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Underpinning is the process of supporting the foundation of a building. It involves reinforcing the existing foundation and the surrounding soil.

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What Is Underpinning?

Changes in soil composition do affect the foundation of many buildings and structures. The culprit is often shrinking or weak soil. Because they’re shifty, the foundation has to be reinforced. Otherwise, it will settle, crack, or crumble. This isn’t good for a building’s structural integrity.  

Let’s look at what is underpinning and the different types of underpinning products in the foundation repair industry. 

What Is Underpinning?  

Underpinning is the process of strengthening the foundation of a house, a building, or some other structure. It often involves extending the existing foundation so that the weight load is evenly distributed across a greater area. The first step of underpinning includes the excavation of soil that is located directly under the foundation. The dug-out soils are removed in stages, to lower the risk of undermining the foundation and therefore causing structural problems. This is a major repair project, and a foundation repair professional needs to calculate the depth of excavation by taking the type of soil into consideration and identifying the layers that can hold the load. Once a layer of the soil has been replaced with an underpinning material, the process is repeated with the next layer. This procedure goes on until the complete structural base is finally reinforced. 

When Is Underpinning Used?  

It’s a good idea to know some of the reasons why homeowners underpin their foundations. This way, you can discuss underpinning with your foundation specialist, and see which option suits your home.  

House settlement:

A settling home will likely have gaps between walls and floor and out-of-level concrete. These signs aren’t just unsightly but can be hazardous if they’re not fixed. Underpinning your settling home brings stability to your house.  

Poor workmanship:

Whenever a builder misses a step or cuts corners during construction, you are likely to end up with a poorly constructed home. This tends to happen if their crew fails to tamp down the soil, chooses a poor location, or fails to level the soil. Lucky for you, underpinning can help resolve some of these problems.  

Change in usage:

A home that’s being turned into a business premises may require underpinning due to the heavy foot traffic and the installation or use of heavy equipment or machinery.  

Durable Underpinning Solutions  

Permanently fixing your home’s settlement problems is always a better option, and this way you will be at ease knowing that your foundation has been properly reinforced. Here are several foundation pier methods that can be used to strengthen your foundation and ensure the stability of your home.  

Push piers: One of the most popular types of piers is push piers. These are driven into the ground and their main purpose is to permanently stabilize the foundation. They also can potentially lift it back towards its original position. They are made from galvanized steel, so you don’t have to worry about them rusting over time due to the moisture in the ground.  

Helical piers: Helical piers are similar to push piers, except they are screwed into the ground instead of being driven into the ground. They are ideal for lighter structures like porches and chimneys.  

Slab piers: Slab piers are designed to support a slab foundation and prevent it from settling.  

If your foundation is crumbling due to weak soils or any other issue, contact your local foundation experts and request a free assessment. We’ll determine the problem and install the appropriate underpinning solution. 

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