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

Hillside Garage Replacements can be Complex Projects

Unlike conventional garage replacements on level lots, hillside garage replacements are substantially more involved. They require the demolition and replacement of large retaining walls, excavation and the installation of drainage, as well as the more standard replacement of framing, stucco, roofing etc.
Garage Replacements
Garage Demolition

Demolition Must Be Done Carefully

When the old structure is demolished and the foundations are removed, the adjacent soil can be as high as 9’ and sometimes loose. If the soils are unstable, shoring may need to be installed to hold them in place during construction.

New Engineered Foundation Retaining Walls Need to Be Installed

The new foundations are heaviliy reinforced retaining walls with drainage designed to handle large soil pressures and potential movement.
New Engineered Foundation Retaining Walls
Garage Repair

A Complicated Scenario

In order for the new garage to meet current code, it had to be extended 2’ deep under the (2) houses, requiring shoring of the buildings so they would be stable during construction.

The Work Was done in Sections for Safety Purposes

To minimize the risk to the existing adjacent homes the retaining walls were built in sections, starting with the central portion between the two houses.
Heavily Reinforced Mat Slab

A Heavily Reinforced Mat Slab Increased Stability

To increase stability we installed a “mat slab”, which is a 12” thick structural slab with double layers of rebar. The slab becomes integrated with the perimeter foundations. There were over 30 cubic yards of concrete just in the slab, or around 120,000 pounds of concrete, the weight of a small house.

The Walls and Slabs are in Place and we are Ready to Build

Around 75% of the project time and cost in a hillside project went into constructing a stable, well-drained foundation system for the new garage.
Walls and Slabs
Framing and Plywood

Framing is Complete

Framing and Plywood Come Next. This work took only a week or less, compared to the 2-3 month constructing the foundations.

Stucco Work and Finish Details Follow

Trim work is installed along with stucco and interior drywall, paint, garage doors etc.
Stucco Work and Finish

We Also Created Outdoor Living Space Above the Garage

Neither of these 2 properties had any front yard space due to the slope of the lots. We were able to construct large decks over both of the garages, adding around 400 square feet of useable space for each home.

The Finished Product

The entire job took around 9 months to complete, but the results were very impressive. These garages should last a lot longer than the 100 years the original ones were there, and in addition provide new deck space and help stabilize the homes behind them.

Same Idea, But a Much Easier Project

This single car garage is not doing well. It requires a similar rebuilt, but on a much smaller scale.

A Snap Tie System Was Used for Forming

These forms were held together with Snap Ties, small metal rods that are braced on either side of the plywood and remain in the concrete when poured. This system is very stable and requires minimal bracing.

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