Some homeowners may become alarmed when a home inspector informs them that they need to underpin the house because the foundation has subsided. The cause of such concern among those homeowners is that they could be thinking that the foundation was defectively constructed. This may not be the case in all situations of subsided foundations. This article discusses some reasons why you may need to underpin a house that had a well-constructed foundation.
Matching an Increased Load
You may need to underpin your house if its foundation is going to take on an additional load that it was not designed to bear. For example, you may wish to construct extra bedrooms on top of your house. That extension will add an extra load onto the foundation of your house. Underpinning the house can help to bolster the foundation so that it is not overwhelmed by the extra weight of the extension that you wish to construct on top of the house. The addition of an adjoining extension may also call for underpinning the house so that the extension is supported from below.
To Counter the Impact of Tree Roots
Some homes can start subsiding or shifting as tree roots grow and displace the soil under the house. Alternatively, a tree may have been removed. The decaying roots of such a removed tree can leave a void that causes the house to start subsiding. The only way to correct such movement in the foundation is to underpin the house after pumping a fill material, such as cement slurry, into the void created by the decaying roots.
Correct Effects of Erosion
Your home may be located in an area that has a steep gradient. Such locations may be prone to the damaging effects of erosion if deliberate steps, such as planting thick grass to hold the soil together, are not taken to control water runoff. Over time, the soil on one side of the home may be eroded by water action. This can cause the house to subside and tilt in the direction of the eroded side of the foundation. House underpinning can help to stabilise your home so that further subsidence is halted.
Foundation problems can threaten the structural stability of your home. It is imperative that you take any recommended remedial action promptly so that the problem does not worsen. Ask an underpinning contractor to explain the different approaches that he or she can use to stabilise the foundation. That information will enable you to choose the least disruptive house underpinning method available.