Foundation

George Walton is president of Alameda Structural, Inc., a Diamond Certified company since 2008. He can be reached at (510) 371-5956 or by email.

The Importance of a Pre-Purchase Soils Report

Posted on March 30, 2018 by James Florence

ALAMEDA — When buying a home in the Berkeley Hills, one important step is having a soils report performed by a geotechnical engineer. Why? Because if the home needs foundation work, you’ll need to know what type of soil it’s sitting on.

I’ve seen many instances in this area where foundation repairs were improperly engineered because no one had performed a soils report. This can lead to dire consequences—in fact, a foundation repair that’s incorrectly performed can result in a worse situation than what the home was previously in. For example, drilling a pier in the side of a hill that’s composed of landslide material can encourage a landslide to occur. Likewise, drilling a pier in the wrong kind of soil material can drag the house down rather than stabilize it. Read more

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Video: Pre-Purchase Soils Reports

Posted on March 30, 2018 by James Florence

ALAMEDA — Host, Sarah Rutan: If you’re planning to buy a hillside property, one thing you’ll want to invest in is a professional soils report. Today we’re in Alameda with Diamond Certified Expert Contributor George Walton of Alameda Structural to learn why.

Diamond Certified Expert Contributor, George Walton: The tip for today from me will be that if you are purchasing a home in the Oakland and Berkeley Hills, that you, under all circumstances, in every instance, you have to have a soils report by a geotech engineer – someone that can tell you the soil of your house, or potential house or potential house, will be setting in. Read more

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Identifying Groundwater Issues on Your Property

Posted on January 31, 2018 by James Florence

OAKLAND — Groundwater issues are a major concern in the Oakland/Berkeley area. Following heavy rains, the water that saturates the hills starts to move downward, eventually making its way toward the bay. As it travels, this water encounters a lot of home foundations. On vulnerable properties, water may be able to penetrate the foundation and seep into the crawlspace. Over time, this recurrent water intrusion can result in major damage to these below-grade areas of the home.

To prevent these kinds of issues, you should inspect your foundation and crawlspace following heavy periods of rain and check for signs of water intrusion. Here are a few things to look for:

  • White efflorescence around the foundation or in the crawlspace
  • Cracks in the ground near the foundation or in the foundation itself
  • A musty odor emanating from beneath the home

These are all indicators that water is getting into your crawlspace through your foundation. Read more

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Video: A Firm Foundation for Earthquake Safety

Posted on July 11, 2017 by admin

OAKLAND — Host, Sarah Rutan: If you’re planning to have your home retrofitted for earthquake safety, don’t overlook the importance of a firm foundation. Today we’re in Oakland with Diamond Certified Expert Contributor Mark Corrallo of All Seasons Construction to learn more.

Diamond Certified Expert Contributor, Mark Corrallo: In this area, a lot of people are concerned with earthquake safety, and they will seek out a retrofitting company to bolt and brace their home, which is a good idea. But the problem is that if the foundation to which they’re bolting is poor or weak, there’s very little value in the retrofitting. For example, if a bolt is anchored in weak concrete, Read more

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A Crucial Component of Earthquake Safety

Posted on July 11, 2017 by admin

OAKLAND — Due to concerns about earthquake safety, many Bay Area homeowners are taking preemptive action by having their homes retrofitted via measures like foundation bolting and bracing. While retrofitting is a great idea, there’s one caveat: if your home’s foundation is poor or weak, bracing and bolting won’t do much good. For example, when an earthquake strikes, a bolt that’s anchored in weak concrete could easily snap out of the side of the stem wall, which eliminates any of its intended benefits.

The best way to avoid wasting your money on pointless retrofitting measures is to hire a quality retrofitting company—preferably one that also handles foundation work. A company that doesn’t do foundation work may not be able to provide all the services you need or even inform you about them, Read more

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Assessing Your Home’s Foundation

Posted on July 11, 2017 by admin

BRISBANE — Earthquakes are an ongoing concern for anyone who lives in the Bay Area. One way you can be proactive about protecting your home and family is to know the condition of your home’s foundation. If you understand the signs to look for, you can determine if measures are needed to bolster your home against earthquake damage.

Depending on when your home was built, the character (as well as the quality) of its foundation can vary. For example, many houses built in the 1920s and ’30s have foundations that were engineered using local materials, which isn’t good. Local sand contains impurities, which leads to degradation of the concrete. Also, builders in those days likely didn’t use enough Portland cement, Read more

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Video: Assessing Your Home’s Foundation

Posted on July 11, 2017 by admin

BRISBANE — Host, Sarah Rutan: To ensure earthquake safety, you’ll want to know the condition of your home’s foundation and whether it needs to be repaired or reinforced. Today we’re in Brisbane with Diamond Certified Expert Contributor Christopher Wells of Christopher Wells Construction to learn more.

Diamond Certified Expert Contributor, Christopher Wells: Hi. My tip is regarding concrete foundations in the San Francisco and North San Mateo County area. Most of the houses that I work on are in those areas, and they mostly have what we call perimeter foundations as opposed to a slab foundation.

Houses that were built in the early part of this – Read more

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