What is Underpinning and Why Does Your Property Need It?

Underpinning is referred to as a technique which is used for rectifying the faults of the foundation of a building. It is used to provide support and strength to the foundation so as to avoid the collapsing of the construction. While improvising this construction technique, the soil below the structure is removed with the help of excavators and is replaced with a stronger material such as concrete, to make sure that the foundation is stabilized. The excavation done below the existing foundation is done in order to maintain the moisture level so that there no further problems. It is necessary to keep a check on the moisture level of the soil as it can cause a major problem. In order to find out that whether your construction structure needs underpinning is decided by the specialized contractors. Underpinning is a very comprehensive procedure which has to be performed with a lot of expertise as it can save you from future hazards.

Why Underpinning is necessary?

There can be many reasons when underpinning is necessary, but it is the most important when the soil beneath the foundation starts moving away from the structure. This process creates an empty space between the building and the land beneath it. Gradually, the building starts subsiding into this cavity. In some places, the same can happen due to the weight of the building which displaces the soil beneath it.  These are some reasons that can cause fault in the foundation of your house. Now we will discuss how you can find out that a property needs underpinning.

  • Cracks in the floor or tiles of your house
  • Sides of a home start leaning to a one side
  • Floors are not levelled
  • Gaps are created around the windows and doors
  • Separation of the roofline
  • Cracks on the interior and exterior walls of the property

Reasons for Subsidence

As we have talked above that subsidence is the main reason behind the weak foundation. Henceforth, now let’s discuss the risk factors which increase the chances of subsidence.

🧱  Clay

The clay soil is affected a lot by the weather changes. Clay soil has ability to shrink, crack, and cause shifting which makes the ground unstable. This then increases the risk of sinking the property built on it.

🚧 Age and Construction

An age-old building has a greater chance of subsiding when compared to the recent-built house. The subsidence occurs soon because of the shallow foundation under the old properties. However, on the other hand the older properties were constructed using lime mortar and the bricks which made it more flexible and less likely to get damaged.

⛏️ Mining

This is also one of the main causes of subsidence as the land in the mining areas is unstable. The material used to fill the mining land shifts very easily. The property built over mining land can be affected by the mining activity which occurs nearby.

🌲 Trees

Plants and trees can cause subsiding of the soil as they drain the moisture from the soil which causes the soil to dry out. It is estimated that 70% of the subsidence cases are the result of roots absorbing the moisture from the soil.

🏗️ Extension added

Adding up an extension to a part of the building can put a lot of load on the building which can cause the subsiding of subsoil. This will then weaken the soil and create a cavity beneath the foundation.

Wrong foundation

Choosing the wrong foundation while designing the property can also be a risk factor.

The presence of these risk factors and the signs given above are an indication that one needs to hire an underpinning contractor immediately. If not paid attention, then this can turn into a serious hazard which can result in further damage and the building can collapse. It is necessary to take care of the maintenance of your house as this would help you control the situation by avoiding further damage. So, secure your property by not compromising with the structural integrity of the building.