high-density polyurethane foam material that is injected beneath a cracked or sunken concrete slab. When the components mix, a chemical reaction causes the foam to expand with powerful force, filling the voids and pushing settled concrete up toward its original, level position.
Although this method by itself is not recommended to raise a damaged foundation, it can be used in conjunction with push or helical piers to fill in any voids created by the lifting process.
The average job takes less than one day to complete. Our polyurethane foam offers an immediate turnaround allowing you to walk or drive on repaired concrete within 15 minutes after installation.
The cost of concrete lifting offers savings of up to 50% over the alternative of removing and reconstructing damaged concrete. Our polyurethane foam is faster, cleaner, and more cost-effective than replacement. Concrete lifting also does not require municipal building permits for commercial or industrial applications.
For the most part… almost any piece of cracked or sunken concrete can be raised or leveled. There are rare instances where the condition of the concrete is damaged beyond repair and must be replaced.
Our polyurethane foam system is non-invasive and Eco-friendly. We use small equipment that will not disturb any vegetation or decorations around the damaged concrete. In contrary, with the removal and reconstructing of concrete you experience significant disruption of your landscaping.
Helical piers are the only permanent foundation repair solution. This is because they bypass the problem soils, which caused your foundation to fail in the first place, and rest onto load bearing strata or bedrock. The conventional method of tearing down and rebuilding a foundation does not address the actual issue. Your foundation problems are guaranteed to return.
They are also very cost effective, fast to install, and offer almost zero interruption to your daily life. Unlike hand-dug and drilled concrete piers which are extremely time consuming, messy, expensive, and labor intensive. Or driven Piles which although effective, offer limited access and are very sensitive when when stabilizing existing foundations and structures.
Helical piers are versatile across all sized jobs, from residential to commercial. They can easily hold up to 500 tons, or 1,000,000 lbs., which reflects loads similar to a 10 story building. That said, the exact weight of the load is just a determination of the size and number of helical piers used for the job.
Helical piers can be installed with either equipment attached to skid steers, mini and full size excavators, backhoes or other types of handheld equipment for limited access areas.
Helical piers are made with galvanized steel, recorded to last over 75 years in moderately to highly corrosive soils. They can easily last over 100 years in less corrosive soils.
Square Shaft: These helical piers are best for tension situations as they offer greater yield, tensile strength and higher torque capacity.
Round Shaft: These helical piers are best for compression situations as they offer far superior lateral stability (the strength to resist twisting and deflection), along with greater load capacities.
In the event of an earthquake, the ability for your home, building, or structure to withstand ground movement is critical to avoiding major structural damage. Seismic retrofitting involves modifying existing structures, so that they are more resistant to seismic activity.
Seismic retrofitting involves modifying your business or home’s foundation so that is becomes more resistant to ground or soil movement caused by earthquakes. Seismic retrofitting may require the use of foundation bolting, cripple wall bracing, crawlspace pier systems, or helical and push piers.
Without seismic retrofitting, your structure can slide, lift, or rack off your foundation. Older structures, constructed prior to the updated building codes, are more susceptible to seismic activity damage. For this reason, most property owners in California are legally required to retrofit their homes and businesses.
Soft-story seismic retrofitting is designed to reinforce the weak first floors of multi-storied structures, which may collapse during an earthquake.
In many multi-story structures, the construction of the first-floor was built to accommodate parking garages, an expansive residence lobby with large windows, or even retail space. Because these large open spaces are not reinforced, and usually built from wood frames, they can’t withstand the seismic shifts that occur during an earthquake.
Soft-story seismic retrofitting helps to reinforce the first floor so it can stand-up to the lateral shifting motion of an earthquake. The retrofitting process can involve installing braces around parking structures, strengthening existing walls, adding shear walls, or securing walls to the foundation.
Seismic retrofitting your home or building is essential for securing the safety of your structure, family, customers, or employees. In addition, seismic retrofitting can reduce your vulnerability to costly loss of wage, housing, and injury lawsuits, and ensure you don’t lose profits or have to cease operation due to earthquake damage.
Failure to meet city code by retrofitting your property puts you at risk for large penalties and fines from the city, increases your insurance costs, and decreases the value of your property, making it a bad investment for future lenders or buyers.
Depending on the size of your home or building, retrofitting should only take an average of one to two weeks. The larger your property, the longer the work may take, but in most, if not all cases, retrofitting rarely goes beyond a two week time frame.
Before you begin your retrofit, be sure to ask your contractor for a work completion date estimate.
The first way to determine whether your home needs earthquake improvements is by its construction date. Homes built before or even during the 80s may not be up to code, and will most likely require improvements.
Another indication that your home may be in need of earthquake improvements is if you notice any cracks or buckling in your walls, floors, or foundation. Even if you don’t see these issues, it is important to get a professional visual inspection of your home to see where your structure may need strengthening or improvement.
Current building codes require the construction of newer homes and buildings to included seismic reinforcement. You can review the plans of your home or building to determine if the codes have been met, or ask a professional to inspect your structure.
In most cases, the retrofitting process in minimally disruptive. Since most retrofitting work takes place in your home or building’s crawl space, you will only have to endure some noise coming from underneath your structure.
As the home or business owner, you will need to be available to provide access to the building during the initial and final inspections, as well as during the retrofitting process. Your retrofitter expert will inform you of any other requirements or disruptions that may occur during the process.
One of the most difficult foundations to retrofit is the brick foundation. In some cases you may need to have your brick foundation replaced before the retrofitting can be done. Because brick foundations can be structurally unstable, they may need to be covered in concrete during the retrofit to improve their strength.
Earthquakes can cause serious structural damage to your home. Properties who have been retrofitted have a lower probable maximum loss (PML) than properties that aren’t up to earthquake code. As a result, potential buyers and lenders will see your home as a more valuable, and secure investment.
Every earthquake is different, and as such there is no way to determine its size, the amount of seismic activity it will bring, or the destruction it will cause. No matter how well you are prepared, or how many improvements you’ve made to your home, you may not be able to fully avoid earthquake damage.
However, time and time again, it has been proven that retrofitting can not only reduce the risk of your home incurring any damage, but also lower the amount of damage that might occur.
About 90% of commercial and industrial buildings located in California do not have earthquake insurance. This is because the either property owners cannot afford the premiums or they are unable to get a policy. Seismic retrofitting a property reduced the probable maximum loss (PML) in the event of an earthquake. In turn, insurance companies are willing to lower their premiums.
- How much does a complete earthquake retrofit cost?
- How much does it cost to retrofit my foundation?
- My home has been through several earthquakes without damage. Do I still need retrofitting?
- Will seismic retrofitting bring my bring my building up to code?
- Can I do the retrofitting myself? Or at least portions of the work?
- Do I need a retrofit contractor or a seismic engineer?
Crack injection is an extremely cost effective repair method for cracks in concrete. It requires minimal labor and is non-disruptive. When cracks are repaired, the surrounding ground, walkways, or landscaping will not be damaged.
In short, yes. Crack injection is the best way to fully seal a crack in concrete. It offers the most effective solution towards preventing further water intrusion and trapped water from freezing and expanding.
If our specialists determine crack injection is the solution for your situation, your are guaranteed a 100% success rate! This is because all of our products and services come with a written, 25 year transferable warranty.
Yes! Our crack injection actually seeks out water, and then once found it reacts, creating a foam within minutes. This foam seals the crack and blocks flowing water.
No. The cured injection will expand and contract with the concrete, retaining it’s seal, as the temperature fluctuates.
Mudjacking involves pumping a combination of water, concrete, and soil under a sunken concrete slab in order to lift the slab back to a level position. The mixture of concrete, water, and soil is commonly called slurry.
The process of mudjacking starts with the drilling of holes into the sunken concrete slab. After the drilling is complete the slurry or mud is pumped into the holes to fill the void under the concrete and raise it back to a level condition. Mudjacking is most commonly used to repair larger concrete problems, such as crumbling, settling, or sunken sidewalks, curbs, roadways, or exterior concrete slabs.
The “mud” in mudjacking is comprised of a mixture of water, soil, and concrete. This mixture is based on application and need. If we’re doing a void-fill beneath a structure, with no need to lift, the mixture will be on the “wet” side in order to flow into the hole under the foundation. In this case, the “sand-clay” slurry would include a 5-10% mixture of cement.
When it comes to lifting; the mixture is based on the soil below. For example, the wetter the soil, a more solid material, with a high content of sand is needed. And sometimes, no cement is used at all if we are only lifting. The mix would then include only bags of selected topsoil or loam and water to make a “pumpable” paste, capable of drying within a reasonable time.
At the end of the day, it’s the expertise of the operator that determines the appropriate mixture for a lift, backfill, or void-fill. Once the combination is prepared, it is pumped through drilled holes in the concrete, until that slab is either fully supported or moved back into a level position.
Mudjacking is commonly used to repair large volume voids, hillside erosion, large backfills, and to lift large concrete slabs, sidewalks, walkways, and roadways. It is ideally used in commercial applications, as opposed to residential interior slab raising.
Compared to conventional concrete replacement, mudjacking takes a fraction of the time to complete. Depending on the size of the job, or the amount of damage that needs to be repaired, on average, installation can take between a few hours up to one day. It then usually takes another 6-12 hours for the “mud” to fully dry.
Although quick, and affordable, in most cases, mudjacking is usually a temporary solution for repairing sunken or damaged concrete slabs. This is because the actual cause of the damage is the changes in the soil beneath the concrete slab. The soils will eventually compact, settle, or expand and the concrete will move. However, as long as the soil remains stable, mudjacking will hold.
No. The mudjacking process takes anywhere between a few hours to 1 day, and as such doesn’t require a building permit.
Mudjacking is a more cost efficient and less time consuming process than concrete replacement. It usually costs about 1/3 less than concrete replacement. Additionally, mudjacking can take only a few hours to complete, and once the job is done you can walk or drive over the concrete in about 6-12 hours. Concrete replacement costs a lot more, is very disruptive, can take days to complete, and requires a longer wait time until you can drive or walk on the concrete.
Mudjacking and Polyurethane foam can both be used to lift cracked, sunken concrete. The process of mudjacking involves pumping a mixture of water, soil, and concrete under the sunken slab to help raise it back to a level position. Polyurethane Foam Concrete Leveling is an innovative, non-disruptive process that involves pumping high-density polyurethane foam under the concrete to help lift it back into a level position.
Polyurethane is a faster, more eco-friendly method for concrete lifting, but it does cost more per cubic feet. It is recommended for smaller jobs such as sidewalks and driveways, while mudjacking is recommended for larger repairs, such as highway bridge abutment slab lifting, or lifting large concrete slabs & walkways.
An earthquake is a sudden shaking of ground that is caused when two fault plates either collide or slip past each other. The powerful shock waves caused by this movement can sometimes be strong enough to alter the surface of the earth, cause buildings to collapse, power lines and gas lines to break, roads and bridges to buckle and crumb, as well as landslides, fires, and tsunamis.
Most earthquakes only last for a few seconds. The larger the earthquake, the longer it lasts. For example, a magnitude 6 earthquake can often last between 30-40 seconds. Smaller earthquakes may only last for 10-30 seconds. If the earth, or tectonic plates, continue to shift or readjust, smaller aftershocks may occur for weeks or months after the initial earthquake.
The San Andreas Fault is the main boundary, or crack, where the North American tectonic plate and the Pacific plate meet. Known as the most famous fault in the world, the San Andreas Fault runs through California, which is one of the most populated states in United States, and caused one of the deadliest earthquakes in history; the 1906 San Francisco earthquake.
If you include all the curves of the fault, the San Andreas runs about 800 miles long and ten miles deep. Because the plates along the fault are constantly moving, they can get stuck when they touch. This causes stress to build up, which then causes breakage or slipping of the rocks running along the plates. This activity can cause the plates along the fault to shift quickly, which in turn produces seismic activity, or an earthquake.
Unlike other natural disasters, such as hurricanes and tornadoes, there is no earthquake season. Earthquakes can happen at anytime, 24/7 and 365 days of the year.
There is no such thing as earthquake weather. Earthquakes can occur during any type of weather, and at any time during the year.
The safest place to be during an earthquake is in indoors under a sturdy table or desk. Once you are under the table, you should drop to your hands and knees and cover your head and neck. Remain in that position until the shaking stops.
If you aren’t able to get underneath a table, you should try and assume the same drop and cover position near an interior wall, or low-lying furniture. Remember, your main goal is to protect your body from falling debris.
If you are outside or in your car during an earthquake, be sure to move away from buildings, utility wires, or any other objects that could fall on you. If you are close to a building, and think you might not be able to avoid falling debris, you should quickly move inside to protect yourself. If you are driving when an earthquake occurs, don’t stay in your vehicle. Stop the car as soon as possible and find an open area. No matter where you are, drop, cover and hold on until the shaking stops.
Contrary to what you may have seen in movies or on TV, the ground will not open up during an earthquake. When an earthquake occurs, the shifting plates are moving across the fault, not separating apart from each other. If they did move apart, then the ground could open up.
Small cracks or crevasses can occur when earthquakes cause landslides, or other ground slumping. However these cracks are never big enough to swallow up a person, like they do in the movies.
A seismometer is a device used to measure seismic activity, or the movement that occurs in the earth. Seismometers were developed to detect seismic waves caused by either an earthquake or an explosion.
The seismometer is made up of two objects, a motion detection sensor, known as a seismograph, and a recording system. As the motion detection sensor moves, the recording system remains stable in order to properly records the seismic waves being detected. The record produced by a seismometer is called a seismogram.
A seismograph, sometimes known as a seismometer, is a device used to detect and record the seismic activity caused by an earthquake. The seismograph uses electromagnetic sensors to translate the movements occurring in the ground into electrical changes. Digital circuits record these changes, which then produces a printout of the activity.
Chang Heng, a Chinese scholar, invented the first seismograph around 132 A.D. Heng’s design, known as the dragon jar for its round jar shape featuring eight dragonheads, was later updated by another Chinese scientist in 136 A.D.
A more modern version of the seismograph was invented in 1880 by three British scientists who were studying earthquakes in Japan. After World War II, scientists in the United States updated the horizontal pendulum seismograph of 1880 so that it could record long-period waves.
A seismogram is the written recording, produced either digitally or on paper, of the seismic activity of the earth’s movement detected by a seismograph. The record usually consists of the three ground motions of the earth, including up-down, north-south, and east-west.
The Richter Scale, invented in 1935 by seismologist Charles F. Richter, is used to measure the magnitude of an earthquake. While there is no actual physical scale, the Richter Scale was developed to assign a value to the seismic activity recorded on a specific type of seismograph.
The values of Richter scale ranged from less than zero to 8.0 or higher. Each increase of unit on the scale corresponds to a magnitude increase of the earthquake of 10-fold.
Today, the Richter Scale has been replaced by newer scales that are not restricted to the measurement of older seismographs, which aren’t able to detect seismic activity less than zero. These scales include the body-wave magnitude scale and the moment magnitude scale.
Earthquakes can occur almost anywhere in the world. The most common locations for an earthquake to occur are along a fault line, or where tectonic plates meet. Tectonic plates can be found in both the ocean and on land. These plates are known as oceanic and continental, respectively.
Though the plates are constantly moving, they can run into or slid past each other. This movement can result in an earthquake. An earthquake can also occur along a fault line, which a crack caused when two plates are moving in opposite directions.
Currently, earthquakes can’t be predicted. While scientists are able to predict which locations are more prone to earthquakes, they haven’t been able to devise a way to tell when an earthquake might happen.
Today, there are methods of predicting the possibility of a major earthquake occurring in certain locations, which can help residents stay prepared. Scientists are continually working on methods to, hopefully, make earthquake prediction a reality.
Unfortunately, there is no way to prevent natural earthquakes from occurring, which is why taking earthquake preparedness seriously is essential.
However, there are steps that can be taken to prevent man made earthquakes caused by mining, drilling, or removal of gas or fluids below the surface. By stopping or reducing this type of activity, the chance of a man made earthquake happening is greatly reduced or eliminated.
A fault is a crack, or fracture, in the earth found where two tectonic plates are moving in varying directions. They are usually caused when the plates bump and slide across each other.
Not all faults are the same. In fact there are actually three main types of faults, which include:
- Normal Fault – Occurs when the upper plate or block moves down, relative to the plate below. This usually happens in places where the earth is moving apart.
- Reverse Fault – Occurs when the upper block moves above the lower block. This usually happens in places where the earth is being compressed.
- Strike-Slip Fault – Occurs when the block, or plate, moves in a horizontal motion, either left laterally, or right laterally. This motion is the result of shearing forces.
Tectonic plates move because of gravity, and as a result of floating on top of a layer of molten rock. Since the molten rock is constantly being heated by the earth’s core, producing energy, the plates are also constantly moving along the current or flow of the molten rock.
Aftershocks are smaller earthquakes that occur after a larger earthquake. Aftershocks can continue for weeks, months, and even sometimes years after the initial earthquake.
Foreshocks are smaller earthquakes that usually occur before a larger earthquake. Foreshocks stop once the mainshock, or largest earthquake in the series, takes place.
Earthquake intensity is the numeric value used to describe the effect an earthquake has on the earth’s surface, as well as the structures and people on that surface. Intensity of an earthquake can vary depending on where the earthquake occurs, and your distance from the epicenter.
In order to measure earthquake intensities, scientists in the U.S. use the Modified Mercalli scale and the Rossi-Forel scale, which measure the amount of shaking.
Magnitude is used to measure the size of an earthquake, while intensity is used to measure the severity of the earthquake.
In order to determine the magnitude of an earthquake, you need to measure the amount of seismic activity reported on a seismograph. To record the intensity of an earthquake, from a certain location, you need to measure its effects on people, structures, and the earth’s surface.
To date, the biggest earthquake that has ever happened is the Chile earthquake of 1960. It occurred on May 22, 1960, and had a magnitude of 9.5, and could be felt as far away as Hawaii. The 1960 Chilean earthquake caused $1 billion in damage, and resulted in the deaths of 6,000 people.
Soil liquefaction is a phenomenon where soil suddenly loses its strength, and becomes more like liquid than solid dirt. This is usually caused by an earthquake, and most commonly happens in places where the soil is saturated by water.
When soil liquefaction happens, the ground becomes unstable, and structures lying above that soil can collapse or tilt.