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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.    

 

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.  

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.

 

 

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.