CYPRESS : Salt in Soil Blamed for Damaged Homes

Natural ground salt has destroyed the foundations in as many as 12 Cypress homes, according to a study released by researchers from Cal State Long Beach.

Unprotected concrete, with no a barrier between it and the soil, has been affected most, said Robert Beardsley, director of public works. When the salt becomes moist it slowly works into the concrete and causes it to break down.

The report found that a total of 23 tracts in the cities of Cypress, La Palma and Lakewood that were built between 1961 and 1971 had suffered some degree of damage. Cracking concrete and white, powdery deposits were the main symptoms of decay cited in the study.

The test negated theories by city officials that the homes were damaged because they were on land once used for dairy farming.

To date, 12 homeowners have applied for permits to have their foundations repaired, leaving officials to conclude that the extent of the damage in the city is not great. But because the deterioration takes many years, predicting future damage is impossible, a city official said.

Since 1987, Cypress has required the use of Type 5 cement, which is considered sulfate resistant and a moisture barrier, as standard for all residential construction.

The report recommends that the most efficient method for repairing the damaged concrete is to completely replace it. However, other methods are being studied because this is so expensive. Depending on the degree of damage, prices for replacing a garage foundation range from $2,000 to $5,000 and for an entire home foundation can range upward of $80,000, according to a city official.

The report will be on display in the library for residents.

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