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Getting Familiar with House Underpinning

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Underpinning refers to a construction technique that is implemented in the repair or restoration of your home's foundation. Although foundation problems tend to develop over time even in the most sturdy of homes, not many people know what this process is or even if they require it or not! Before underpinning can take place, a construction contractor would have to inspect your foundation. This enables them to diagnose the case of damage to your foundation and then establish what course of action would be best. In the event that the foundation cannot be salvaged, you may have to consider another option known has restumping, which entails the replacement of the stumps that support the foundation of your home. Here are some of the things you need to know about house underpinning.  

How is underpinning performed?

There are two main methods that construction contractors can use for the underpinning of your home. The first is through mass underpinning. This involves the excavating the area around your current home's foundation. It could also involve excavating beneath the current foundation. Once the excavation is done, concrete is poured into the excavated areas in an attempt to increase the overall mass of your foundation, hence strengthening it. Another method used in underpinning is concrete pilings. These are makeshift nails made of concrete. The concrete pilings are sunk into the ground then your current foundation is attached to them in an attempt to reinforce its load bearing capabilities.

Why would a property require underpinning?

There are several reasons why your foundation may acquire damage over time and require underpinning. Some of these reasons include:

  • The foundation was installed incorrectly by poor workmanship.
  • Soil subsidence has occurred over time leading to the sinking of your property's foundation.
  • Your home was in close proximity to excavations that would have compromised the structural integrity of your foundation.
  • The weight of your home has increased. This is typically through adding another floor without first reinforcing the foundation, hence weakening the original foundation of the home.
  • Your home has been exposed to water damage, which has affected the existing foundation.

What are the telltale signs that your home needs underpinning?

Before a contractor inspects your foundation, there will be visible signs in your home that would indicate you might require underpinning. Spotting these signs early on reduces the risk of overall structural damage to your property. Some of the telltale signs to look out for that would indicate your home requires underpinning include:

  • The doors and windows in your home keep sticking to their frames, which makes it difficult to open and close them.
  • The floors of your home have become uneven over time.
  • Visible cracks begin forming and expanding on both your interior and exterior walls.
  • Gaps begin forming between the frames of your windows and doors.