What You Should Know About Foundation Underpinning

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It is not uncommon to find the foundation of your home, building or structure showing visual signs of damage or even the structure or building showing signs of sinking. Such signs include:

  • Cracks on exterior walls
  • Sticking doors and windows as a result of uneven frames
  • Bowed walls
  • Foundation cracks
  • Cabinets separating from walls
  • Uneven floors, etc.

Foundation damage should be repaired as soon as possible because the work of the foundation is to offer support to the entire structure or building. If the foundation is compromised, your building or structure can be considered unsafe because there is a high probability it can come crumbling down. In most cases, you might require foundation underpinning services. Here is what you need to know if you come across signs of structural foundation damage:

Call A Building Inspector

Since some signs of foundation damage can be false alarms, it is important to call a specialist to inspect your building. He or she inspects your entire building and generates a report that clearly shows the structural problems affecting your building. From the report, you can tell whether you need underpinning services.

What Are Underpinning Services?

These are measures carried out to strengthen the foundation of a building or structure. This can be done by expanding the depth and breadth of a foundation or strengthening the soil under and around a structure. Underpinning is required if:

  • The original foundation has weakened over time (the signs mentioned above are seen).
  • You intend on changing the use of the structure or building (if you had constructed a building for offices, but you want the building to be a factory in the future, you have to cater to the extra weight of factory equipment and machines).
  • You plan on adding a storey (you need to account for the extra weight and ensure the foundation can support it).
  • There has been flooding or an earthquake that has made your structure move and become destabilised (underpinning is required to stabilise the structure).
  • The soil properties of the soil under the structure or around it have changed and it looks like your structure is sinking (underpinning is required to strengthen the soil).

Sometimes, you might have an idle or abandoned structure whose foundation is damaged. Buying a new piece of land and starting construction from scratch can be expensive. If you weigh the costs, you may find that having underpinning services carried out on the idle or abandoned structure and repurposing its use might be more affordable.