Inner Banner

Tag Archives: home foundation contractor Silver Spring MD

Home Foundation Repair: What is slab-jacking and is it needed?

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.    

 

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.  

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.

 

 

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.

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.

How to Choose a Contractor for Your Foundation Repair Projects

You see cracks in your foundation. The doors and windows are not closing all the way. There are water stains on the walls. The drywall is damp and moldy. And your basement smells musty…like a vacant prison cell.

It’s pretty clear your home’s foundation needs repair. You don’t have any more time to put it off now. A home foundation repair contractor  and possibly a structural engineer needs to be hired to design and  deliver a correct repair plan.

So, all you need to do now is pick up your smart phone and call whichever contractor comes to the top of your Google search results, right!?

Not exactly.

In fact, if this foundation repair has not been addressed, it can wait a few days or weeks until you have taken a few well-planned steps.

Here are 6 things to do before you choose you foundation repair contractor:

  1. Research “home foundation repairs”: Educate yourself on what is happening to your foundation. Learn about what a home foundation contractor does and how they make repairs. (Read our blog on foundation repair.)
  2. Does the contractor actually do foundation  repairs? : There are many contractors out there, some reputable and some not so reputable. In fact, there are many building contractors out there, you might think that any contractor can do it. That would be a huge mistake. Only choose contractors who specialize in repairing foundations. If the contractor does it “on the side” then delete them from your list.
  3. Contractor licensed and insured: This one should be easy to find out. Any home foundation contractor should be licensed and insured. You can check with your state licensing board, in Maryland is the  Maryland Home Improvement Commission to see if they have the correct license to work on your home . Check for complaints Ask for a certificate of insurance [ COI] prior to starting any work. You  want to make sure contractor has Workmans Comp Ins and Liability insurance.
  4. Warranty: Most contractors offer warranties on their repairs. Ask for one and get the written list of what the contractor covers.
  5. Landscaping issues: Find out if any of your shrubbery, trees or other landscaping will be need to be removed. You will have to add that into the cost.
  6. Get three references: Any reputable, licensed contractor should have at least three satisfied customers. Get their names and contact information. Also, check their Facebook and Yelp pages for reviews.

Now you have done your homework. Hire the best home foundation repair contractor you can find from your research.

Once you have hired them, get a written agreement on what they will be doing with the total estimate on the cost. Then, arrange to have them start the project.

Hiring a home foundation contractor can be agonizing as you need to get the project under way. However, it is worth the time and the effort.

M Taylor Enterprise is an experienced, licensed and respected home foundation contractor in the Silver Spring, Maryland, Montgomery County, Maryland, Prince George’s County, Maryland and parts of Howard County MD area. We 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.