The Basics of Underpinning the Foundation of a Home

Home buyers often ask for professional advice about the homes they intend to buy. One of the most frequently asked question is about foundation underpinning.

Once a home buyer receives an underpinning report from an engineer, he or she may not really know what it is all about. Some home buyers may have never heard of underpinning reports. This article discusses the basics of underpinning a home.

Underpinning is one of the foundation repair practices that include caissons, helical piers, push piers, and foundation piers, among other solutions for supporting a property. This article will focus on a push pier support system.

In case a property is cracking or settling, the major cause is movement of soil below the foundation. Engineers have come up with systems of solving this problem whereby the home is shifted from an unstable ground to a stable ground. This is done using steel piers. The piers are pushed into the ground using hydraulics.


how to underpin a house foundation

Once they reach the bedrock, they transfer the property. The piers are fixed to the property’s footing using steel brackets. Each pier combination and pier bracket is adjustable to assist in making the entire property level.

The main benefit of using pier systems is that they guarantee against movement. They also restore the property to a secure and livable condition. As a home buyer, you should consider the level of risk you can take when buying a home. For instance, if an inspector has noted significant concerns about the home you are about to buy and which demands underpinning, it means the foundation of the home is moving.

The inspector would also assess the number of times that leveling was done on the home’s basement floor. Stucco repairs and drywall patches on the exterior and interior of the house may also indicate that the property has a history of being repaired.

If the report comes with such findings, it means that the property has physical evidence of previous problems that were fixed through underpinning or other repairs. The expert may also indicate whether the property is moving, has moved, or will continue moving. Once you go through the report, you should ask yourself whether you will risk your family by investing in a property that has problems.

Luckily, you can fix the problem in case you still want to invest in the house. You can start with assessing the cost of fixing the problem permanently to ensure it will never reoccur and your household will be safe to live in the home.

In case the cost is not within your budget, then you can agree with the seller to reduce the selling price to cover for the costs of underpinning the home.

Hence, when planning to buy a home, hire a structural expert to assist you with assessing the property and give you an estimate for the repair project.

The expert will also inform you the approximate number of piers that will be needed to move the home into a stable state. With these tips in mind, it will be easier going into a deal involving a home that has a foundation problem.

Also read: The Basics of Underpinning Houses in Melbourne

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