Underpinning Can Prevent Costly Foundation Repair and Be Effective

When you construct a house, building or any other structure, it is certain to require a foundation to give the constructed area stability and strength, which ensures its long life. There are times when these foundations need to be strengthened, either due to inadequacy or the desire to improve the existing structure.

The Need for Underpinning

It is at these times that engineers will consider the possibility of underpinning the existing foundations in order to increase their capacity to bear additional loads. The underpinning of the existing foundations is also needed when you find that the existing structure has walls that exhibit cracks or signs of bulging. A sure indication of poor foundations, that will necessitate underpinning, is when you notice that doors and windows do not close properly and seem misaligned to frames. Cracks in floors are also a sign of weak foundations that may require strengthening.

Foundation Underpinning – What is It?

When you refer to foundation underpinning in the field of construction, you are calling for a procedure that is adopted to increase the stability of a structure and the capacity of the foundations to carry additional loads. Normally, such work involves increasing the width or depth, or both, of an existing foundation, without any major demolition of the existing structure. The underpinned foundation then rests on a foundation that is deeper and more capable of taking the loads imposed on it.


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Types of Foundation Underpinning

There are various classes of this foundation repair, and it will depend on the expertise of the concerned engineer or company, as to the method it will adopt to repair or strengthen the foundation.
They are:

  • Push Piers
  • Helical Piers
  • Deep foundation Piers
  • Caissons
  • Other support systems

Each of these systems have their own requirement of equipment, and the actual soil conditions could also play a part in the selection of the right method for the underpinning work. Most of these systems involve pushing piers or other support systems through the ground at spots adjacent to existing walls and foundations, down to firm soil levels or rock. The weight of the foundations or structure is then transferred to these new piers, though brackets or other means, to complete the task of underpinning.

Find the Right Agency to Carry out Underpinning Work

Whether it is a repair job or extension work, it is best if the initial assessments for the foundation and its existing condition be done by competent and certified foundation structural specialists. They will be able to give a rough estimate of the number of piers required, the depths that they have to be carried to, class of underpinning best for the job and a budget of time and money for carrying out the work. The owner can then take a decision for getting the work carried out.

Jess Lavines is a freelance writer who has wroked in construction for 6 years. Jess has been doing some writing for underpinning contractors, and hopes to start writing instructional books for home renovation topics such as foundation work or interior design.

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