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Seven Reasons You Should Repair Your Home Foundation in 2022

Central Maryland is usually frigid cold this time of year. Most people are staying inside until the warmer weather arrives in late March. It’s a good time to stay inside and be cozy, for sure. 

In spite of the cold, it’s a good time to put on a heavy coat, step outside, and visually inspect your home foundation. Over the past year, there may have been changes in your home foundation which may require repairs. 

So, as you inspect your home foundation, here are some reasons you may need to repair it this year:

Cracks on walls: These cracks would be obvious. They may be hairline or wide cracks. They can be seen along the walls or floors of your home.

  1. Doors or windows that won’t close all the way: If your inside doors stick out or drag at the top, or your windows won’t close or are uneven the home foundation has settled.
  2. Dank odors: Excessive wetness on floors may be due to a foundation that is settled or cracked. Moisture on the basement floor comes from water seepage in the foundation or poor drainage.
  3. Uneven Floors. Foundation issues may be evident from your floors being uneven. You will notice floorboards that are not even or tile that is loose or pilling. Basement walls are bowing: This occurs when water pressure from the outside has caused your walls to bend inward. 
  4. Sagging crawl space floors: Your crawl space should be strong and have some room to inspect. If it is sagging or bending, you are having foundation issues.  
  5. Leaning chimneys: Chimneys should never move. However, when your foundation is sinking, they begin to lean. This is not only unsightly but can be dangerous as it could fall and cause injuries or property damage.
  6. Sinking front porches and stoops: Porches begin to sink as the home foundation sinks. If there is a stoop, it will also sink. Water seepage also causes this issue.  
  7. Overall water intrusion or damage: Water makes its way into many places in a home when the home foundation is settling. It may pool in drains, sunken spots in the flooring, basement floors, and other locations. This pooling of water may also draw insects such as mosquitos. 

If you have seen one or any number of these home foundation red flags, you need to contact an experienced home foundation repair contractor for a consultation. Failure to correct or repair these home foundation issues may have the “Domino Effect” as it may lead to other property damage. Please don’t delay!

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.com. We will do a free consultation, make recommendations then do any needed repairs done quickly and efficiently. We serve Montgomery County, MD, parts of Prince Georges, MD and Howard County, MD.

Proper Grading Around the House to Prevent Basement Flooding

Keeping your basement dry during the winter months, even as snow, ice, and rain slam Central Maryland, can be a challenge. *** You want to keep all of that drainage from pooling around your home foundation and leaking into your basement.

So, here are some tips for proper grading around your home foundation so you won’t fear those coming storms this winter: 

  1. Create trenches and French Drains: One way is to have a dry creek bed in the middle of the yard filled with river rock and sloping away from the house. Some new homes have French Drains or perimeter drains installed. These trenches run along the perimeter of the home foundation and are lined with tile and rock. These trenches and drains work great to direct the water flow away from the house, usually with PVC pipe, that lower the water table. Installing a drainage system, however, is not a simple project. A small part of the yard must be dug up before the system is installed. A home foundation contractor is highly recommended to do this task.
  2. Rain Barrels: These stop water from seeping into the home foundation. They also allow you to water the garden or lawn without turning on the water hose. The barrels have to be emptied fairly often, depending on how much snow and rain we get. Rain barrels have a spigot, so they can be connected to a hose to divert the water away from the house. 
  3. Check the downspouts: Often, a home’s downspouts can get pushed askew. However, if the spouts are not directed, the water will pool close to the home foundation. Downspouts need to be repositioned and also have a drainage area where the downspouts flow. The downspouts need to be filled with gravel or river rock. The rocks slow the water absorption into the ground.
  4. Clean the gutters: Begin this year by cleaning your gutters. During the fall, gutters may back up with leaves, dirt, branches, dead animals, and other debris. Soon, they spill over, sending water down to the pool along the foundation. Many homeowners clean their gutters using a ladder and a vacuum. Climbing a ladder, however, may seem like a scary idea so, have a gutter cleaning company do it. It typically takes a couple of hours and costs a few hundred dollars for an average home. 
  5. New perimeter grading around the footprint of the house: Redirecting the downspout extension pipes away from the house is important. A clay-based soil sheds water best.
  6. Plant a Rain Garden: It’s winter as I write this blog, so you may want to wait until spring to do this one. Rain gardens are lower areas of the yard that allow water to run off the lawn and away from the foundation. They are typically planted toward the edge, between the yard and the street. Low-maintenance plants will control erosion and slow how much water is absorbed into the ground. 

Some of these modifications you can do on your own. A few others may require professionals to install or clean. Now is the time to get it done before the next snowstorm or heavy rain so you can protect your home and save on expensive home foundation repairs and basement cleanup.

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.com. We 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.

*** For more information on Maryland weather, visit the Weather Atlas website

An Inspection Checklist for Your Home Foundation for 2022

Christmas is only a few days away. You have probably used a checklist for the presents you want to get or have gotten already.

But, when it comes to your home foundation, have you created an inspection checklist? Leave it to the home foundation repair contractor to think of that! 

Anyway, as the New Year arrives, it’s a good time to take fifteen minutes out of your day off to inspect your home foundation. Here are some things you should look for:

  1. Walk around the exterior of your home: Inspect the foundation walls by looking up and down from one end. See if any areas bulge or lean. This may indicate an uneven load on the foundation as both the foundation walls and home walls should be flush and level. See if there are any water stains or cracks in the concrete. Pools of water can cause the soil to shift and wood to rot. This means that there may be broken pipes in the home. Horizontal cracks also may indicate stress on the foundation. 
  2. Walk around the interior of your home: Inspect for any cracks or separations. Look for bulges in the walls. See if any walls are leaning or if they are out of place due to shifting foundations. See if the floors are sloping over the length of the home when there are larger soil shifts. Roll a tennis ball or basketball to see if it rolls when placed on the floor.
  3. Inspect doors and windows: If they open and close without a struggle, you should be okay. If your home foundation is shifting, windows and doors will often begin to have difficulty opening or closing. They will jam shut or cannot be opened. 
  4. Inspect your water pipes: Check the pipes inside and outside your home for leaks and moisture. 
  5. Look at the home foundation: Inspect closely the concrete, or helical piers should not be unstable. Make sure they are level, not buckling and in good condition. Look for rust, which shows that there is moisture in the basement or crawl space. 

If you have found cracks, stains or moisture, you may have a home foundation problem. Consult with a home foundation repair contractor right away. Failure to do so now, may cost your much more in the near future. Make the New Year Resolution to repair your home foundation to protect your family and 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.com. We will do a free consultation, make recommendations then do any needed repairs done quickly and efficiently. We serve Montgomery County, parts of Prince Georges and Howard Counties.

Concrete Repair 101: How you repair a concrete home foundation

As we have discussed in this blog many times, it is common to have structural damage in your home’s foundation. *** It may be an older home or a newer home. It doesn’t matter as damage from aging, weather or even poor workmanship can occur and the need to repair the concrete is immediate to protect it from further damage. 

So, if you see cracks in the interior or exterior walls, you have home foundation damage. Other signs include uneven floors in the garage or basement. Windows that do open or close properly or there are gaps between the doors and door frames. (This includes garage doors.)

We have several methods to repair your concrete home foundation. Those methods include:

  1. Helical  pier underpinning 

  2. Carbon fiber straps

  3. House Underpinning: with  concrete

  4. Steel pilaster bracing

One or all of these concrete home foundation repairs can be made. It depends on what your home foundation repair contractor recommends based on the construction of your home, total concrete damage, and type of soil. We recommend you call a licensed, experienced home foundation repair contractor for a thorough consultation.

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.com. We 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.

*** Please refer to an earlier blog about home foundation repair here

 

All Clogged Up: How gutters affect your basement waterproofing

It’s fall and the big question is: Have you cleaned your gutters, yet?

If you said ‘no’, and you have a basement, then this blog is for you. Even though gutters may be overlooked when homeowners think about maintenance, they should actually be on the priority list!

Gutters catch water and rain and send it to a downspout and away from your home. They serve a purpose in keeping water from collecting and ponding around your home foundation.

Unfortunately, gutters can also be a catch-all for debris and other items. Leaves, nuts, branches, and dead animals (birds, mice, squirrels, etc.) clog gutters this time of year. If you have trees near your home, you have double the risk of your gutters getting clogged.

So, when gutters get clogged, rainwater pools around the home’s foundation. If this is not corrected, several things may occur:

  1. Water seeps into the basement, causing mold to grow.
  2. The soil around the foundation erodes and causes the foundation to settle.
  3. The home foundation begins cracking and bowing.

You can avoid costly home foundation repairs by doing the following:

  1. Clean the gutters: Get a ladder and reach into the gutters and clean them out.
  2. Add a gutter guard or similar block over your gutters. These will keep debris and leaves out of your gutter. Guards block the gutters and keep them clean year-round. They should, however, be cleaned at least twice a year.
  3. Hire a professional gutter cleaner. Gutter cleaning can be dangerous as you have to climb a ladder and do the work in precarious spots around the house. Instead, have a professional gutter cleaning company clean your gutters. They not only clean the gutters, but they blow them dry and replace the gutter guards if you have them.
  4. Seal the gutter leaks: Once your gutters have been cleaned, examine them for small holes or leaks. If you find any leaks or holes, seal them with a special gutter caulking compound. Popular compounds such as butyl rubber caulk are used. Spread the caulking compound evenly over any holes or leaks using a butter knife.
  5. Direct water runoff away from your home foundation: Have a roofing contractor examine your roof to see if water is collecting there and then leaking into your foundation.
  6. Repair the clogged downspouts: Check the bottom of your downspout and make sure it isn’t blocked. If it is blocked, you may be able to use a leaf blower or wet-dry vacuum to blow it out. If you are not sure how to do this effectively, have a professional do it for you.

Fall is here, and leaves are falling heavy now in Central Maryland. So, clean your gutters now before they get too clogged and cause damage to your home’s foundation. Save money and stress!

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.com. We 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.

Is Your Home Drainage System Effective?

Every home has a drainage system. Some are effective and keep the water away from the foundation. Others, however, are ineffective and causing great damage to the home foundation. 

There are several tried-and-true methods to ensure proper water drainage around your home. These tips should stop ponds from forming and keep home foundation damaging water away. 

  1. Here are several tips on installing a proper water drainage system, so your home is protected during any season of the year. Find out where the excess water is originating. Poor drainage will eventually form ponds around your home. This occurs when there is no place for the excess water to drain into. Maryland gets an average of 44 inches a year of precipitation, with most of the rain occurring during July and August. We get an average of 20 inches of snow. *** So, we have almost sixty-four (64) inches of snow/rain yearly. That is a fair amount of water. Additionally, a damaged or broken pipe may flood your yard.
  2. Survey the land closest to your home. See how it is laid out by finding the high and low parts of your yard. The drains will have to be placed at the lowest sections of your yard. If there is a low point, one needs to be dug. The water will drain then and no ponds will be created. You can also level the high sections of your yard.
  3. Prepare the soil for drainage. Central Maryland has clay soil. Clay becomes tough and solid over time which makes it perfect for excess water runoff. It’s also harder to dig up, as you have probably found out.
  4. Determine Your Drain Layout. In order to reroute the water drainage from getting into your home and into the foundation, you may need to install one of the following: French Drain, gravel trench, drainage pipe, or an open ditch. You may not be sure which one is the best (and least costly). You may need to install one in the front and back yard, depending on the number of acres that you have. If you are not sure, consult a home foundation and water drainage, expert. (See #5.)
  5. Get an Expert Involved. Even though you have done the surveying of your land and home, you are probably not an expert in installing home drainage systems. Now is the time to find an experienced, home foundation repair and home drainage contractor in the Central Maryland area. You may even need to get several bids on the work before you make a decision.

This is a good time of year, if you live in Central Maryland, to check the land around your home. If you are concerned with what you have found, call a home foundation repair expert in your area. 

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.com. We 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.

*** For more information on Maryland precipitation, visit the state website.  

Cracking, Pooling and Sinking: The Common Signs That You Need Home Foundation Repair

It’s summertime and the heat and humidity in Central Maryland is stifling. It can cause dry skin and even crack it if not taken care of immediately. 

Unfortunately, it’s not only our skin that can have cracks in it. Our home foundation can have cracks, lines, and other deterioration that are not always spotted. We may not even think about it.

In fact, there are several common signs or red flags that you need concrete foundation repair. Those signs may include:

  1. Aging: foundation shows wear and tear over the years. That wear and tear are often evidenced by, cracks, settlement, bowing, unevenness, and pooling water. . Uneven or unbalanced appearance: One obvious sign that you will notice is that your walls will be uneven. Extremes of wet/dry weather can do this to your foundation. They may seem to be unbalanced. Even worse, the walls may be breaking and crumbling, which can cause injuries and property damage. 
  2. Cracks appearing in the foundation: As we have discussed in past blogs when you see cracks in your home foundation, that is probably due to the soil expanding due to extremes in weather (heat and cold). Steady rain, dry conditions, and ice buildup cause home foundations to contract and expand. Cracks will be evident in floors and walls.
  3. Water pooling:After steady rain, check the foundation areas of your home. If you see pooling in those areas, then there are problems with the home foundation. This happens due to water not draining away from the foundation. Even if the concrete had a waterproof coating, that coating may have worn off or was inadequate to start with. The foundation needs to be repaired and recoated.
  4. Wallpaper falling off the walls: Your wallpaper may have creases, tears, and water stains in it.
  5. Doors and windows not closing correctly or at all: As we have also discussed, your doors and windows are no longer aligned with the doorways or window frames. Thus, they are sticking when you try to open or close them.
  6. Sinking floors: A scary sign of foundation cracking is floors that are sinking.
  7. Floors that slope: Floors that slope more than an inch every 15-20 feet. 
If you have noticed any or all of these signs in your home, you are experiencing serious home foundation issues that need to be addressed immediately. Every day that it is not addressed, it will be even more costly to repair and you or your family members could be injured as a result. So, consult a home foundation repair contractor as soon as possible.

M Taylor Enterprise home foundation repair contractors can consult in Prince George, Montgomery County, and Howard County, MD. 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 Drainage Systems: Six Reasons for Winter Maintenance

It’s January and the icy cold temperatures have descended on Maryland, as it does every winter. With the exception of a few warm days, we are getting hit hard by below-freezing temperatures, especially at night. 

Your home foundation is feeling it, too. With every increase above freezing, and then the drop below freezing, your home foundation is expanding and contracting. And that’s okay, as it is built to withstand very cold and very hot climates. 

However, all may not be well with your home drainage system that redirects water away from your home foundation. Your frozen pipe or drain is located outside, but most water damage occurs inside your home. So, the consequences may be tons of flowing to where it shouldn’t and causing major damage to your home which may also cause a major hit to your checking account. 

Just one night of frozen temperatures may cause havoc with your home drainage system. So, in order to avoid your pipes cracking and then flooding into your home, here are six ways you can maintain your home drainage systems this winter: 

  1. Never turn your heat off: You will save money on your heating bills and prevent ice from cracking your pipes by just maintaining a steady temperature (70-75 degrees) in your home during the winter. Never, ever turn your heat off during the winter even if you are not home for days or weeks at a time. 
  2. Clear the drain gates: Remove the leaves, dirt, branches, and other debris from the outside grates so they won’t freeze and block the drains. 
  3. Repair the leaks: Check out the pipes and see if they are still running. If you see leaks, you can patch them up using DIY patch kits you can find online and repair the cracks. If there are leaks, you may be able to patch them yourself using one of the DIY patch kits on the market. Unless it is a pipe leak from your heating system or main water supply. You should contact your home foundation repair contractor to get that repaired. 
  4. Wrap insulation around the pipes: Some pipes may not drain for the winter as they are still being used. So, wrap insulation around them. It will reduce your power bill as it protects your pipes from freezing. You can find circular insulation products at your local hardware or department store. Inspect your home foundation and see if there is any exposed piping. 
  5. Inspect for gaps and airflow: There may be a space between a pipe or drain and the wall. This may bring cold air in and freeze the pipes. Add wood or plastic insulation but don’t do this for vents connected to your heating system.
  6. Call a home drainage system contractor: If you are concerned about the cracks you have found or would like an inspection, call your local home drainage professional. They can give you a consultation with recommendations.

Maryland’s freezing weather can cause serious and costly damage to your home drainage system. So, if you see any signs of cracking in your pipes, call your home foundation contractor for a consultation.

M Taylor Enterprise home foundation repair contractors can do a consultation in Prince George, Montgomery County, and Howard County, 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.

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.