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Category Archives: concrete repair

Red Flags: When your home masonry needs repairs

If you have owned a home for any period of time, you know it needs care and maintenance. Whether it’s a masonry home built in 1925 or 2015, it will need repairs to its structure and foundation, sooner or later. You can count on it.

So, it’s good to have your eyes peeled and even inspect your masonry home and foundation on a monthly basis to see if there are problems. It doesn’t need a trained home masonry contractor eyes, either.

masonry repairs M Taylor Enterprise

In fact, there are several red flags you can see for yourself that may indicate that your home masonry needs repairs:

  1. Mortar missing: Brick walls usually need to be re-pointed or repaired every fifteen years. Joints need to be filled with mortar.
  2. Masonry cracks: These would be cracks in the brickwork and masonry and these are serious. Even a small, thin crack can cause damage.
  3. Water infiltration: Water enters the home through cracks in the foundation and walls. Persistent exposure to water weakens the concrete and eats away at the mortar between bricks and concrete blocks.
  4. Interior problems: In a previous blog, we have detailed the many interior structural problems that occur from foundation issues: windows and doors that don’t close, water stains on walls and musty smells.  
  5. Problematic mortar joints: Mortar joints are the spaces between the concrete and the stone. After several years, those joints begin settling thus causing slanted or cracked mortar joints.  
  6. Chimney breaks and cracks: Chimneys that are deteriorating are a fire hazard. And, that deterioration can be seen. A rusted damper, cracks in chimney, blue tile bits piling up at the bottom, flaking brick or mortar breaking down.  
  7. Shoddy workmanship: If the home masonry contractors used inferior building materials, those can also cause cracks and breaks in the foundation and walls. In time, the foundation has uneven settling causing masonry damage. Vermin, rodents and in insects will then eat through the concrete and mortar unleashing serious damage.   

If you see any of the above issues, you need to consult a licensed home masonry structural or basement waterproofing contractor. The contractor will find matching bricks or mortar to replace the damaged sections of your home.

M Taylor Enterprise has licensed, experienced home masonry contractors who can do a consultation and then do the needed repairs, efficiently and help you improve the quality and appearance of your home in the Montgomery County, MD, Silver Spring , MD or Washington, D.C. area. Call us at (301) 649-3406 or email us at matt@mtaylorenterprise.com.   

Driveway Maintenance: Proper Concrete Driveway Construction

We take for granted so many things in our life: air conditioning, car engines, microwaves, laptops…chocolate.

One thing we definitely take for granted, and we see it every day, is our driveway. Yes, our driveways serve us in so many ways. We park our cars on it, our kids play on it, we wash our cars on it and the value of our homes is enhanced by it. Our driveways are an integral part of our  home.

However, before you can do all the activities you do with your driveway, it first has to be constructed. Driveway construction is a precise and specialized service done by licensed driveway pavers. 

Proper driveway construction step-by-step process is the following:

  1. Plan your driveway: Not all driveways are created the same. You have many factors to consider: how many cars will you park on it, will you be able to turn it around on the street, will it match other homes in the neighborhood, how will your neighbors be affected by it, what needs to be removed on your property so the driveway can be installed, how steep will it be so there is no erosion and it will be safe to enter and exit your vehicle on it. (You may want to get a consultation from one or several driveway construction contractors before agreeing on a final plan.)
  2. Hire a driveway contractor: Once you have planned it, hire a licensed concrete driveway contractor. You may want to get several bids and referrals before making a final decision. Also, find out how long it will take to do the project and if your neighbors will experience and inconveniences. Once you have agreed to a contractor, get it written down on a contract. Make sure you have the financing secured and arrangements made for clearing the land (if needed) so that the concrete paving contractor can begin the project on time.
  3. Get a building permit: Now that you have the bids and the project is imminent, get a building permit from your local government authorities. Utility lines, wells and runoffs have to be considered and approved before starting. Once approved, you may have to display the permit during the driveway paving.
  4. Layout begins: Now, the concrete paving contractor can begin the real work! They will layout the entire section planned for your driveway by placing wooden or steel stakes where the driveway will egress the street and at the end or closing point near the home. Builder’s line is then tied on so it’s now easier to see how the new driveway will look.
  5. Dirt, rocks and vegetation are removed: Now that the layout is clear, the contractor then removes all of the debris within the lines. Dirt, rocks, vegetation and other debris is removed clearing the way for a smoother and flatter driveway.
  6. make sure  proper finishing techniques  are used, do not add water to the  surface of the concrete ever. Do not over water the  concrete in the ready mix truck
  7. Utilities are marked: Outdoor power, gas  lines, telephone/WiFi lines and water lines may be in the layout. Miss Utility  will mark them clearly and protect them from being impacted.
  8. Metal forms are best : These are walls that  are straight and on grade so that when concrete is placed, they won’t move or expand.
  9. Grading of soil: Driveways need to  be 6 inches thick. Thus, fill material is added  as need to obtain a consistent thickness
  10. Fill material is compacted: Your concrete driveway paving contractor then uses a plate compactor, using water to mold it, to compact the base materials
  11. Reinforcing steel or polypropylene fiber added into the concrete is installed: These bars are laid before the concrete is  placed .
  12. Concrete is placed: Then your contractor, using a concrete ready mix truck, places the  plastic concrete into the layout.
  13. Slab is completed: The construction team then uses brooms or other tools to make it as flat as possible.
  14. Concrete is cured: Your contractor then applies either a curing compound or a burlap sheeting so that it drys but not too quickly. Typically it takes around seven days to dry and be ready for use.

Your new driveway is a precise operation which requires a licensed concrete paving contractor. Once you have done it, you will have a driveway you can be proud of, use often and will add to the value of your home.

M Taylor Enterprise’s experienced concrete driveway construction team will visit your home in the Silver Spring, Maryland, Montgomery County, Maryland, Prince George’s County, Maryland and parts of Howard County MD. We can give you a consultation on it. We get the job done quickly and efficiently. Call us for concrete construction and repair at (301) 649-3406 or email us at matt@mtaylorenterprise.com.

Concrete Repair: How It’s Done

You see it every day when you walk to your car or get the mail. It’s embarrassing and can even be dangerous.

We are talking, of course, about the cracks in your sidewalk, walkway or driveway. Those cracks, which are caused by weather, automobiles, animals, age and just constant usage, take away from the appearance and value of your home. Sidewalk cracks may even cause serious injuries to family members and visitors.

These are common repairs and can be done correctly and efficiently with the right tools, materials and basic understanding of how concrete works. Here are the step-by-step directions to do concrete repair:

  1. Do a properly tamped base. Gas power tamper worksbut use a small roller.
  2. Make sure the reinforcement is up in the concrete and not laying on the ground. We use re-bar on high chair instead of wire mesh.
  3. Proper slump and don’t add too much water. A strong concrete mix is weakened with the overuse of mixing water. If you need to use a higher slump. (Get the correct ad mixture.)
  4. Thickness is so important! We always make our concrete driveways 6” thick.
  5. Proper control and expansion jointsare tooled in and are generally only an inch or so. We saw cut joints deeper the next day after the placement.
  6. Joints need to be at least 1/4 the thickness of the slab. We do 1/3 the thickness of the slab for control joints
  7. Never ever apply water during the finishing process! It weakens the surface cement/water matrixand leads to spalling surface. Please note that if you can’t finish the concrete without the use of adding surface water, you are placing too much concrete or you are short on finishers.
  8. Now apply a curring compound after the concrete placement finishing operations. Spray or roll on helps even in cool weather.
  9. When you strip forms, back-fill around the slab edges with saved soil from the excavation process. Cut and piece in sod at the disturbed areas, when possible.
  10. If you run into unexpected issues such as clay that is pumping and won’t tampor there are old stumps or unexpected old layers of concrete, then the concrete repairs will require the services of an experienced craftsman.
  11. If you end up botching the entire job, don’t fret. Just take it out and have a professional replace it

It’s a pretty involved procedure and requires a lot of detailing and no step can be skipped. Be sure you have ALL the tools and materials before you begin. Also, check the weather forecast for the day you do the repairs. Rain or storms definitely will delay your project. Make sure it is a clear day and not too cold or hot.

However, if this seems too involved or not something you’d like to tackle, then call our professional concrete repair team at M Taylor Enterprise. We can give you an estimate, send a team out to your home or business location and get the job done quickly and efficiently. Call us at (301) 649-3406 or email us at matt@mtaylorenterprise.com.