Making all the Right Moves in Southern California

When the iconic 1960’s surf band the Beach Boys sang their hit song “Good Vibrations,” they definitely had romance on their minds and not earthquakes, slope movement, or landslides, etc.  Falling in love and that unsteady feeling you get during an earthquake are different to be sure, but, they both can rock your world and leave you as Elvis would say, “All Shook Up!”

Here’s our February Tip 1:  Be sure to get ready and make all the right moves with the one you love on Valentine’s Day which is coming up fast! Now with that advice out of the way, let’s talk about the other big love in many couple’s lives, their homes.  If you own a hillside, beach or top of the world home with a gorgeous view, then it’s time for an annual self-check to make sure it’s all still sitting pretty.

It’s a fact of life that the earth is constantly moving in many parts of the West.  You might not feel it and it definitely doesn’t register on the Richter scale, but trust us it is happening literally under your feet as you read this blog post.  Over time, depending on the location, the effects can range from mild settling that causes cosmetic cracking to much more significant problems.

Over the past 100 years, the urbanization of the West has led home builders to scale the heights in most cities large and small.  If you’re lucky enough to own a home in a more secluded spot outside the city, the temptation is still always to build above the valley below.  We don’t blame you; we also live in a canyon home where each street has homes built above and below.

Here’s our February Tip 2: In our area the most significant rainfall that might cause lot slope erosion typically occurs in January and February.  Sometime before the month of February is over, take a walk around your property and check out the slopes, banks, pool decking, patio slabs, walkways, etc., to see if the earth has been moving during the rainy season or over the past year.  Watch for gullies and swales or mounding of dirt.

If you see small issues, ask yourself what can be done to repair and prevent the problem from growing worse.  Sometimes, refreshing the landscaping on hillsides can stabilize slopes.  Addressing roof drainage issues near patio slabs or pools can often be dealt with simple gutter repairs or removing roots from French drain lines that cause back-ups or flooding.

If the problems are more severe, which can often be the case with older homes or where repairs have been done before, then Helfrich Associates can help get you back on track.  We’re licensed, professional structural and geotechnical engineers who have decades of residential, HOA and commercial property experience.

Let us perform a geotechnical and structural survey of your property and the structures on it.  Once we discover the problem, then we’ll suggest practical solutions to fix the problems with the home that you love before they become worse.  Let’s keep the romance going and flowing in life by taking care of the people that we love and the places that both of you call home sweet home.

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