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Tag Archives: foundation repair Silver Spring MD

How to Grade the Soil Next to Your Home’s Foundation

Your home depends on its foundation.

And your foundation needs  proper soil grading around its perimeter. Grading prevents excess water from eroding , heaving, and cracking the foundation, causing the need for foundation repair.

Once the foundation cracks, the walls can  begin to bow, doors and windows don’t close correctly and a whole list of home structural problems ensue.

grading home foundation M Taylor Enterprise

It’s crucial that the home foundation grading is done properly.  A qualified contractor determines the required grade. An excavator uses the home  foundation footprint to create the grade.

Then, the home foundation grading begins. Here are the steps:

  1. Grading is most important in the fill wedge of the foundation. The fill wedge is the soil  next to the foundation that was excavated to build the home, then later soil is pushed back to ‘  backfill’ the foundation after the home is constructed . The backfill wedge is roughly the first 4’  of soil around the house The backfill wedge is rarely tamped in lifts for proper compaction. The soil settles over decades.
  2. Mulch is  added over time to add to the problem. To improve the grading remove mulch and small plants from around the house and area must be cleared of all rocks, tree roots and other debris.
  3. Grading begins. Use a clay based soil, once tamped clay sheds water much better than topsoil . The new graded soil must be tamped with a hand tamper or a plate vibratory gas tamper.
  4. Add mulch over the newly  graded area. Make sure the new elevation of the backfill  material is at least four inches  below the bottom siding piece.
  5. Make sure gutters and downspouts are clean, add downspout extensions as needed. Taller window wells are often needed during a regrading job.

Once this is completed, you should have a home foundation grade that will protect your home’s foundation and keep your property from being damaged by heavy rains and water damage.

If you suspect your home’s foundation may need to be graded, contact out experienced home foundation grade contractors at M Taylor Enterprises in the Montgomery County, MD, Silver Spring , MD or Washington, D.C. area and diagnose the problems 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.          

Home Structural Repair: Footings and their Importance for Your Home

foundation repairs M Taylor EnterpriseWhat is the most important part of your home? If you guessed the foundation, you are correct.

Your home’s foundation is crucial for everything else to work correctly in your home. From electrical system to water and sewage to windows to basement to even your cabinets, if your foundation has settled or shifted, it will affect everything else.

The importance of a  stable foundation cannot  be understated.

One of the critical parts of your home’s foundation is its footings.

According to www.concretenetwork.com:

Footings are an important part of foundation construction. They are typically made of concrete with rebar reinforcement that has been poured into an excavated trench. The purpose of footings is to support the foundation and prevent settling. Footings are especially important in areas with troublesome soils.

As you see, without strong footings to support the foundation, it will settle and your home will begin to deteriorate and, literally, fall apart. This is how your foundation and footings interact:

  1. The foundation connects the walls to the footing.
  2. The footing can be found in the basement or in the crawl space.
  3. Footings are then secured to the foundation.
  4. Footings are specific to the building/home.
  5. Footings keep it from sinking into the soil.

A  structural   engineer, who works for the contractor, will advise on the type of footings to be used based on the type soil and  the load it is required to carry.. Using that information, they can install the correct foundation and footings for structural stability. (Home in flood zones or earthquake-prone regions may require special types of footings.)

When the home foundation repair contractor arrives, they will do the following:

  1. Look at damage and crack patterns around the house, look at foundation walls to see if its a  settlement issue or at wall bowing in issues from lateral force of the soil Also type of foundation [ block,  placed concrete etc] will help determine the repair method
  2. In some cases soil samples are taken . Soil with clay textures is more stable. A mix of particle sizes are also optimal for foundations. Also, soil that is stable through wetting and drying cycles will not crack foundations, roads or driveways.

Once they have determined what type of footings should be used, then they can make recommendations to the homeowner. Footings are typically made of concrete with rebar reinforcement that is poured into the trench.

Based on the information from the engineer, the home foundation contractor can decide on the proper depth and width for the placement of the footings.

We cannot emphasize enough the importance of your foundation and footings.

M Taylor Enterprise has installed thousands of foundations and footings in the Montgomery County, Maryland area. If think your home may have foundation or footings issues, contact M Taylor Enterprise for a consultation. Our service areas include Montgomery  County  Howard County and Prince George’s County, Maryland. Call us at (301) 649-3406 or matt@mtaylorenterprise.com.  

Your Home’s Anchor: Helical Piers and How they Work

Boats have anchors.

Cars have brakes.

And, homes have helical piers.

A helical pier is, according to www.builderonline.com, is a:

A helical pier is a manufactured steel foundation pin that is driven into the soil to a depth below frostline using hydraulic machinery. Helical piers are primarily used in heavy commercial work, but they’re also well-suited for backyard decks, additions, and foundation repairs.

Helical piers which are also known as “anchors”, screwpiles or piles. They are foundation solutions that are utilized to new foundations or repair existing foundations. They are not difficult to install and are mainly used when soil conditions prevent standard foundation  repairs.

Helical piers are made by using steel shafts with helical shafts and are installed deep in the foundation underpinning elements constructed using steel shafts with helical flights. The shafts move to the deep below the foundation by  twisting them into the foundation soil. Torque is monitored to estimate the pile capacity.

Piers, which are galvanized steel, have a seven foot shaft with a helical bearing plate welded to the end and a cap on top. Length depends on the condition of the soil. Smaller piers are used heavy, rock-filled soils and larger piers for softer, clay soils. The helical anchor/pile is 3” and welded to a central steel shaft. The load is moved from the shaft to the soil using bearing plates.

So, when do you need to install a helical pier? Here are five reasons to install a helical pier:

  1. They cause minimal damage to lawn and vegetation.
  2. Your home’s foundation experiences minimal trauma and there is no     damage to it.
  3. Installation is completed in a small space.
  4. They can be installed in any weather.
  5. They are installed quickly with minimal traffic on your lawn.
  6. Can be installed to a any known load-bearing capacity.

M Taylor Enterprise  has used helical piers in construction and foundation projects throughout Montgomery County Maryland. Projects have included tiebacks for walls that were bowing and leaning, new construction, old construction, sloped areas and also to help add lift for sunken concrete and stone slabs.

Hydraulic motors are used to quickly and safely install these supports and our team has extensive experience utilizing this effective source of foundation repair support.

Contact us at (301) 649-3406 or at matt@mtaylorenterprise.com if you think helical piers may be an answer to your particular project. Advice is always free.

 

 

 

Signs of Potential Foundation Problems

foundation repairs M Taylor EnterpriseAre your walls bowing  in? Doors not closing? Walls cracking?

All those creaks you’re hearing and dampness you’re seeing may be your home’s foundation deteriorating.  Your homes foundation may be having issues if you see any off the following;

  1.  vertical or  horizontal cracks  in the  basement  walls
  2. exterior cracks in the masonry
  3.  basement walls bowing in
  4.  water infiltration
  5.  doors  begins to jam or fails to latch
  6. cracks in ceramic floor
  7. cracks in the walls, doorways, windows or walls
  8. windows stick or cannot close all the way
  9. damp carpets
  10.  puddles on  basement floor
  11.  discoloring on  walls
  12.  odors
  13.  damp and moldy  drywall
  14.  muddy floors
  15.  flooding in the basement

When these issues are occurring in the home, it usually points to foundation issues.

Poor drainage is usually the causes of water entering the home. It comes in through settled back fill or leaking window wells. These persistent leaks cause major water damage and may decrease the value of your home. Water stains and buildups in the floors and walls also develop into mold which creates a host of health issues which we will discuss in a future blog.

When you start seeing these signs, call a qualified  foundation  specialists repair company right away. Have them do an inspection and give you an estimate. You should call several companies and have them bid on the job.

When it comes to making foundation repairs, there are  many  methods of home foundation repair:

  1. For a  settled foundation,  helical  piers or anchors are driven into the ground and install to a depth below the unstable soil. The foundation adjustment screws then allow lifting of the structure.
  2. For bowed in walls, Kevlar carbon fiber straps or ‘’I’’ beams are installed to brace the wall , sometimes  thru the wall anchors are needed.
  3. Settled  slabs can be lifted with helical piers with slab brackets or grout is pumped beneath the beam or slab that lifts the  slab restoring the home to its original elevation.

Once your home foundation is repaired, the problems you had before should be resolved. Foundation issues once meant a home had to be demolished.

However now, with updated technology, experienced  foundation contractors can diagnose and repair the foundation and restore it to its original condition or even better. Your most valuable and expensive financial asset can be saved and give you many years of enjoyment.

Our experienced foundation repair team at M Taylor Enterprise will visit your home or business, diagnose the problems 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.

 

 

Cracking Up: How Foundation Repair Can Save Your Home

foundation repairs M Taylor Enterprise“It is not the beauty of a building you should look at; its the construction of the foundation that will stand the test of time.”

~ David Allan Coe

While Mr. Coe is a country music singer and composer, he’d make a good construction consultant because he’s right. Your home’s foundation is the solid rock on which it stands. If it falters, cracks or falls, your home could suffer major expensive structural damage which is not covered under property insurance policies.

Additionally, foundation damage makes it impossible to sell. Once the foundation issues are discovered, prospective buyers will either demand it be repaired, ask for it a greatly reduced price or withdraw any interest in buying it at all.

Bottom line: Your home’s foundation needs to be strong. There can be no compromise.

Below are some signs that your home’s foundation is in structural trouble:

  1. a damaged foundation means walls may buckle and cave in
  2. chimneys pull away from the structure causing even more damage
  3. increased moisture in the home creating damp atmosphere for mold and mildew
  4. settling basement slabs break sewer waste pipes below the slab causing severe health and safety issues

As you can see, a damaged foundation threatens your largest property investment: your home. It also may threaten your family or renters in your home. When the above are discovered, action needs to be taken pretty quickly to protect it from any further damage and deterioration.

So, here are several ways foundation repairs, done by licensed building contractors, can be done to your home:

  1. Waterproofing: This may mean installing an exterior waterproofing membrane which creates an impermeable barrier on outside of the foundation; installing an exterior drain tile along the membrane to lessen pressure on the walls to drain water or doing some exterior crack repair.
  2. Grading: Unless the ground around your foundation drops 2-3 inches for every ten feet away from your home’s foundation, you may have some serious drainage issues. The lawn slope needs to be graded to meet those guidelines.
  3. Masonry repairs: Cracked mortar is usually the culprit in damage to brick foundations. The mortar may have also deteriorated. Masonry then needs to be removed and replaced.

Those are common foundation issues but it could also be problems with the footings, concrete, or drainage systems. A licensed building contractor who is experienced in foundation building and repair should inspect it. They can then give you an itemized list of repairs that need to be made.

Taylor Enterprise has an experienced team of contractors who can repair any and all foundation problems. Call us at (301) 649-3406 or email  matt@mtaylorenterprise.com. We serve the Silver Spring, MD and Washington, D.C. area.