Understanding Underpinning

3 October 2019
 Categories: Construction & Contractors, Blog


Basically, underpinning is the process of strengthening the foundation of an already existing structure. Underpinning is necessary when subsidence takes places on the soil where the foundation of your structure is laid; this could be due to soil erosion or any other underlying earth process. Besides subsidence, an aged structure can also call for underpinning due to a weakened foundation over the years, as well as poor workmanship. Whatever the cause of a weak foundation, underpinning is necessary to avoid adverse damage to your property or even loss of life.

How Do You Know That Your Structure Needs Underpinning?

Professional building inspectors are the ones who can determine whether your structure or house requires underpinning services.  However, there are warning signs that can prompt you to call a building inspector to check your home. Wide gaps and cracks appearing without cause on the sections of your house such as walls, windows, doors and floors are indications that the foundation of your home has become weak and unstable. A qualified inspector will check your house and contact an experienced and professional contractor immediately if it requires underpinning.

What Underpinning Contractors do

Contractors will use different methods to repair your house's foundation depending on its prevailing condition. To fix your foundation, contractors will basically remove the subsided soil and replaced it with new materials providing stronger support to your structure. Screw piles are used in cases of narrow paths or with few ceiling height restrictions. Bored piles are suitable for situations where, in the process of repairing your foundation, neighbouring structures are affected. This type of piles will help restore the neighbouring structures' foundations as well. Underpinning services providers will be able to recommend the best course of action for your particular building.

Preventive Measures for Subsidence

Sometimes you can prevent subsidence from taking place around your structures by avoiding some risk factors. Stop planting trees too near your house, because their roots will cause soil subsidence, damaging your foundation. You can also avoid removing foliage by digging around your home; this will cause water to settle around your foundation making it unstable. Further, avoid leakages from your plumbing, as this will cause waterlogging in the same way as rainwater that is not diverted away from your house.

After taking all these preventive measures, if your house still has a sign of an unstable foundation, it is time to have it underpinned by professional underpinning services contractors.