What Is Underpinning and When Is it Needed?

Underpinning is a procedure that stabilizes the soil and underlying foundation of a building in order to prevent structural damage. It is usually done when there are deficiencies in the soils or when the load on the structure exceeds its capacity. However, underpinning a house can also be done for aesthetic purposes if it’s not structurally necessary. In this article, we will discuss what underpinning is, why you may need it, Read on!

When Is Underpinning Needed?

Underpinning is needed when your home has problems with the foundation. This can be seen through cracks in walls and floors, tilting chimneys and doors that will not close properly. If you see any of these signs, it may be time to call an engineer or geotechnical expert. Utilizing tools like the Skyciv moment of inertia calculator, your engineer will be able to help diagnose the problem and recommend solutions more accurately.

 If your home needs underpinning, it is important that this process be done as soon as possible. In this case, you may need to hire a contractor for underpinning. For one thing, there are more than just cracks in the foundation – over time these can worsen and cause more serious problems.

In addition, if the house is not properly supported while undergoing underpinning, it could be at risk of further damage to its foundation or even falling down completely! If you need any help figuring out whether your home needs this process done but are not sure what to do next, don’t hesitate to call a professional!

Who Can Carry Out Underpinning Work?

If your property has suffered significant damage, you shouldn’t attempt to undertake the underpinning work yourself as it requires specialist equipment and skills. Instead, you should contact a licensed structural engineer or builder who will have all of the necessary experience and qualifications to ensure that your property is underpinned correctly.In addition to choosing the right expert for underpinning, it’s advisable to check your Freeholder Building Insurance policy or consider obtaining one if you haven’t already as it offers financial protection against potential structural damages.

Underpinning can be expensive, so make sure to get several quotes from local builders before making a decision.

What Happens During the Work?

Before any underpinning work begins, you will need to move your belongings into storage – this also means taking out all of your interior fittings, such as curtains, carpets, and light fittings.

Your builder will need to erect hoarding around the perimeter to prevent any damage to the structure. While you can re-enter your home during the day, a temporary entrance will be created inside your property for use after work hours.

The Underpinning Process

Underpinning work involves digging trenches to create the required clearance below your foundations. This process begins by creating an excavation. This involves removing the old foundation walls and adding a series of props (usually wooden) that extend out from your existing foundations. The excavation is usually packed with rock wool or other materials, and new concrete is poured over the top of the walls and props so that they are supported by a stronger foundation.

The rock wool helps prevent heave, a movement caused by water from the soil entering your foundations through small cracks in the concrete. Once this work has been completed, your builder will remove the temporary access from inside your house, and you can move back into your property. Once your property has been underpinned, you should consider getting regular inspections to ensure everything is working as expected.

What Should You Look Out For?

After your property has been underpinned, there are a few things that you can do to help reduce any future settlement issues:

  1. i) Have inspection points created in your property – these can be holes drilled into walls or the addition of a bond beam at a later stage (if additional support is required)
  2. ii) Drill any grouting pipes through to your foundations so that you’re not adding extra weight by using buckets. If possible, place the grout piping as close to the floor level as possible.

 iii) Avoid the use of heavy-duty hoovers or carpet cleaners, as these can increase the amount of heave within your property.

  1. iv) If you notice any further settlement issues occurring after your property has been underpinned, you should immediately contact a licensed structural engineer to get this rectified.

Who Is Responsible for Fixing Problems Caused by Poor Underpinning Work?

Any property that has been underpinned should be checked by a structural engineer regularly. A licensed builder or engineer will be able to identify any potential problems and rectify them before they escalate into larger issues. They can also outline exactly how much underpinning the structure of your home needs so that you know whether or not it is necessary to continue getting your property underpinned.

If you have been affected by poor standard underpinning work,  and your home has experienced more significant issues such as subsidence or a decline in the value of your property, it may be possible to claim compensation.

Underpinning is an effective method of preventing further settlement issues.  However, ensure that you get work carried out correctly to prevent paying compensation or additional costs in the future.

It may seem like a huge and expensive process, but it is essential for protecting your home and ensuring its longevity.

Underpinning can be carried out at any stage.  Therefore, if you think that your property is affected by poor structural support, you may need to consider it as it is a viable and less expensive alternative to demolition.

Author Bio: Rachael is a content writer at SendKoala, who has written on a Ultimate Resume Guide, from colored diamonds to SEO software. In her spare time, she enjoys singing, sketching, cooking, and video games.

About author


My name is Rahul Shakya. I’m a Digital Marketing Consultant, Professional Blogger, Affiliate Marketer, and an Online Entrepreneur. Here, I blog about Technology and digital product reviews, SEO, and help people to choose right digital and tech gadgets.

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