Rain and Southern California (3 Areas of Concern)

As the old Albert Hammond song goes, “It never rains in Southern California.” And, while this isn’t completely true, precipitation is a rare enough occurrence that it instigates traffic jamsflash floods, and hydroplaning.

This rapid influx in moisture exacerbates foundation settlement due to the swelling expansive soil. This perpetuates the wet/dry cycle that can sink a home into the non-loadbearing incompetent soil.

Wet = E x p a n d

Dry = Shrink

On average, Los Angeles California receives a mere 16 inches of rain annually. This is significant, particularly when compared to the national average of 38 inches of precipitation per year.

California is an inordinately dry state, there’s no escaping this fact, which is why we also have written the article Heat and Foundations (3 Common Problems).

In this article, we are going to cover 3 main areas of concern when it comes to wet weather in SoCal –

  • Vulnerable Burn Areas
  • Landslides
  • Flooded Homes and Business

Burn Areas Are Vulnerable

Wildfires rip through much of the American Northwest from July to September. While a good hard deluge helps put out wildfires, the charred landscape left behind is particularly prone to flooding.

Fun Facts with Brian: Dead vegetation doesn’t soak up water.

Wildfires can reach a temperature of 1,472° F the flames licking upwards of one meter. This extreme heat bakes the topsoil and hardens it to the strength of low-grade concrete.

Obviously, the rainwater can’t soak into the impermeable soil and slides down steep slopes collecting momentum and mass.

All the accumulated debris – fallen trees, burnt structures, and displaced boulders flow downhill with the water, adding potential ammunition to pummel other obstacles along the way.

Mudslides can travel as quickly as 35 mph and quickly bury roadshomes, and unfortunates left in its trajectory.

In burn areas, it doesn’t take much precipitation to accumulate enough water to instigate flooding that can cause enough damage to the ecosystems that it takes years to recover –making every storm a potential problem.

Flooding is a double whammy for property owners whose homes survived the wildfires only to have to brave extreme wet weather and flooding. If you live near a flood-prone area, you may experience extreme anxiety every time the sky clouds over.

Basementscrawl spaces, and slab homes can quickly flood during rainstorms, leading to water damage to your property and structural damage to your home or business.

*Note – Even if you don’t currently live in an area recently ravaged by wildfires, if you live on a slope (say you have a beautiful mountainside home) water can pose a threat to your home.

Learn how to protect your home in our article What is Slope Stabilization.


Landslides can occur in locations not impacted by wildfires as well. A long, drenching downpour can cause a hillside to begin to slide.

This can prove a very serious and dire situation, causing blocked roads, damaged homes, and foundations to crumble. Weak retaining walls can collapse from the onslaught of water and mud.

If you or a loved one needs a retaining wall repaired or a brand new retaining wall put in, read our article How Much Does a Retaining Wall Cost (New & Repaired) to ensure you pay a fair price.

In addition to busted retaining walls, the wet slurried soil can move out from underneath the foundations and concrete slabs (such as driveways, sidewalks, and floors) destabilizing and weakening them.

It is imperative to ensure that your home or commercial property is stablesafe, and secure.


Even in areas without fire scars or landslides, excess precipitation can result in flooding which can damage vehicleshomes, and businesses & take lives.

Flooding can also play a significant part in the foundation settlement  foundation heave cycle.

Many homeowners in the Southern California area must deal with water in their crawl spaces – Dalinghaus Construction, Inc. has even helped homeowners that had sunken living room that flooded during storms.

It is easy to install waterproofing systems and they can save you a lot of headaches with property damage and mold issues.

Water in your home/business can promote mold growthpest infestations, and weaken wood/metal supports.

LET IT RAIN – Dalinghaus Has You Covered

Although there are severe problems associated with rainfall in Southern California, it’s a necessary evil or a wonderful joy for you pluviophiles.

Unfortunately, SoCal has been going through a drought for a long time and our resources need to be replenished. Snowmelt and rainfall fill our reservoirs to keep California green and healthy.

If your home or business is prepared for the weather, it makes it easier to enjoy the occasional shower or thunderstorm. Make sure your property is protected by waterproofing systems and retaining walls.

Dalinghaus Construction can help you be proactive and ready for the weather with retaining wall construction and repairwaterproofing installation, and other services.

If your structure is already damaged, we can help with foundation repair and concrete lifting via polyurethane foam injection.

If you live in Southern California or Arizona and would like a FREE foundation inspection, click the link below –


Brian Dalinghaus

Brian is one of the Co-Founders of Dalinghaus Construction. He has been in the foundation repair industry since 2005. During his career, he has been associated with helping over 4,000 homes and structures throughout California and Arizona.

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