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Category Archives: Foundation Repair

Carbon Fiber Strip for Foundation Repair

Cold weather has arrived in Central Maryland. The Farmer’s Almanac, a trusted weather resource for many years, is predicting a very wet and frosty winter for us.  

So, while the snow or ice are falling on our area, some homeowners are going to walk downstairs to their basement to get the snow shovel and sand, they may see something that they have not have noticed before: their basement walls have bowed by as much as two inches!  

When you see your basement walls bowing, you have serious home foundation issues that need to be remedied-fast! There are many reasons for these things to happen:  

  1. Tree roots growing close to your home that press against your walls.
  2. Heavy rains may be saturating the soil around your home thus becoming heavier and stressing your basement walls.
  3. Pipes that are leaking can saturate the soil also causing walls to bow.
  4. Lawns that slope can channel heavy soil onto your foundation.  
  5. Heavy construction on your foundation such as patios, pools, and driveways can add pressure to the foundation. 

A home foundation repair contractor can repair this type of damage by using a carbon fiber strip. This strip is easy to install and will not disrupt the landscaping. 

A carbon fiber strip accomplishes several things when repairing the basement walls: 

  1. It’s lightweight.
  2. It isolates movement in the basement walls.
  3. It repairs the cracks and bowing in the walls.
  4. It is more affordable than other repairs such as braces or anchors, as it is less labor-intensive. Strip installation takes less time and is more efficient.
  5. It does not require any excavation of the home foundation.
  6. They can also be painted to resemble the wall color, so they fit in well with the original appearance.

Once these carbon fiber strips are installed, the homeowner should do the following to make sure the basement walls don’t bow again:

  1. Keep the gutters clean.
  2. Avoid pouring any new concrete or brick patios or walkways on the foundation.  
  3. Remove trees planted near the foundation.
  4. Keep plumbing maintained.

When someone thinks about any home foundation repair they fear spending an incredible amount of money to get it done. This is not the case at all. Once your carbon fiber strips are installed, your basement walls and home foundation should be solid again. 

M. Taylor Enterprise has experienced home foundation repair contractors who can install carbon fiber strips to your home efficiently and affordably. Call us at (301) 649-3406 for an appointment. We will do an assessment on your basement and foundation to see if a carbon fiber strap is needed. We serve  Montgomery County, Howard, and Prince Georges County, MD areas.

As the latest Farmer’s Almanac said, it will be a brutally cold winter in Maryland, so make sure your basement and home are protected. 

Home Foundation Repair: Take Care of It in Fall and Winter

The seasons have (finally) changed here in Maryland and the long-range forecast for our area is for an unusually cold and wet winter. Ice, rain, and snow will hit us so our question to you is this: Is your home foundation ready?

winter foundation maintenance M Taylor Enterprise

This fall and even early winter are good reasons to get your home foundation repairs done to protect your largest financial asset. But first, what damage can ice, snow and freezing rain do to your home’s foundation? Here are some damages you might notice:  

  1. Hydrostatic Pressure: Water collects deep in the ground below your foundation. After rain, snow or ice melts, that water rises and pushes against the foundation causing cracks. You will see the results of that water damage as cracks will develop in concrete floors or moisture pools in the concrete slab. Mold also grows in this area. 
  2. Desiccation Pressure: It’s one thing to have too much water below the foundation. It’s quite another to have too little water below the home. When there is a drought of water, the soil shrinks, and contracts. Thus, this leads to numerous structural issues from water seepage to uneven and cracked flooring.   
  3. Soil Pressure: As we have heard, the increase in wet weather compounded by drops in temperatures below freezing, can cause serious soil pressure issues. Snow and ice buildup and surround the home. It may not be a problem if the ground surface can absorb it. However, if the soil holds onto the moisture, it may expand and press against the home foundation. Cracks will soon develop and water will then leak into the basement. Concrete walls will then lean forward leading to even more home foundation damage. 

We have seen this type of damage in homes in the Montgomery County, Maryland area as fluctuations in temperature, heavy rain, ice, and snow, wreak havoc on even the best foundations. Some homeowners saw the early symptoms, like wall cracks and water damage in their basement, and called us right away. They save a lot of money by getting their home foundation repairs done then. Others, however, ignored it and paid the price with costly repairs and had to do battle with their insurance company. That wasn’t a pretty situation.

So, one of the best ways you can celebrate the fall and winter holidays is with a sealed, repaired and maintained the home foundation. If you have seen the symptoms of foundation issues, call our home foundation repair experts at M Taylor Enterprise who can do a thorough review of your structure and make recommendations. We serve the counties of Prince George and Silver Spring, MD area. Call us for a consultation at (301) 649-3406 or email us at matt@mtaylorenterprise.com. 

Fall Home Foundation Checklist: Maintenance Tips for the Season

The long hot summer of 2019 in Maryland is coming to an end! 

Record-breaking heat may finally give way to much cooler temperatures. There is even a colder than usual winter predicted for this region.  fall home foundation repair maintenance M Taylor Enterprise

It seems like forever since cool weather but now that fall has finally arrived there are some important home foundation maintenance tips you can do to keep your home in good shape:

  1. Clean out your gutters: By now, your gutters are probably filled with leaves, grass, dirt, branches, plants and other debris. When it rains, full gutters are filled and the water will seep into the foundation instead of running out of the gutters into your yard. So, have them cleaned and cleared out.
  2. Check for mold: Mold can be found anywhere and everywhere. So, inspect your windows, doors, water softener tanks, well pressure tanks, bathtubs, toilet tanks, and bathroom ceilings. Also, inspect your crawlspace and storage room. Once the mold is eliminated, have ventilation installed to prevent future mold infestation.  
  3. Check for cracks in your foundation: So crucial! Walk around your home foundation and see if there are any cracks. Cracks, large or small, may indicate settling and sinking of the foundation. If you find any cracks, take photos and call your home foundation repair contractor.    
  4. Check for cracks in your masonry or siding: Cracks in your siding or masonry may also indicate foundation issues. Look for cracks. If you find any, have a home repair contractor fix them. 
  5. Inspect the grade around your home: “Grading” is the level of the ground around your home that directs water and rain away from your home. Look to see if stormwater is collecting around your home. Most water penetration in a home’s foundation is due to surface water not being managed properly. Look, especially, under downspouts and window wells that are adjacent to exterior steps.       
  6. Look at your roof: Check for buckling, cracked or missing shingles. Also, look for black algae stains which may signal decaying boards beneath.  
  7. Check your ductwork and water heater: 20%-30% of the air that is lost in the home is due to poorly connected ducts and holes in the ductwork. Also, is your water heater blanket secured properly? Use foam pipe insulators, as they are cheaper and they help heat the water up much quicker. 
  8. Furnace check: Replace your air filter. Clogged filters make your furnace run longer and less efficiently. Check to see that your furnace turns on automatically once the thermostat is turned up. Lastly, remove torn or loose insulation on the coolant lines and remove brush or weeds blocking the air from the heat exchanger.
  9. Take care of your trees and shrubs: Your trees and shrubs may be in decay. If so, you may want to hire an arborist. But you can also do preventative maintenance by cutting out the dead branches.     
  10. Rake leaves: Lots of leaves on your lawn may inhibit grass growth in the spring. So, regularly rake or mulch your leaves during fall months. 
  11. Shut off exterior faucets and hoses: Frozen pipes can cause major water damage inside and outside your home. So, be sure to turn off the water to exterior faucets when temperatures begin to dip below freezing. 

Fall is truly the perfect time here in Central Maryland to make sure your home foundation, and all that is around it, is maintained and, if needed, repairs are made. So, begin now and check off the above list to protect your biggest property investment.

M Taylor Enterprise, Montgomery County, Maryland, has licensed and experienced professional foundation repair specialists who can do a thorough review of your structure and make recommendations. Call us for a consultation at (301) 649-3406 or email us at matt@mtaylorenterprise.com.

 

 

How to Choose a Home Foundation Repair Contractor

The health of your home foundation is crucial. We have covered it a number of times in our blogs. If your foundation fails, the rest of your home will fail, too.

So, your decision on which home foundation repair contractor you choose may mean the difference between quality repairs or more deterioration. As we have said in a previous blog, licensing, insurance and references are all crucial factors. 

home foundation repair M Taylor Enterprise

However, there are some other factors for you to choose a foundation repair contractor: 

    1. Research the company: Read through all you can from their website. Find out what products they use. If you need Helical Piers, what types of materials do they use for them? Carbon fiber strips? See if they give details on their products. If they are short on detail (as materials and products are being updated regularly) then email them and ask if they can give you details on them.     
    2. For an unbiased opinion of your foundation, hire a preferred foundation specialized contractor or structural engineer for the assessment. The engineer should not try to sell you anything you don’t need. Their job is to recommend what you need for stability and safety. They understand structural issues as well as anyone. Once you have had this unbiased assessment from a licensed engineer, you may retain them for oversight, too. 
    3. Training: Once you have requested an assessment, confirm that the company doing the analysis has structural training. They should have varied training and instruction as most foundations have issues which require more than just one solution.  
    4. Product quality: You may shop at the Dollar Store for bargains. But, you don’t want the cheapest, off-brand materials for your home foundation and waterproofing needs. You want to avoid having to go through this whole process again. You may also encounter companies which have not guaranteed their work. Make sure you get a warranty and that the foundation repair contractor has a local office.
    5. Customer Service: Treatment of customers is so important. If the home foundation repair company has your best interests in mind by taking care of and answering all of your questions. M Taylor enterprise excels in taking care of our clients from the beginning of the foundation repair project to the end. So, whether it’s the first phone call to the final signature of the documents, you need to be treated well and thoughtfully. Also, if you contacted them through their website, were they prompt in returning your inquiry? 

Your home has only one foundation. When the time comes to repair it, don’t rush it. Research it. Then hire them. 

M Taylor Enterprise, Montgomery County, Maryland, has licensed and experienced professional structural engineers and foundation repair specialists who can do a thorough review of your structure and make recommendations. Call us for a consultation at (301) 649-3406 or email us at matt@mtaylorenterprise.com.

 

 

Call Your Basement Waterproofing Contractor!

Summer storms and the importance of proper yard grading and window wells

Your home is like the human body in that one part depends on another. If one organ or body part is working incorrectly, then it will affect other body parts.

If there is improper grading on your home, it will affect the basement and foundation as there will be leaks and other structural issues.

Now, with summer storms coming in Maryland and the likelihood of flooding occurring to homes with basements, it is essential to make sure your yard is properly graded and window wells are installed correctly.

Your home should have been placed on the highest slope in your yard. This means, of course, that the water should run down and away from your home. Thus, no water will collect around the foundation.

Since your home was built, the soil may have settled creating an area with improper grading around your home. This grading issue needs to be addressed so there is no pooling or flooding in your basement.

Additionally, the basement window wells can become victims of oversight. The wells collect leaves, dirt, and other debris which will clog them and deter them from draining water.

So, when the summer rains hit, it collects in the clogged basement window wells, water runs down the foundation walls. They cannot hold the water back and begin to flood into the basement. This leaves deep stains in the walls and puddles on the floor.

To avoid flood damage to your home and property, you need to contact a licensed basement waterproofing contractor to do proper grading on your yard. Once they have analyzed the flooding issue, they will do the following:

  1. Replace the window wells. With new taller models and covers
  2. Grading will also have to be done to the yard to send water away from the foundation.
  3. Grading should then be sloped away from the foundation walls at  5% slope minimum out up to 10% if possible. A clay-based soil works best for this.
  4. A French drain or swale may then be installed for the water to flow into and away from the home.

Your basement waterproofing contractor can do this work quickly and efficiently to protect your home and property. Summer is here, don’t delay!

M Taylor Enterprise has experienced basement waterproof contractors on staff. Contact us at (301) 649-3406 or email matt@mtaylorenterprise.com. We serve Silver Spring, MD and the counties of Montgomery, Howard and Prince George, MD.

Helical Pier Technology & How Helical Tiebacks Work

Helical piers are so important we are revisiting this blog topic with some new information.

When your home settles, there is an engineered repair method for home foundation support. Most home foundations will settle after several years or decades depending on the weather, soil or quality of workmanship.

helical piers used in construction

The helical pier technology underpins a settling structure by raising it and supporting it. If the house is heavy, piers will be closely spaced. Load-bearing walls are heavier to underpin, too.

Also, the placement of the helical piers depends on the weight of the home, home foundation condition and the type of pier. Your home foundation repair contractor will consult you on the proper helical pier to use.

One method of helical piers technology is known as “helical tie backs”. Tiebacks anchor or support basement walls that are bowing, leaning or unsound.

Helical tiebacks are installed like this:

  1. A hole is drilled into the basement wall and a helical shaft is inserted.
  2. Then a helical screw anchor is installed.
  3. After finding the correct bearing depth, the wall plate is installed.
  4. The plate is tightened against the helical anchor bringing the wall back to its original location.
  5. The soil is then backfilled to the basement wall.

Helical tiebacks are an effective method of supporting damaged walls. They do not support a home foundation that is settling. You will need to work with a home foundation engineer to correct that. (We covered that topic in this blog.)

However, helical tiebacks are usually installed quickly and efficiently. They are load tested to verify the capacity and they can be loaded immediately after being installed. If your soil is sinking or unstable, helical tiebacks can also be installed.

Helical pier technology has many advantages and methods, more of which we will cover in future blogs. Consult your licensed home foundation engineer for the best method for your home foundation.

M Taylor Enterprise installs both helical piers and helical tiebacks. Call our experienced engineers for a consultation. We will analyze your home foundation issue and efficiently repair it. Call us for a consultation at (301) 649-3406 or email us at matt@mtaylorenterprise.com. We serve the Montgomery County, MD area.

Seven Myths about Home Foundation Repair

If your home foundation goes, you are in a world of hurt.

As we’ve discussed in previous blogs, the good health of your home foundation is crucial to your family’s health and to the maintenance of your largest financial investment. If it deteriorates, everything begins to fall apart.

myths about home foundation repair M Taylor Enterprise

However, just like anything in life, your home foundation is also subject to mythology or urban myths. You may ask yourself: Does it need to be lifted? Does the foundation repair cost even more than the value of the home? Will it destroy my yard?

We will address those home foundation repair myths and more, as we want you to have all the information before you seek out a contractor.

  1. “My yard will be decimated!” Wrong. Most home foundation repairs are done inside and do not require a lot of exterior excavation. In fact, the helical piers that we install need very little exterior excavation.
  2. “These foundation repairs will hurt the ability to sell my home.” Almost any home improvement will increase its value. Also, you are required to reveal and provide documentation on all home structure improvements. So your home foundation repair has to be disclosed. However, that should be positive, as prospective buyers will see that the foundation is repaired and improved. It will not impede your ability to sell your home.
  3. Home foundation repairs cost too much!” That is, unfortunately, the first thing people think of when they discover a crack in their foundation. Surprisingly, to many homeowners, foundation repairs are not that costly. Due to new technology and updated repair methods, the costs of repairing your foundation may be pretty reasonable. Of course, costs vary due to the location and extent of the repairs. However, you won’t break the bank getting it done.
  4. “Just fill the cracks. That should do it.” Filling the cracks in your foundation with epoxy may be helpful in the short term. However, this will not alleviate other issues that may be wrong with your foundation.     
  5. “I’ll accept the cheapest bid.” You are familiar with the old saying, “You get what you pay for.” That is definitely applicable to home foundation repair contractors! In the DMV area, you can find some credible, honest contractors. However, you can also find many untrustworthy, dishonest contractors. Additionally, while they may be able to do the job for a “reasonable price”, they leave you with shoddy or incomplete work. It’s not hard to do the research to see homeowners who were ripped off by despicable, slipshod contractors. So, don’t go with the lowest bid. Find out if they have a license. Get references. Does your foundation engineer recommend them? Can you reach them in the future if there are issues? You should get all of these along with a warranty. Also, visit the www.myfoundationrepairs.com website for more information concerning home foundation repair in the area.
  6. “Don’t buy that house. It has a foundation problem!” Home buyers tend to think, incorrectly, that if the home they want to purchase has foundation issues, it’s not good to buy it. Any home that is just a few years old needs some type of repairs. Of course, home foundations are not immune to that. Have the home inspector give you the details and then bring in a structural engineer to make recommendations.

Home foundations need maintenance and repairs like anything else. Some repairs are minor, and some are much more complicated. Do your homework, and hire a licensed, reputable home foundation repair contractor to make all the necessary repairs. Leave the mythology behind!

M Taylor Enterprise, Inc., Montgomery County, Maryland, has experienced and licensed home foundation repair contractors on staff. We can analyze your home foundation issue and efficiently repair it. Call us for a consultation at (301) 649-3406 or email us at matt@mtaylorenterprise.com.

How to Prevent Your Basement from Flooding

The skies above your Maryland home are dark. A massive rainstorm is about to hit.

You’re thinking: “How bad will it be this time?”

traffic signals in the rain showing green lights

In just a few minutes, the rain comes down in sheets, soaking your home, your lawn, your garden and, most of all, flooding your basement.

It’s a scary moment.

Once the storm ends, you break out the rags, mop and water vacuum. Here we go again. Last year was a record year for rain and flooding in Maryland.

If you own a basement, you have been through this more than once.

However, there are ways you can protect your basement from flooding. The threat of a storm doesn’t have to send chills down your spine. As a home foundation repair contractor, I can tell you: It can be done! Here are several basement flooding prevention tips that may help you stop the once-inevitable:

  1. Clean your gutters: When soil, leaves, branches and other debris clog up your gutters, the water naturally is pushed down to the basement and foundation. Have your gutters cleaned twice a year, in winter and fall, to clean out all the junk in them.
  2. Add downspout extensions: You may not have a quality drainage system around your house. If so, water may flood your basement after a storm.  Downspout extensions should be installed in drainage systems. The extension sends water away from a buildings’ fill wedge.
  3. Replace leaking windows: Wood frames in basement windows sometimes can become rotted. Once they have rotted, they are so porous that water can leak into the basement. These old windows should be replaced by vinyl or aluminum windows that can impede or block water from entering the basement.
  4. Drain the yard: If you see ponding in your yard after a storm, you may be a basement flood risk, too. Hiring a contractor to install drainage would probably end some flooding, too. Proper  grading around the perimeter of the house helps keep house dry.
  5. Install a sump pump: Sump pumps pump water out of a pit in the basement away from the home. This keeps the basement or crawlspace dry.
  6. Hire a foundation repair contractor: If you are having flooding issues in your home or on your property, they may be beyond your capacity to correct. If that is the case, hire a licensed home foundation repair contractor. They will do an assessment of the foundation and basement. Then, they can make recommendations and repairs.

Maryland, Washington, D.C. and Northern Virginia experience a lot of rain during the spring and summer. Protect your basement from more damage by making the smart adjustments now.

M Taylor Enterprise, Montgomery County, Maryland, has experienced home foundation repair contractors who can assess the reasons your home is flooding, make recommendations and make the installations that you need. Call us for a consultation at (301) 649-3406 or email us at matt@mtaylorenterprise.com.

Don’t Take it for Granted: Make Sure Your Home Foundation Contractor is Licensed and Insured

So you have chosen a home foundation contractor to do work on your home. You have their estimate, the date set for them to begin and payment agreement.

It’s exciting to finally get a contractor chosen and then get your foundation repaired. So, you are all done now, right?

Well, not exactly.

licensed home foundation repair worker M Taylor Construction

Have you researched whether the home foundation contractor is licensed and insured? If you haven’t, you need to do that immediately. You may ask: what happens if they are not licensed and insured? Here are some risks you take, according to www.maryland.com:

  1. Maryland has many unlicensed contractors who come from other states, so recovering money or stolen items can be very difficult.
  2. Unlicensed home improvement contractors defraud Maryland homeowners of millions of dollars each year.
  3. “Bait and switch” when an unlicensed contractor quotes a low price then demand more money.
  4. The unlicensed contractor may also have an invalid or no MHIC number posted on the side of their company vehicle.
  5. Unlicensed contractors may have had an MHIC but then it was revoked because they performed shoddy work, failed to complete jobs, or for other violations of law.
  6. Senior homeowners are victims of unlicensed contractors.

As you can see, failing to verify their license and insurance can not only be costly, it can also cause further damage to your home. Maryland citizens have lost millions of dollars due to fraudulent home repairs and the state has lost millions of dollars in tax revenue due to these shysters.

So, you need to protect yourself and your loved ones by demanding that the contractors show proof of licensure and insurance. You can do these several different ways:

    1. Request a COI (Certificate of Insurance).
    2. Also, have them show you a copy of a current worker’s compensation insurance certificate.
    3. They need to show you their MHIC license. You can then call MHIC to make sure the license is current. Go the website online or call 1-888-218-5925 (toll free) or 410-230-6231 (Baltimore area).
    4. Ask for local references. If they don’t give you any references, don’t hire them. Have them show you photos of the jobs they have done and if it was completed on time and budget.
    5. Make sure the contractor also has workmen’s compensation.
    6. Get two bids from two separate contractors.
    7. Remember the old rule, “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.” Don’t accept a contracting deal that seems incredibly inexpensive. You will get what you pay for, certainly. Do the research before hiring the contractor.
    8. Get a detailed list of project material selections spelled out and signed in a written contract. (Have a lawyer look at it if you are not sure.)
    9. Pay only 1/3 down and pay by check. Never pay cash. 
    10. File all project documents including payments.

Your home is too valuable to let it be repaired by fake contractors. These unlicensed and uninsured frauds need to be removed from your property as soon as they are unmasked.  

All of the home repair and home foundation repair contractors at M Taylor Enterprise are licensed, insured and have workmen’s compensation. We care about our work and we will show it to you and give you references. Call us for a consultation at (301) 649-3406 or email us at matt@mtaylorenterprise.com.

Winter Foundation Repair: Frost Heaving and Structural Cracks

Winter is coming but we have already felt some below freezing nights along with rain, snow and sleet. It may be fall, still, but it doesn’t feel like it. The nights in the Maryland/Washington, D.C. DMV area are only going to get colder.

In fact, meteorologists are calling for colder-than-normal temperatures this winter. So, brace up. Make sure your HVAC unit is working properly, you have salt packed away and there are no cracks in your home’s foundation.

winter home foundation cracks M Taylor Enterprise

Wait. You may ask what do cracks in my home’s foundation have to do with a frigid winter? It has a major affect. Frozen ground below your home causes dirt to heave and then contract. The “Heave Cycle”, as it is known, can cause your foundation to crack.

As the winter season goes on, daily exposure to ice and freezing temperatures can cause further damage to your home’s foundation. Three consecutive days of below-forty temperature may enlarge the cracks.

It all happens this way: Ice freezes beneath the concrete foundation. That is called “frost heave” where dirt moves from the formation of ice lenses (long crystals of ice). These same ice lenses can also cause a ground collapse, which can cause serious cracks and damage to the home foundation.

When the foundation starts slipping and cracking, this causes a domino affect in the home which we have discussed in previous blogs. Your foundation, floors, walls and other home structures will be affected. Then you will notice doors and windows not closing, stains on the walls and tilted cabinets.

Frost heave starts from the top as the soil freezes. The foundation never moves. In fact, it is locked as the ground freezes and pulls the foundation up. The soil then fills in the cracks in the foundation. Once the weather thaws, the foundation unlocks from the soil and settles. However, soil has been displaced under the foundation and when the home goes down, it is in a different location.

You can’t prevent cold weather, but you can prevent frost heave from damaging your home foundation any more in the future. Your licensed home foundation repair contractor can do the following:

  1. Drive the footing into the soil.
  2. A bell-shaped fitting is installed at the bottom of the footing to stop it from moving with the frost or other weather events.
  3. The concrete slab then has reinforcing steel installed.

Your holiday season has enough stress already not to be compounded by major home foundation problems. Contact your local licensed, home foundation repair contractor and have them inspect your home.

Our experienced foundation repair team at M Taylor Enterprise in the Washington, D.C.. Montgomery County, MD and Howard County, MD and we will visit your home, inspect your foundation and give you an estimate. We get the job done quickly and efficiently. Call us at (301) 649-3406 or email us at matt@mtaylorenterprise.com.