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Foundations 101

Many of purchase our homes and have a basic understanding of the structure itself but we aren’t structural engineers and don’t necessarily know or understand detailed construction of the home.

There are three types of foundations:

  • Raised
  • Slab
  • Basement

Raised Foundations- These consist of crawlspace foundations and beam and pier post foundations.

Homes with crawlspace foundations are elevated two feet off the ground. These foundations are typically built with cinder blocks and a brick facing. These foundations are ideal of moist climate areas where rain and humidity is common. These homes are less likely to experience water damage. The building material reduce the likelihood of termites but there are still predisposed to fungus and mold.

Homes with pier and beam foundations are typically elevated 18 inches off the ground.  These foundations are typically built with wooden posts or concrete piers. These foundations are popular in dryer colder areas. They are less expensive than other foundation choices, but do to the building materials they are best used on smaller structures. The wooden posts are ideal for termites and both the wooden posts or concrete piers can suffer from fungus and mold.

Both of these foundations allow easy access to plumbing and electrical located underneath the structure.

Slab foundation- These consist of slab-on-grade foundations.

Homes with slab foundation are built on flat concrete that has been poured. The slab tends to be about 6 inches thick and has wire mesh and steel bards embedded. These foundations are fast and easy to install. These foundations are ideal for warmer climates, cold climates and freezing temperatures can cause the slab to shift. Typically, the home’s sewer pipe is installed underneath the concrete slab. Over time the concrete, elements, and other factors can cause the pipe to break and cause a slab leak.

Basement Foundations- These consist of an 8-foot-deep hole underneath the main floor or the structure.

Homes with basements are essentially built of a concrete slab which is laced 8 feet underground. The walls of the basement are usually built with cinder blocks.

This article is a basic understanding of Foundation 101, if you have further questions don’t hesitate to call us.

Gutter Water Damage

Gutters and/or a proper roof drainage system are extremely important. They play two crucial roles, first they prevent water from being trapped on the roof surface and secondly they divert the water away from the property and foundation. In this article, we’ll be going over three types of gutter systems common in California.

  • Vinyl Gutters– are the most common, this gutter system is rather inexpensive and its fairly easy to install. Vinyl gutters can be purchased at most home improvement stores, they come with prefabricated angles, corners, and connectors. Their installation requires no special tools, or even technical aptitude, making them ideal for the do-it-yourselfers.
  • Cornice Gutters– are integrated in the roof system, they are placed with the roof framing and then covered with metal or roll roofing running up under the roof covering. They are aesthetically more appealing as the downspouts tend to be hidden inside posts or pillars. The down side of this gutter system is when the downspouts become blocked, they can damage the roof system.
  • No Gutters– not all homes have gutters, especially here in Southern California where rain isn’t common. Homes that do not have gutters tend to have a longer eave overhang to direct water away from the foundation.

No matter which gutter system your home has it is important to keep in mind that gutters can cause water damage to your property. Keep an eye out for these two areas of concern:

  • Roof damage– gutters tend to get blocked by leaves and debris, when this occurs water does not drain down but instead it pools around the roof edges. The water will can damage to the fascia boards that hold the gutter system in place. The fascia boards are made of wood and water damage can cause them to rot and deteriorate.
  • Foundation damage– as mentioned earlier is one of the main functions of a gutter system is to divert water away from property and foundation. If the gutters are blocked they can cause the water to pour over the sides of the gutter and pool around the foundation. Lack of gutters can also cause water to pool around the foundation.

If you experience water damage caused by your gutter system or lack thereof, call us today at 562-818-6946.  The experts at Home Pro can help you.

Mold Out of sight

This past week we received a call from Ben in Anaheim he was concerned about a musty odor in one of the bedrooms in his home. He wasn’t sure how that odor was seeping in nor why it was only in that room. We assured Ben that we would get to the bottom of the smell. Once at his home and inside that bedroom we could agree with Ben that there was a musty odor present, we decided to do a mold inspection and collect air samples throughout the home for possible spores in the air. The visual mold inspection gave no indication of microbial growth but the air samples results were frightening. Ben had mold and lots of it in the musty bedroom luckily the air samples for the remainder of the house came back negative. At this point we decided to use an infrared camera and take a closer look, since there are certain things that can’t be seen by the human eye. The camera detects if there is moisture inside of the walls. Moisture is needed for mold growth. We also use temperature measuring devices by knowing the temperature we are able to determine if the space promotes mold growth. The infrared camera indicated the flooring as an area of concern, it was determined that there was moisture present underneath the flooring. With this information we concluded the crawlspace needed to be inspected. Our founding we scary, the musty odor was amplified in the crawl space, rotting decaying wood, and microbial growth was visible underneath the room of concern as well as a nearby bathroom. The plumbing running to the bathroom was leaking and spraying upwards toward the bedroom flooring causing the smell, mold growth, and wood decay. We created a remediation plan first item on our list was addressing the leak. A license plumber went to Ben’s home and replace the leaking plumbing. The second order of business was addressing the mold and decaying wood. We removed all mold contaminated materials and damaged wood replacing them with new non-contaminated materials. Once we completed these steps we focused on the bedroom and addressing the musty odor. We placed HEPA air purifiers to clean the air, within a few hours the air in the crawl space and bedroom was different the musty odor had diminished. We concluded our remediation with a second round of air samples, the results this time around came back negative no mold was present in the home.

If you think you have mold and need an inspection or remediation, call the experts at Home Pro today.

Common Causes of Roof Water Intrusion

Roof water intrusion is quite common, below are the five main culprits that allow water to penetrate a home.

Roof Vents

Roof vents are intended to ventilate the attic space and prevent moisture from entering the home but over time they can become damaged and inoperable. Often, they crack at the base allowing water to intrude. Sometimes sealing the cracked vents is possible but keep in mind it is a temporary fix and it would be best to replace it.

 

Vent Boots

Vent boots are a common source for water intrusion. Typically, they are made of plastic or metal and are secured with nails or rubber washed screws. Over time the elements can wreak havoc on the vent boots causing them to crack, rust, or the fasteners to come undone.  Once any of these occurs they should be replaced.

 

Chimneys

Chimneys are usually mortared, they are made of a mixture of water, sand, and cement. Over time these materials eroded due to weather conditions. When this occurs,  water can enter through the missing mortar, it is recommended that missing mortar be replaced.

 

Valleys

Valleys are the areas in the roof that are V shaped because two roof planes meet at an angle. The angle makes it difficult to properly seal or apply shingles. This allows rainwater to travel through the inside of the valley. A good roofer will know how to properly apply a leak barrier or apply shingles.
Gutters

Gutters are intended to help water travel away from the roof through downspouts. Gutters not only catch rainwater but they also catch leaves, branches and other debris causing the gutters to clog. When the gutters are clogged the water accumulates and gets pushed back onto the roof. The water can get under the shingles and overtime leak. Regular maintance and gutter cleaning can prevent this for occurring.

 

If you have any questions about roof water intrusion or have experienced water damage to your home call us today at 562-818-6946.

Water Damage and Restoration Claims

Here at Home Pro we’ve been in the Water Damage and Restoration business for 35+ years. We’ve worked on hundreds of homes and the homeowners that are face with the hardship of water damage. As Water Damage and Restoration experts we are highly experienced and work with insurance companies handling claims. When we receive that initial distress call from our clients they have many questions and one of the biggest concerns is who is going to pay. Below we answer frequently asked questions we receive regarding home insurance and water damage.

 

Will my insurance cover it?

The main determining factor of whether your insurance company will cover the damage or not is the source of the damage. What caused the water damage, was it a natural disaster such as an earthquake or flooding. Insurance companies also want to determine if preventative measures were taken. These two factors dictate if the insurance company will cover a claim

 

How can I avoid my claim being denied?

  • There are certain things one can do to avoid their claim being denied. First and foremost, selecting the right policy for you, make sure you understand what your policy covers and excludes, as well as your responsibilities as a homeowner. Do your research and ask questions about the protections and extras that may be beneficial to you.
  • Do regular maintenance on your home. By doing so you can prevent costly surprises. Make sure you maintain records of any repairs, maintenance, or work you get done on your property. These records come in handy in the event of a loss or when filing a claim.

What if my claim is denied?

There are instances when insurance companies find they are not responsible and deny a claim. But there are things you can do to combat this. First, get informed ask for an explanation as to why the claim was denied, and ask them where exactly in your policy this explanation is given. If you still have doubts or do not understand why the claim isn’t covered, ask for a review or second opinion. Lastly, if you are certain that the claim should have been covered or that something is wrong, consider getting a second opinion by a professional, contact an advocacy organization, or contact your state insurance commissioner for guidance or to file a complaint.

 

Why would my water damage claim be denied?

Often we see that claims are denied because the homeowner had knowledge of the problem or failed to take action to avoid or repair the issue. For example, if there has been a long ongoing leak and the homeowner failed to prevent the issue with maintenance or proper repairs the insurance company may reject the claim. Other times the homeowner is missed informed as to what their policy covers. They believe there are covered for water damage caused by a natural disaster and are surprised after the fact to learn that they are not covered.

If you are in need of Water Damage and Restoration experts call us today. We work with insurance companies on a regular basis and can help you submit your claim properly.

Don’t Pour That Grease Down the Sink

Have you ever poured cooking grease down the sink? Many of us have or still do so. But doing so can have damaging effects on your pipes. When grease is poured down the drain it sticks to the pipes. One common myth is that hot water prevents this from happening but that is incorrect. Oil and water do not mix, when water and oil get together they separate and the oil sits on top, the oil then sticks to the top of pipes and once the water is gone the remainder  gets stuck to the bottom of the pipe; eventually coating the entire pipe and causing blockages. Clogged drains and blockages are a major issue and yet it’s a common occurrence. As grease accumulates inside pipes it begins to block the waterflow, often a foul order. When a grease clogged drain occurs everything can get smelly, messy, and unhygienic in quite a hurry, this is perhaps the nastiest of drain issues, and the hardest to deal with.

Signs Your Drain is Clogged with Grease

  • Slow water drainage
  • Gurgling sound
  • A bad smell emanating from your drains
  • Continuing to put grease down the drain

Tips

  • Pour baking soda and vinegar down the drains, this will help break down the fats and grease as well as making the drains smell fresher
  • Pour a small amount of ammonia down the drains, this will help clear the pipes
  • Get a sewer camera inspection, new technology allows a visual inspection of plumbing pipes and sewer lines. High-resolution water proof camera reveals any blockages and issues in the plumbing.
  • Hire a professional, leave all the plumbing needs and problems to the pros. Hiring a handyman or doing it yourself can sometimes cost you more in the long run. If you are in need of plumbing services call us today at 562-818-6946.

Epoxy Lining

A home’s plumbing is constantly in use, toilets flushing, washing machine is going, dishes are being washed all these activities take a toll on the plumbing. Over the years regular wear and tear occurs causing pipes to corrode, clog, leak, and even break. Repiping a plumbing line can be extremely expensive depending on its location luckily with new technology there is an alternative method to fix plumbing. Pipes are able to be relined with an epoxy material which creates a new interior surface. The epoxy lining method is best suited for non-galvanized sewer systems.

 

The Process

The first step is inspecting and mapping the plumbing pipes. Then, the pipes are dried with heated, compressed air. Afterwards, we blow an abrading agent through the pipes to remove rust, corrosion, and other by-products that may be stuck to the pipes. Then, we reach the optimal pipe surface temperature and conduct an air pressure leak test before we begin coating. Once that is complete we use a high tech air system to uniformly distribute the epoxy coating throughout the pipe. After the epoxy coating dries the plumbing’s valves and couplings are refitted. Lastly, we do a final leak test and to assure the lining integrity and water quality, volume, and flow test to confirm the plumbing’s system functionality.

 

Benefits of Epoxy Lining:

  • Typically, lower cost than replacing a pipe
  • No busting up driveways, landscaping, flooring, or streets
  • Faster than pipe replacement
  • Lining is a long-term solution
  • Preventative solution to:
    • leaks and breaks in pipes
    • pipe blockages
    • pipe erosion
    • mold growth
  • Maintains water flow
  • Epoxy is environmentally safe
  • Lining material complies with building code regulations

 

  • If you have questions, need more information or to schedule an appointment with one of the highly trained professional at Home Pro please give us a call at 562-818-6946.

Main Water Break

On Tuesday we received a call from Betty in La Habra, for a few days she had puddles of water in her yard despite it not raining. Her neighbor noticed the puddles as well and recommended Betty call a plumber ASAP. At first Betty was confused but her neighbor explained she probably had a leak in her water main. Once at the property we determined her neighbor was right, and Betty had numerous questions as many other folks do and we are here to answer them.

What is a water main?

A water main is the pipe that connects a home’s plumbing to the public water supply. This main line transports water from the public main into the various pipes in a home. The main water line is located underground and not easily accessible without digging.

 

How can I tell if my water main is leaking?

The following are indicators that you may have a leak:

  • Unusual puddles of water on the property
  • Significant drop in flow volume/water pressure
  • Unusual increase in the water bill
  • Sudden cracks in paved areas
  • Potholes or sink holes
  • Sound of rushing water but no visible signs of water use

 

What do I do if I think I have a leak?

Call a license plumber immediately! A leak in the water main can have devastating effects on a property and the surrounding area. It can cause flooding, gas leaks, water damage to properties, etc.

 

How to prevent a leak?

The truth is that sometimes leaks are inevitable but you can be proactive rather than reactive by being informed. Getting the plumbing inspected is a great idea, it can identify blockages, weak spots, leaks, corrosion, etc. Based on the findings a plumber can recommend a course of action to take such as hydro jetting to clean out the pipes, relining the pipes, or replacing them.

 

In addition, to answering all of Betty’s questions we were able to fix her water main. We had to dig up her front yard and replace a 6ft section of plumbing that corroded and broke. If you are in need of plumbing services call us today at 562-818-6946.