The most important thing in any home is a stable foundation. If you’ve noticed cracking in your walls or other problems that have you concerned about the integrity of your foundation, you will need to call an expert out to see if underpinning is required. But what exactly is underpinning and how can it help your home’s foundation? Read on to find out.
What is Underpinning?
Simply put, underpinning is a method that is used in order to repair and restore your house foundations, so that they are stable once again. It is a specialised process that should only be carried out by foundation expert as the expert will first need to ascertain what the problem with the foundation actually is. This involves digging underneath the existing footings. Once the problem has been identified, the expert will place new concrete in strategic areas underneath and around the existing foundations. The purpose of this is threefold – to strengthen and support the existing foundations, to restore the home to its normal levels, and to stabilise the soil that the foundation sits upon.
Signs that Underpinning May Be Required
Now that you know what underpinning is, how can you tell if you have a problem with your foundation that you need an expert’s help with? There are some telltale signs that you, as the occupant of the home can look out for. These include:
- Your doors and windows “sticking” so that they are hard to open and close
- Your floors appearing to be no longer level
- Cracking in interior or exterior walls of the home (in plaster or brickwork for example)
- Noticing that there are gaps opening up around windows and doors
- Cracks in the outside of your concrete slab
- Cracking in the wall and floor tiles in your home
- A noticeable lean in the walls of your property
How Do Foundations Fail?
Underpinning is only required once your foundation has started failing but what causes problems to occur in your foundation after it has been built? Some of the most common culprits include:
- Poor design or construction methods when the foundation is being laid
- When cut and filling (excavation procedures) are not carried out properly before the foundation is laid
- Changes in the moisture content of the soil, or a change in the underlying water table