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Category Archives: Foundation Repair

What makes Helical Piers the best solution for your home foundation?

We hear from a lot of home foundation repair customers who have experienced ice, snow, and now, heat, in Central Maryland. Their foundations have settled and this weather has done damage to it. 

Taking care of your home’s structural integrity is important. It is your largest property investment. 

Helical Piers, also known as screw piles or anchors, are vertical metal rods inserted in the ground then attached to your house’s slab. They add strength and stability to your home foundation.

There are several benefits to having helical piers installed in your home:

  1. Easy to install: Using a hydraulic torque, helical piers are easily installed in just a few hours. 
  2. Versatile: Helical piers are installed vertically but can be installed horizontally, too. They are convenient as they can be installed in spaces that are limited. 
  3. Immediate results: Once helical piers have been installed, they can begin bearing weight. If you have a home under construction, you can begin framing right away. 
  4. New or existing homes can use them: As mentioned above if you have a home under construction you can install helical piers as you are building. Or, if you have an older home it can be installed. The age or type of home doesn’t matter!
  5.  Save money: Concrete installation is quite expensive. A contractor has to mix the concrete, dig out the ground, lay the concrete, and then clean up the debris. However, when a home foundation contractor installs a helical pier, it takes only a few hours, and it’s set up and bearing the weight!
  6. Environmentally-friendly: The advantages even stretch to being environmentally friendly! There is no soil removal or extensive landscaping. It is quiet and there are very few vibrations. Helical piers can even be recycled. 

Keep your house and investment safe! So, whether you are buying a home or improving the one you own now, helical piers are the smart, economical, and efficient way to improve your home’s 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 (301) 649-3406 or email us at matt@mtaylorenterprise.com. We serve the Prince George’s, Howard, and Montgomery County, MD area.

 

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.

Egress Windows and Your Family’s Safety

We have been hearing a lot about safety in the Age of COVID. Everyone is wearing masks and keeping a social distance from each other. It’s been a difficult adjustment for all of us.

There is another way you and your family can remain safe. We covered some of the essential aspects of Egress windows in a previous blog

Egress windows are a seemingly unknown feature of most homes. The International Residence Code (2012) requires an egress in basement level living spaces. This code is essential in keeping you and your family safe. 

Egress windows have two main purposes: 

  1. Allow an exit in the event of an emergency. 
  2. Provide an entrance for firefighters.

They are required in all habitable places in the home. Especially for rooms which are used for sleeping purposes. If there is no egress, these habitable rooms become a dangerous fire trap. Basements that have bedrooms, fitness rooms, recreation rooms, media rooms, or home offices, are required to have egress windows.

Homeowners who are remodeling or renovating are also required to install egress windows for safety. No egress window means that the homeowner is unknowingly putting them and their family at risk.

The egress window requirements were developed for the average, able-bodied person, to be able to fit through the window and lift themselves up, and out the window. Maryland law only requires the minimum (Window wells are Egress window wells are required where the bottom of the egress window is below ground level. It must not interfere with the egress window fully opening and the distance from the egress window to the back must be 36”.) Check with your building inspector for code requirements. 

Fifty-one people died in residential fires in 2020. That statistic is lower than in previous years. Let’s lower it, even more, this year. 

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.

 

 

Home Foundation Repair: Types of Foundation Cracks

Not all cracks in your foundation are alike.

In fact, the break in the fabric of your home foundation may indicate the type and severity of the problem. It deserves investigation.

Here are the types of cracks in the home foundation: 

  1. Stair foundation cracks: If you have a brick foundation, you may see a diagonal crack (45-degree angle) that resembles stairs. This occurs when the brick is pulled apart by the foundation. If you have a brick façade, you may see the same type of split as the façade is attached to the splitting foundation.
  2. Vertical foundation cracks: These are the ones we see most often in the DMV area. It is a crack that is gradually widening. It may even resemble a spider web with many little vertical cracks. This is a sign that your home foundation is slowly crumbling. This may mean that the soil under your home is shifting. It may also indicate that the section of the home is being pushed up and away from the foundation. This movement creates a breach and can be quite serious. 
  3. Horizontal foundation cracks: When the soil shifts under the home foundation, a horizontal crack may appear. It may also be that there are several different types of soil under the home. Once one part of the soil shifts, it then causes the shifting movement in the other soils. This stress reverberates through the foundation shearing the foundation horizontally. One horizontal crack may mean that the soil is tearing the bottom part of the foundation from the upper part of the foundation. If there are several horizontal foundation cracks, this may indicate that soil is pushing in following the expansion. 

If you have seen any of these cracks on your home foundation, they cannot be ignored. As we have discussed in past blogs, you will see all the telltale signs, and the longer you wait, the more expensive and extensive the repairs will be to your home foundation.  

M Taylor Enterprise home foundation repair contractors can do a consultation in Prince George and Silver Spring, 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. 

Home Foundation Repair: The Disastrous Consequences of Delaying Repair

“You may delay, but time will not.” ~ Benjamin Franklin

Old Ben was right. You can procrastinate when it comes to doing much-needed home foundation repairs, but it is only delaying the inevitable, and, the “inevitable” can be costly-very costly. 

Your home is your largest financial investment. It costs more than an education, a car, or the nicest vacation. You must take care of it.

But, just to drive the point home, here are some of the disastrous consequences of delaying foundation repair on your home:

  1. Mold and mildew spreading: Mold and mildew are dangerous to your health. Spores can cause allergy attacks and make family members and guests sick and miserable. It may also spur major lung and respiratory issues.
  2. Higher utility bills: Home foundation damage and cracks can send moisture from the basement to the upper living spaces in the home. This moisture may cause cracking, warps, bowing and separations to form in the other places in your home. Humid air is pulled toward your crawl space thus making the air conditioner or heating unit work harder and longer to make your home more comfortable. Higher utility bills ensue.
  3. Property values decreasing: A damaged and the deteriorating foundation is going to cost somewhere down the line. Once a home inspector does a report, the prospective buyer won’t do it unless the foundation is satisfactorily repaired. If it isn’t repaired, the sale of the home won’t happen. It is a definite deal-breaker.
  4. Plumbing issues: Water pipes are below the foundation and susceptible to damage when the foundation expands or contracts. A home foundation repair contractor can fix them though it is an expensive repair as they are difficult to get to. Additionally, the water pipes also shift when the foundation moves, causing water damage. The plumber fees begin adding up from this type of damage. 
  5. Insect damaging the structure: Insects love dark, wet locations. They especially love basements. Termites, mosquitos, carpenter bees and other pests move from the crawl space to the kitchen, bedrooms and other places within the home. Pest control fees may soar from this infestation.
  6. Structural damage continuing: We’ve covered this before: when your home foundation goes, so goes the rest of the house. You name it, it is affected: Walls, ceilings, floors, window frames, even attached garages are affected! 
  7. Water damaging more of your home: Frame structures can have major structural damage due to water seeping into the home as cracks appear in basement walls. Crawl spaces can also be full of water. Property stored in the basement may also be damaged. If you have someone living in the basement, they are also subject to health issues from the water leaks.
  8. Getting frustrated trying to find a home foundation contractor: When you decide to get your home foundation repaired, finding a contractor to do it in the DMV/Washington D.C. Beltway area may be a daunting challenge. Foundation companies may not be available to do the work quickly, especially during the spring rainy season. *** (Though we at M. Taylor Enterprise should be able to book you for work.)

Just one of the above issues is bad enough but any combination could be a financial, and emotional, disaster! If you have any of these structural issues, call your local, licensed home foundation repair contractor immediately and get it fixed.  

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

*** More about the spring weather at this link.

Home Foundation Repair: Factors to Consider When Choosing a Contractor

On a beautiful fall day here in Central Maryland, you walked around your home and noticed the unthinkable: cracks on its foundation.

Now, you have to make a decision. Do you let it go for now and do it next spring knowing that it may get worse and cost more to repair? Or, do you take it on now and get those cracks repaired?

Of course, we would advise that you not put this off. Foundation cracks can get worse over time and cause repairs to be even more costly. 

So, whether you get your home foundation repairs done now or later, we have some tips when hiring a home foundation repair contractor: 

  1. Always verify their MHIC (Maryland Home Improvement Commission) Number: It is a crime to act as a home improvement contractor in Maryland without an MHIC License. *** Be sure that your home foundation repair contractor has this license.  An unlicensed home improvement contractor may also have an invalid or no MHIC number posted on the side of their vehicle. Be sure to check with the MHIC to see if their MHIC license number is valid and is issued to that contractor.
  2. Ask for a Certificate of Insurance: A COI show that they have liability insurance and can work on your home. If they don’t have liability insurance then you become liable for their work. All the risk is assumed by the client. Some homeowner’s policies will not cover that risk exposure. Have them show you their liability insurance policy and verify that it covers all of their employees working on your home. 
  3. Request 2-3 referrals: Any licensed contractor with experience should have a portfolio and a list of happy clients that have had similar work done. Ask them to give you two or three referrals. Call them and ask about their experience, quality of work, etc. Also, seek referrals from online websites such as BBB, Yelp, and Home Advisor. If they cannot supply any referrals, look elsewhere!
  4. Verify if the contractor’s crew is theirs or a labor pool service: Your contractor should have their own work crew not a rag-tag group of labor. They should be professionals who have worked on other houses for the contractor. 
  5. Only put 1/3 down for the project: Don’t pay for half of all of the projects upfront! Instead, pay 1/3 which should cover the building materials to start the work. 
  6. Get Three (3) Bids: The lowest bid may not be the best one. A reputable contractor may cost more, however, the work pace will likely flow better and the results may be what you expected or better.
  7. COVID Protections: Though most of the foundation work will be done outside, make sure that the contractor is abiding by all local, state, and federal COVID-19 protections. They should wear masks and keep a social distance. Plus, they should be wearing foot covers when entering your home. (Regulations may vary depending on location.) 

Your home foundation repair is a major project, so get the licensed, qualified, and most experienced contractor in your area. It will be worth the time and effort.  

Should you notice any home foundation issues, call a professional, licensed home foundation repair contractor. M Taylor Enterprise is an experienced and licensed home repair foundation contractor. We can inspect, analyze, and repair your home foundation correctly and efficiently.   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.    

*** For more about the MHIC, click here

 

Keep Your Gutters Cleared or Home Foundation Damage May Appear

In the midst of this Coronavirus/COVID-19 crisis, a lot of things may be pushed aside. That is understandable. This experience is all new to us.

But, since we have a lot of time at home right now, there are some things you can do to keep your home foundation in good shape. One task that you can do is clean the gutters. 

As we have discussed in past blogs, a cluttered or impacted gutter can cause the following problems for your home foundation:

  1. Water damage from gutter overflow: When gutters are filled with leaves, soil, and other debris, they will overflow. Gutters are designed to send rainwater away from the foundation. However, when they are cluttered, the water will instead fall on the home and foundation, thus causing cracks in it.
  2. Water in the foundation cracks: Once water infiltrates the home foundation cracks, it will freeze in the winter. When it freezes it expands the cracks which allow for even more water to enter. 
  3. Standing water attracts mosquitos: When gutters spill onto the ground they can create little ponds. These ponds then attract bugs, mainly mosquitos, which can nest and reproduce in the water. They then will infiltrate your home.
  4. Soil erosion: The constant running of water on the side of a home foundation will erode the soil and cause the home to shift. This will crack the foundation and cause all sorts of interior damage to the home.
  5. Home siding damage: Water will also stain siding, painting, and rotting. 

So, as you can see, your gutters do a crucial job of keeping your foundation clean and preserved. They must be cleaned regularly or much home foundation damage will result.

Here is are some tips on how to clean your gutters:

  1. Use a small garden trowel or your gloved hands to scoop out the leaves and debris. Start at the downspout and make your way backward. 
  2. Once you have done this first part, make your way down the gutter, carefully cleaning out each section. You can throw the debris into a bag or toss it to the ground and clean it up afterward.
  3. Using a hose, flush out the deeper and smaller debris. If there is only a trickle in your downspout, you may have a serious clog. Aim the gun nozzle down the spout and use the highest pressure to force the debris off the gutter walls and down the downspout. 
  4. Clean up all of the debris that was flushed out of the gutters.
  5. And, as always, be careful on the ladder. Have someone hold the ladder sides while you do the gutter cleaning. 

If this task seems dangerous to you or you are unable to do it, have a gutter cleaning company do it for you. It is recommended that you do it at least twice a year, once in the spring and once in the fall after most of the leaves have fallen.

Should you notice any home foundation issues, call a professional, licensed home foundation repair contractor. M Taylor Enterprise is an experienced and licensed home repair foundation contractor. We can inspect, analyze, and repair your home foundation correctly and efficiently.   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.    

Concrete Repair: Slab-Jacking a Home Foundation

Home foundations take a beating. 

Heat, cold, rain, snow, sun, animals, humans and time all contribute to it cracking, leaking and breaking. All of these elements contribute to their deterioration. 

Once a homeowner has seen cracks in the foundation, water stains on walls or windows and doors that won’t close, they need to contact a home foundation repair contractor. The home foundation repair contractor will then do an analysis of the foundation and make a recommendation. (See our blog on this topic.)  

They may recommend “slab-jacking” to repair the home foundation. It is a rather complicated method of repair which goes like this: The concrete slab of the home is lifted to one side and releveled. 

Actually, this does not only apply to home foundations. It also can be done for concrete slab patios or driveways which are sunken or tilted.

Slab-jacking is installed using several different methods: 

  1. A group of holes, about a ½” long each, are drilled into the concrete slab. 
  2. Then, sand, ash, water, and gravel are funneled into the holes. 
  3. The slab begins to rise. 
  4. Then the holes are plugged. 

If the home is built over a crawlspace or basement, they will do the following:

  1. A cement mixture is injected into the holes, raising the foundation.
  2. Slab jacks are installed.

Slab-jacking is done for portions of a home, not for the entire home. So, the home foundation should not be completely bad, only a portion of it. The same goes for the patio, sidewalk, driveway or garage floor.

Many home foundation repair contractors are also using Uretek. It is a polymer resin that does not require lifting the slab. Instead, the polyurethane in the Uretek compound lifts the foundation on its own. While it is convenient and quicker, it is also more expensive than the other methods. 

The equipment used for slab-jacking are the following:

  1. Grout Mixers: While these are high-maintenance and time-consuming, grout mixers provide maximum air circulation.  The grout has to have a consistency which permits a consistent flow of substances under the slab to help spread the grout and even lift it.
  2. Grout Pumps: These are air-operated, double-diaphragm pumps; or hydraulically operated progressive cavity pumps. They have an output of up to 110 cubic feet per hour and a 180 cubic feet per hour output from dual-cylinder models. 
  3. Rock drill/Coring machine: The rock drill prevents excessive dust and breakout at the bottom of the slab. It has four points on the drill bit. It is gas-powered using a 2” diameter bit. It can go at a speed of 60 GPM.

The materials typically used, as mentioned above are:

  1. Sand: 5mm and silt-free
  2. Cement: between 5%-20% of dry-weight materials.
  3. Bentonite: for lubrication and not exceed 12% so strength is compromised
  4. Cement Fondue: rapid set (if required) 
  5. Expanders: compensate for shrinkage

Slab-jacking is not that simple but it is an effective and quick method of repairing a home foundation. Have your licensed home foundation repair contractor to inspect and analyze your foundation to see if this is the best way to repair it.

M Taylor Enterprise is an experienced and licensed home repair foundation contractor. We can inspect, analyze and repair your home foundation correctly and efficiently.   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.    

 

Foundation Repair: Should You Repair or Replace?

There are many questions we face in life. Who should we marry? What should be my occupation? Where do we live? 

Another question, though maybe not in the major questions people ask, one that is quite important if you’re a homeowner: Should I repair our home foundation or repair it?

Your home is where you spend around 75% of your time. It needs to be a safe place for you and your family. If your home foundation is cracked or has other major issues, it may cause serious health problems and damage your personal property.*** 

So, before you have the home foundation repaired or replaced, which is much more costly, do the research first. Find out the following:

    1. Is it the soil?: If the soil is sinking and causing it to settle, then replacing the home foundation with a new one will not change anything. The new home foundation will sink, too. If the dirt is softening, compacting, swelling, drying or shrinking, this will greatly affect the foundation’s condition. Soil issues must be corrected on their own. A replacement home foundation is a waste of money and time. Nothing will change. The home foundation contractor will have to test the soil and add push piers that are set deep below the foundation to the bedrock. This will end the settling and permanently support the home foundation. Helical piers can also be added to the walls so the expansion and cracking will end. 
    2. Is it damaged beyond repair? If the home foundation damage is serious and widespread, replacement may be necessary. The foundation may have been built with inferior materials and poor workmanship. The foundation may then be compromised so much that it is beyond repairs. It is a pretty simple process as the house is raised, the old foundation is demolished and removed. Then the new foundation is then laid under it. However, there is much involved in planning the installation of a new foundation. The soil needs to be tested, zoning permits need to be acquired and any neighborhood requirements must be adhered to, also. A project like this requires large, heavy equipment and plenty of room for disposal receptacles. 

Replacing a home foundation is a serious and expensive move. Before you do that, have a structural engineer or home inspector do a thorough and unbiased inspection of it. Once you have done that, then ask for bids or referrals of licensed and experienced home foundation repair contractors in your area.

If you notice signs of your home foundation cracking, settling or sinking, call our home foundation repair experts at M Taylor Enterprise who can do a thorough analysis of your home foundation 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.  

***For more information on health issues due to home foundation problems, visit this website.

How to protect your home foundation this winter

Normally, I am saying in blogs at this time of year: “Well, we are getting hit with snow and ice so I hope your home foundation can handle it!”

However, this winter, the weather has been all over the place! One day it’s 70 degrees, the next day it’s 25 degrees. One week it’s in the ’50s during the day and in the ’20s at night. It’s been a strange winter for the weather, for sure***. 

Yet, there are some things, unlike the weather, that never change and that is taking care of your home foundation. During the cold (and warm) days in Central Maryland this winter, here are a few steps you can take to make sure your home foundation is in good shape:

  1. Leave the dehumidifier on:  Humidity can seriously damage your foundation and walls during winter. So, instead of turning it off, leave the dehumidifier on. Turn it on the lowest setting and let it alone. It will definitely help maintain your walls and foundation.   
  2. Clean the gutters: Gutters can be a mess this time of year. They are filled with leaves, sticks, nuts, dirt, dead animals and other debris. All these debris packs in and don’t allow water to run thus causing flooding and foundation damage. Get in there and clean them out (or have a professional gutter cleaning company do it) so water can run freely through the gutter and down the downspout. Don’t forget to adjust the downspouts, too. 
  3. Inspect the foundation for cracks: Even a small crack in the foundation can cause major problems sometime later. Have them repaired as soon as possible. During freezing, small cracks expand allowing water to get in. The water then freezes and enlarges the cracked section. Have a professional home foundation repair contractor fix it before the small ones become big ones. 
  4. Soil adjustments: Your foundation should not be easily seen. If it can be, you definitely have a problem. Winter weather and cold water can damage it deeply. Add some topsoil and cover the perimeter of the foundation. Then, rake the dirt so there is a downward slope that leads away from your home. Soil set like this will protect your home from flooding. (Use only dirt.)    

Protecting your home foundation, even in the perplexing weather that we have lately, will preserve your foundation and save you both money and stress. If you are unsure of what to do should you discover cracks, water or other damage, call your home foundation repair contractor for advice or a consultation. 

If you see any problems with your home foundation, call our home foundation repair experts at M Taylor Enterprise. We 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. 

***For more information on Maryland weather, see this link.