Your home’s foundation provides strength and stability to the structure above, creating a safe and comfortable place for your family to live. However, damage to or degradation of your foundation over time or due to outside factors can impact the look and safety of your home. Foundation underpinning is a foundation repair solution used to address failing or insufficient foundations in existing structures, such as homes and businesses, particularly in extreme cases where significant settling or foundation damage has occurred. During the foundation underpinning repair process, either the depth or breadth (or both) of your foundation is expanded to provide additional stability and prevent future foundation problems.
The Process of Foundation Underpinning
There are several methods by which foundation underpinning may be completed. The most common method of foundation underpinning is called the mass pour method. Your foundation repair company will excavate sections of your foundation in a predetermined sequence, pouring concrete into each section to widen and deepen your foundation. Alternatively, the screw piles and brackets method is more feasible in cases where limited access or the need for a much deeper foundation makes mass pour foundation underpinning impractical. This method uses piles inserted into pre-drilled holes to add additional support to your foundation; it may also be a more cost-effective solution if you are concerned about financing your foundation repair. Pile and beam underpinning uses mini-piles on either side of an affected wall to support a steel and concrete beam to lend further support to the wall. This method offers large load-bearing capacity and can be completed quickly for added convenience. Regardless of the solution you choose, foundation underpinning is completed by working from the corners of your home and working inward. Furthermore, only load-bearing walls require foundation underpinning for added support. Because foundation underpinning requires both engineering knowledge and construction expertise, this foundations solution should only be completed by an experienced foundation repair company.
Reasons for Foundation Underpinning
Foundation underpinning is a more extensive solution to foundation problems than simpler methods, giving your home a larger, more stable base upon which to rest. All foundation underpinning methods are designed to drastically strengthen your foundation, which may be necessary under many conditions. This solution can be extremely effective when foundation troubles are caused by changes in the properties of the soil beneath and around your home, which is a serious problem in the Dallas, Fort Worth, and San Antonio areas due to prolonged drought. The expansive clay that is found throughout Texas soil can expand and contract significantly with changes in moisture or temperature, causing large shifts and changes in the ground around your home. Foundation underpinning may also be necessary if you plan to add rooms or stories to your home, even if you have no existing foundation problems. The additional weight of the structure may not be within the capacity of your existing foundation, putting your home at risk for future foundation damage if you do not strengthen it prior to construction.
If you have questions about your home’s foundation and whether it could use underpinning or other repairs, visit our website to contact a qualified foundation engineer for more information about foundation problems and solutions in the Dallas, Fort Worth, and San Antonio areas. We also invite you to check out our blog for more in-depth information about your home’s foundation.