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Category Archives: Q&A

Do Trees and Shrubs cause Foundation Issues?

Can Roots Cause Foundation Problems in Pennsylvania?

A common question is what effect trees and bushes in the yard have on the integrity of the basement.

Simply stated, roots don’t cause actual harm to the walls strength unless it was planted within a few feet of the building. If a tree or shrub is so close that it is heaving the dirt at the base of the plant, then it could cause harm. Plantings that are 10 feet or more from a structure won’t generally create issues with walls.

Give Landscaping Some Room

Trees and shrubs seek water and ample space. They aren’t trying to grow into the inorganic masonry.

tree roots, foundation problemsIt is possible that tree and shrub roots could affect old gutter discharge lines from the roof that lead out into the yard. That becomes more of an issue with crushed or rotted pipes than it is an issue of the root system. If those lines have failed, they have already been compromised to the point that they can’t displace the water from the roof and the result is often a leaky or wet basement.

You can test your downspout performance if you can actually see where the water goes after it has left the structure. Home inspections often include dye tests to verify that the water is making it to the street or displacement area. If the water can be seen, and it’s not coming through properly, the likely culprit is a clogged or broken discharge line. We regularly replace downspout lines when we do our interior waterproofing lines to the outside.

Plants usually help more than they hurt by using the water that they accumulate. Our representatives will be happy to address your unique issues at your property. Request an inspection online or by calling us! We can help you access any damage caused by tree roots or plants in your Pennsylvania area home and yard.

What’s causing our basement to leak?

Answers to Your Questions about Leaky Basements in Pittsburgh, PA

downspoutThere are a number of reasons that your basement may be showing signs of water. Some can be fixed easily. Some require professional assistance. How do you tell the difference for your Pittsburgh, PA home?

The most common factors that are responsible for problems are…

1. Broken or dislodged discharge lines can cause the water to leak out and accumulate wherever they are compromised. If that downspout is disconnected before it even gets to the line leading into the ground, it’s going to get worse. If you can’t reset it yourself, have a roofing professional consult with you for what should be an easy fix. Check your gutters and downspouts regularly during a heavy rain event.

2. The exterior footing drain has failed. Most homes were constructed with an exterior drain that runs the perimeter of the foundation. Those systems always fail over time. Some even go bad a few months after a home is built. Sand, clay, and good old fashioned mud easily leech into that pipe and once it’s blocked in one spot, the rest of the lines can’t displace the water. These outside the foundation methods don’t work over time and are why 90% of companies today are doing internal drain waterproofing.

3. Plumbing issues can mask themselves as foundation water problems. A telltale sign of a leaky basement is water seeping at the top of the wall instead of at the typical footing wall joint inside.

4. Mulch beds around the outside of the home can be raised higher than the inside sill plate. If the mulch or soil above is too high, the water may find its way over the top of the inside basement wall. The water on the wall may be the color of the dyed mulch outside. If this is your issue, reduce the mulch a few inches below the frost line.

5. Improper grading can cause water to channel toward the foundation. This is especially true in our hilly region. Adding dense soil to the perimeter can lessen the amount of water that is making its way in. It’s a good first step in seeing what you have.

6. There is always the possibility that there is a spring at or near the foundation. It’s actually uncommon to experience water this way. One indication of a natural spring leak is that it’s coming in 24/7, even when it hasn’t rained for days.

One of the great things about us is that we will explain what we find and we’ll let you decide what you want to do. There’s no hard sell, and we don’t use scare tactics with our clients. If we find something that you can fix, we’ll tell you!

Why should customers choose Matthews for real estate transactions?

Matthews can Assist with all Pittsburgh, PA Real Estate Foundation Repair, Waterproofing

Foundation Repair, Waterproofing for Real Estate Transactions in Pittsburgh, PASelling or buying a home can be very stressful. Having the right company to assist with your home’s major problems will allow you to proceed with confidence.

There are several reasons that customers and realtors should choose Matthews to perform needed work prior to or after closing on the property.

1. Our Experience: We’ve been fixing foundations for 35 years and we’ve seen just about everything that can happen to a property.
2. Focus on Service: Our length of service shows that we will do it right and will be there for years to come if there are any problems.
3. We can Help Prove Quality Work: If our foundation repair or waterproofing work is done before the home goes on the market, the proposal can be left out to show potential buyers that the most respected company in the industry did the work. It evidences the cost upfront and lets buyers know that you choose quality over price.
4. We do it RIGHT: We do a lot of real estate work and we check to make sure that the proper permits and utility checks are done prior to the installation.

We charge an $85 fee for any real estate transactions that aren’t ordered by the sellers. That money is applied toward the cost of the finished work if we do the job. So if you are a Realtor in the Pittsburgh, PA area, or the surrounding area of Pennsylvania, call us. Learn more about our experience in waterproofing and foundation repair, and see why we go above and beyond when it comes to real estate transactions.

Why is Matthews Wall Anchor & Waterproofing Services better than the competition?

Why Matthews for Waterproofing and Foundation Repair?

There are dozens of companies to choose from when it comes to foundation and waterproofing repairs in our area. Most offer similar products with very different pricing structures. The real differences that affect customers are where we separate ourselves from the pack.

foundation repairIf you’re going to hire a professional company to perform the work, the first consideration should be the length of time that they have been in the business. An incredible 85% of the companies that went into our field ten years ago are now gone. That means they won’t be there if there are any issues with changes to the structure. Is it worth the risk of that money if it were to fail after you do it?

The Box System: Outdated and Unhealthy

The box system would sit on top of the foundation. This type of system would fail to channel the water properly because you can’t get the proper pitch so the water will flow to the sump. In addition, that water could sit in the system just below the floor, only inches from the surface while accumulating bacteria. These kinds of water remediation systems are far less expensive to install for companies that care about price more than results.

Our Waterproofing System is Better

When it comes to waterproofing, Matthews Wall Anchor and Waterproofing Services installs a deeper interior drain trench so that the water is fully collected rather than just sitting in the drain system just below the floor. We actually offered (and still service) box systems for a few years, but were unhappy with the results.

We provide a deep system that manages water at the bottom of the footer! We typically use three times the concrete and clean stone around our drains to ensure that the system remains free of mud and silt. This means our customers are given a highly effective sealed deep set system that will address water below the floor level, which results in a dryer overall basement setting.

In terms of our Piering and Wall Anchor Systems, Matthews was one of the country’s leaders and innovators when we started helping our clients in the early 80’s and we still are today. Our products have continued to improve over the years and our ECP products are second to none in the industry for strength and durability. Please visit our ECP link for detailed information.

We offer a 50-year warranty for all of our structural work and a lifetime warranty for our waterproofing systems. The sump pump comes with a three-year manufacturer’s warranty.

Lastly, we have our prices for waterproofing online for our customers. We believe that people should be able to get an idea what they may be spending even before our foundation specialist does the analysis!

Signals From Your Foundation it’s Failing

What are the signs common in Pittsburgh, PA that indicate Foundation Failure?

There are many signs your home may display to show that you are in need of foundation repair. If you look for these signs, you can prevent foundation failure. It is much less expensive to repair your foundation than replacing it. Look for the following:wall cracks can mean foundation failure in Pittsburgh, PA

Interior Foundation Problems:

  •     Cracks in drywall, sheetrock
  •     Doors and windows that stick or won’t close properly
  •     Floor cracks
  •     Cracks in seams and corners
  •     Trim or molding misaligned
  •     Torn or wrinkled wallpaper
  •     Sloping floors
  •     Broken floor or wall tiles

Basement and Crawlspace Foundation Problems:

  •     Walls leaning, bowing in or out
  •     Cracks in the poured or block walls
  •     Water leakage through cracks at base of walls
  •     Water stains on walls, floors
  •     Mortar cracks in bricks or blocks
  •     Basement flooding, water pooling
  •     Basement or crawlspace mold or mildew
  •     Heaving wallsFoundation repair signs in Ohio, Pennsylvania

Garage and Exterior Foundation Problems:

  •     Separation from door
  •     Wall rotating out
  •     Cracks in the bricks
  •     Space around doors and windows
  •     Cracks in foundation
  •     Fascia board pulling away
  •     Leaning chimney
  •     Garage column cracks
  •     Foundation cracks

If you are buying a new home, these are all things to look for. If you notice these signs in a structure you own, you need to have them fixed quickly. They can affect the overall health of your home, limit your ability to sell your home, or cause the value of your home to fall. Have a free inspection performed on your Pennsylvania, Ohio, or West Virginia home to find out what your problems are and the best solution for your budget to get it fixed. Call Matthews Wall Anchor today.

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