As a homeowner, you may have heard the term “foundation underpinning” before. But what exactly does it mean? And why is it important for your home’s foundation? In this comprehensive guide, we will provide you with all the information you need to know about foundation and basement underpinning.
What Is Foundation & Basement Underpinning?
Foundation and basement underpinning is the process of strengthening an existing foundation by extending it to a deeper level. This process is used to provide additional support and stability to buildings and homes that have experienced foundation damage. The process involves excavating soil around the existing foundation, which includes the basement walls, to make room for the placement of steel or concrete supports beneath the foundation.
When Is Basement & Foundation Underpinning Necessary?
One of the most common reasons is foundation damage due to weather-related events such as heavy rainfall or floods. When the soil around a foundation becomes saturated with water, it can become unstable and cause the foundation to shift or settle, resulting in cracks or other forms of damage.
This can lead to cracks in your walls and floors, uneven floors, and even structural damage. In severe cases, the entire structure may become unstable, which can be dangerous for occupants. If you have experienced weather damage, underpinning can help to stabilize your foundation and prevent further damage.
Another common reason for foundation damage is soil excavation. When soil is excavated to install underground utilities, or repair sewer or water lines, it can cause the soil to become unstable, resulting in foundation settlement or movement.
Soil excavation due to fuel leaks (such as from underground oil tanks) can also lead to foundation problems. Fuel leaks can cause the soil to become weak and unstable, which can lead to settlement or shifting of your foundation. If you have had soil excavation due to fuel leaks and underground oil tank removal, underpinning can help to strengthen your foundation and prevent further damage.
Sinkholes are another factor that can weaken the underlying soil and cause foundation damage, requiring underpinning. Sinkholes are formed when the ground beneath the foundation collapses due to natural or man-made causes such as mining, drilling, or construction. If your home is located in an area with a high risk of sinkholes, foundation and basement underpinning can help to stabilize your foundation and prevent damage.
If you suspect that your foundation may be compromised, it’s essential to contact a professional foundation repair company to assess the situation and recommend the best course of action. With underpinning, you can ensure that your home is safe and structurally sound for years to come.
Methods of Foundation & Basement Underpinning
There are several types of foundation underpinning methods, and the choice of the method depends on the specific needs of your home or building. The most common types of foundation underpinning include:
Mass concrete underpinning: This process involves excavating the soil from beneath the foundation and pouring concrete footings directly beneath the existing foundation. This is a cost-effective and straightforward method of underpinning.
Beam and base underpinning: This involves creating a reinforced concrete beam below the foundation and then pouring new concrete bases to support the existing foundation. This method is suitable for buildings with heavy loads or uneven foundations.
Mini-piled underpinning: This method entails drilling small diameter piles into the ground beneath the foundation and then filling them with concrete. This is a suitable method for buildings with limited access or restricted working space.
Screw pile underpinning: This process includes drilling a steel screw pile into the ground beneath the foundation and then using it to support the existing foundation. This method is suitable for buildings with lightweight structures.
When you work with the team at Waterline Environmental, we’ll assess your structure and provide a recommendation on which underpinning method would work best.
The Process of Foundation & Basement Underpinning
The process of foundation underpinning is typically broken down into the following steps:
Step 1: Site inspection. A site inspection is conducted to assess the condition of the foundation and determine the best underpinning method.
Step 2: Excavation. Soil is excavated from beneath the foundation to create space for the new footings or piers.
Step 3: Installation of new footings or piers. New footings or piers are installed to support the existing foundation.
Step 4: Grouting. Grout is injected into the soil around the new footings or piers to provide additional support.
Step 5: Completion of work. Once the underpinning work is complete, the excavation site is filled, and the soil is compacted.
Benefits of Foundation & Basement Underpinning
Foundation and basement underpinning offers several benefits, including:
Increased structural stability: By providing additional support to the foundation, basement and foundation underpinning can increase the structural stability of buildings.
Cost-effective: In many cases, foundation and basement underpinning is a cost-effective alternative to foundation replacement.
Minimal disruption: Basement and foundation underpinning can be done with minimal disruption to the building and surrounding area.
Long-lasting: Basement and foundation underpinning can provide long-lasting stability to the foundation, reducing the likelihood of future foundation damage and additional remediation costs.
Preserves property value: Should you decide to sell your property with foundation issues, be prepared to lose between 10 to 20 percent of its value. Completing foundation and basement underpinning preserves your property’s value on the market and helps it get top dollar.
Restore the safety and stability of your structure with Waterline Environmental’s foundation underpinning service!
At Waterline Environmental, we specialize in providing foundation underpinning services for homes and buildings that have experienced foundation damage. Our team of experts has the knowledge and experience to assess the specific needs of your structure and develop a custom underpinning plan that will provide long-lasting stability to your foundation.
We understand that foundation damage can be a serious issue that can impact the safety and structural integrity of your building, which is why we will work closely with you throughout the underpinning process, from the initial assessment to the final inspection, to ensure that you are satisfied with the results. We are committed to providing our clients with exceptional customer service and quality workmanship.
If you are in need of foundation underpinning services, reach out to the expert team at Waterline Environmental today!
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President: S.A. (Stu) Ferguson