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Choosing The Right Contractor For Foundation Repairs

Choosing The Right Contractor For Foundation Repairs

hiring a foundation repair contractorYou’ve seen the signs around your home and you have made the decision that you need to hire a foundation repair contractor. So, now what? Take some time to do some research and comparison shopping. There are a lot of companies out there that want to separate you from your hard-earned money, but can’t or won’t put the work into providing you with a quality result.

Matthews Wall Anchor has been dedicated to providing the people of Pennsylvania and the surrounding area the best service and foundation repair solutions for over 30 years. We want you to find the best contractor for your situation, so here are some helpful tips to keep in mind when looking for foundation repair professionals.

Important Things To Ask When Hiring A Contractor

Most respectable foundation repair contracting companies will provide you with a free inspection and estimate. Take advantage of this and have a couple inspectors come out to your property, that way you have a baseline to compare companies with.

Some other things to look for include the following:


Just like any other relationship, communication is key. You’ve probably seen the commercials where the contractor tells the homeowners all the things they are going to do wrong before starting the project. While that is used for comedic effect, it is important that you and the contractor are on the same page with expectations. You should discuss timeframes, equipment being used, the amount of disruption to your home life and property.

A good contractor will be able to work with you to determine what you want and need to be done. You should be able to work together to complete the repairs and everyone can walk away satisfied at the end. A contractor worthy of hiring should treat you with respect, integrity, and honesty. Your home is a big investment and the safety of your family should be a number one priority for any home repair contractor.

When hiring a foundation repair contractor, make sure they have the experience and knowledge to get the job done effectively and efficiently. It takes certain experience and skills to perform foundation repairs. Not every handyman has the abilities and tools to repair bowed walls, uneven foundations, cracks in floors or walls, or more.

experienced foundation repair companyWhen talking with the contractor, ask them about case studies that are similar to the work you are having done. In addition, you can ask for referrals and affiliations from the contracting company. Make sure their skills match up with the work that needs to be performed.

Some things to ask when you talk to a reference:

  • Did the contractor complete the work as promised and on budget?
  • Were they reliable?
  • Did they communicate well?
  • Would you hire them again? If so, why? If not, WHY?

Products and Other Resources

If you don’t have the right tools, it doesn’t really matter how skilled you are. When vetting your contractor company, ask what products they use. For example, Earth Contact Products and Rhino Carbon Fiber are recognized throughout the industry for their quality and durability.

In addition to the tools that are used, make sure that the company has the staff to complete the work. We know of a couple that hired a roofing company for their two-story home. Every morning, one teenaged boy was dropped off to work on the house. This isn’t safe, and it took the poor kid a month to shingle the house. A team of workers should be on-hand to make sure the job is completed quickly and safely.

If permits are needed, ensure that the contractor has the resources to get this done in a timely manner. It’s frustrating to wait on a project because of missing or late paperwork.

Insurance and Financial Responsibility

If a company has been around a long time and is financially responsible, you will have a better chance of them taking care of your budget fairly. There is always a chance that something occurs that can change a quote, but trustworthy contractors will make sure that their inspections uncover any problems to ensure you have an accurate estimate.

You should also make sure that they have insurance to cover their employees and other risks that occur. An honest contractor will want to make sure that they are protected and will be able to complete the repairs as promised. Also, when signing a contract, make sure there is a limit on the time and money that will be spent on the project. If a contractor balks at this, move on to the next company.

Red Flags To Keep An Eye Out For

There are some things that should make you think twice about hiring a company for your foundation repairs. We’re not saying that these are deal-breakers, but you may want to dig deeper if you come across any of these warning signs:

  • warning signs of a bad contractorIf a contractor asks for the money before the project begins. A deposit may be in order (usually no more than 15%), to show good faith on your part and to begin buying materials, but the final bill shouldn’t occur until after the project is completed to everyone’s satisfaction.
  • If the price quoted is much lower than other quotes. There’s only so much “wiggle room” when it comes to pricing. If they are cutting corners to give you a deal, where are those cuts being made? Quality products, experienced staff, safety measures? As always, if it’s too good to be true, it probably is.
  • Check reviews online. No one review is going to tell the whole truth, but if you see a pattern of complaints or praises, you can have a better feel for a company.
  • As stated above, communication is very important. If you are having trouble getting in touch with them to even come out for an inspection, what will it be like in the middle of a project?
  • Permits? We don’t need no stinking permits! If a contractor brushes aside the need for a permit as just one more expense that can be done away with, then you need to do away with them. The permits are there for a reason, and if you don’t have a building inspection, you’ll never know if the project is safe and the repairs are being performed correctly.
  • Make sure they are licensed. If they aren’t licensed, there is a reason and you need to move on. Also check with Better Business Bureau for problems, litigation, and so on. There won’t be trouble, if you don’t invite it into your home.

Hire The Best Fit For You

It used to take a lot of phone calls and legwork to check out contractors, but it’s easier today through the use of the Internet. Look through the contractor’s website to get information. Also, check out sites like Yelp, Home Advisor, Angie’s List, and the Better Business Bureau.

Knowledge is the best tool you have, do your homework and arm yourself before you contact the first company for an estimate. Shady companies won’t want to deal with an educated consumer, you’ll be too hard to push around and deceive.

We hope this will help you be prepared when you have to hire a foundation repair company in the Pennsylvania area.

Winter’s Coming

Winterize Your Home

winterize, homeNo matter how much you want to deny it, winter’s coming. And along with winter comes big snows, blowing winds and freezing temperatures. There are a whole lot of different steps to take to keep your home safe and comfortable throughout the winter.

You need to have a battle plan and, just like in any war, you need to make sure your first line of defense is shored up. Check your gutters and make sure that they are clear of leaves and other debris. A clear gutter will ensure that you don’t experience icicles and ice dams. These can cause water to drain in undesirable locations and damage your foundation. And the best part? Other than your time and effort, this doesn’t cost you anything.

Protect Your Pipes

If you have pipes that run through unheated areas of your house, make sure they are wrapped in insulation. A broken water pipe is never fun, but imagine dealing with it in subzero temperatures! If a pipe bursts completely, you will lose a water source, in addition to having a mess to clean up. If a frozen pipe only splits a little, you may not notice it until you have a higher than expected water bill or you begin noticing water damage. Frozen water can cause structural damage if it gets into your foundation or other cracks.

When temperatures drop into the subzeroes, open cabinet doors under the sink and doors to closets that have pipes running through them, especially if they are on an outside wall. This will allow the heat of your home to keep pipes from freezing.

Make sure to check your foundation or any brick and mortar walls for cracks. Seal up cracks to make sure cold air doesn’t enter your home. If you have cracks or other damage to your foundation, make sure to have Matthews Wall Anchor come out and check it out. You don’t want to have to deal with foundation repairs in the middle of the winter!

Whole House Health

Other good tips to do before the cold temperatures show up include:

  • Seal off drafty windows and patio doors with plastic sheeting
  • Replace your furnace filter every three months
  • Make sure cold air returns and heat vents are not blocked
  • Open the curtains on your south-facing windows to allow sunshine in
  • Use your ceiling fans to push hot air downward
  • Remove window air conditioner units

These are some simple tips that don’t cost much and can save you a lot on your energy bills.

Once you have the inside of your home winterized, make sure you have the outside taken care of. Snow removal can be time-consuming and dangerous. Let the snow removal experts at Matthews Structural Solutions take care of clearing your driveway and sidewalks. Give them a call and schedule snow removal service throughout the season.

Matthews Wall Anchor & Waterproofing Service would like to have your business, but we would much rather you have a warm and comfortable house this winter. Call us today to see how we can help you prepare for the winter months.

Common End of Summer Problems with Foundations in Pittsburgh

drought, soil, foundation repairCommon End of Summer Problems with Foundations in Pittsburgh

The weather has been weird this year, but as the summer winds down, you need to keep an eye on the soil around your home’s foundation. Drought and dry conditions can cause the soil to shrink and withdraw. As the soil dries out from the hot dry conditions, you may notice some changes in the surrounding earth. Usually, during the summer, there’s not only a lack of rain but hot, dry winds. The soil quickly dries out, leaving voids between the dirt and the foundation walls and also between the footings and the earth. Homes in areas that have very wet, then extremely dry conditions are especially susceptible. The constant movement of the soil leaves gaps and pushes the foundation back and forth, weakening the structure.

Dry Earth = No Support

During droughts, your grass, garden, and trees are all fighting for the little bit of water that’s in the soil. Between the evaporation that naturally occurs and the roots sucking the water out of the soil, they being leeching the moisture out of the soil from underneath the foundation. You can avoid this by making sure that trees are planted far enough away from your home. A good rule of thumb is to determine how tall the tree will be at maturity and then plant the tree that distance from the home. So, if the tree will be 50 feet tall, then it should be 50 feet away from the house.

Another method is to plant a root barrier. This is placed between the tree and the foundation and is a 3- to 4-inch wide trench about 3 feet wide. Lined with plastic, it will stop feeder roots from moving too close to the foundation.

Your Home Needs Support

The ground around your home is what keeps it all together. This base of soil provides a firm foundation that holds the walls upright. When the weather is hot and dry, the moisture evaporates and the soil condenses. The soil pulls away from the foundation, leaving little or no support and walls that can crack or even collapse. Even a small crack can cause problems. Moisture can enter the crack and expand and contract, weakening the foundation wall until a collapse occurs.

If the foundation under your house cracks or fails, your house can sink, causing catastrophic damage. It is urgent for the safety of your family and your home that you contact Matthews Wall Anchor as soon as you suspect your foundation may be compromised. You will not only save money but your home and the well-being of your loved ones.

Matthews Wall Anchors To The Rescue

If you even suspect that your soil may be pulling away from your foundation or you have other foundation problems, call Matthews Wall Anchor today. Our team of experts can inspect your home for free and determine if your foundation has been weakened due to soil dryness or other factors. We even offer ECP Repair Now financing options for all of your foundation repair needs. We are your number one foundation repair contractor in Pennslyvania, Ohio, and the surrounding area.

Welcome to Mathews Wall Anchor

Welcome to Mathews Wall Anchor blog

Who Benefits from a De-Humidifier?

Benefits of a De-Humidifier in Ohio and Pennsylvania

There are a variety of ways that a de-humidifier can help and benefit homes and businesses in both Ohio and Pennsylvania. De-Humidifiers keep your home cool, dry, and more comfortable and safe for your home and possessions. Humidity can destroy your possessions and create problems in your foundation and around your home. It can cause mold and mildew to grow, as well as cause rust and water stains. Not only will a de-humidifier keep your possessions and home safe, it will prevent other problems such as dust mites, dust and allergens, bacteria, and musty odors. Your home will be a cleaner, healthier, and more comfortable place with our de-humidifiers. Our de-humidifiers prevent or help to prevent all of the following, including:

benefits de-humidifier ohio pennsylvania

De-Humidifiers Protect your Investments and More

The problems listed above can lower the value of your home and possessions. We know that your home and many of your possessions are large investments; a de-humidifier can help protect those investments so you can maintain the value of your property. It will also keep your family or employees healthy. The air will be cleaner and safer to breath. Sometimes, our de-humidifiers can even help a home or business become more energy efficient. We have seen some of our customers report lower energy costs.

At Matthews Wall Anchor we sell and install Santa Fe De-Humidifiers which have been known to save homes and businesses about $40 per month on operating costs. These products are all made in the United States, as well. Contact us today to learn more about the benefits of a de-humidifier in your Ohio or Pennsylvania home. We want to help you keep your home or business safe, clean, healthy, and comfortable. Give us here at Matthews Wall Anchor a call today!

Product Spotlight – Helical Piers for Pittsburgh, PA Foundation Repair

Understanding Helical Piers and their Uses for Foundation Repair in Pittsburgh

helical piers for foundation repair in Pittsburgh, PAWhen you are a home or business owner, you may know that you have a problem with your foundation, but you don’t know the tools used to fix it. Half the battle when you own a structure such as you home or your business, is knowing the signs of foundation problems, and learning as much as you can about the tools used to fix these foundation problems. Matthews Wall Anchor believes strongly in educating you about your foundation problems and the possible repairs needed. Today we are going to focus on the helical pier. Many people have heard the term “piering” or “underpinning” and have a vague idea that these are foundation repair terms, so we will help you understand a bit further.

What is a Helical Pier? helical torque anchor use in PA

Helical piers are uses to shore up and add support to foundation walls, porches, steps, chimneys and more. They are one of the most widely used tools in the foundation repair arsenal for many foundation repair companies including Matthews Wall Anchor. You may also hear that referred to as helical anchors or helical piles. They are used for the following reasons:

  • They are easy to Install
  • There is Little to No Vibration During Installation
  • Immediate Load Transfer can be done upon Installation Completion
  • Installed Torque Correlates to Capacity
  • Easily Load Tested to Verify Capacity
  • Installs Below Active Soils
  • All Weather Installation, Which is Important in Pittsburgh, PA
  • Little to No Disturbance to Jobsite

Matthews Wall Anchor only uses helical piers, piles, and anchors from Earth Contact
Products. ECP is known for the very best in underpinning and foundation repair products found anywhere in the market today. They have been tested and proven over and and over again. You can read case studies about ECP products and see for yourself how effective their helical piers and other products are. You can also check customer testimonials for foundation repairs from Matthews Wall Anchor.

When to use Helical Piers in Pittsburgh and the surrounding areas of Pennsylvania

detail of helical torque anchor assemblyHelical piers have a strong steel shaft, usually with helices. They are like a large screw that will provide foundation support. It can be used in various types of structures in both commercial and residential areas. When soil conditions become challenging, helical piers are extremely helpful. They can be installed in new construction to add additional support from the get go as well. They are commonly used to add support to existing foundations after there has been foundation settlement or foundation failure.

The purpose of helical piers is to take the foundation load and transfer it from soil that is not strong enough for the structure to the more suitable deep soil in the earth. If you notice that you have cracks in your drywall, or foundation cracks, floor cracks, and wall cracks, there is a good chance you are experiencing settlement of your foundation and an installation of helical piers may be the right solution for you.

To learn more about helical piers and other foundation solutions from Matthews Wall Anchor, call us anytime. We provide estimates if you notice any of the signs or symptoms of foundation settlement and can tell you if helical piers are the right deep soil foundation repair solution for you. Call us today!

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 homes 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 area 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 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.

If 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 at the structure. Is it worth the risk of that money if it were to fail after you do it?Sump Pumps are one of our open pricing waterproofing solutions for Pittsburgh, PA

When it comes to waterproofing, Matthews 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 what are called box systems (those that sit on the foundations footer) for a few years. We found that this type would fail to channel the water properly because you can’t get the proper pitch so the water actually flows to the sump. In addition, that water could sit in that system just below the floor only inches from the floor surface while accumulating bacteria. These kinds of water remediation systems are far less expensive to install for those companies.

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 insure 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.

Foundation solutions a cut above the rest in PAIn terms of our Piering and Wall Anchor systems, Matthews was one of the countries leaders and innovators when we started helping our clients in the early 80’s. 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 manufactures 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!

Learn About Matthews Wall Anchor

Can you tell us a little bit about Matthews Wall Anchor?

bigmapMatthews Wall Anchor was founded by John Matthews over 30 years ago to provide excellent customer service for Pittsburgh, PA and the surrounding area for foundation repair, crawlspace repair, and waterproofing services. Today Matthews Wall Anchor is known all over the Pittsburgh area, and is one of the founding structural and waterproofing companies in Pennsylvania. We have over 30 employees to meet all your needs and provide the best customer services. You can find us on the air waves or online, and we have customers to provide you with testimonials of our work. We are based in Beaver Falls, PA. We are here to answer any questions you might have about foundations, basements, crawlspaces. We stay up to date on the latest and greatest technology to make sure to help you protect the investment you have in your home or business. We use the very best in waterproofing and foundation products with our partnership with Earth Contact Products. Call us to learn more!

The Cost vs. the Benefit of Waterproofing

Why Open Pricing from Matthews?

basement waterproofing has benefits in ohioMatthews Wall Anchor & Waterproofing Services offers open pricing for customers that need waterproofing in Ohio and Pennsylvania. This allows our clients to get an idea of the cost of the project before we start the job. With over 35 years of experience, our mission is provide reliable, effective waterproofing service for residents. We believe in maintaining a clean, dry, healthy, and comfortable living space for you and your family.  Our professionals can assist you with financial waterproofing costs. We won’t give you a quote over the phone or via email. By giving you a price quote before the job, it allows us to accurately assess your home to find any other damages. We are trained and certified to identify the source of your water damage and offer the best solution for your home.

The Benefits of Waterproofing in Ohio and Pennsylvania

ECP products has waterproofing benefitsMatthews Wall Anchor & Waterproofing Services use products made by Earth Contact Products (ECP), the leading manufacturer in the waterproofing industry. By using ECP products, our customers are getting the latest technology on the market.  Our waterproofing products offer the following benefits:

  • Energy efficiency
  • Can help to minimize radon gas in some cases
  • 3 year manufacturers warranty on ECP sump pumps
  • Pumps runs 40% less than traditional systems
  • Plastic sheet is used to block dust and air pollutants
  • Sump pump contains sealed oil bearing system that operates without water
  • Increases value of the home
  • Guards against water damage
  • Prevents mold and mildew growth
  • Sump pumps contains 1/3 to 1/2 horsepower that pumps 5,000
  • Applied to residential and commercial applications
  • Higher volume drain pipe installed next to footing
  • Performs as a subsurface drainage system

You can save your foundation, basement, and belongings with a good waterproofing system. Without an adequate waterproofing system, your home or building can encounter water damage. Look for signs such as:

If you notice any of these signs, give us a call. We offer waterproofing methods to protect your home from future damages. Our waterproofing products include: exterior waterproofing, interior waterproofing, sump basins, sump pits, sump pumps, battery backup sump pumps, and basement drainage.

Exterior Waterproofing
Exterior waterproofing systems are designed to keep water from entering your basement, where water may seep through floor cracks, ceilings, or walls. They also guard your home against mold growth, structural damage, water stains, and foundation issues. The installation process requires some excavation with little to no disturbances. The products needed for exterior waterproofing installation include: a waterproofing membrane, dimple drainage board, perforated drain pipe, drain pipe fittings, sump basin, back-up sump pump, and a discharge freeze guard.

Interior Waterproofing
Interior drainage has waterproofing benefitsInterior waterproofing involves removing and replacing the concrete slab, installing a drain pipe under the slab, and draining the area to a lower level. Just like the exterior waterproofing system, this system consists of sump pumps. They also include the following additional products: water channel, SDS, drain pipe, sump pit with lid, vapor barriers, and a system clean-out. Interior waterproofing systems offer numerous advantages such as:

  • Prevents mold growth
  • Keeps basement and crawlspaces dry
  • Prevents moisture and humidity
  • Increases the longevity of your home
  • Improves the home’s structure

Sump Basins
Sump basins offers waterproofing benefitsSump basins are located inside the sump pit. The sump basin is the sump pump. Our sump pumps are installed at the the lowest level of the basement to ensure the water flows into the sump pit. As water enters the basement, it enters the basin. There are several types of sump pumps. The most common sump pump is the submersible sump pump, which is placed into the basin to expel water. The other type is the pedestal sump pump that sits above the basin and has no contact with water. Hoses are attached to the basin so water can be expelled outside and away from the home. Sump basins offer the following benefits:

  • Applied to commercial and residential projects
  • Reduces repair cost
  • Easy, quick installation
  • Latest technology
  • Recommended by engineers and industry professionals
  • Prevents basement floods and sewer backups
  • Restores drainage

Sump Pits
Sump pits are an effective waterproofing solution when combined with a sump pump. Its job is to guard your basement against floods by collecting and removing water from your home. They help keep basements safe from mold growth. When it rains, ground water saturates the soil and surrounds the basement. This causes water seepage and water related issues. A sump pit collects this water and the sump pump removes it from your basement. That’s why sump pumps are installed in the basement floor so they can collect the water easily. Sump pits can sometimes help to minimize radon gas.

Sump Pumps/Battery Back-up Sump Pumps
Waterproofing benefits your basementSump pumps can be used for crawlspaces as well as basements. They help remove accumulated water around and underneath the foundation by expelling it away from the home. They also guard homes against mold growth, wood rot, and structural damage. Our sump pumps are heavy duty, energy efficient, and reliable. When installed with a sump basin, it provides total protection for many years to come. Our sump pumps remove 5,000 gallons of water per hour.

Battery back-up sump pumps will protect your home from flooding even if your power goes out from a thunderstorm. We guarantee 100% basement protection for the residents in Pennsylvania and Ohio.

Basement Drainage
Over time, poor drainage can lead to water damage and foundation failure. Foundation failure may lead to misaligned doors/windows, wall cracks, buckling floors, and  bowing walls. To avoid further water damage,  the experts at Matthews can check the perimeter of your home for poor drainage areas. We check the following:

  • Gutters and downspouts: We make sure gutters are free of debris and leaves. Downspouts should be the correct size and length.
  • Landscaping: Trees and scrubs should be at least 12 feet away from the foundation.
  • Sump pumps: We make sure your sump pump is properly working. If it needs to be replaced, we can install a reliable sump pump to prevent flooding.

Our basement drainage system includes foundation drainage boards, subsurface drainage systems, and surface drainage systems. Our waterproofing methods will keep your basement or crawlspace stable, dry, and safe from water exposure. We have reliable basement drainage systems for residents in Pennsylvania and Ohio.

For quality waterproofing, Matthews has basement waterproofing products for your needs. We also offer open waterproofing pricing, so you can know the basement waterproofing costs of your project. Contact us today so we can serve you!

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