Foundation Replacement & Repair

If you’re a homeowner in Alameda, Berkeley, Oakland, El Cerrito, and Piedmont, CA.

Common Foundation Questions

A foundation is a large mass of reinforced concrete that elevates and stabilizes your home above ground level. Typically, houses rely on a perimeter foundation, complemented by a central foundation in the crawl space. Some variations may include piers and alternative supports in the center of the crawl space.

Understanding the importance of a solid foundation is crucial for the longevity of your home. Over time, concrete structures may deteriorate due to water, soil settlement, and even earthquake activity. The average useable lifespan of foundations in our area is around 100 years. Since older foundations have no rebar (steel reinforcement), when they settle they can crack into smaller sections that will move independently from each other, causing your home to move and develop cracks in walls, doors, etc. If your foundation has issues and you replace it sooner rather than later, you can avoid some of the damage that may occur that would lead to additional expenses in the future.

To solve this problem, we do the following: 

  1. Structural support – We reinforce your home using steel beams, ensuring stability during the foundation replacement.
  2. Demolition and removal – We demolish the old concrete, remove it, and haul it away.
  3. Trenching – We dig deeper trenches for a larger, more modern foundation that is deeper into the soil and can support your home better.
  4. Reinforcement installation – We install 5+ pieces of horizontal and vertical steel or rebar throughout the new foundation space to give it more strength and tie the structure together. 
  5. Formwork construction – We install wooden forms (they basically create a mold for where the new concrete will go).
  6. Concrete pouring – Next, we pour the concrete (usually with a pump so that we can direct the concrete into the smaller spaces).
  7. Curing and support removal – After allowing the concrete to cure, we remove the steel support beams and wooden forms, guaranteeing a durable and long-lasting foundation.
  8. Finishing touches – At the end, we do finished details such as repairing the stucco to match the rest of the building, repouring concrete walkways, fixing decks, and doing touch up painting. 

Foundation Repair and Replacement Oakland

Foundation Replacement- Older foundations often require repair or replacement. They typically lack rebar, and are often cracked and settled. Their dimensions are smaller, and they are often not deep enough into the adjacent soil to be stable. Due to drainage issues and moisture in the soil, the concrete may be deteriorated, and is often in poor condition and crumbling. Replacement with more modern reinforced concrete of appropriate dimensions is needed. Sometimes portions of the foundation are in better condition than others, or have already been upgraded, in which case partial replacement is possible.
Foundation Replacement and Repair
Pier and Grade Beam Foundation Repairs

Pier and Grade Beam Foundation Repairs

Conventional t-shaped foundations are often not sufficient to support homes in hillside conditions. If there is settlement but the current foundation is more modern and in decent condition, we can sometimes do a pier and grade beam repair. This consists of installing a new reinforced concrete beam next to the current foundation and attached with rebar that is epoxied to it, and then supporting the modified structure with drilled concrete piers, consisting of holes often 10’-20’ deep filled with concrete and steel. This serves to hold up the modified foundation with supports in deeper more stable soils.

Foundation Retaining Walls

Supporting additional soil on the outside. Older foundation retaining walls are generally not designed to modern engineering standards, lacking rebar and the wide footings needed for proper stability. They also lack modern drainage, and older systems are often no longer functional. The installation of new proper walls and drainage solves this problem.
Foundation Retaining Walls
Crawlspace Supports

Crawlspace Supports (Isolated Piers)

Often the interior walls in the crawlspace or basement are supported with isolated piers, which have posts sitting on them supporting a beam which holds up the floors above. In older homes these piers are often in poor condition and substantially undersized. We typically replace them with new piers of 24” square or larger dimensions, with steel reinforcement and post base hardware and post caps to provide better connections between the piers and the support beam above.

Foundations for New Construction

For new residential structures or additions properly engineered walls are a must. Drainage is also critical, consisting of proper French Drains and downspout drainage. The drainage under the new interior floor slabs can be integrated with the perimeter drainage. Depending upon the elevations, new drainage can either be sloped to the street, or on downsloped or level properties sometimes a sump pump system will be needed.
Foundations for New Construction
Foundation Crack Repair

Foundation Crack Repair

Small foundation cracks in older footings are common and are usually the result of settlement, often related to drainage issues. When they are not too large or numerous, epoxy can be used as a repair method. Steel plates bolted to the foundation are sometimes used for bigger isolated cracks. When these cracks become larger (typically greater than 3/8” or so) and they are numerous, or if there are more severe issues with settlement or rotation, replacement with a more modern foundation that is properly designed is the solution of choice.

Replacement of Brick Foundations

Brick foundations generally lack stability and do not function well in a seismic event. They are not reinforced and the mortar is often in poor condition in soils exposed to moisture, causing the bricks to become loose. We generally recommend their replacement with modern engineered steel- reinforced foundations or foundation retaining walls, along with proper drainage and basic seismic upgrades.
Replacement of Brick Foundations

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