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Category Archives: basement waterproofing

Basement Waterproofing: Is Your Basement Safe?

Like most homeowners, especially if you have children, your basement is a busy place. You have a rec room there, or an entertainment center or a lot of storage or, your laundry room. Family members are down there for hours at a time and visitors may also be spending time there watching the game or playing pool. You may have a family member who lives there.

So, since you spend some time down there, you need to know of possible hazards in your basement. Watch out for the following: 

  1. Poor ventilation: If I’ve smelled it once, I’ve smelled it a thousand times when I go to work on a customer’s basement: a stuffy, musty smell. This is because the basement has very poor ventilation. This odor may cause asthma attacks and other upper respiratory issues for anyone who spends a fair amount of time in the basement.
  2. Chemicals being stored: Basements are places where we typically store paints, glues, thinners, and other volatile chemicals. These cans may not be closed completely, which means toxic substances will be released into the air. Exposure to these toxicities may cause serious health problems such as asthma, migraines, obesity, diabetes, thyroid issues, immune disorders and, even, cancer. *** 
  3. The dryer that is not vented: Your clothes dryer should run a vent pipe to the outside of the house. Unfortunately, and I have seen it, too, many homeowners have a dryer that only catches lint while recirculating warm air into the basement. The exhaust and chemicals from laundry detergent and other cleaning agents are sent into the basement air which can cause respiratory and vision problems. Basements are damp, which is precisely the environment in which mold thrives. Mold spores shot into the air from mold and mildew can lead to persistent coughing, excessive sneezing, runny nose, and dry, itchy skin.
  4. Gases from the sewer: Your sewer line may have come into your basement through the floor drain. Typically, the sewer trap dries out, allowing sewer gases to enter the basement. This is methane, which is quite toxic and is very unhealthy (not to mention noxious).
  5. Mosquitos and other pest infestations: Basements may also have pools of water in the floor, at the corners, or at the bottom of cracks in the wall. During the warmer months, these may attract mosquitos, carpenter bees, and other destructive pests. 
  6. Carbon Monoxide: Another popular feature that I’ve seen in many basements in Central Maryland, where we are based, is fuel-fired furnaces. If there is improper ventilation, these furnaces will release carbon monoxide. This is a major fire hazard. However, more importantly, carbon monoxide moves upward, into the home and may cause dizziness, headaches, and even death. Your furnace should be inspected once a year. Carbon monoxide detectors could also be installed in the basement and around the floors above it. 

As I tell my customers, your basement is a hotbed of activity, good and bad. If you are experiencing any of the above problems, contact a basement waterproofing contractor and have them complete a thorough inspection of your home. It may cost a few dollars, but your health and that of your loved ones is priceless. Keep it a safe place for everyone!

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.comWe will do a free consultation, make recommendations then do any needed repairs done quickly and efficiently. We serve the Montgomery County, parts of Prince Georges and Howard Counties.

*** For more information on mold and the health issues caused by it, visit the Functional Medical Institute website

Basement Waterproofing Issues: The Main Causes of Water Seepage

The rains have begun! 

Spring has just arrived but we have already had our share of rain in Montgomery County, Maryland. Rain can cause a lot of damage to your home, especially if you have a basement. *** 

Water seepage is the most common problem for homes with a basement. Water seepage can severely damage your home, lead to mold, and, finally but most importantly, can cause serious health issues for you and your family.    

So, if you are seeing cracks in your basement walls or foundation, you are having water seepage into your basement. Here are the signs:

  1. Water in the soil: When rainwater enters the ground, the soil expands and creates hydrostatic pressure. This forces the water to leak into the basement and other locations in your home. This water comes from heavy rain and mixes with the water that is already around your home. As we have discussed in previous blogs, there needs to be proper drainage and grading around your home.
  2. Seepage: Mold develops if the water around the foundation remains for a long time. Mold can be harmful as it will infect the air quality of your home.
  3. Foundation leaks: The home’s concrete walls may develop cracks from the shifting soils. Water will then seep through the basement foundation walls. 
  4. Water damage: Water leaks from a furnace or pools of water on your floors can do extensive interior structural damage.
  5. Structural damage: Water can also do extensive damage to your basement. It can even get into the studs. 
  6. Window leaks: Water pools in the window wells of your basement windows. If it isn’t drained, the water cannot go anywhere. It will eventually run into your home. So, check your window wells, yearly, to make sure there is proper drainage and water cannot gather there. There should be no cracks in the glass and the seals.
  7. Floor cracks: Water can also seep through the basement floor. Excessive water can then stain hardwood floors or ruin the carpet. 
  8. Gaps in floor and footing: Water can also seep into the gap between the footing, the wall, and the concrete floor. Even though they are sealed, basements still shift over time. All that shifting creates openings where seepage can occur. 
  9. Poor drainage: Check to see that the downspouts are running away from the house. Also, verify that your foundation has proper grading. These will keep water out of the soil around your home and reduce the water pressure. 

This spring is a good time to have your foundation checked for seepage. Don’t let the Maryland rains destroy your biggest investment!

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.comWe will do a free consultation, make recommendations then do any needed repairs done quickly and efficiently. We serve the Montgomery County, parts of Prince Georges and Howard Counties.

 *** Visit the Current Results website for more information on the Maryland Rain Tables.

Home Drainage Systems: Six Reasons for Winter Maintenance

It’s January and the icy cold temperatures have descended on Maryland, as it does every winter. With the exception of a few warm days, we are getting hit hard by below-freezing temperatures, especially at night. 

Your home foundation is feeling it, too. With every increase above freezing, and then the drop below freezing, your home foundation is expanding and contracting. And that’s okay, as it is built to withstand very cold and very hot climates. 

However, all may not be well with your home drainage system that redirects water away from your home foundation. Your frozen pipe or drain is located outside, but most water damage occurs inside your home. So, the consequences may be tons of flowing to where it shouldn’t and causing major damage to your home which may also cause a major hit to your checking account. 

Just one night of frozen temperatures may cause havoc with your home drainage system. So, in order to avoid your pipes cracking and then flooding into your home, here are six ways you can maintain your home drainage systems this winter: 

  1. Never turn your heat off: You will save money on your heating bills and prevent ice from cracking your pipes by just maintaining a steady temperature (70-75 degrees) in your home during the winter. Never, ever turn your heat off during the winter even if you are not home for days or weeks at a time. 
  2. Clear the drain gates: Remove the leaves, dirt, branches, and other debris from the outside grates so they won’t freeze and block the drains. 
  3. Repair the leaks: Check out the pipes and see if they are still running. If you see leaks, you can patch them up using DIY patch kits you can find online and repair the cracks. If there are leaks, you may be able to patch them yourself using one of the DIY patch kits on the market. Unless it is a pipe leak from your heating system or main water supply. You should contact your home foundation repair contractor to get that repaired. 
  4. Wrap insulation around the pipes: Some pipes may not drain for the winter as they are still being used. So, wrap insulation around them. It will reduce your power bill as it protects your pipes from freezing. You can find circular insulation products at your local hardware or department store. Inspect your home foundation and see if there is any exposed piping. 
  5. Inspect for gaps and airflow: There may be a space between a pipe or drain and the wall. This may bring cold air in and freeze the pipes. Add wood or plastic insulation but don’t do this for vents connected to your heating system.
  6. Call a home drainage system contractor: If you are concerned about the cracks you have found or would like an inspection, call your local home drainage professional. They can give you a consultation with recommendations.

Maryland’s freezing weather can cause serious and costly damage to your home drainage system. So, if you see any signs of cracking in your pipes, call your home foundation contractor for a consultation.

M Taylor Enterprise home foundation repair contractors can do a consultation in Prince George, Montgomery County, and Howard County, MD area. If you have seen any of these cracks in your home foundation, 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. 

 

   

Basement Waterproofing: Which of the Top 3 Methods Do I Need?

You have seen all the signs and now you are ready to call the basement waterproofing contractor and get it done! It’s a great Christmas gift that will give back every day you live in the home. 

However, not all basements are the same. So, your contractor will have to choose one of the three methods. They may be exterior or interior. 

  1. Downspout and window well improvement: Window wells are quite important. Without them, your basement windows would decay quickly and the basement would be even darker. Wells can also get clogged with leaves, branches, and other debris. When this happens, rainwater leaks into the basement, causing water damage and flooding. If they are maintained properly, window wells can prevent windows from rusting and rotting. The water drainage issues can be resolved by either adding a window enclosure or by repairing the grading around the foundation so that water flows away from the house.
  2. A full excavation around the perimeter of the house then waterproof from the outside. Waterproofing around the exterior involves excavating the perimeter of the house then installing a waterproof membrane around the foundation. This will seal out the moisture so the concrete doesn’t absorb it, crack it and leak. A French drain can then be installed. Drain tiles are then inserted in the trench around the home. That is covered with gravel and soil. Water is carried away from the foundation and never even has a chance to enter the basement. 
  3. Installation of an interior drainage system with a sump pump. Interior waterproofing is crucial as it sends any water that leaks into the basement out and away from the home foundation. Homes have an interior drainage system made up of pipes and drains that catch leaks. Excess water flows to a “sump pit”. This basin stores water in your basement. The sump pump, inside the sump pit, pumps water out of the basement and away from the home foundation. Sump pumps are triggered when it reaches a certain level of water. They typically have a battery backup so it works even when the power it off. 

Winter will be here soon, but it isn’t too late to have any of these basement waterproofing improvements made to your home. Call your local basement waterproofing contractor for an inspection, analysis, and estimate. 

M Taylor Enterprise basement waterproofing contractors can do a consultation in Montgomery County, MD, and Prince Georges County, MD area. If your basement has water damage or is leaking, 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. 

Four Ways to Tell if Your Drainage Systems Were Damaged After a Heavy Rain

Maryland has been hit with several major rainstorms this summer. Besides scaring us to death and knocking out the power, these storms have also caused millions of dollars in water damage. 

Additionally, Hurricane Isaias brought trees down, road closures, and flooding. *** Water has damaged thousands of homes in Maryland and on the East Coast. 

Your home may be experiencing the effects of the storms and hurricane, too. Here are four ways to tell if your drainage systems were damaged:

  1. Pipes bursting and cracking: It’s not hard to tell if your pipes are bursting or cracking as you will notice it when you turn on the faucet. Your water will be dark. The water will taste awful-like copper. Typically, rainwater pools up in the pipes and causes them to break. So, the freshwater will have soil, soot, and other bacteria in it. 
  2. Flooding: Heavy rains like the ones we have had, cause water to accumulate in the yard. The water has nowhere to go if there isn’t any proper drainage, so it begins to flood your basement, driveway, sidewalk, or porch. This severe water damage then causes these spaces around your home to be weakened. Before it causes any more damage, the correct drainage should be installed.
  3. Sewage backup: One of the grossest results of a deluge or two of rain is what it does to your sewer line. The heavy rain builds up debris in the outdoor drains which clog the pipes. If the sewer line that runs to your home is blocked, the wastewater accumulates in the clogged drains. Eventually, the pipes may burst or crack sending all of it into your home or onto the ground.
  4. Indoor drains blocked or clogged: Water pools in your shower, bathtub, sink, or other drains. This is caused by the heavy rains bringing in debris like soil, trash, branches, leaves, sticks, and even bugs. All of this junk clogs up your drainage systems which back up the entire drainage. 

These storms can wreak serious damage to your home drainage systems. If you see any of these signs, call your experienced home foundation repair contractor to get it fixed. When the next heavy rain hits, and it will, you will be ready. The longer you delay, the more these clogs and cracks to your pipes will cause damage. Usually, a home foundation contractor can assess the damage and repair the drainage systems fairly quickly.     

M Taylor Enterprise basement waterproofing contractors can do a consultation in Prince George and Silver Spring, MD area. If you have seen any of these red flags in your home, 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. 

** See reports of Maryland rain and hurricane damage here.     

How to Choose a Basement Waterproofing Contractor

As life gets back to normal for most of us in the DMV/Washington D.C. Beltway area, we have had time to notice and investigate any home maintenance issues and repair or seek out a contractor to do the repairs. 

My basement waterproofing company has received a number of calls, even during the COVID-19/Coronavirus. * They have seen the red flags of basement water damage and foundation issues as we have discussed in previous blogs

If you have seen foundation or basement issues, you need to contact a basement waterproofing contractor. Here are several criteria to consider: 

  1. Was a thorough inspection of my home ever conducted?: Look at your home purchase documents and see if an inspection was made of the property. If there was an inspection, reread it to see if the inspector made any citations concerning the foundation. If so, show this to the basement waterproofing contractor that you eventually hire. 
  2. Find reputable basement waterproofing contractors in your area: A local contractor is the most beneficial one to hire. They have a reputation and will have referrals from local citizens. Ask your friends to see if they have used this contractor. 
  3. Professional courtesy: Any reputable contractor will be professional, efficient, and courteous. If you detect any difficulties or unprofessionalism, you may want to consider other contractors.
  4. Ask for licenses and certifications: All reputable basement waterproofing repair firms will have the licenses and certifications that are required by the location(s) in which they work. Ask them to make copies of the licenses/certifications/bonding/insurance if necessary. All should be up-to-date. If they are reticent to show you their licenses and certifications, this is not a contractor you should hire.    
  5. Detailed estimate: The contractor should submit a detailed estimate following the home foundation inspection. The inspection should include issues and solutions. It should be given to you the date of the inspection or within five (5) business days afterward. 
  6. Required deposit: Good contractors should require a percentage of the cost upfront. Some ask for one-third (1/3) or one-half (1/2) of the fee upfront. Never pay them the entire amount upfront, even if they have a good reputation. You should inspect their work when completed and make sure they did everything in the contract. Once that has been confirmed, then make the final payment.  
  7. Contract: The detailed basement waterproofing repair contract should include starting and ending dates, permits that need to be secured, costs and payment arrangements, and a “Notice of Right to Cancel” which allows the homeowner or contractor to cancel the project within three (3) business days. 
  8. Reviews on social media and websites: Following the project, review the contractor on social media such as Google my Business, Facebook, Yelp, NextDoor and other venues. Let the public know how the contractor did and include photos.  

Your basement waterproofing contractor’s work is crucial to the health of your home and family. Do the necessary preparation before you hire a firm to do the work. Too much is riding on it to do any less. 

M Taylor Enterprise basement waterproofing contractors can do a consultation in Prince George and Silver Spring, MD area. If you are worried about your home foundation or need structural repair in Maryland call (301) 649-3406 or matt@mtaylorenterprise.com and protect your home so it can protect you.

*For more information on Maryland reopening phases and other COVID news click here.

Basement Waterproofing for the Summer

This summer will be like none other in our lifetime. 

It will be post-COVID-19/Coronavirus. The quarantine may be over and we may be returning to our routines, with some adjustments, and life moves on. 

While life may have its challenges, there are some things that never change, pandemic or not. Your home foundation needs to be checked. This summer may bring some heavy rains, as we often have in the DMV/Maryland/Virginia/District area. *** 

So, let’s turn our attention to your home foundation. Basement waterproofing must be done to protect your home. As we have said before, water problems most often can be corrected from the exterior NOT the interior. Many times we see basement waterproofing contractors install interior sump pump drainage systems. That will not waterproof your basement. It only manages the amount of water. It will not stop it. 

If you hire a licensed and experienced basement waterproofing contractor, they will do the waterproofing from the outside. 

Here is what should be done: 

  1. Inspect the home exterior for water sources such as negative drainage and missing downspouts.
  2. Check to see if basement sump pumps are being used. (These only manage water. They do not waterproof on the foundation.)
  3. Exterior drainage improvements are done in conjunction with the interior to minimize pump cycles.
  4. Clean all gutter downpours. 
  5. Proper grading of dirt around the foundation 
  6. Add downspout extension pipes
  7. Large trees with roots close to the foundation will cause leaks as they push in the wall slightly

Much of the damage to your foundation walls cannot be seen. It is behind drywall or paneling that needs to be corrected. Water from rain and melting snow enter the ground around your foundation and can create structural damage and health issues. The re-grading around the outside of your home may need to be done, installing an interior drainage system, or doing a full excavation of your home’s foundation. 

Call our home foundation waterproofing team at M Taylor Enterprise (301) 649-3406 or email matt@mtaylorenterprise.com. We serve the counties of Prince George and Silver Spring, MD area. 

*** For more information on the DMV Weather for 2020, click here.