Situations in Which Your House May Need Underpinning
The most crucial part of a home is the foundation. If it sinks or slopes, you might notice cracks in the walls and sticking windows and doors. Then, you'll need underpinning services to shore up the building. Sometimes the foundation will need work even when you don't have problems. Consider the following situations.
You're Adding a Second Storey to Your House
One scenario that may call for extra support is when you're adding a second storey to your home. A structural engineer can calculate the load that the foundation can bear. If underpinning is required, contractors will excavate the soil around the existing base and reinforce it by pouring new concrete.
Changes in the Moisture Content of the Soil
The foundation sits within the soil, which needs to cradle it securely. Sometimes moisture changes within the ground can destabilise a building. For example, your region might experience a drought or a flood. Or else the water table underneath the earth might change, affecting the moisture of the soil around your home. For such problems, contractors will use specific techniques.
A geotechnical engineer can test the soil and work out how to best stabilise it. One approach involves injecting resins into holes bored into the ground. The soil absorbs the resin, which stabilises the earth. In a sandy beach area, a polymer grout may be pumped into the holes instead, forcing the sand to clump.
Excavation Going on Next Door
Excavation near your home can cause the foundation to weaken, and thus you might need underpinning with concrete to reinforce it as protection.
Original Foundation Is Weak
Another possibility is that your home's foundation was not built correctly from the start. Thus, your house might be leaning as a result. Look out for signs such as slanted floors, cracked tiles, and split plaster.
The most appropriate underpinning method will largely depend on the surrounding situation — whether your house needs reinforcement as you're adding an extension or whether you have a soil problem, for instance. Other possible causes are a nearby excavation or a faulty foundation from the start. If you notice any signs that your building is leaning or walls and floors are cracking, make sure not to delay an inspection as the problems are more likely to escalate than disappear. After underpinning, you can rest assured that your home is stable and safe, and any future renovations will not go to waste.
Reach out to a professional who provides underpinning services to get started.