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Tag Archives: home structural repair

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.

 

 

When is a Licensed, Professional Structural Engineer Needed?

There are times in life when we need trusted advice of an experienced professional. It may be a physician, an accountant or a lawyer. We trust them as they are giving us unbiased, helpful advice to improve our health, finances or other important aspects of our lives. Their direction is crucial and we depend on it.

structural engineer M Taylor Enterprise

When it comes to our home and, specifically, our home foundation, we also depend on the experts to advise us on needed repairs. Most homeowners don’t even think about their home foundation until there is a disaster such as settling or even collapse.

The health of your home’s structure, as we have discussed in past blogs, is crucial to your family’s health. If there are cracks or settling that will affect the entire home, which in turn, may cause serious health problems for you and your family.

In some cases, your home foundation needs to be seen by a structural engineer. According to the Structural Engineers Association of California, structural engineers: is:

“…create drawings and specifications, perform calculations, review the work of other engineers, write reports and evaluations, and observe construction sites. A Professional Engineer’s license is required in order to practice Structural Engineering. Most practicing structural engineers design and analyze buildings, bridges, power plants, electrical towers, dams, and other large structures that are essential to life as we know it.”

Structural engineers will come to your home or business and analyze your structure. They know a lot about structural systems, foundation damage forensics, home foundation repair and residential foundation inspections. They should have a Bachelor’s Degree in Civil Engineering and, at least five years of guidance by a professional engineer prior before they are licensed. Their education along with a technical background make licensed structural engineers the most qualified to analyze a home foundation.

So, now that you know about structural engineers, the next big question is when should you bring in this “heavy hitter” to inspect your residential or business foundation? There are five signs of when your foundation needs a structural engineer:

  1. Termite, water, fire or wind damage: One of the most common reasons is from catastrophic damage caused by pests or natural disasters. These threaten the integrity of the foundation and can lead to costly repairs. A structural engineer can inspect the foundation and do a forensic investigation which will determine if there was a foundation issue before the event. This information is then used by the claims adjuster.
  2. Structural damage: You or your home repair contractor may have noticed cracks, water damage or other signs of structural damage. Damage may include bowing walls, windows, and doors that don’t close completely, cabinets that are askew, uneven floors or other issues we have covered in previous blogs.
  3. A new addition to the home (rooms, garage, etc.): Whenever a homeowner makes a major addition to their home, whether it be a garage, studio or even a pool, this can be considered a major change to the structure. A structural engineer can figure out if the home foundation’s integrity will be compromised by the new addition. They can confirm if the foundation is adequately reinforced and that it can carry the weight of the home’s structure.
  4. Buying or selling the home: You are about to make the largest transaction in your life when you purchase or sell a home. Should a home inspector report that there is a major structural problem, bring in a structural engineer to inspect the foundation. They may save the homeowner or buyer a large amount of money if it isn’t as bad as first reported.
  5. Building a new home: A structural engineer can look at your plans and property and determine if they are sound and best for their planned use.

As you can see, a licensed, experienced, professional structural engineer can be an invaluable asset in analyzing the home foundation. It is wise to get the structural engineer’s opinion along with the home repair contractor, home builder or home inspector.

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.

 

How to Determine if Your Home Needs Structural Repair

Cracks here, broken lines there and stains all over the place.

If that describes your home, then you can place yourself in a lot of company. There are millions of homeowners who have these same issues. Some of them are serious, some are not and some have the potential to become quite serious.structural repair M Taylor Enterprises

But, even with all those cracks, breaks and stains, how do you know when your home needs structural repair? We all know that good home construction contractors can be expensive. You work hard for your money and you also want your home to be a solid and safe place to live.

So, here are some ways to determine when your home needs structural repair (and when it doesn’t):

  1. .Cracks: They are the  most common signs of a foundation under stress. Foundation are placed concrete, CMU  block, stone or brick, or terra cotta or clay tile block. These brittle materials  show foundation stress via cracks. The cracks can be horizontal, vertical, or steps  crack . Foundations can heave, settle , bow in or rotate out. Thes symptoms can be recognized and a proper   repair can be diagnosed by a quality foundation repair contractor or a registered Structural Engineer PE in your area.
  2. Poor or improper drainage: Rainwater has to go somewhere. It is either drained out and away from your home’s foundation or it is absorbed or drained into your home’s foundation.Homes with basements are  more susceptible to poor grading . If your gutters and downspouts are old or are wrongly placed, the rain water cannot drain away from your home’s foundation. Regrading to obtain slope from the home is needed, Downspouts extensions are a  good investment, Proper window wells and covers are essential Otherwise , the foundation begins to crack from the moisture especially in clay areas..
  3. Leaning foundation: As we have covered before in a previous blog, your home’s foundation is going to tell you when there are problems. The moisture in the ground shrinks or swells your foundation. That shifting causes foundation walls to lean causing cinder blocks to rest on an uneven surface. Windows  may not operate properly Cracks soon appear and water drains inside the foundation. When that happens, the home foundation becomes unstable.
  4. Sagging roof: If your roof is sagging or bows in the middle, your load-bearing walls may have shifted. These walls keep your home upright by carrying the weight of the home. Most likely the lower foundation or lower support has shifted.

Any of these red flags may indicate that you have serious home structure issues. If left alone, they may not only lower the value of your home but be a health threat to you or your family. Call a licensed home structural repair contractor immediately!

A crack here, broken line there and stains everywhere could be serious home foundation issues that need to be remedied. Better safe than sorry.

Our experienced home structural repair team at M Taylor Enterprise will visit your home or business 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.