Home Buying in Menlo Park>Question Details

Home#2, Home Buyer in Los Altos, CA

Soil stability in the West Menlo Park County area?

Asked by Home#2, Los Altos, CA Mon Oct 28, 2013

My husband and I have noticed serious foundation/ soil stability issues in the Sharon Heights homes we have seen. Recently we have seen some great homes in the "County" area of West Menlo Park near Alameda De Las Pulgas but this is so close to Sharon Heights that we wonder if it also has serious soil stability issues?

Also, any idea if new construction techniques overcome these issues?


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Home #2
If you are looking in sharon Heights I am sure you are aware of the Sand Hill Road. The reason it is called Sand Hill is because the soil has a high sand content. Makes sense right? Well soil with a high sand content is not very stable and therefore many of the homes in Sharon Heights either currently have, or had in the past foundation problems. These issues can be fixed with modern foundation engineering.

The county area of West Menlo Park has different soil and so those foundations do not have the same problems as Sharon Heights. However, the water table level is very high, so these homes can sometimes, although not all the time, have problems with water under the home causing problems. Again, this can be fixed by modern drainage fixes which can be incorporated into a new home, or added to an existing home. Sometimes it is as easy as adding a $300 sump pump.

Marcy Moyer
Keller Williams Realty Palo Alto
Cal BRE 01191194
Web Reference: http://www.marcymoyer.com
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Oct 29, 2013
Your best bet would be to find a contractor that has experience building in that area. Every lot has to be inspected before you build, so the soil is probably buildable. Builders that have built there before should know how to stabilize the soil. At the very least, they'll know who to hire to stabilize the soil. http://www.geotechsolutions.com/Erosion_Control_Waipahu_HI.html
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Mar 30, 2015
Doing your investigation time you have a right to do soil testing. Also go and ask questions at your local building and safety.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Oct 29, 2013
It is wise to get some test done to be sure of the condition of the soil. Being able to be sure of what you are putting your money into is important. It is better to be safe then sorry when it comes to purchasing a house.
Flag Wed Oct 29, 2014
Hi Home#2,

For any property you are considering enter the address into the following website to obtain an understanding of its geological susceptibility risk: http://myhazards.calema.ca.gov . If you believe you have found a home with "good geology" you probably should still hire a soils/geology expert for a second opinion.

Engineering can certainly overcome geology; the question is what will it cost?

0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Oct 29, 2013
The soil and stability issues should be researched on per property basis. I would not generalize. Talk to the city building/planning or the county for unincorporated areas. Most issues can be mitigated but the issue for me would be the cost of the solution. Your agent should be able to help you with the investigation and refer you to right professionals.
Web Reference: http://talisrealestate.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Oct 29, 2013
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