Emergency Roof Repair: From “Oh No” . . . To “Ho, Ho, Ho!” 

If there’s any good news when you’re facing an unexpected roof repair, we’re coming into the best time of year to make roof repairs.  A beautiful new roof or a well-maintained or repaired roof not only keeps you warm and dry, it adds value to any home. There are several reasons why late spring to early summer is the best time of year to complete a roofing project

First, the likelihood of rain starts to diminish in May and June in Southern California and the rest of the West as we head into June and July.  So, now is the time to get started whether you need minor patching or when bigger areas need replacement or if you need a whole new roof for that vacation, fixer or rental property. Continue reading

Spring Is Sprung:  Will Your HVAC Survive Summer? 

Who doesn’t love Spring in Southern California? Early March cool turns warmer and brings colorful bulbs to bloom, tea in a rose garden, a winery tasting before lunch, family get-togethers, and so on. The beauty of nature at this time of year is enough to distract anyone, but don’t forget about your Spring Cleaning.  Be sure your list includes looking at your Helfrich Associates annual home maintenance calendar. Continue reading

June Maintenance: Drainage Assessments

Hint: Water Always Flows Downhill …

Assessing drainage conditions around properties and how to improve them are both simple and at times complicated. Simple because everyone knows that water flows downhill; so you start out knowing generally what direction it is likely to go. Far more complicated, however, are designing commercial or residential property lot drainage systems based on technical analyses of how much water flow to expect, where it will go and what needs to be done to prevent damage. At Helfrich Associates, we are most often called in when drainage conditions have been long neglected and/or when there is real damage to property and structures. In Southern California with our abundant sunshine, it is tempting to put off addressing drainage problems until after our relatively short, but sometimes intense rainy season. Those fast-moving thunderstorms in August or that first gentle rain in the fall disappears and then nothing happens until January or February when the bulk of our seasonal rain arrives (sometimes in buckets). Continue reading

Things Were Going Downhill In A Hurry

Several years ago, we were asked to assist a homeowners association (HOA) with their damaged retaining walls in Anaheim, California.  Twelve properties in the HOA were being affected by the movement of a retaining wall that varied in height up to about 12 feet, which supported the backyards of their stunning view properties.

When you say you live in Anaheim, many people think you live near the happiest place on earthDisneyland, which is relatively flat and much closer to the western side of the city.  These HOA owners, however, were unhappy campers located in the newer eastern scenic foothill region of the city known for its planned suburban communities with parks, open space, schools and shopping. Many of the homes in the Anaheim Hills have views to the north of the Yorba Linda Hills and the snow-capped mountains beyond, which make them highly desirable and irresistible to buyers—especially young professionals and their growing families. Continue reading

The Slippery Slope: What Can Happen When Contractors Fail To Practice Due Diligence

We were asked to perform a geotechnical investigation at a property in Temecula, CA, to assess damage and prepare repair recommendations for a pool, retaining wall and patio system. Damage was caused by settlement of improperly compacted fill dirt and the movement of slope soils. Cracks and separations in the retaining walls up to about 1.5-inches wide were visible. Continue reading

Trees: A Thin Line Between Love & Hate

What do you do when the tree you love is causing damage to your building?
On one of our recent projects, we visited an apartment building complex where one unit had visible damage caused by tree roots. The adjacent unit had no damage.

However, upon further examination we discovered damage to the sidewalks, and it became obvious that tree roots are growing underneath the foundations. We observed a 23-feet-section of the exterior wall that has been lifted several inches. Continue reading

Damage Due to Repairs

What happens when the fix for a problem creates another problem?
We were hired to investigate peeling drywall tape at a home in Hacienda Heights. A recent water loss occurred at this property and required a drying out process that used 6 dehumidifiers and 30 fans. The dehumidifiers and fans were running 24 hours a day for 29 days.

After the drying out process, the homeowner noticed that the drywall tape was peeling in their kitchen, living room, and two of the bedrooms.

The lesson from this project is pay close attention to what the repairs might involve; and try to anticipate possible side-effects to the repairs.

Dealing with Tree Root Damage

We were hired to investigate a property that had experienced tree root damage. Tree roots had cracked and lifted a concrete patio next to the house. The owners were concerned about possible damage to the structure.

The interior and exterior of the building showed minor foundation movement. However, no roots were discovered underneath the foundation of the building.

Continue reading

Termite Damage and HOAs

Signs of Termite DamageHearing your property has a termite infestation can send chills down any property owner’s spine. The cost of ridding a property of termites can be out of budget for many folks. Dealing with them is also inconvenient because most cases involve fumigation to make sure that you’ve rid a structure of the whole colony. It’s no wonder that many opt to put off the problem. That’s especially easy to do because it’s a problem that is often occurring out of sight – making it easy to put it out of mind. Continue reading