Structural engineers are vital players in the foundation process. It is essential that you choose the best structural engineer for your structure. Talk to neighbors and friends who have hired engineers for their projects. Check the engineer’s references and get at least three references from previous clients.
You may need an underpinning if there is a crack in your home’s foundation. Foundation cracks develop when the soil beneath an existing structure like your home begins to shift. This causes stresses along the foundation walls, which lead to fractures and potentially more significant structural damage. The problem is worsened over time if no action is taken.
Underpinning is defined as strengthening the building’s structure by adding steel or concrete by applying different procedures.
When is underpinning needed?
When the structure is being extended
Underpinning is needed to strengthen the existing foundation because the extension’s added weight may cause it to buckle.
When the soil that is beneath the foundation gets stable
This problem may occur if the soil is overly soft or has insufficient drainage. The settling foundation can lead to severe structural damage. Underpinning stabilises the soil due to underpinning.
Strengthening an existing foundation
You might need underpinning to strengthen the current foundation if you want to install a new swimming pool or bring in big machinery.
The Underpinning process
The first step of underpinning is excavation. To make room to pour concrete beneath the soil that is around the foundation is excavated to create space for pouring concrete. This also makes it easy for the contractors to insert reinforcing piles or beams.
Concrete will be poured through a hole around and/or under the foundation of the bulk pour method used.
Concrete that has been correctly mixed and appropriately poured into the formwork is used to bulk-pour underpinnings.
Excavated dirt is backfilled as necessary and compacted.
After stabilising the foundation to stop any additional structural movement, the house’s facade and interior is repaired.
When is underpinning not recommended?
Underpinning is not always the optimal course of action, just as there are circumstances in which it is not.
When the location of the foundation is near a water table
Water can enter the hole created by excavation, compromising the stability of the foundation.
When the building’s base is close to a tree
Tree roots can easily cause damage to your home’s foundation, even causing costly repairs.
Large-scale repairs come at a high underpinning cost, so it’s best to proceed only if you can afford them. The foundation of your home can be strengthened by underpinning, but you shouldn’t incur debt if affordability is an issue.
How long will it take to underpin a house?
The depth of excavation depends on the type of soil and the structure size. Mostly the size of the hole can be between six to eight feet deep.
By far, you must have been acquainted with the term underpinning. With the right structural underpinning excavation process, you can contact the right underpinning contractors and rest assured about the work. Before choosing any contractor, consider all the factors important for a proper underpinning process.