Reasons Why Your Home May Require Underpinning
In case you notice cracks in your exterior or interior walls and you can’t tell a good reason for the issue, then it’s likely that your foundation is weakened or unstable.
In this case, it would be necessary to underpin your foundation to make it stronger and more stable to support your home.
What Does Underpinning Mean?
Underpinning refers to a technique used to repair a failing foundation to restore its stableness and strength. Underpinning in Melbourne involves excavating beneath the existing footing to assess the extent of the damage.
During the inspection process, a structural engineer will identify the cause of the problem and recommend the right underpinning method to fix the issue.
If concrete underpinning is the recommended method, new concrete will be placed around and/or under the affected foundation to stabilize the soil and support the footing. Also, the floors and walls will be lifted and leveled.
Excavation beneath an existing foundation is done up to a depth where the soil moisture level is consistent. Consistent soil moisture level is essential since most foundation issues occur due to soil that dries out and wets too often, thereby becoming unstable.
The affected house is typically jacked up with the help of mechanical jacks. Once jacked up, piers are inserted beneath the foundation. The piers add support to the foundation and level it out.
What Will Happen After Underpinning?
Upon leveling the house, the exterior wall can be repainted by an expert brickwork contractor. Any cracked mortar will be repaired or replaced appropriately.
Also, the original damp course will be replaced since a failing foundation could have damaged it. If the original damp course is damaged, moisture will find its way through the floor and walls and cause moisture problems.
Similarly, the waterproofing should be checked for any damage. It should be replaced if damaged. Also, any other damages resulting from a failing foundation should be fixed upon repairing the foundation.
For instance, the lintels may require replacement to ensure that the roof and walls regain their structural integrity.
When Is It Necessary To Underpin A Home?
There are several signs that can tell your home requires underpinning. These signs include:
- Cracks in the wall or floor tiles
- Unlevelled floors
- A leaning wall
- Gaps around the doors and/or windows
- The windows and/or doors are not closing properly
- Separated roofline
- Cracks in the slab perimeter
- Cracks in the interior or exterior walls of the building