Experienced Foundation Repair Specialists

Reasons you should winterize your crawl space

It’s not even officially winter yet, but the chilly days and nights have already hit Maryland. The forty-degree days and thirty-degree nights have people wrapping up and staying indoors. ***

There is someplace else that is also quite cold this time of year. Your home’s crawl space. As we have covered in previous blogs, your crawlspace is an integral part of your home.

Now that winter is only a few weeks away, you may want to consider winterizing your crawlspace. Here are a few things that you can do:

  1. Add insulation: Insulation will soak in the moisture and make your home more comfortable. Adding a layer of insulation will make a big difference in the warmth of your home. It will also reduce the moisture from condensation on the walls so your home will be warmer during the winter. 
  2. Check for leaks. As the temperature drops, rain may turn to sleet or snow. Snow runs off into the crawl space creating a constant presence of moisture. This leads to cracks, mildew, and home foundation damage. Water may also drain from it causing a myriad of home structure issues. 
  3. Air vents should be closed. If air vents are open, they can freeze pipes and water lines. To prevent this, close the air vents. The air vents send warm air into the home which circulates cold air pulled through the air vents in the crawl space. 
  4. Insulate the pipes. If your pipes freeze, you are in trouble.  Check your pipes to see if they are cold and moist. The pipes closest to the walls need to be protected. Wrap them with blankets so they are protected from the cold. 
  5. Rodents are everywhere. Inspect your crawlspace for mice and rats. They will leave feces trails. When cold weather arrives, these rodents will make a home in your crawlspace to keep warm. Holes need to be plugged to prevent rodents from entering and staying.
  6. Add a vapor barrier. Crawl spaces with dirt floors may increase in humidity. Moisture gets trapped in the dirt and will evaporate. A vapor barrier will help. Vapor barriers block moisture. They will stop mold from forming. They prevent insects from burrowing in and also stop wood from dry rot. Depending on the floor in your crawl space, you can choose from several different types of vapor barriers. 

These are not expensive things to do but your crawl space will be protected. It will make your home more comfortable and protect the home from structural damage.

If you are having issues with your home comfort, you may need crawl space repair. Contact M. Taylor Enterprise for an inspection. We will analyze it and make recommendations. Our experienced crawl space repair team can make the necessary repairs. Call (301) 649-3406 or at matt@mtaylorenterprise.com for a free consultation. 

We serve the Montgomery County, Maryland area.

*** You can find out more about summer weather on the State of Maryland website

 

 

Important Things You Need to Know about Home Structural Repair

Your home’s structure keeps it together and standing. It is that simple. Unfortunately, so many customers I have worked for over many years have told me that they don’t plan for home structural repairs. Eventually, the worst happens, and the repairs become even more costly.

So, when we talk about home structural repair, what do we mean exactly? These repairs would include basic structural repairs such as the home foundation, frame, beams, and other types of repairs. You need to get these repaired if your home begins to move, sink, or large cracks are seen. These may need to be repairs made on older homes that don’t meet safety and code standards. While home structural repairs don’t have a huge cosmetic impact on the property, so it doesn’t add to the value of the property. However, if these repairs are not made, it will be difficult to sell the home as home inspectors will cite this in their reports. 

So, you may need a home structural repair for any number of reasons if your home is several decades old. A licensed, qualified home structural engineer can inspect the structure to find out if any repairs are needed. 

Home structural repairs require skilled repair teams as you are working with the most important parts of a home. An experienced and professional home structural engineer can make sure that it is secure and safe. 

Additionally, if you do suspect a structural issue, we recommend that you contact a home structural repair company as soon as possible. Delays mean that the home will deteriorate further and could be unsafe for occupancy. 

M Taylor Enterprise can inspect your home foundation to see if you have any home structural issues. Call our home foundation and structural repair experts in Maryland at (301) 649-3406 or matt@mtaylorenterprise.com. We will do a free consultation, make recommendations then do any needed repairs done quickly and efficiently. 

We serve Montgomery County, MD, parts of Prince George’s, MD, and Howard County, MD.

Protect Your Home Foundation With French Drains

Rains, snow, and ice in Central Maryland can cause flooding and water damage. ***

As we have discussed in my previous blogs, you must make sure that water is directed away from the home foundation. If water is allowed to pool around the home foundation or leaks into the basement, it can cause significant damage to the foundation, walls, and interior. It can be costly to repair. 

French Drains, which can be built around the perimeter of the home, direct water away from the home foundation. French drains, using gravity and sump pumps, remove the water and keep it away from the foundation so that it doesn’t erode the home foundation. 

Drains move water away from one area to another. A French drain is a ditch lined with gravel and a perforated pipe. It makes it easy for water to flow through the gravel and into a drainage pipe. The perforated pipe is set at a downward-sloping angle allowing gravity to work. It can also be used to prevent basement flooding and protect the home foundation from water damage. A weeping tile French drain protects the home structure against hydrostatic pressure. These weeping tile French drains are placed around the home perimeter to draw water away from the foundation.

There are three main reasons that you may want to install a French drain in your home:

  1. It redirects moisture. As mentioned earlier, the French drain uses gravity to redirect the water away from the home foundation. Water has to be removed so that it and moisture won’t weaken the concrete foundation. That water will freeze and thaw during the winter. The French drain resolves this as it can direct the moisture to another part of the yard, including the garden or yard, making it an environmentally smart method of improving the yard’s appearance. 
  2. Keeps the soil together. It prevents or mitigates soil erosion. After heavy rains, soil can erode quickly. An inefficient drainage system will not deal with erosion problems in your yard. Decay means plants will have fewer nutrients and moisture. Erosion also ruins the landscape look. French drains prevent soil erosion. It prevents water saturation and keeps a balanced moisture level in garden soil. 
  3. Barely see them. Since a French drain is underground, it can barely be seen. Pipes and gravel can be covered by grass, pavers, and pebbles. 
  4. Cost-effective. French drains can be quite affordable depending on the length of pipe needed and other installation factors. 

If you are concerned about the coming snow and ice that we see in Central Maryland, you may want to consider having French drains installed around your home. These drains will go a long way toward preserving your home foundation. 

If you want a French Drain installed, contact M. Taylor Enterprise for an inspection. We will analyze it and make recommendations. Our experienced basement waterproofing team can install it. Contact us at (301) 649-3406 for a consultation.

We serve the Montgomery County, Maryland area.

*** For more on Central Maryland weather, visit the Maryland Weather website

 

Concrete Repair 101: What Causes Sidewalks to Deteriorate and Crack Over Time?

The life and durability of the sidewalks around your home vary. If they are quality materials, they may not crack or deteriorate for a very long time. However, if the materials are not quality or if the weather has extremes, then your sidewalks may have hairline cracks or breakage. 

Concrete is also not perfect. It breaks, cracks, and deteriorates like anything else.  So, because of that, sidewalks will have to be repaired. When the extreme Maryland weather, winter ice to summer humidity, the materials in the concrete contract and expand, causing the concrete to deteriorate. ***

These extreme weather events on concrete crack, break, and sink. Rain, dew, and moisture also seep into the sidewalk cracks, expanding them. Eventually, the concrete looks worn out and unsightly.  

So, what other factors besides weather can cause sidewalk cracking?  

  1. One factor that many people don’t know is that concrete has weight limitations. It can withstand limited weight, but over time it will begin to deteriorate due to these factors:   
  2. People walking on concrete sidewalks. 
  3. Heavy equipment that is rolled across the sidewalks may cause it to crack or break. 
  4. Poor installation damages the concrete before the expected time.  
  5. Air pockets. Empty spaces in the soil below the concrete slab may cause cracking. This usually occurs when the concrete slab sits on uneven ground and has not solidly compacted, creating air pockets. After a while, soil settles into these pockets. Soil is not strong enough to hold it, causing the slab to sink and crack.
  6. Substances like HCL, Sulphur and salt trigger the deterioration, creating deep cracks in the concrete slab.

It’s not difficult to find out if your sidewalks are falling apart. You can just look at them. Their appearance will tell you if it needs to be repaired or replaced. If you see that your sidewalk is damaged or cracked, contact a licensed and experienced concrete repair contractor. 

When it gets even worse, and it will, it may cause injuries. So, now it is a liability risk. Don’t delay in getting this repaired.  

If you are seeing cracks in your sidewalks, contact M. Taylor Enterprise for an inspection. We will analyze it and make recommendations. Our experienced concrete repair team will make the necessary repairs. We specialize in all types of concrete and masonry. When we do masonry repairs to an existing structure, we go out of our way to match the mortar color. Contact us at (301) 649-3406 for a consultation.

We serve the Montgomery County, Maryland area.

*** For more information about concrete, visit the Popular Mechanics website.  

The Basics of a Home Drainage System

Your home drainage system is key to your home working correctly. When it is failing, the rest of your home will feel it. Your toilets, baths, showers, and sinks all are interconnected. If there is a failure in the chain, it affects all of it.   

As the owner and employee of M. Taylor Enterprises, I have worked on thousands of home drainage systems in Central Maryland for many years. I have seen every possible issue and breakdown. And, I certainly understand why my customers panic when it does break down.

Often, I will explain how their home drainage works and what we need to do to repair the link in the chain. Many of my customers want to understand how it works. Though admittedly, other customers are desperate and just want it repaired. I get that, too.

Anyway, here are the basic structures and functions of a typical home drainage system:

  1. The supply and drainage subsystems work together. They have bridges between the supply and drainage subsystems called “fixtures.” 
  2. Fixtures draw in freshwater and also release wastewater. Fixtures include kitchen and bathroom sinks, bathtubs and showers, washing machines, toilets, and outside faucets. These fixtures work together to keep supply and wastewater apart. 
  3. A trap is a curved pipe that keeps water inside and prevents sewer gasses from coming into your home. They are found inside kitchen cabinets or underneath the kitchen or bathroom sink plumbing.
  4. Drain lines are in each kitchen and bathroom plumbing fixture. Drain lines are found under sinks, bathtubs, and showers, and the toilet ties into a larger main line. Then, the main line runs water out of the home. Water comes from the local municipality. The wastewater then drains back into a sewer system with septic tanks. Septic tanks are cleaned every 10 years to prevent backup, which prevents major problems with a home’s drainage system. Toilets are self-trapped. However, bathtubs use drum traps to seal sewer gas and collect hair and dirt so drains don’t get clogged. 
  5. Vent Pipes allow water to drain. Vents are made of rubber, lead, or sheet metal on the roof. It holds the vent pipe in place.
  6. Nut and Ferrule connect the traps. They are connected using a threaded fitting. The ferrule forms the seal, as the nut screws down over the ferrule forming a watertight seal preventing sewer gasses from entering your home.
  7. Pitch is the angle at which water flows without needing gravity. It’s essential as all sewer or septic system drainpipes, in the wall or underground, have some type of pitch and are sloped releasing wastewater to drain out of the home. 
  8. Shutoff valves are there to close the main shutoff to repair them. The water supply to the fixture or the main shutoff must be closed to do any plumbing repairs.

Well, now you know the basics of your home drainage system. They all work together so you can live comfortably. 

If you are having problems with your home drainage system, contact M. Taylor Enterprises for a consultation. M Taylor Enterprise can inspect your home drainage system to see if you have any issues. Call our home drainage repair experts in Maryland at (301) 649-3406 or matt@mtaylorenterprise.com. We will do a free consultation, make recommendations then do any needed repairs done quickly and efficiently. 

We serve Montgomery County and parts of Prince George’s and Howard Counties.

Should I Care About My Crawl Space This Summer?

Summer is here and it is going to be a scorcher in Central Maryland this year. ***

And, of course, as a home foundation repair contractor, I’m thinking about your crawl space. The summer can bring damp conditions which means mold growth. This could be harmful to both your home and your health.

So, before the summer gets hotter, you may want to get your crawl space inspected as there are three things to consider. 

  1. Dirt and moisture cause wood rot which is a hotbed for mold growth and threatens the health and safety of your family. High humidity also causes porous concrete to absorb moisture from the air.
  2. Moisture also damages the insulation in the crawl space and will stop the crawl space from being warm, particularly if it’s fiberglass. Fiberglass soaks up moisture as the insulation material soaks water and becomes weighed down. Soon, it will sag and fall off. 
  3.  Warm air rises and enters the crawl space during the summer months. Once the air moves, a vacuum begins, and air moves to replace it. About half of this air gets into your home. So, if your crawl space air is musty and has mold spores, dust mites, or pollutants, your indoor environment will be adversely affected. Many people experience allergies, coughing, asthma, and itchy eyes.
  4. Moisture damages the insulation in the crawl space. It may not be warm then. The fiberglass becomes heavy as it is soaked with water. It sags and eventually falls off. 
  5. When the crawl space is damp, the wood becomes wet, it rots, bends, and breaks. Thus, the entire support structure fails.
  6. The Central Maryland summer humidity also causes moisture levels to rise. The crawl space becomes a hotbed for condensation as warm and hot air collides with the cool air. Water droplets form on the crawl space floor and walls. Thus, the humidity levels increase to scorching hot levels. 

In spite of all the problems your crawl space could have, there are some basic solutions you and your crawl space repair contractor can do to mitigate it. They can install sealing vents and/or insulating it may keep your home living conditions comfortable. You can also keep your south-facing windows closed. Additionally, close your curtains and/or blinds. A dehumidifier cleans and filters the air, too. 

If you are having issues with your home comfort, you may need crawl space repair. Contact M. Taylor Enterprise for an inspection. We will analyze it and make recommendations. Our experienced crawl space repair team can make the necessary repairs. Call (301) 649-3406 or at matt@mtaylorenterprise.com for a free consultation. 

We serve the Montgomery County, Maryland area.

*** You can find out more about summer weather at the State of Maryland website. 

 

 

Concrete Repair 101: Why Your Concrete Walkway Is Uneven

No matter how old your house may be, it is deteriorating. I know that sounds common-sensical, but it’s a fact of life. You will always have some repair coming or one going on now. 

One part of your home that you may not notice at first is your concrete walkway. It is used every day and takes a pounding from weather and usage. Eventually, the walkway will deteriorate and become uneven. There are several reasons why this has occurred:

  1. Tree roots: Trees and bushes can have large roots. These roots grow under the walkway and push up against both the driveway and the sidewalk. Roots can even break through thick pipes and cables. Depending on the soil and drought conditions, tree roots push up concrete slabs. They become uneven and can also crack or shift. This is a tripping and falling hazard. If it’s the driveway, the shifts and breaks may make it difficult to park or safely drive in and out of the driveway. 
  2. Weather: The sidewalk and driveway are daily exposed to the elements. Weather can be brutal from extreme heat to extreme cold. We see both in Maryland from ice to floods to droughts. We see it all. That variation in extremes causes the soil under the walkway to be washed away. Water can also drag particles out of the soil. The walkway may sink or settle unevenly. shed away. 
  3. Changes in the soil. Though concrete is strong, it will not hold its weight unless it’s reinforced. Most concrete used in sidewalks and driveways is placed directly on the soil. Once the soil shifts, expands, contracts or washes away, this can cause major damage to your sidewalk or driveway. During the drier seasons, the soil shrinks while during the wetter months, the soil expands. Movement occurs in the soil during these extremes, making the concrete sit unevenly or tilt.
  4. Weight. Driveways and sidewalks are designed for parking and walking. They get used often and will wear out. Excessive weight will make driveways and walkways sag. But it isn’t just automobiles and people. Moving pods, storage containers, and packed vehicles can also tilt and crack. The longer these vehicles or containers sit on the driveway, the more likely they will crack. 

If these cracks and tilts are not repaired, they can be a major hazard. Your home foundation repair contractor should be contacted. They may mud jack it. This process is where holes are made in the concrete, down to the base, and the space is filled with a slurry compound. This compound lifts the base of the concrete back to its original position. It’s not always successful if the cause of the uneven walkway is soil issues. 

If you are seeing cracks in your walkway or driveway, contact M. Taylor Enterprise for an inspection. We will analyze it and make recommendations. Our experienced concrete repair team will make the necessary repairs. We specialize in all types of concrete and masonry. When we do masonry repairs to an existing structure, we go out of our way to match the mortar color. Contact us at (301) 649-3406 or at matt@mtaylorenterprise.com for a free consultation.

We serve the the Montgomery County, Maryland area.

Should You Build An Egress Window This Spring?

Spring is here and it is finally beginning to warm up. Soon, the hot Central Maryland summers will arrive, and homeowners will be lowering the temperatures in their homes or looking for the coolest room in the house as a respite from the heat. 

For many people, the coolest room in the house is the basement. It is below ground, and the cool air is kept tight. It doesn’t go up into the above floors or get warm, like the top floor of the home typically does (especially in older homes.)

Since the time people stay in the basement will greatly increase, it may be time to consider what might happen if there is an emergency and you are stuck in the basement. Can you exit quickly? Is the exit large enough for everyone? Are you even able to open the window or door to get out? 

It may be time to have an egress window installed in your basement. Egress windows are essential for your family and others who are staying or visiting your home. An egress window does the following:

    1. Safety: Basements are often used as extra bedrooms. I see these all the time in my Central Maryland customers. If you or a family member is staying in your home, you should have an egress window installed immediately. Should there be a fire or other emergency, the egress window is an easy and accessible escape route for them. It also can be an entry point for emergency personnel. It is particularly helpful if there is a stairwell on the opposite side of the home where individuals are staying
    2. Comfortable:  Maryland building codes require egress windows to have an opening of, at least, 5.7 sq. ft. This opening brings natural light to the basement. It also can make it much more comfortable. Your basement may not be a bedroom. It could be a rec room, home office, or a living room. The egress window will add light to an otherwise dark and dingy room. 
    3. Property values are increased. Adding an egress window to your home will also increase the resale value. As this space may be used by the next owners as a closet, storage, or another type of living space. In fact, not having an egress window in your basement may be a disadvantage. The prospective new buyer may even require one to be installed. 

Also, if you install the egress window in the spring or summer, there won’t be any cold-weather drafts coming through which will keep your electricity bill down. Caulk also bonds better in warmer weather. Installing the egress window this season is a smart decision, and won’t interrupt your lifestyle or increase your living expenses. 

M Taylor Enterprise has installed many Egress windows in the Montgomery County, Maryland area. We can install them efficiently and quickly.  Contact us at (301) 649-3406 or at matt@mtaylorenterprise.com for a free consultation.

*** For more information on Maryland temperatures, visit the Maryland state website.

Five Reasons You See Mold in Your Basement

One of the worst things that can happen to your home is to get a mold infestation. I have seen many homes that have it and it’s scary.

It’s scary because not only does mold smell bad and look horrible, it’s also a threat to the health of the homeowners. Once the mold is discovered, it needs to be removed as quickly as possible as it will only get worse.

Mold starts as a spore floating around the home. Mold spores are always present and can never be totally eliminated. Mold will not survive if it is allowed to sit. When water is added to it, the mold begins to grow. Mold has tentacle-like arms (hyphae) which spread and tangle as it moves along the surface. Basement mold has a fuzzy or slimy appearance. 

It then develops and grows when water gradually runs down from the roof and downspouts into the ground around your home foundation. It will run out of room and begin pooling. Eventually, the water breaks through basement waterproofing or through the cracks in the foundation. The basement will flood and cause thousands of dollars’ worth of damage.

So, before the worst-case scenario comes true, you can detect the signs of mold:

  1. Musty smell: This one is the most obvious. You will smell a strange and unpleasant odor. The stronger the smell, the worse the mold growth. It can be located near the damp area in the household.
  2. Rust: This means there is excessive moisture in the house. It also means that this is the perfect environment for mold to grow.
  3. Water damage: Mold is a given if you have had water damage. Water can be absorbed which makes it damp, creating another environment for mold to grow. During winter, indoor condensation leads to higher humidity, which helps mold grow. 
  4. Walls have bubbles: Mold may form bubbles on the walls. You will find this mold in bathrooms, the basement, and near windows. It may be from a leaky pipe or window seal. 
  5. Health issues: This is the worst sign and the one that tells you that mold has gotten out of control in your home. As a result of breathing mold spores every day, homeowners may develop allergies. They may have nasal congestion, watery eyes, or a nagging cough. The skin may also itch or have tingling sensations. It may also be flaky and dry and lead to hives. Mold spores may migrate to the lungs becoming asthma. 

Mold should never be ignored. It will not go away unless it has been removed by a mold remediation company. If you detect any or all of these symptoms, contact a basement waterproofing contractor for a consultation. 

M Taylor Enterprise can inspect your home foundation to see if you have any mold issues. Call our home foundation and structural repair experts in Maryland at (301) 649-3406 or matt@mtaylorenterprise.comWe will do a free consultation, make recommendations then do any needed repairs done quickly and efficiently. 

We serve Montgomery County, MD, parts of Prince Georges, MD, and Howard County, MD.

Seven Reasons You Should Repair Your Home Foundation in 2022

Central Maryland is usually frigid cold this time of year. Most people are staying inside until the warmer weather arrives in late March. It’s a good time to stay inside and be cozy, for sure. 

In spite of the cold, it’s a good time to put on a heavy coat, step outside, and visually inspect your home foundation. Over the past year, there may have been changes in your home foundation which may require repairs. 

So, as you inspect your home foundation, here are some reasons you may need to repair it this year:

Cracks on walls: These cracks would be obvious. They may be hairline or wide cracks. They can be seen along the walls or floors of your home.

  1. Doors or windows that won’t close all the way: If your inside doors stick out or drag at the top, or your windows won’t close or are uneven the home foundation has settled.
  2. Dank odors: Excessive wetness on floors may be due to a foundation that is settled or cracked. Moisture on the basement floor comes from water seepage in the foundation or poor drainage.
  3. Uneven Floors. Foundation issues may be evident from your floors being uneven. You will notice floorboards that are not even or tile that is loose or pilling. Basement walls are bowing: This occurs when water pressure from the outside has caused your walls to bend inward. 
  4. Sagging crawl space floors: Your crawl space should be strong and have some room to inspect. If it is sagging or bending, you are having foundation issues.  
  5. Leaning chimneys: Chimneys should never move. However, when your foundation is sinking, they begin to lean. This is not only unsightly but can be dangerous as it could fall and cause injuries or property damage.
  6. Sinking front porches and stoops: Porches begin to sink as the home foundation sinks. If there is a stoop, it will also sink. Water seepage also causes this issue.  
  7. Overall water intrusion or damage: Water makes its way into many places in a home when the home foundation is settling. It may pool in drains, sunken spots in the flooring, basement floors, and other locations. This pooling of water may also draw insects such as mosquitos. 

If you have seen one or any number of these home foundation red flags, you need to contact an experienced home foundation repair contractor for a consultation. Failure to correct or repair these home foundation issues may have the “Domino Effect” as it may lead to other property damage. Please don’t delay!

M Taylor Enterprise can inspect your home foundation to see if you have any basement waterproofing issues. Call our home foundation and structural repair experts in Maryland at (301) 649-3406 or matt@mtaylorenterprise.com. We will do a free consultation, make recommendations then do any needed repairs done quickly and efficiently. We serve Montgomery County, MD, parts of Prince Georges, MD and Howard County, MD.